Life at Random

Loves + Hates

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?

So I’ve slowly started to reach out and engage with others, and so far I’m glad I have. Obviously its taking me a while to get used to the swing of things because it took me three weeks to notice that Kylie tagged me in her post last month about ten things she loves and hates. (BTW Thanks Kylie!)

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.
314891_2167351178726_215245795_n

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.
coffee 1 coffee2 coffee3
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.

5. Words
Ironically, this is usually hard for me to explain.
They are one of the few things that continue day in and day out to challenge, fascinate and surprise me.
I believe words are a simple art medium, like paint or music notes, but the strongest, most impactful tool that we have.
Language, Typography, speeches, prose, poetry, stories, scripture, quotes and lyrics… I love it all, so much so, that I’ve written a post about it before. Read HERE.
IMG_1669

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.
FullSizeRender

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.

9. Pigs
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.
998535_10200498183912515_1185656319_n
 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.

– HATES–

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.

2. Winter
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.

Unlike summer, SUMMER is fabulous and magical.

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.

5. Masks
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
kstate

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.

7. Laundry
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.

8. Shopping
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!
im okay with my crazy

*****

Linking up on “Thursday’s are for Thinking Out Loud” with Running with Spoons. 

So There's That Series

So There’s That: Vol. 7

 {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. My vacuum cleaner ate my phone charger…

IMG_2109

That_Happened_-_Movie_Clip_from_Disney's_Frozen_(2013)
(Reference.)

2.  Sisterhood Forever

 IMG_1662

Let’s talk about a few things here…
— The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books and movies were me and  my besties Kayla and Richole FAVORITE when we were growing up. So the fact that one of its stars, Blake Lively, made the other three actresses the godmothers of her newborn just makes my forever-teenage heart so happy.

— Blake named her daughter James. I have this strange affection for using boy names for girls, so I think it’s fabulous.

— While I’m having an extreme fangirl moment I might as well also mention what I would give to have Blake Lively’s hair circa her “Gossip Girl” days…Is it possible to have a hair-spirit animal?

 

3. #PorkTips Video’s

This video was part of the last project I worked on during my time at the Kansas Pork Association. Although my role was extremely small in comparison, I am SO PROUD of the final product, especially after all the long talks and day dreaming we did about them. And I had so much fun working with 502 Media Group! Be sure to check the others out on the Kansas Pork Facebook page!

*Even my own personal baking stone makes a cameo in this one.

4.  #Wheatie Humor

gluten

What art would look like with out wheat…
http://glutenimage.tumblr.com/

5. Mat Kearney – Coming Home (Oregon)

Alright friends, we’re going to play pretend. We’re going to pretend that this video was not basically written for the University of Oregon, and that the music video does not feature Oregon football clips and Autzen stadium. And we’re going to forgive Mat Kearney for being an obsessed Ducks fan, because his music is too good to miss out on. And because once I got past all of that nonsense, I fell in LOVE with this song.

6. I live here…

Seriously though, I can’t get over it.
Last Friday night I visited the USDA farmer’s market where I bought some (amazing) bread for later and a pizza (who knew) and wondered down to the Washington Monument where my lap became my dinner table.

dinner monument

So, there’s that.

Career/Professional, Friendship, Kansas

That’s a lot of bacon…

My job is so much cooler than yours.
Well at least this past weekend it was.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
Bacon. Is. Hot.
So much so, that it gets its own festival in Kansas City.
That’s right, a whole day dedicated to that salty, savory strip of wonderful. And because of my job, I got to go.

Ladies and gents, I present to you: Bacon-Fest: The Other Fundraiser

baconfest

Bacon Fest is an annual fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute of KC, an organization that provides physical rehabilitation services to youth and adults in the Kansas City area. The event features dozens of eateries, caterers and companies who all bring their bacon inspired dishes for hundreds of bacon lovers and enthusiasts to sample. There were pulled pork sandwich bites, tacos, pizza, jam, cheddar meatballs, yogurt, various desserts and appetizers and more – all featuring bacon in some form. There were even two bacon inspired drinks, including a bacon bloody mary (I passed) and a bacon breakfast shot (definitely did not pass.) And Farmland Foods rounded out the bacon menu with simplicity, featuring eight or so different cuts and seasoned strips to try. The bacon is paired with a featured micro brew beer station, live local music and to round out the fun there is a bacon eating contest (we’ll get to that in a minute) and a bacon recipe contest.

So here’s where I come in. Kansas Pork is a sponsor at this event and this year we also featured a fun bacon photo booth that was complete with various signs and props that attendees could snap a picture in front of with their friends and then enter to win bacon by uploading that picture to social media, using the hash tag #baconfarmers.  Pretty cool, huh? The bonus for me (besides unlimited bacon to sample of course) was that I was able to bring along a few friends to enjoy the day with me. A huge thanks to Megan, Kyla and Elliott for tagging along with me and helping out here and there when we needed it. Overall the day what a pretty big success and a whole lot of fun. It’s still a little crazy to me that there is a whole food culture and fad built around this beloved breakfast food. There were so many crazy costumes, funny t-shirts, and fun giveaways. I think we decided that overall our favorites were the bacon cheddar meatballs, chocolate covered bacon, bacon jam, steak seasoned bacon strips and the bacon bloody marys.

And going back to that bacon eating contest… Now I’ve been to a bowl game, witnessed some buzzer beaters and am competitive to a fault, but I have to say, sitting front and center for a bacon eating contest is quite the experience. Competitors are given a pound of bacon and five minutes. The person who finishes first or eats the most (in weight) in that time period is crowned the champion – and people take this competition very seriously. If you know me, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find me mocking this a slight bit, and I did, until this 120-something lb spunky middle aged woman won! This chick beat out 30 or so other competitors (mostly big burly guys) and won over the crowd at the same time. That’s the last time I’ll mock an eating competition.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are in or near the Kansas City area I encourage you to look into attending the event in the future. It is held near the end of August each year and goes toward helping out a great cause and organization. And…chances are, I’ll be there again. My roommate Megan is already eyeing her calender to make that weekend available to tag along next year.

As for me, I’m never going to think of bacon the same way again.

Agriculture, Career/Professional, Kansas

In The Eye of the Beholder…

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.

Yes, jumping from bale to bale is as much fun as it looks.
Yes, jumping from bale to bale is as much fun as it looks.

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!

Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” – Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

So There's That Series

So There’s That: Vol. 3

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five” except it’s probably not Friday and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. This is my# postgradlife.}

1. Method-Tasting

So just in case you didn’t get the memo or have been living underneath a rock…bacon is hot {aside from literally.} It’s a hot, fun, hipster, trendy food and people can’t seem to get enough of it. Now, I’ve always known bacon was great but everyone and their grandma is now fascinated with this breakfast side. From wrapping it around other foods, desserts, cocktails and multiple snacks, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it all now. {Check out the Today Show’s Pinterest Board.} Now considering I work in the pork industry, I think its important for us to run with this bacon craze while its in style. Personally, I prefer to eat my bacon traditionally but I understand the importance of walking the talk, so recently my co-worker and I did a little taste testing on our own.

bacon tasting

First, on our way to a meeting to Topeka, we tried the Peanut Butter Bacon shake at Sonic. I was pretty skeptical at first, but it wasn’t bad. I am a huge peanut butter fan and the shake definitely had plenty of that. The bacon part though, was a little disappointing. There was hardly any in there!  From the little bit that I did get, I got a sweet and salty savory taste, and like it would on your breakfast plate, it blended well with the peanut butter. Apparently Sonic doesn’t always skimp on the bacon though. I heard from another source that their shake was loaded with chunks of bacon, so that’s good to hear. Second, on my way back from a work trip in central Kansas,  I was getting tired on the drive so I stopped for some sunflower seeds – my go-to trick for staying awake on the road. Next to my normal buy, was this bacon salt flavored package for a dollar less. Sure, why not? At first I liked them. They definitely have the smokey bacon flavor going on and just the right amount of salt. But after a while they started to develop an odd after taste. So they weren’t quite the rock star purchase that I was hoping for but they did do their job of getting me home safely. Now don’t let my C average grade on these two bacon products discourage you. There are many more out there that are fantastic and worth trying! What interesting bacon products are you into?

2. Pass it on…

This warms my heart. Mr Kemper and his family took their vision and invested in it, and I am one of the many people whose life has been made better by that vision. Because of my involvement in AFA, my journey has been set on a path infused with joy, learning, family, integrity and experiences that I will cherish forever. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to share just how thankful I am, but I can promise that I will always continue to “pass it on.”

4. Oregon Dinner

This great big world is actually pretty small and I prefer it that way. One by one Manhattan has slowly become infested by Oregonians in the best way possible. Last week, Lee Letsch, a friend through Oregon FFA and the pork business, took a detour from meetings in Kansas City and visited Nicole, Jake, Brett and I in Manhattan. It was great to catch up over dinner and since Lee spent a year here during college herself, we took her around to show her what has and hasn’t changed around town.

100MEDIA$IMAG2325
L to R: Me, Brett, Lee, Jake and Nicole

3. Whyifarm.com

I don’t farm, but my job is to represent those who do and http://whyifarm.com is a great testimony and example of why they are worth working for. Check out many more videos like this one below on the site.

5. 22 Signs You’ve Found Your Best Friend Forever

My reactions upon reading this list: (a.) Sometimes I wonder if my life is being secretly filmed. (b.) How concerned should I be if I can relate to 99.9% of this list? (c.) I seriously have some awesome best friends.

22 Signs You’ve Found Your Best Friend Forever

Peace out kids,
Amanda

Career/Professional, Kansas

On This Side of ‘When I Grow Up’

As I was growing up the only thing I could ever remember saying I wanted to be when I grew up, was an ag teacher just like my dad. But I also remember being in first grade and being given my first legitimate writing assignment. While all of the other kids wrote a couple of lines to go with their drawing for their story, I clearly remember stapling together a booklet that had at least ten pages written about animals. So my interests in agriculture and educating others, especially through writing, have been there from the beginning and I take a lot of comfort from the fact that I have always had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do with my life

Fast forward to now and 16 years of school later, and the ‘when I grow up’ deadline is very, very real and written in capital letters in my planner. Yet somehow, this girl has managed to skip over most of the stressful long process of getting that first “big kid” job. Yes, I just became that person who all other seniors despise because I have a job lined out before graduation.

I only feel a tad bit guilty. Probably because the rest of me is really stinkin’ excited.

My post grad adventure will start right here in Manhattan at the Kansas Pork Association as the new Director of Communications. I’m actually starting part time while I finish up school this semester and will be going full time in June. I have always had an interest in the swine industry, stemming from raising and showing hogs in 4-H and FFA. I am looking forward to taking on all of the association’s promotional materials, building relationships in the industry and working to represent and create a positive image for animal agriculture.

Through this process I have been reminded of how invaluable networking and investing time in internships and career related experiences are as a college student. While I have been a student at K-State I have had two summer internships, as well as an on-campus internship during the school year. It is my experience working the past three years in the communications office at the International Grain Program, which is a part of the grain science department here at K-State, that has given me the confidence and skills to be prepared for the adventures that are waiting for me after graduation. Most importantly I received a lot of mentoring and support as a student employee, which I believe was crucial in my development as a communicator. If I were to give any piece of advice to other students, it would definitely be to seek out experiences that challenge you in the field that you want your career to be in and find a good mentor. Having someone that believes in your potential and supports you through that process also helps develop you as a person.

My Final Project at IGP. Click here to go to the flip book.
My Final Project at IGP. Click here to go to the flip book.

I am pretty excited to see what life in Manhattan not as a student is going to be like. I do have some concerns about transitioning from college to career, especially when I am going to continue to live with my college roommates for the first year. But I have good people around me and I really like Manhattan. Moving here four years ago for school wouldn’t have been an option if I didn’t. So I think that it is  ‘real fine place to start.’

– Amanda