Friends, I know I am not the only one who struggled a bit with the first full week back to work after the holidays.
I knew that the Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal blog posts were going live this week but everyday after work I just couldn’t bring myself to look at a computer screen again.
So my slacker plan was to write the post on the plane this morning on my trip to the West coast and post it during my layover.
And then I missed my flight this morning.
So now I’m back in my living room, with a re-booked flight for this evening.
Such is life.
Anyhow, I excited to finally share about my first Christmas in the Country exchange!
I particularly love that this exchange brings together bloggers in agriculture.
I received my fun box from Chelsea at BoilermakerAg, and she did a fabulous job! Everything was so personalized and well-thought out. Chelsea is a newlywed from Indiana, a proud Purdue Boilermaker and like me, an agriculture communications grad! I have read Chelsea’s blog before and I’m guessing that we have a lot in common. I am looking forward staying in touch.
First I want to share about that little lump of coal you see above on the red bag. This lump of coal (which is really a colored and scented piece of soap), has been passed along through the exchange since 2013 as a little reminder of the true reason for the season. The white tag says” A lighthearted reminder coal deserving sins places us on Santa’s naughty list. Thankfully naughty boy and girls are offered the gift of Jesus.” On the back of the tag it has the history of where this coal has traveled each year so my job now is to keep it and pass it on to someone next year!
If you know me or have read my blog before you know that I love to be creative and tap into my artistic side, and paints are probably my favorite to use. Chelsea sent me a jar of turquoise custom chalk paint and a few brushes. I haven’t done as many projects since my move to DC and my mind is spinning with all of the ideas that I could use this for! Plus you can never have too many brushes.
In my mind coffee is a love language all on its own. Chelsea sent me this adorable mug, a few K Cups and homemade chocolate spoon stirrers. They were SO GOOD — now I feel like I need one for every cup of coffee I have.
Everything in the gift was great, but this last part really hit it out of the ballpark. I love saving different wine corks (and the wine itself of course) and stealing them out of my stash from time to time for a craft. But I’m not sure Chelsea understands just how PERFECT this particular holder is for me. Yes, I used to work for the Kansas Pork Association, but my love for pigs runs far deeper than that. Everyone has a few things that they find hard to explain their love for without seeming a bit loony, and for me, pigs go on the top of that list. This is SO CUTE, and will go perfectly in my home.
Chelsea, thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me and for each of the fun gifts. I hope you had a wonderful season with your family and I wish you the best in 2016.
As I’ve ventured back into blogging, I’ve wondered whether or not I should engage with other bloggers. I blog primarily because I really like to write and share/scrapbook my life with my friends and family who enjoy keeping up with me. So there was never a negative thought towards engaging (because that is a huge part of blogging) but it just was never my original purpose to invest in. However things change and I went back to a mantra that has been big for me in 2015… Why Not?
Well, I LOVE list making so if this is what engaging with others looks like, then count me in! I will say though, I struggled a bit writing this because I know at least one of my college roommates will read this and would immediately call me out for not listing all of the weird things I have really strong feelings about, so in other words, this post should instead be titled “Owning the Crazy.”
– LOVES –
1. K-State Gameday I could go on for days about why I love sports, but there are few things that parallel my love for K-State Gamedays. If you tell me it’s just a football game, we can’t be friends. It’s tailgating, kegs and eggs, bean toss games, going to the Ville afterward and friends. It’s the sea of purple, Snyder’s pre-game playlist, traditions, doing the Wabash and tearing up every time I hear this song…
I’ve said before that my perfect last day on earth includes a K-State Gameday and I mean it.
I’m going to miss my first Family Reunion (opening game) since I became a Kansas State Wildcat six years ago….and I will definitely be a little extra homesick for Kansas that day.
2. Showers This is what my college roommates would have called me out on for not including, partially because I didn’t realize it was something I LOVED until I lived with them and vocalized it to the point that it became a joke. But seriously though, I know it sounds weird, but I just love a long, really hot shower before bed (at night because I have curly hair.) And it must not be just an adult-me thing because I’m pretty I haven’t had a bath since before I was young enough to remember. Ok, now that we are bordering the TMI line… 3. Caffeine
To know me, is to know how much I LOVE coffee and Diet Coke.
PEOPLE, I have a Pinterest board just for Caffeine.
I could keep going for days.
4. Live Concerts
In the same way that I could write multiple lists and blog posts about sports, I could about music. My tastes stretch far and wide to encompass a pretty unique influence of people, places and experiences. But the true test and the best way to experience music is live, whether its in a huge stadium or a college bar. I could never pick a favorite genre, artist or song, and at this point I couldn’t pick a favorite concert…I’ve been to A LOT…my college budget was basically built around them. So far my favorite venue is Starlight Theatre (an outdoor amphitheater in Kansas City,) and Red Rocks is at the top of my bucket list.
6. Chips & Salsa I would eat them with every meal if I could.
Every. Single. Meal.
I did once, when I was in vacation in Cabo San Lucas.
It was fabulous.
7. Turquoise I’m one of those people, whose favorite color is obnoxiously obvious at all times.
This is just my jewelry.
Then if we start branching out into the blue color family, it’s incorporated in some shade into every room’s theme in my home except for the kitchen and its my clothing neutral color.
Ironically, I really hate the song Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65.
8. 80’s Movies
In my past life I would have been in a John Hughes film.
I can quote Breakfast Club on command, Footloose is my anthem, I wanted to be Andi in Pretty in Pink and really, we shouldn’t get started on my love for Top Gun.
The music! The hair! The cheesiness!
Basically I’m saying if you stood outside my window with a boom box I’d fall in love with you forever.
This is another one that my college roommates always found pretty amusing. I don’t expect you to understand, especially if your only reference is Charlotte’s Web. But when you grew up in agriculture and showing livestock, its different. I’ve always loved swine science. They are incredibly smart, cute and yes…great to eat. Honestly, my first job with the Kansas Pork Association was perfect for me. 10. My Sister Okay, I know this one is kind of cliché to list, its usually assumed that most people love their family. And my Mom is now rolling her eyes because I’ll see Janci in just two days and it’s a guarantee that we’ll argue at least once. But I know people who genuinely can’t stand their siblings or will never understand them, and that just makes me so thankful for our friendship. She turned 21 this summer and I wrote about that HERE.
Other Things That I LOVE… Flowers, giving presents, messy braided hair, mountains, watermelon, my Dad’s cooking, fireworks and the 4th of July, weddings, babies, Grumpy Cat memes, taco trucks, western boots, Summer Shandy, basketball, agriculture, mason jars, reading, Criminal Minds, Gilmore Girls, Doctor Who…I’m sure I could go on.
1. Green beans As an adult there are foods that I still don’t like but will eat anyways every now and then.
Except for green beans, I can’t even stand the smell of them.
My first semester in college I went home for a three day weekend with one of the girls who lived in my scholarship house. When we sat down with her family for dinner, everyone passed their plate to the Dad and he filled up your plate for you, which was totally fine except that he gave me green beans and right as I was about to say no thank you, the girl pipes up and says, “Amanda, my mom makes the best green beans!” It was traumatizing and at the end of the weekend I called my Mom to tell her, just so she would say she was proud of me.
This hate is multi-faceted…
I hate being cold, anything peppermint is gross and I’d rather dropkick the chipmunks than listen to them sing. Actually I dislike Christmas music in general, with a few very specific expectations, that can only be played between the day AFTER Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I could write a whole other post just on the reasons why I hate snow, the static air drives me loony and I have this weird complex with cheesy Christmas anything. And did I mention that I hate being cold? I promise there are a few things I do like about the season, but for the most part I wish we could skip it all together.
3. Balloons So if I had continued the list on things that I love I would have eventually written about flowers, mainly because my family are florists. But for as much love and nostalgia I have for flowers, but I feel the exact opposite about balloons. The helium gel stinks, tying them off makes my hands cramp and one can handle only so many popping noises. One time, one of the grade schools had ordered something like 500+ balloons because the kids had met their reading goals, so everyone was going to get to release one. To me that was the definition of pointless and wasteful. But yet I’m the one who got pulled out of school to blow them all up.
My Mom jokes that she’s going to decorate my future wedding with them.
4. When People Act Dumb, or Speak and Write Incorrectly…On Purpose
I thought about making poor grammar one on this list, but decided it kind of a given considering my career, so I thought, “What actually gets on my nerves?”
There is a time and a place for shorthand and slang. We all make mistakes and no one should ever be made to feel belittled for what they genuinely don’t know or understand. But when people do it on purpose to manipulate a situation, be lazy or say “whatever, I don’t care.” NO. You are privileged to have an education. Please use it.
Think mascots, Halloween corn mazes and actors dressed up as animated characters.
Think about it. Grown adults putting on silly and usually oversized costumes that hide their identity whose primary purpose is to hug children. Ummm HELLO, why am I the only one who is bothered by this?!
Yes, it may be a bit irrational and no, I don’t have some traumatizing childhood experience, but if I can’t see your face I won’t trust you and seriously, DON’T TOUCH ME.
The fact that this picture exists is a big deal. #ididitforthetshirt polo
6.The Princess Bride (the movie)
Yet I’ve seen it at least 3 times…
Don’t try to reason with me, it’s a permanent hatred.
Always have and always will.
The rest of my house will be organized and clean, but I will always have laundry, both dirty and clean piled on the floor. One of my apartments in college had a community laundry room that was literally across the lawn (and around the pool) from our door and I would have to bribe my roommates to go with me to help carry all the laundry I procrastinated on or just because I needed the motivation.
OK, I don’t actually hate shopping, but it definitely doesn’t go into the LOVE category. I can be incredibly indecisive so it stresses me out. And crowded malls with overly aggressive sales people who aren’t actually helpful when you need them to be is just not how I want to spend my time. Growing up we had to shop in a order for back-to-school stuff. Dad went first so he could then wander off to the book store (he was a teacher), then me and then Jancz. Poor Mom, she could always tell by the look on my face that I was DONE.
9. “I Gotta A Feeling” by The Black Eyed-Peas
Not that I liked it at all to begin with, but every time I hear it, all I can hear is a specific someone’s annoying high-pitched, nasally voice screaming the lyrics.
I know that’s kind of mean, especially since I can’t sing at all either, but still…I just can’t handle it.
For good measure, the music video is also just as stupid.
10. Automated Telephone Services
The hours of my life that I’ve lost to automated telephone services.
I know they have a purpose, blah, blah, blah.
But I just want to talk to a real human being and not to have to push “1” 60 billion times just to realize that I’m in the wrong menu.
The only thing worse is when you do get a real person and then spend 7 hours over the course of two weeks trying to get things sorted out. (I’m looking at you Comcast.)
This was fun to write!
If you haven’t done a post like this before, join in!
This summer, as I have started my full time role at my new job, I have hit the ground running, offering support on a really cool project.
We are waiting until National Pork Month in October to share the full details, but many do know that it involves some on-site farm video shoots. I am having a blast traveling around the state, meeting some wonderful farm families and spending some time with my favorite critters. Each family and their farm have their own personality and unique story to share, and I have walked away from each one with boosted sense of purpose for my job and respect for those that I represent.
We are working with a fun-loving, positive thinking and insanely creative, agency team, whom I have really enjoyed getting to know. They are not a agriculture based agency, and really, I think they’d appreciate me saying that “traditional” and “typical” aren’t in their vocabulary either. But they understand consumers and people, and in turn, I have really appreciated their eagerness to learn more about agriculture and their respect for farmers. My job throughout this project, aside from providing direction and support wherever needed, is to photograph and capture the ‘behind the scenes.’ Now I’ll be the first to admit that photography is not the skill that makes me a communicator, but I do enjoy it and even more so, enjoy being the viewer, especially when its a simple country scene or anything that represents the agricultural life. I believe that agriculture is beautiful, but I also understand that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ which is why something that a member of the agency team said caught me by surprise.
At each of the shoots, we often lost track of the two main camera men and when we would find them someone would inquire about what they could possibly be taking a picture of. Another member of their team would then explain that they could see the opportunity for a good picture when we might not be able to. Understanding this a bit, I was curious of what they thought of their surroundings so I asked one of them later what he thought. His response?
“I could spend all night and day out here. This right here, this is the good stuff.”
It took every bit of self control to not let my jaw drop. He could not have responded better, if I had scripted it myself. Then, to top it off, later that evening the team showed us some of the footage and stills that they have started to work on and instantly I knew, this guy gets it.
My theory is that The Good Stuff is different for everyone and that’s the beauty of it. I have no doubt that this guy’s version of the good stuff is very different than mine, but his comment and the fact that we had this bit in common made me smile. If I wasn’t excited to share this project with you before, I definitely am now!
Here are a few favorite “details” from one of our visits. I honestly could have taken a million and two pictures of just the pigs if I had been there all day!
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” – Margaret Wolfe Hungerford