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. 15

{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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1. Hokie Country

Man, I am tired.
I was planning on getting this “So There’s That” out LAST Friday before my weekend started, but here I am on the following Thursday and struggling to wrap it up.
This past weekend I road tripped down to Blacksburg, VA, home to Virginia Tech, to visit my good friend Chelsea.
Chelsea and I lived together at Smurthwaite Scholarship House for two years at K-State and she was my “big sis” in the house. I have always felt so lucky because while some big and little sis pairs do not really connect, mine has turned into a life long friend. Chelsea is a PhD student and invited me and Katie, another K-State friend who lives in Baltimore, to come down for the spring football game. It was a FULL weekend, complete with girl talk, tailgating, complaining about undergrads, crab ragoons, watching an entire season of Archer and a REALLY bad sunburn for me.

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Me and Chelsea 🙂
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Katie, Chelsea and me.

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Solid start to a fun day!

2. Proud Big Sister

Note to self, wathcing live golf scoring on a computer is almost just as nerve wracking as watching a live, fast-paced sport.

Last week my sister, a senior playing golf for the Lewis-Clark State Warriors, played in the Frontier Conference Championship. Although her team did win the regular season championship, they still had to win the tournament in order to go to nationals in Georgia (which I would to traveled to). Unfortunately they came up a little short and placed second. But I am still so proud of Janci. She attacked this season with hard work, commitment and a good attitude. I know she was pretty sad to have played her last tourney as a student-athlete, but I know she is so thankful that she pushed herself to that level.

And she didn’t lose by any means. She was an 2nd Team All-Conference player, a Academic All-Conference student-athlete and at the tournament she was recognized with the Champion of Character Award for the season.

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My family cheering her on in Arizona. Really wish I could have been there.

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3. Welcome to the World Robin Michelle!

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One of my best friends and freshman roommate, Leah finally welcomed her little beautiful little girl into the world on April 4! I am so excited for her and Ryan, and can not wait to hold her when I visit Kansas at the end of May!

4. #WorkLife

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I am always so excited and a bit relieved when I project that I put a lot of thought and hard work into turns out how I envisioned it. Two of the overseas offices for the organization that I work for are celebrating 50 and 50 years this year and these two commemorative programs were used at the celebrations that took place earlier this month.

5. Lip Sync Battle with Melissa McCarthy

In my next life, Melissa and I are going to be BEST FRIENDS.
I have been a super fan since her early days on my all-time favorite show Gilmore Girls and it has been fun to see her career take off. Her recent Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon officially replaces this one with Joseph Gordon Levitt as my FAVORITE.

6. Gilmore Girls Retro Poster

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Speaking of Gilmore Girls, I am REALLY trying to convince myself that I do NOT need to buy this retro fan art for my new apartment. I am trying to downsize and simplify… but the jury is still out on this and the other two posters I stumbled upon on Etsy.

7. Bye Marilyn

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Sometimes you just have to let go.
When I was maybe 15 or 16 my Aunt Michelle was recorating her living room and let me have this huge canvas of Marilyn Monroe. For whatever reason I always loved this picture, and so it hung in my room through high school and once I moved out of the scholarship house at K-State, Marilyn made her way across the country to become a part of our random college decor. My roommates pretty much hated her, saying that she was creepy. But over time she became the best conversation starter and a bit of a roommate joke (hence why we referred to the picture as another person and not an object.) When I moved to DC I did not really have room for her so she went into storage underneath my bed. I am getting ready to move again to a new apartment next month and decided that it was probably time to retire her.

8. Alex’s Snapchat

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This should not be THAT funny.
But it was enough for me to screen shot it and send it to 5 other people.
Someone in grad school has way too much time on their hands…
#easilyamused

9. Disney Princesses Singing in Their Native Languages

Guys, maybe it is just because I grew up on most of these movies, but these videos are seriously really cool! I knew what countries quite a few of them were based in, but others were a bit of a surprise. Ariel in The Little Mermaid is Danish? Who knew!

10. Drink The District

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A couple of weeks ago one of my new DC friends Elissa joined me, my co-worker and his group for a fun afternoon at Drink the District, a beer and wine festival.
Despite the chilly temps in April (love my new beanie!) fun was definitely had.
Lots of fun.

11. Carpool Karaoke

I’ve explained my love for James Corden before…

And now I am officially obsessed with his Carpool Karaoke segments. My favorites include Adele, Sia and both of the Biebs (#noshame). This link below features and ranks each of the guests that have participated so far:

https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/james-corden-carpool-karaoke-clips-ranking?ref=twitter-869

Yo James, when you are ready I have a list of requests for you to consider.

12. Word Love

Quotes that I have saved to my phone lately.

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13. America Survives

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I refuse to talk about the elections on my blog or social media. There are already enough people blabbing on and on about it. But regardless of who you are backing, you have to admit that this is at least a little amusing.

14. 50 Design Terms Explained Simply for Non-Designers

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This is a great resource regardless of your level of expertise in design.
Read HERE.

15. On the Road with Wheat Foods Council

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http://www.ontheroadwithwheatfoods.com/

This is fun way to learn about wheat foods in the United States!

16. Fire Away

Seriously. Though. Put. This. On. Repeat.
Of course I also loved his performance with his wife at the ACM Awards.

17. Prairie Star Tournament Champion

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My office takes the Men’s NCAA March Madness tournament serious and yours truly ran away with the win. Thanks for the loss Michigan State.

18. Perspective

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Friendship, Kansas

Long Weekend in Kansas

This past weekend I flew to Kansas for a long, fun-filled weekend.
If I’m being honest, after having K-State season football tickets for 6 years, I just couldn’t imagine NOT going to a game at all. So when I discovered I had Columbus Day off (Thank you Christopher!) and found reasonably priced airline tickets, I decided to make a visit to my second home.

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Megan.

I’m actually surprised that I haven’t been as tired this past week because I really couldn’t have fit more in a little more than 72 hours. I flew in late to Wichita on Friday night and was picked up by my bestie/college roommate Megan. We got up early and road tripped to Manhattan on Saturday, and spent the morning hanging out with Leah and having lunch and coffee at my favorite study place, Bluestem.

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Megan and Leah.

The afternoon was filled with tailgating and catching up with lots of friends. All of my main group of friends in college have gone a lot of different directions, but almost all of us were in town. It is so refreshing to be reminded of the value of those friendships and memories, but equally exciting to see how well everyone is doing now.

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Brandi.

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The game itself was crazy. I was prepared for disappointment, and while the ending was indeed just that, the Cats reminded everyone to never disregard them too quickly. Regardless of the ending, I was still so excited to be back in one of my favorite places on earth. And on such a beautiful day! Seriously, fall sunsets in Kansas are simply gorgeous.

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The family.

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My view from inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
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The game with Cary and Nathan.

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On Sunday I went to breakfast with a few more friends and then Megan and I headed out to Ellinwood, KS to visit our other bestie/roommate, Kyla. While her husband Nathan had been able to make it to Manhattan for the game, she had to stay behind for a school function (she’s a music teacher.) Overall, we traveled over 380 miles that weekend, but nothing was stopping me from including Kyla in my visit. We eventually realized that it was almost a year (a week later) than Megan and I had made similar trip out to see Kyla for my birthday.

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Megan and Kyla.

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We returned to Wichita that evening, and spent Monday relaxing and setting up some things in Megan’s new duplex before my flight left in the late afternoon.

Sometimes surrounding yourself with your favorite people, places and things is just good for the soul. Thanks to everyone for such a great weekend!

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Megan’s pup Luna.

 Cheers!

Friendship, Kansas

Throwback: Two Weddings and…Two Weeks

With wedding season officially in full swing I couldn’t help but reminisce about last year’s season. On this very day last year I was on my way down to Southeast Kansas to kick off two of my busiest weeks, ever! I was honored to stand by two of my best friends, Kyla and Leah in their weddings…which happened to be on back-to-back weekends. It’s kind of hard to imagine that was all a year ago now!

Since I wasn’t regularly blogging at the time, I figured why not do a little throwback!

I said those two weeks were busy, but if I’m being honest, it was the entire first half of 2014. My Pinterest account got daily attention and together my friend Megan and I became bridal shower and bachelorette party hosting pro’s.  There were dress fittings, accessories to keep track of and 10 different hairstyles to plan, practice for and do. For Leah’s wedding there was an invitation to design and +10,000 songs on my iTunes to sort down to one playlist; while for Kyla’s there was an {awesome} speech to write and flowers for my mom and I to put together.

I say all of this not to gripe, but because I want to remember every bit of it.
Yes it was busy, but it was also such a special couple of months.
Both of these girls had been my roommates through college. We finished our growing up together; laughing, crying and supporting each other through accomplishments, mistakes, challenges, change and milestones. They are both so unique, and inspire me with their strength, friendship and compassion. I witnessed both of their love stories and was so happy to share in this part of their lives.

I teased these girls (who are both great friends with each other) for the circles they had me turning in, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. There are so many little anecdotes, jokes and memories, that I have with them and the great group of friends we have, that shared in it all. And in a lot of ways, since the last of us had also just graduated, it was the end of an era.

To Nathan and Kyla, and Leah and Ryan,
Wishing you both a Happy First Anniversary!
Love you!

Friendship, Kansas

Home is Where the Heart Is

I’ve been somewhat lazy this week when it came to writing about my recent trip to Kansas, but I was struggling with coming up with something to say other than that it was fabulous and then recounting all of the details.

I mean it was fabulous. The weekends/vacation time was stuffed full with my favorite foods, places, activities and people. And my work days on wheat tour were fruitful. I was able to take what I already knew from my K-State days working for the grain science department and learn so much more about wheat as a crop, and now have a very hands-on experience to reference back to. And even though I lived in Kansas for six years, it was great to travel and see the state in that way. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over those wide open spaces. If you are interested in learning a bit more about what exactly “wheat tour” is then you can read my summary here http://bit.ly/1JudR6Q (scroll to the second story) or join all of the cool kids and look back at the action on Twitter by searching the hashtag #wheattour15.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures I took on the tour. You can see more here: on.fb.me/1cx9b5P

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It was a very surreal experience being back in Kansas after moving away two months ago. During those two months in DC it seemed as if my life back in Kansas was years and years ago, but when I landed back in Manhattan it felt like I had never left, as if I had just driven to Wichita or KC for the weekend.

I think I struggled earlier this week with what to say about the trip, because I was still processing it all. But now that I’ve unpacked my bags and settled back in at work, there are a few things that my trip back to Kansas showed me.

I really am one of the lucky ones. The years I spent in Kansas were so full of all the things that we deserve to have in life, and revisiting some of those memories was a true testament to that. And the people…my people, man I’ll just say this, they are pretty darn great. But being there, especially on wheat tour, also reminded me why I left. I wanted to do more for agriculture and I wanted to do more for myself. I know now that I would have been selling myself, my past experiences and my passion for agriculture short if I had decided to not step it up and take on the next challenge.

Unfortunately for my family back in Oregon, this trip also confirmed something that has been on my mind for a while. I’m not really big on making too many assumptions about long term plans or where I see myself in “XX amount of years,” but when that time comes someday, Kansas wouldn’t be such a bad place to land back in. Oregon, you and my mountains better step up the campaign game NOW.

It was great to see you Kansas, I’ll be back soon!

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With Megan at the Bogner Wedding!
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Pretty bummed that I won’t be cheering on the ‘Cats here this fall. But I definitely had to check out the new construction during my morning run!
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Soul Sistas….and Luna, who I guess can join the club.

 

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Hanging out with this guy is always a crazy time.

 

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The main four. I’m so glad that Nathan and Kyla were able to join us in Wichita.
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Kyle and Mega. Or essentially…TROUBLE.
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Enjoyed my first weekend with Leah, who helped me indulge in all of my Manhattan favorites. It was also good to see Ryan, Brandi, Jancey, Logan and the IGP team in the Hat!
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The Bogner wedding was fabulous, right down to the purple cotton candy martini’s. We were big fans.
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This guy is just about as good as they come. I am so thankful that my work trip allowed me to be back in Kansas to help celebrate his wedding!
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At the wedding I overheard Emily telling someone…”If it’s going to rain on a wedding, it might as well be on a farmer’s wedding.” Blaine-o you definitely married the right girl!
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Mr. Kellan belongs to my old roommates Cam and Audrianna, who are the first of my close college friends to have kids. This little guy is always so happy and I’m so thankful I could set aside time to sneak in a few Auntie Amanda snuggles.
So There's That Series

So There’s That: Vol. 6

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five” 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.}

 

1. This has been on my mind a lot lately.

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 I stole this from a friend’s Instagram. I revisited it about 5 times before I finally took a screen shot. This is my life right now. Stay tuned…

2. The coolest coffee mug ever.

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My bestie Megan gave me this for Christmas, and of course ordered one for herself.
We jumped into the Doctor Who fandom our last semester of college.
Please be easy on us newbies, we’re STILL reeling from the loss of Rose.

But PEOPLE this mug! When it warms up the Tardis disappears and reappears on the other side.
#MINDBLOWN

3. “5 Things Successful People Do to End Their Days Right”

A few months ago at a conference, this conversation came up multiple times in the workshops and again among friends. I think in particular, post grads struggle with the “after work till bed time” hours. Many of us go from very little structure, and always-changing routines in college, to 8-5 cookie cutter weekdays. We each swapped a few tips that we had incorporated into our routine in order to get a good night’s rest and finish day feeling positive and settled.

Later I read this article “5 Things Successful People Do to End Their Days Right,” and bookmarked it for future reference.

Check it out friends.

5. #PorkTips

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Sometimes, my job is pretty darn cool.
CLICK HERE
for a Flipagram “Behind the Scenes” of the video shoot.

 

5. What I’ve been reading.

My reading list is lonnnnnnggggg and pretty diverse.
But I’ll admit, if there is a movie adaptation coming out that I think I’m going to want to see relatively quickly, I will move that book up to the front of the list. Here’s what I’ve read lately.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: I love history, and the WWII era has always been one of the most interesting to me. I was already vaguely familiar with who Louie Zamperini was as an athlete, but his whole story is so much MORE. It’s hard to grasp how people have survived such things. The book was very detailed, but easy to follow. If you skipped the book and just watched the movie, I highly recommend going back and reading it.

Paper Towns by John Green: If you have read/watched Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” and wasn’t a fan, don’t give up on the author completely (personally I loved it.) His stories might involve teenagers, but to be honest I don’t know if I would have fully understood or appreciated this book, when I was a teen. It’s a hard one to summarize without spoilers, but personally it’s reminds me why I love words and reading so much.   

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks: I’m a sucker for enjoying Mr. Sparks’ stories every nowand then, and this one is my new favorite from him. It’s poetic and has a bit different pace than some of his other stories. There’s letter writing and art, and there’s a cowboy. Sounds just about right to me.

6. Girl’s Weekend

 Leah’s work had her in Wichita for the week, so I joined her and Megan for an impromptu girl’s weekend.
Those are my favorite kind.

So There’s That.

So There's That Series

So There’s That: Vol. 5

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five” 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.}

1. Thanksgiving Vacation in Oregon

I surprised my family by coming home for Thanksgiving. I was able to stay for a whole week and spent most of it just relaxing and spending time with my favorite people. Oregon had a break from the lower temps and Thanksgiving Day was warm enough that my family was able to eat dinner out on the heated patio. Yah, my grandparents live the good life.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I was so thankful that I got to spend it with my family this year (for the first time since I moved to Kansas in 2009.) They are so patient as I do my thing out here in the Midwest. Over time I have come to realize that not everyone has this unconditional support, and for that I am eternally grateful. And I am thankful for my Kansas family. They’ve helped make this place my home and I am surrounded, in my not-so-humble opinion, by some of the greatest people around. I am thankful for this season of my life. It’s a season of constant change, challenges and more growing pains (do those ever subside?) But its also one of lots of learning, serendipity and just plain fun. There certainly is a lot going on in this world and I am thankful that so much of it is still beautiful.


2. K-State Kaiden

This story. This family. Cats man.

K-Stater’s have known about this little guy’s story for almost two years now, but ever since “Kaiden’s Play” during the 2014 Spring Game (featured below,) his story has spread. This is one of those things that makes it hard for me to understand people who don’t care for sports. Yes, I think Kaiden’s story would be just as special without K-State football, but the impact he has had on this team and it’s fans, that is what sports and family is all about. There are a lot of good articles covering this story but this one below is the most recent. Even if you aren’t a K-State fan or even a sports fan, go ahead. You will be glad that you did.

“Donors pitch in to send boy with leukemia to K-State’s bowl game”

 


3. Pinterest Cats

I’m really not a big fan of cats. But according to my Pinterest “Easily Amused” board, I sure do love a solid funny cat meme. It may or may not be from antagonizing all of my sister’s cats growing up…

And despite what she says, her current cat is well on it’s way to looking like that fat one.

(Click on the individual picture to zoom in. Links in captions.)


4. HannahBrencher.com

Been really digging what this girl has to say lately. She’s the mastermind behind The World Needs More Love Letters movement and is a true artist of words. I recommend checking her blog out.

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Instagram @hannahbrencher

 

5. Festival of Trees

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Enjoyed a fun “Ladies Night” at the Manhattan Festival of Trees with my bestie Leah. There was wine, yummy treats and lots of fun browsing and shopping. My family’s flower shop has always done a tree at our own local festival so seeing all of the creative, festive decorations was my favorite part. I’d say these three below were my favorites!

So, there’s that.