Life Notes

Vision Board Party

I’ve never personally been really big on making New Year’s resolutions. I think goals should be made as we see a need for them and not just because we pushed an imaginary reset button. Plus, if I am being honest, January is always my least favorite month and I think we put way too much pressure on it. We come off of the holidays a bit burnt out, the weather is usually crappy (if you know me, you know how much I hate winter) and for me, the first six weeks of the year always tend to be pretty hectic work-wise. But that’s just me and how I’m wired. I don’t mean to knock anyone down who really anchors themselves to New Year’s resolutions — I think it’s great!

But coming off of a really crummy and unexpected end to 2017, my mood and attitude have been really down. A few weeks ago, I was out in the evening with some friends and they all were sharing what their resolutions were. When it got to me, I fairly bluntly said, “I don’t have any. I’m just in survival mode and doing the day-by-day thing.” I know my attitude is something that I am responsible for working on, but I also accept that this phase is just something that will eventually get better with time.

With all of that said, I was invited to a “Vision Board Making” Party this weekend and really had a great time!

Jackie did her’s on a cork board. I wish I had thought of that!

My friend Brenda from my young adults small group invited a group of women over and really did a great job at creating a positive environment. We had yummy food, a relaxing scent in her diffuser, an upbeat music playlist, the Grammy’s on in the background and all the magazines we could ever need to pick through.

Some of the women had specific focus words or goals that they planned their vision boards around, and it was fun and motivating to hear a little bit about how each one is planning to own their 2018. I decided to just focus on words and things that were positive and just made me smile (or laugh in one specific case). In middle school and high school I used to cover my binders like this, so I really enjoyed the chance to relax with some girl chat and feed my creative side for an evening.

In the last week or so, I did finally jot down I few basic things that I really want to focus on in the next few months.

  • I haven’t been a regular reader since before college and its something I really miss. I’d like to try to read at least two books a month. My childhood self is cringing right now, but hey, baby steps.
  • My blog is still just a hobby, and it probably always will be only that, but it does make me really happy so I am shooting for at least one post a week, but more striving toward 2 to 3.
  • Balancing healthy eating and consistent exercise is probably permanently on my list, and that’s ok. I also want to try to focus on finding things that just make me feel good overall and make bettering these habits less of a chore.
  • I want to read or seek out resources to learn more about personal finance. I have a good budgeting and saving system in place, but I want to learn more about long term planning.
  • After being here for almost 3 years, there are still a few DC-area things that I haven’t crossed off my bucket list! And I want to explore at least one new-to-me East Coast city.
  • I have a few work/career related goals and plans toward being a better professional and communicator

There are a few other things on my mind lately, but I’ll keep those to myself for now. I’ve always believed in goal setting, but not just as set hard line of accomplishments to check off. I see a lot of goals as guidelines toward being your best self, whatever that might be during that season of life.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2018 and good luck on those goals and resolutions!

Life Notes

Reverse Bucket List

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

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

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

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


reverse bucketlist

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

DLC Photography.

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

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

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

— Traveling internationally —

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

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

— Building a career I love —

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

— Moving to Washington, D.C. —

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

— Attending an inauguration —

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

— Getting a sister tattoo —

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

— A few others —

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


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