So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 23

{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 not-so-glam 20-something life. See past posts HERE}

New Blog Look

If you haven’t noticed, things are looking a bit different around here. Recently I have been wanting to freshen up my blog with a white-based background and decided to follow that with a bit of a simpler overall look. I am making a few other updates here and there… but I tend to be a bit indecisive so those are happening as I go.

While I love blogging, it often takes the back burner when life gets a bit busy, which makes habit building a bit of a challenge. But I am doing some planning for some posts and series that are not just focused on my “So There’s That” series or my travel (which is all I’ve blogged about for most of 2017) so stay tuned!

Promotion

I’m not shy about sharing that I love my job working for U.S. wheat farmers, so it was nice to receive a promotion!

You can read about it here… unless you are my Mom and in case, I’m pretty sure I’ve already made the fridge 🙂

 4th of July Holiday Weekend

Independence Day is my favorite holiday and this year my (4-day!!!) holiday weekend did not disappoint.


On Friday, I headed out to Mt. Vernon with some Kansas friends. This ticketed event had all sorts of colonial demonstrations, including dancing, which we all somehow got sucked into trying. There was also foods and drinks to purchase, a live band and of course fireworks!

I’m pretty sure there are few things more American than watching fireworks on the back lawn of George Washington’s crib. I would highly recommend this to people next year. Tickets were $30 dollars, which is actually pretty reasonable for events in this area.

Saturday morning was spent at brunch at SEI in Chinatown, where I failed to take any group photos, partially because I was drooling over these quinoa french toast that I ordered. Don’t worry, they still were made with wheat, but the quinoa added a great crunch! Brunch may have turned into a mini-wheat lesson for the group after I asked the manager about the french toast… #sorrynotsorry #wheatie

Saturday night was spent back with the Kansan’s at Red, White and Brew, a drinking festival down by the waterfront.

This guy had to work all weekend so Monday was spent relaxing.


I wrapped up the weekend on Tuesday with BBQ with friends and sparklers.

Annapolis

This past weekend I had to travel to my work summer board meeting, but instead of hoping on a plane, I just had to make a short drive to Annapolis. Visiting here has been toward the top of my to-do list since moving to the area so I head over early to check things out, and I may have had a tag along 🙂


Not that I thought it was going to be anything otherwise, but the main downtown area near the harbor is adorable!

We explored, walked down by the harbor and the U.S. Naval Academy (I need to visit again so I can go on a tour) and tried out a few stops.



The Maryland State House was just a block or two over from where we were so we swung by. There is SO MUCH U.S. history associated with this little building and it’s so pretty!



We rounded out the day with crabs #wheninmaryland! This guy grew up on “picking” crabs (taking them a part), so he (patiently I would add) taught me how to do it myself.

Summer Board Meeting

It’s rare that our staff stops and takes a picture like this. Although our team is MUCH bigger than this (and stretches around the globe), I am thankful to work alongside these people.

This gentleman below represents everything that makes me passionate about agriculture and the reason why I never want to work for anyone but farmers. Leonard has actively served on the USW Board of Directors for 21 years and this summer board meeting marked the end. I remember before my first board meeting 2.5 years ago, my boss was chatting about some of the farmer board members I would be meeting, and finally he said, “and then there is Uncle Leonard.”

Leonard has a one of kind personality that makes you feel like you’ve known him your whole life. In just two words I would describe him as funny and kind, two of the things that I respect most in people. But what has stuck out to me about Leonard, is his ability really listen and take in the discussions around him, while so many others are only focused on what they are going to say next. When Leonard does respond, it tends to be with more patience and thought.

At the end of the meeting, Leonard reflected on his year’s on the farm and on the board. I considered sharing the whole thing (I take the meeting minutes so I do have it!) but here is the bit of it that stood out to me:

“In our world of farming, we take over some land or lose some land, but our main goal whenever we take over new land is to make it better than when we got it. That’s how we gauge ourselves on whether or not we are successful … I have said yes to four different governors to sit on this board, and it has allowed me to discover this passion I have for wheat. It has helped me define who I am back at home to my neighbors, because I am Mr. Wheat back home. I think it is very rare how other people’s choices allow you to discover your passion.”

Thanks Leonard, we sure are going to miss you!

Big 12 Schools as Harry Potter Characters

I’d say most of these are pretty darn accurate and the descriptions are pretty funny.

https://www.cowboysrideforfree.com/2017/6/28/15883470/big-12-schools-as-harry-potter-characters

My People

This little note speaks to me in leaps and bounds, and after sharing it on social media and receiving quite a few comments, apparently it does for a lot of people. I think I have learned many times over that you just can’t be everything for everyone and on the flip side, some people are only in your life a “season” and that’s completely OK. But that makes it so much more important to INVEST in those core people around you who just really “get it” and let your crazy fly, whether they are near, or in my case for most, are far away.

Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.


Why does it all of a sudden look like baby Wes is NOT a baby anymore?!

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!

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!

So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 18

{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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This post should really be titled “What has been going on in Amanda’s life for the last two months to keep her from blogging even once?” But obviously that would have been a bit long and obnoxious.

Well as you will see below, I’ve been pretty busy! Every week day has been full at work and my weekends even more full. I’ve actually been slowly adding to this post for a few weeks now, and final found a moment to send it off.

I also returned last week from a quick work trip to GUAM! So as soon as I can get to the pictures on my nice camera I will be blogging about that (hopefully this week)!

Anyway, back to not-so-regularly scheduled programming…

1. NEEDTOBREATHE and Mat Kearney

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I crossed two old favorites off my list of live concerts to see with my friends Sarah and Elissa. I have been a fan of Mat Kearney since he debuted about 10 years ago when I was in high school. And NEEDTOBREATHE I discovered early in college. The Monday night concert was out at Wolf Trap Park and was a great venue!

The fact that Mat is originally from Oregon and includes it in a lot of his songs definitely makes me an even bigger fan.

I LOVE when artists cover other classic songs and artists, and blend it in with their own songs.

I was a bit disappointed that we did not get a full rendition of my favorite NEEDTOBREATHE song but the acoustic snippet was still great.

2. Labor Day Weekend

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After some back and forth of who was going to visit who where… Nicole made the trek up from Raleigh for a weekend in DC. I am sure I have said this before on the blog, but Nicole is a fellow kid from Eastern Oregon who studied Ag Communications at K-State, and now lives on the East Coast. Yeah, we have a lot in common…

Our weekend was filled with attending the K-State watch party, wandering through Eastern Market and Capitol Hill Bookstore, a few museums and typical DC sightseeing. I’m pretty sure she would agree that the highlight was going to the Newseum! I will never understand why I waited so long to go! There were many moments where Nicole and I both had to pause to collect ourselves, we were really nerding out.

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If you are in DC or a visiting book nerd, a stop at Capitol Hill Bookstore is a must for your list. This video does not do it justice.

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This story probably deserved its own blog post, but I think too much time has passed for that so I’m sharing it here.

So to get into my condo building you need a separate key from the one I use on my apartment (it is a really old building.) Because I was wearing jeans that evening I decided to not carry a purse or clutch, and just put everything in my pockets, except for my keys which I gave to Nicole to put in her clutch. Except I was trying to be efficient and just gave her my apartment key instead of my whole key ring…

Fast forward to us getting home at 3 a.m., a bit tipsy and realizing that we were locked out of the building, and to top it off the buzzer that is supposed to allow me to open the door remotely from my cell phone was not working. Right about when I am thinking that I am going to have to get us a hotel room, this guy walks up and listens to me go on and on about how I promise I live here and am not some crazy person trying to break in. He lets us in and then I continue to badger him to let me know which apartment number he is in so that I can bring him a bottle of wine. He tried turning me down (and not tell the drunk crazy girl where he lived) but if you know me you know I am persistent.

I did indeed make good on my promise to leave him some wine outside his door (and promptly left very quickly) and just so happened to have this wine on hand with the perfect name.

3. Costco

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My family have been Costco members through our business since I was little and it was about time that I got my own card, you know, to spend all of that extra money that I have…

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4. Virginia Tech Game

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In September, I visited Blacksburg again to spend the weekend with one of my favorite Kansans, Chelsea, who is going to grad school there. I am a sucker for a college gameday and tailgate no matter who is playing… even if they do have some strange traditions.

5. West Virginia vs. K-State Road Trip

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Speaking of college football… I started out October the right way by road tripping with my fellow DC K-State alum to our game versus West Virginia. The end of the game was a tad bit embarrassing but it was a great day overall, and for the most part the WVU were very welcoming. Now if I could only get that John Denver song out of my head…

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Also, I just love how small the world is! Katie was a part of our group because she was visiting her BF who is at Georgetown Law and also happens to be the sister-in-law to one of my best friends from college, Blaine.

6. Eric Stonestreet K-State Video

And speaking of K-State Football…

So cheesy and so, so wonderful.
And the fact that it is narrated by everyone’s favorite K-State alum makes it 10 times better.
Just do not make me admit how many times I’ve watched it.

7. Gilmore Girls Revival

Have I mentioned lately HOW EXCITED I AM!?!

8. Chasing Bubbles

Looking for a bit of motivation or a break from binge watching on Netflix? I HIGHLY recommend checking out this documentary, “Chasing Bubbles.” It is about really seeing life as a journey and a story about how one guy sailed around the world to discover that. Of course its about a lot more than that, but you should just really watch it to find out.

For me it was also interesting because the younger brother of the guy the film is about is one of my friends through my AFA leadership network. I honestly do not know Joe all that well, but it was interesting to learn about the family he comes from and a bit of what makes him who he is. Overall, this documentary really touched me and it is a story that deserves to be shared.

9. My Puppies

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I miss these two all the time, and certainly could not pass up giving them some love on Instagram on #NationalDogDay

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10. My Dad and His “Kitty-Kitty”

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Over the past two months my parents have been in the process of moving houses, and while living with my grandparents for a few weeks the pets had to stay at various other places.  My Dad has a rather strange affection for one of the cats and so this SnapChat from my sister is just too funny NOT to document.

11.Coffee Things

Coffee has been the real MVP lately.

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12. Forever Country

The Country Music Association is turning 50 this year and recently released this medley of songs with a long list of country music all-stars.

I have yet to watch it without tearing up.

13. National Taco Day

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My sister posted this collage on #NationalTacoDay.
We may or may not have a taco obsession in our family.

14. Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.

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The scaffolding is FINALLY all removed, and the Capitol sure does look gorgeous!

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On the Key Bridge overlooking the Potomac River

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I recommend “Bilbo Baggins” restaurant. It’s quirky and cute.

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Excited for this K-State friend to be in DC for the next full year!

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Volunteering at a community garden with my church.

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Got dinner and did some site seeing with my cousin Dave who was in town for work.

15. My Life in Memes

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

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Substitute a Dirty Chai Latte for the PSL and this is all me.

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Pretty sure my parents thought this on the daily for the first 10 years of my life.

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16. Update on My Favorite Kiddos

Because this has become the best part of my “So There’s That” posts.

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Wesley Ray – somewhere between 6 and 7 months old.

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Robin Michele – somewhere between 5 and 6 months old.
I just LOVE the picture above of Robin with her Mama.

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Family

Get It? Got It… Good.

I meant to write this post a few weeks ago, but it got away from me and so I thought I would save it for today.

Yesterday was my Grampy’s birthday, but this post is about so much more than that.

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Photo by Josh Ego.

I was talking about March Madness the other day with someone, and after a few of my comments they said, “Wow, you know a lot about basketball, and love sports. What did you play?”

I responded, and then followed by saying, “But I never was very talented, so that’s not really where the love comes from.”

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My Grampy is truly one of a kind.
He’s witty, ornery and loves to push everyone’s buttons.
Last year when I moved to D.C., my grandparents flew to Kansas to help me pack up and drive my car and the U-Haul. Obviously I was pretty stressed about the quick move, and we hadn’t even left Kansas before my Mom called to ask how I was handling my Grampy…
I’m pretty sure I had at least three things to roll my eyes at and rant to her about.
But he also gives us quite a bit to laugh at.
We’re talking about a guy who has ran out of gas and been stranded more times than anyone in our family cares to count, and has knack for accidentally leaving and losing spendy items in public places.

But for as ornery as he is, my Grampy is also thoughtful and kind. When my mom was little, my grandparents were in charge a girls group home for a while, and over the years I have seen that kindness extended to so many people. He’s always there to help in any way he can.

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Photo by Shannon Boettcher, Fotonovella

My Grampy is adventurous and is always on the go.
He served in the army and is a world traveler.
When he was finishing up his degree after they had moved from Portland to Hermiston, he would hitch hike up and down the Gorge to attend class.
For many years he and my Grammy were known for their beautiful yard and rose garden, a labor of love that filled up the summer months between his job as a counselor and then high school principal. That focus eventually transferred to the family flower shop business after he retired from education, and now it has shifted to the family cabin. He can’t sit still, and has more energy than anyone I know.

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But what do any of these things have to do with sports?

Everything.

My Grampy grew up playing sports and has done some radio announcing for a variety of high sports over the years. Early on he coached high school boys’ basketball in Portland, before moving to Hermiston and becoming the head coach for many years. I know that he also spent time coaching youth teams that traveled overseas and assisted in other high school sports, like baseball. Then this past season, my Grampy had the unique opportunity to step back on the court as the head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Hermiston High School, for an interim season.

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Newspaper clipping saved by my Grammy.

That influence sifted down to my uncles Jay and Josh, who were both college athletes and then became high school coaches in their respective sports, girls’ basketball and cross country.

But for my Grampy, I know that it has never the actual sport itself.
It’s about what sports can mean for people.

It is about practicing and teaching discipline, commitment and hard work. In a lot of small towns sports are often the key to keeping kids out of trouble and a stepping stone for them to see their potential to apply themselves. He wholeheartedly believes in the value of investing time and heart into students. I have always heard so many stories about his coaching days, and am so thankful that I was able to see that part of him come alive again for these kids.

(This post title comes from the question and response that he ends each huddle with.)

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Newspaper clipping saved by my Grammy.

It is about chasing the science — studying the game and strengthening your sports IQ. Growing up, he called the high school football and basketball games on the local radio for a few years, and I loved to take stats for him because his live analysis and color comments helped me better understand the mechanics of the game. There is a thrill in the chase, countering strategy and risk, and the feeling of pay off when you succeed. My Grampy would tell you that you do not have to be into sports to understand that feeling, just replace sports with something that you are really passionate about, to fill your life with things that you make feel alive and that are worth chasing.

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Newspaper clipping saved by my Grammy.

But most of all, it is about family and community.
Between my sister and me, we played quite a few different sports growing up, and our Grampy was always there to cheer us on and prepared to tell us afterward what we could do to improve next time. Even at our dance performances, he wanted to know the ins and outs of how everything worked. When my Uncle Josh stopped playing basketball in high school to focus on cross country and long distance track, something he continued into college, that became my Grampy’s new focus and he would run back and forth across the course shouting times. Similarly, when my Uncle Jay became a head basketball coach himself, my Grampy traveled to so many of his games that he might as well of become a (not so silent) extra coach in the stands. And of course, that support and interest extended past our family to our friends growing up.

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Newspaper clipping saved by my Grammy.

I have always known that it is about investing time and finding things that he could do with us. Ever since my sister started taking golf seriously (she is finishing up her senior year at Lewis Clark State College), he was there every step of the way in whatever way she needed him. Because of that, they have played some awesome courses together and even attended the U.S. Open. For me, the past few years have been all about K-State sports for us. When I became a student at Kansas State University, he almost instantly became fan, taking the time to learn about its history and studying up on player’s stats, new recruits and more. He bought my season football and basketball passes each year so that I was always able to go and my friends knew that he was the only person that I would take the time to text while the games were still going on, or he was going to ask for a full summary afterward. Even with me being a news junkie, he would often find out about news before I did. Some of my favorite memories will always be the two football games he came to in Manhattan and going to watch K-State play Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

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At the K-State vs. Miami game in 2012.
Grampy and I at the Auburn game.
Grampy and I at the K-State vs. Auburn game in 2013.
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Grampy and I at the K-State vs. Auburn game in 2013.
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Grampy golfing with my sister Janci in Cabo in 2012.
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With Grampy, Mom and Dad at the K-State vs. Miami game in 2012.
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With Janci, Grammy and Grampy at the Fiesta Bowl watching K-State play Oregon in 2013.

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I love sports because of how much I love my Grampy, and the memories and things I have learned about other things in life because of his own love for sports.

I know this was a long post, but when I lay it all out like this I hope you can see what special guy he is. He truly embodies the phrase, “for the love of the game,” in every way.

Happy Birthday old man!
And let me casually brag that my bracket definitely outdid yours this year.

Love,
Mandy

With my grandparents at my high school graduation in 2009.
With my grandparents at my high school graduation in 2009.
With my grandparents at my college graduation in2013.
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.

The Road I Traveled Series

The Road I Traveled: Meet Jancey

“Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

This new series highlights young professionals and their stories, because no matter our path we all have a little to share and a lot to learn. Read and learn from past feature posts HERE.

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I don’t know how to best begin this introduction. I always say that I would want to be besties with celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Kendrick or Taylor Swift. These women just really seem to own who they are. They are sassy, talented, hysterical and whether its true or not, have us all convinced that what you see is what you really get. I’m saying all this because by the end of this blog post I’m pretty certain you will want to be besties with the gal I’m featuring today. Meet Jancey, she’s all of those things above, and more. She was one of the first friends I made my freshman year at K-State. You see, my little sister is also named Janci, and at a meet-and-greet for wanna-be future College of Ag Ambassadors I stood up in the middle of the crowd and yelled,”Whose name is Jancey?” I had decided that meeting this girl who shared my sister’s name would make me less homesick, and not only did she walk over and introduce herself (despite the weird look she was giving me) but she ended up becoming one of my best friends. I could write an endless blog post on all of our adventures in college and post grad when we both started our careers working for Kansas commodity groups, but that’s for another day.

I am excited for you to hear Jancey’s story. She has a huge heart for serving others and for the agriculture industry. She has a lot to share about highs and lows of being a young professional, and her post today is incredibly genuine. Did I also mention that she is seriously funny? I promise she’ll make you smile and laugh.
– Amanda

Meet Jancey

Basics

Name: Jancey Saunders Hall
Age: 25
Hometown: Neodesha, KS
College: Kansas State University
Degree(s): Agriculture Economics
Current Location: Manhattan, KS
Current Job: Program Manager at Kansas Soybean

Background Story
I was born in Dorothy’s hometown in Southwest Kansas, Liberal. My Mom is a teacher and my Dad was in the ag industry. I moved to Southeast Kansas when I was a wee tot. My Dad passed away from cancer, so my Mom was a B.A. single parent and raised 2 kids and a menagerie of animals including dogs, goose, tortoises, and more! I was involved in all the things growing up except anything involving fine arts. To graduate high school you had to have a fine arts credit and a language didn’t count (lame), so they put me in choir. Most days I had a pass from either of my ag advisers or our school counselor (the choir teachers wife) excusing me for being late.  They didn’t put a time on it and if they did they always put like 5 minutes after I left them so that I could take my time and talk with the art teacher on my way. I think my choir teacher was OK with this because in order for me to think I’m a good singer my car volume has to be at least a 57 on its max of 62. I’m a lover of books, mac and cheese, the color purple, corny jokes, smiling, Mexican food, roller blades, and the Oxford Comma.

(Note from Amanda: I do NOT believe in the Oxford comma, and I’m pretty sure Jancey added that just to see if I would go through and edit them all out… which I didn’t, even though it pained me not to.)

College

How did you choose your college and your major?
I’m a 4th generation Wildcat and I would’ve been a 5th if my great grandma would’ve been allowed by her dad to go to college (she wanted to!).  My Dad was on judging teams at K-State, my Mom  was on the volleyball team starting in its second year as a program, and my family is from Manhattan and owned the city dairy for years.  Purple is kind of in my blood and Manhattan has always been my second home.

I majored in Ag Economics aka ‘I don’t know what I want to do when I have to #adult and this has a lot of courses that can be applied to a lot of majors, but I’m never going to be able to make a decision to switch so in four years I’ll leave with an AgEcon degree.’

Probably not the recommended way to choose.

What were you involved in outside of class? Organizations? Internships?
I was an Ag Ambassador and I served as the College of Ag’s honor code representative (sitting on the panels who listen to cases involving honor code violations aka kind of scary/intense stuff.  Trust me, cheating is not worth it, EVER). The organization that had the biggest impact that I was involved in was Alpha of Clovia, a 4-H based cooperative living house of 62 girls.  We did all of our own cooking and cleaning.  Well, I didn’t cook because I love to lick spoons and don’t care about food safety things #ImmuneSystemOfSteelPerks, but I cleaned a lot of bathrooms…

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My 25th Birthday

What one piece of advice would you give a student during their senior year?
Well, I definitely wouldn’t tell you ‘it’s fine’ to not be engaged/be in a serious committed relationship or that ‘it’s fine’ that you don’t have a full time job on graduation day and ‘you’ll figure it out… eventually.’  Those people deserve to be slapped. (Shout out to my Mom for teaching me that just because someone says something you don’t like, doesn’t mean you can slap them. Sorry about kicking you in the shins with my football cleats that one time in 5th grade.)

But here’s the thing. Even if they are the worst, those people are kind of right… Keep working hard, loving life, growing, and just being you. Everyone’s life path is different and although that tends to make me anxious, it’s a good thing.  In the past 2.5 years since I’ve graduated sometimes I’ve felt on top of the world  and blasted T-Swift on my commute home and danced like I wasn’t driving a major interstate at 83 mph. Sometimes I haven’t and I’ve blasted T-Swift and balled my eyes out on my commute home like I wasn’t driving a more conservative 81 mph on a major interstate. Life happens and I think God really just likes to laugh at our (well at least my) plans.  So I’m going to do my best, enjoy the ride, love fully, and make the world a better place while I’m here. It will turn out somehow and even if everything’s not alright (because life definitely isn’t perfect) you will make it through.  Look beside you at your support system and trust me, those people love you a whole lot.  Find your people and you’ll never be alone.

On an unrelated tangent… find a mentor at your school- a boss, professor, just someone you admire and trust and bother them a lot. Continuing bothering them after you graduate. Also, when you graduate find other people to bother. You’ll thank me later.

Post Grad

Tell us about your career so far?
I started as an intern and then I was hired full time.  I work for Kansas farmers, and MY farmers are the best (no they are not mine, but I’m possessive about things). I work on their behalf to do a conglomerate of things from talking to farmers at farm shows, showing 4th graders how soy touches their everyday lives, and more.  Soybeans are THE coolest crop and have many uses.  I could talk for hours about what all I get to do because soybeans are ‘da bomb.’

How have your experiences and involvement in college set you up for success in your career and life post grad?
My senior year of college I had some incredible bosses that expected a lot out of you, but let you figure out how to get it done, yet they were always there if you needed them. Combine that with my role that was juggling a lot of humans, many I had never met, with unexpected surprises of the good and bad variety popping up at any second and having as little as no seconds to figure out how to handle the situation. The skills and lessons I learned that year have taught me about having a solid plan, but being able to roll with the winds as they change if needed. So valuable not only in my career, but all things life.

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The 2014 Real Pig Farming Tour included a stop at a soybean farm.

On the flip side, what are your biggest challenges or differences you’ve experienced post grad that you didn’t expect or didn’t feel prepared for?
I never realized how dependent I was on relational time with my gal pals to thrive. I mean, I lived with 62 girls and had friends in college outside of my house so even if I wanted to escape them I couldn’t.  Now, I work primarily with guys and they are great, but it’s not the same.  I’ve been able to develop some strong friendships and mentors with others in my industry and just realized how to better connect with those gals I used to see a million times a day, but now only see here and there.

What apps, technology, and resources do you use regularly to stay organized and do your job?
Oh my goodness gracious, I could go on for hours about my Emily Ley Simplified Planner. If you want me to elaborate, I can, but I’ll stop for now… I really hate always having a phone on me so I constantly battle my desire to be super techy and my desire to live in a log cabin in the back woods with no Wifi.

At this stage, what are a few of your strengths and weaknesses?
I love sending personal notes of the snail mail variety, because when I receive them it makes my heart sing and although I’m forever behind on birthday cards, I excel in going thru a lot of postage stamps. Legitimately, there is nothing as special as receiving a handwritten note, so why not send more? For November I’ve written a note every day to someone I’m thankful for as part of #Thankfulemeber (I just like making up words).  I’ve sent them to people I see every day, those I just see here and there or only on social media, and to those I haven’t seen in ages, but impacted my life in some way/shape/form. It’s actually been really random.  It’s kind of crazy how doing this every day has taught me to look at every human and ask myself ‘why am I grateful for their existence’ – it makes you love other humans more. It’s really nothing revolutionary, but it’s one thing I can do each day to make others smile- even if you do it just once a week, I know it’ll change your outlook. On the flip side, spelling/grammar and concise writing is not my strength.  I’m working on that and learning how to use spell check in excel.

How do you stay motivated when work gets really busy or difficult?
For me, it’s the opposite.  How do I stay motivated when work is slow and I have no pressing things coming at me? Things to work on.

Work-life balance?  How do you stay afloat and refreshed?
Realizing that even if I feel alone, I’m not.  Leaning on those gal pals that I have and telling them ‘yo, I need a heart to heart/I miss you and to cry and/or to dance and/or to eat cheese dip, can we make that happen soon’.

What in your #PostGradLife are you most proud of so far?
I’ve been able to work with some really awesome humans on developing programs to take those not directly involved in the ag industry yet interested/passionate about it (see also, they like to eat) and connecting them with farmers. Seeing light bulb moments when something clicks for them and how speaking with one of our farmers impacts their perspective is SO INCREDIBLY COOL. Also, having humans understand where their food comes from and how as we get more generations removed from the farm every day is vital. Foolishly, when we started these I just thought that we would be teaching them something, but the women (they don’t have to be female but they have been) have taught me so much on these programs and continue to inspire me long after they are over. I’m grateful for all they teach and inspire me to do/learn/see/grow.

What does life look like right now? Hobbies and interests? What outside of work are you passionate about?
I like to roller blade because it feels like you can fly. This one time a 5th grader actually told me it was lame and I told him he was a bully and then I listened to Shake it Off by T-Swift. I live with my Grandma who is basically snow white.  Seriously though, living with my gram is the best. I want to make a quilt and become a consistent crocheter.  I also really love hanging out with my Gram’s cronies and helping out the American Legion when they do different projects/programs.

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With my Gram and Mom

Just for Fun

How many alarms do you set in the morning?
17 – I really need to establish a firm bedtime/wake up time so this won’t be such a problem. I usually wake up on the 11th alarm. Sometimes it’s the 2nd and sometimes it’s the 16th.

Do you have a must-have vice like caffeine or item you can’t live without in your workplace?
I am constantly trying to get un-addicted to Dr. Pepper and Mt. Dew.

If you were to have another career, all limitations aside, what would it be?
An event and wedding planner and/or a teacher. Both of those have been major life considerations since I was 6 and dreaming about having my own classroom, imagining light bulbs clicking and making intense party schedules and to-do lists. My current job actually manages to combine some aspects of both of those jobs, which is strange in a good way.

Moment of truth, what do you really miss about college?
The sleeping porches, which meant 30-some girls in bunk beds in one giant room. They were freezing so I slept basically in a cocoon. We weren’t supposed to talk, but I always ended up on the obnoxious sleeping porch where that was kind of OK if you whispered. Pranks were played. To some it probably seems nightmarish but for me it was just the best.

(Note From Amanda: Fun fact… these sleeping porches were the ONLY reason I chose Smurthwaite Scholarship House over Clovia. To each their own.) 

What’s the best interaction with law enforcement have you had?
Well one time I was taking food to our tailgate and it was realllllly windy and the lid to my truck wouldn’t stay down with rope and so I had to rearrange the food (it was in warmers).  A state trooper ended up stopping and helping me. I tried to thank him with ribs and cookies.

What’s your #1 bucket list item?
To see all 50 states. I just visited Nebraska for my 25th state in my 25th year (yes it’s ridiculous that it’s an hour from me and I’ve never been there…). I really just love adventures.

What am I most proud of on this questionnaire?
That I didn’t substitute “so” with “soy” once.  For me, that’s kind of remarkable.

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Jancey, thank you so much for sharing a little piece of yourself in this post. The world is a better place because there are people like you in it. I can’t wait for you to visit me in January!

As always, thanks for reading friends!

Cheers.

So There's That Series

What’s Up Wednesday: October 2015

Oh hey, what’s up? 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 and Pinterest Told Me To.

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What I’m Eating This Month…

October is National Pasta Month and the 25th was World Pasta Day. In addition to some editorial and social media coverage at work, I organized two “Pasta Day” potluck lunches at my office. I made my Grammy’s stack salad and modified it to go better with a pasta base. Everyone in the office seemed to enjoy the lunches and there were so many yummy dishes!

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What I’m Reminiscing About…

Turning 25 is, as the hipsters say, “giving me all the feels.”
For the most part, everything in my life can be addressed with “How did I get here?”
Not funny? Hmm inside jokes are complicated.
Anyways, I thought this Buzzfeed article, 19 Signs You’re Finally Becoming An Adult, pretty much sums up life right now.

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What I’m Loving…
Kansas City Royals!!!! #TakeTheCrown
Trader Joe’s Almond Nut Butter
The wonderful reception and feedback I am getting on my new “The Road I Traveled Series”
My new discovery… dirty chai!!!
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15 Jokes Only Extreme ‘Gilmore Girls’ Fans Understand
Updates from two of my best girls who are both due with their first babies next spring!
This 3 year old who was devastated when she found out Adam Levine was married…
Fall colors, because #basic
My family’s loving dysfunctional group text messages
The “SWORKIT lite” phone app
And this meme… Holla!
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What I’ve Been Up To…
 Each month that I live here seems to go by faster! This month I turned 25, and had a pretty low-key birthday weekend because the weekend before I took advantage of having Columbus Day off and made a quick trip back to Kansas for a K-State football game and to visit with friends.

It might be awhile before I make it back there again, so I crammed as much in as I possible could and left with a full heart.

What I’m Dreading…
My always long, and always random to-do list. That’s the problem with being an obsessive list maker. I also finally got around to applying for TSA pre-check (not in time for my next trip) and got my appointment scheduled.

And as ALWAYS, I’m dreading winter. 

What I’m Working On…
I finally finished my fall burlap wreath (L) for my new office at work (which I wrote about here) and then my co-worker loved it so much that he asked me to make another one (R) for his entry way at home. I was pretty happy with how they turned out!

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What I’m Excited About…
As much as I hate winter, it does mean the holidays. Ever since I left for college, my birthday has always roughly marked two months before I go home for the holidays and when I officially start my countdown — and that had remained the same in post grad. During those two months I tend to get homesick a bit more often than usual. So… today marks 50 days until home sweet home again!

What I’m Watching…
As I mentioned in last month’s “What’s Up Wednesday” post, I was watching Friends for the first time from start to finish on Netflix and had been avoiding the last few episodes of the series because I didn’t want it to end. Well, I finally accepted it and faced the end. I sent a SnapChat of the scene where Rachel is individually saying goodbye to each of the friends to my bestie Megan in Kansas because she just finished the series as well and the scene hit a little too close to home for me…aka I cried. Seriously, every 20-something needs the friends in their lives.

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As I’m writing this I am also mastering my multi-channel TV watching skills with the Republican debate, Game 2 of the World Series (GO ROYALS) and the Trailblazers NBA season opener.
I couldn’t decide on just one.

What I’m Reading…
I skipped out last month, but I’ll recap my September and August reading list next week during Molly and Katie’s Bookworm Wednesday link-up.

This week, I also enjoyed this blog post that has been floating around titled, “Screw Finding Your Passion.” It’s a little blunt and definitely has some unnecessary language, but it really breaks down a topic that I have talked in circles about with different people and gives it a refreshing (minus the language) message that really resonated with me.

What I’m Listening To…

I haven’t posted a Friday Jam Session in a few weeks. I just haven’t been all that motivated to work on them throughout the week and when I would get to Thursday, they just didn’t happen at all. But my lists and comments are getting a bit long, so I’ll definitely be back at it this week.
In the meantime, like the rest of the world, I can’t stop listening to Adele’s new single “Hello”

And I’m loving this stripped down version “Out of the Woods” from T-Swift. I think I like it better than the original.

What I’m Wearing…

Like always, I never remember to take pictures of the (very) few outfits that I deem shareable. I did throw on my new blanket scarf this morning that I AM OBSESSED with. I mentioned last month that I spent all of last winter not being able to decide what print  and colors I wanted so I never got one. Back in August, I decided that it was a must-have item this season and finally chose this one. It is so warm and soft, and mixes and matches well with quite a bit of my wardrobe. I wore it once over dress as a shawl with a thin belt over the top… and the jury is still out on that style. But I am completely convinced that everyone needs a blanket scarf in their life.

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What I’m Doing This Weekend…
Watching the World Series and packing for my next work trip…

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month…
 Early next week I head out to Lake Tahoe for a fall board meeting for my job. Since my Spoo grandparents live nearby, they are going to pick me up from the airport and spend the rest of the day with me. I haven’t seen them in over 3 years, so I’m REALLY excited!

And of course, Thanksgiving!! This year I’m headed down to Raleigh, NC for a little Friendsgiving action with some fellow Oregonian/K-State/East Coast transplants.

This Month’s Bonus Question: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe…

Ugh. Talking holiday food traditions makes me homesick.
Dad’s tri-tip and pork loin. Grammy’s mashed potatoes. Cousin Lisa’s pretzel salad. The Jorgensen family’s sweet rolls and more… Good thing all of those things are usually at the Christmas dinner table as well.

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Well, that’s what’s up this Wednesday!
Cheers!