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!

Friendship

Thankful for Friends.

First, I’m just going to put this here…

“23 Greatest Thanksgiving Moments From “Friends”

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…please ignore the fact that this post is more than a week late…

I might have a pretty strong argument for Manhattan, KS being the happiest place there is, but I’ve also always said that I truly believe that you can and will find great people wherever you go if you are open to it. Over the past two weeks though, those people have just so happened to be from that happy place and for that I am extra thankful.

At the end of November I made the trek in holiday traffic down to Raleigh, NC (a 6.5 hour drive that should have only been 4.5) hours to spend Thanksgiving with a group of Oregonians transplanted on the East Coast. I originally met Jake and Nicole back as Oregon FFA members and eventually played a role helping recruit them out to K-State. Now Jake is wrapping his first semester of grad school at NC State and Nicole will be joining him in NC after she graduates from K-State (holla to a fellow ACJ grad!) this month. We enjoyed a relaxing weekend with great food ( I’m mean REALLY great food) and even better company.

Thanks for the invite!

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With Jake and Nicole.
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Friendsgiving 2015 Group

This past weekend I enjoyed a visit from another Kansas favorite. My friend Chelsea is one of the first friends I made when I first moved to Kansas. She was a year ahead of me living in Smurthwaite Scholarship House and became my official “Big Sis.” Many times those pairings don’t turn into friendships or only last during your time in Smurthwaite, but Chelsea was the perfect match for me and I am thankful that we are still friends today. Chelsea is currently working toward getting her PhD at Virginia Tech and was able to get a weekend off to visit and join me for the last K-State football watch party of the season!

We enjoyed a pretty laid back weekend and of course a WILDCAT VICTORY! Saturday was beautiful with sunshine and temps hanging around in the upper 50’s so we also detoured for a walk by the White House Eclipse to see the national Christmas tree and holiday decorations.

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 Each state and U.S. territory had its own little tree. I thought it really strange that every single tree was decorated with big glass balls filled with things representative of the state… EXCEPT for Oregon, which had a bunch of additional, and in my opinion, weird decorations. #KeepOregonWeird?

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Thanks for a great weekend Chelsea! It was great getting to catch up!

Cheers.

So There's That Series

What’s Up Wednesday: November 2015

Oh hey, what’s up? Is it SERIOUSLY the end of another month?!

This link up happens the last Wednesday of every month with the same list of questions and is hosted by The Larson Lingo, Mix & Match Family andPinterest Told Me To.

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What I’m Eating This Month…

This month went by quick and though I kept up with cooking more and more original things, I didn’t really take pictures. It is the start of the holidays and I love to share with people so I when a made a few things ahead of time for Thanksgiving I also made a few things to share at work and give away to a few people including my great grandma’s nutty sour cream cinnamon rolls and Dad’s smoked salmon dip.
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What I’m Reminiscing About…

Last year I surprised my whole family by coming home for Thanksgiving for the first time since I was in high school. It was great fun, but I’m not sure I could ever go that long without spilling the beans. I was super proud of myself.

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My suprise trip home for Thanksgiving 2014.
My suprise trip home for Thanksgiving 2014.

What I’m Loving…

All of the social media Thanksgiving posts throughout the month.
Listen, I know lots of people think it can be superficial (or annoying) and that “we should be thankful everyday of the year,” but that attitude makes me so mad. Quit trying to find a way to be a gloomy hipster. So what if its really cheesy? I think the world needs a little bit more of that, especially lately, and I enjoy reading those tweets and statuses much more than your well-crafted, bandwagon political opinion. 

NARS Lip Pencils.
http://www.sporcle.com/… long story, but my co-workers and I addicted.
The Bloggess’ Awkwarding Brings Us Together series.
The Timehop App. It’s a brilliant idea, and it never fails to make me smile every day.
My new flannel sheets.
The Prairie Californian’s “Thirty Days of Food” blog series
The Total Wine store.
This quote.

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Joseph Gordon Levitt’s mad lip syncing skills

What I’ve Been Up To…
I started out the month at Lake Tahoe for my job’s Fall Board Meeting. It was a beautiful location and I managed to sneak away for a few minutes for some great picture taking…

My Spoo grandparents, who I haven’t been able to see in a few years, live a few hours north of Lake Tahoe. Because of the time difference my flight got in mid-morning, so they made the trip to spend the afternoon with me. Being back in Nevada and visiting with them brought back so many childhood memories of the summer I would spend there with my sister and our cousins. These two are such an important part of who I am and I just love them so much.

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What I’m Dreading…
I’m pretty sure I’ve said winter for the last 3 months…

 So, ummm holiday travel? That’s different, right?

What I’m Working On…
Finishing buying and making Christmas gifts… DUH. I am DETERMINED to be done when I leave to go home for my week off.

What I’m Excited About…
2016.
Really though, 2015 was incredibly unexpected, exciting, challenging and rewarding… and all in ways that I couldn’t have imagined when I rang in the New Year. But looking ahead as I start to fill in my calendar, set some goals and continue to explore my new home (which will probably always feel new to me), I am so incredibly excited for 2016.

What I’m Watching…
As I expected, shows are starting to lose my interest. I LOVED the first season of How to Get Away With Murder, but there is just way too much going on this season and some of the characters are really starting to annoy me. I just don’t see where the show can continue to go from here and not have those problems. I am about 3 episodes behind, and at some point I will probably binge watch and catch up to the Fall Finale because I “HAVE TO” know a few things in the plot, but after that, who knows. I also dropped Blood and Oil. I really liked the idea of it and the acting is pretty good but its too slow and considering I watch way too much TV, it was easy for me to forget about it.

I’m still kind of keeping up with the Voice but that’s primarily because I just turn the TV up really loud so I can go off and do other things around the house. I still regularly watch Gotham, Criminal Minds and Scandal, though sometimes its later on my computer. The two new shows that I am loving are Blindspot and Quantico.

What I’m Reading…
Except for re-reading Mockingjay before the movie came out (which I haven’t seen yet) I haven’t found the time or haven’t as interested in reading the last two months. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been indecisive and picky, so I’ve legitimately started 5 different books in the last month and a half and haven’t finished one. I typically don’t have this problem and I’m sure with the cold weather that it will go away soon.

What I’m Listening To…
As always, check out my Friday Jam Session series for what I’m listening to every week (or so). Lately I’ve been enjoying albums from Adele, Eric Church, Sia and Ellie Goulding. There are always a number of new singles that I’m into, and I’ve joined the bandwagon and am STILL obsessing over Chris Stapleton’s (check out his whole album) and Justin Timberlake’s performances at the CMA’s

What I’m Wearing…

ALL THE WARM THINGS
…and November here is not nearly as bad as January and February.
(I also failed at taking pictures.)

I’ve had to refrain from buying every flannel I see because they don’t really fit into my work wardrobe, so I just got one new one that is seen in the picture above with my grandparents.  My tall/skinny jean boots are also at their two-year mark and probably wouldn’t make it through another winter just on their own, so I recently got these Steve Madden boots from Off Broadway (I LOVE THAT STORE!) I’m so picky about shoes so I was happy when I finally a pair that worked for me.

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What I’m Doing This Weekend…
Friendsgiving!!!

I am headed down to Raleigh, NC, which will be a little over a 4 hour drive, to spend Thanksgiving with my friends Jake and Nicole. These are two Oregon kids that I helped recruit to K-State and became good friends with along the way. They are now out in North Carolina and I am so excited to see some famiilar faces from home (Oregon AND Kansas!) Based on the chatter from the past few days I think we are going to have plenty to eat (and drink) over the next few days! It should be a fabulous time!

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What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month…
 One word.

HOME.

This Month’s Bonus Question: What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

– I’m not sure how early it started, but my sister and I have always had this rule or understanding that we DO NOT under any circumstances go look at or go through our stockings until the other one is awake. When we were younger that meant one of us shaking the other awake at 6 am. Last year at ages 20 and 24, I got a mean text message from my sister at 9:28 am (as I could also hear her all the way up the stairs) that she was starting without me at 9:30 and that in the future, if I wasn’t out of bed by that time, she was taking my stuff.

– Pancakes for dinner on Christmas Eve.

– My family is usually pretty tired from our store being busy during the holidays, so Christmas Day is pretty laid back. Someone always gets a movie of some kind so we usually end up watching it and pulled out a board or card game.

– Uncle Jay’s unique gift wrapping. Trashbags are the most repeated, but past years have included newspapers.

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Well, that’s what’s up this Wednesday!
Cheers, and Happy Thanksgiving Friends!