Family, Friendship, Oregon

#MeganFINALLYGoestoOregon Part 1: Hermiston

Last week I traveled home to Eastern Oregon for a long-awaited vacation and this time around I had a tag along join me.

If you’ve read my blog before (or know me in real life), chances are you know or have at least heard about my best friend Megan. We met on the first day I arrived at the scholarship house at K-State, quickly became inseparable, and went on to live together for 4.5 years. Friendships as an adult when you live across the country from each other can be rough, but we’ve managed pretty darn well.

Since we met I have always wanted to share Eastern Oregon with her, so about a year ago I basically told her that she was expected to come with me the following summer.

The first part of our week was spent up at my family’s cabin, but we took a ton of pictures up there on both our phones and my DSLR that still need a bit of sorting, so we are going to jump around on this  Part 1 post 🙂

Reunited! Megan’s hair has always been pretty short, but I just cut my hair shorter than its been since I was a kid, so this picture kind of looks strange to me.

Our first night in Hermiston, my sister took us out to a new-ish local winery nearby. Echo Ridge Winery has been around a few years, but this was the first chance that I have had to try it! I will always love small towns, but I also love seeing how Eastern Oregon is growing in fun ways that highlight what it has to offer, while maintaining its small town culture. We did a tasting, and after agreeing that the Syrah was our favorite, we bought a bottle to take up to the cabin with us the next day.




We packed a lot into the week, especially since Megan was leaving a few days earlier than I was. I showed her the high school and the flower shop, since those are basically the main places where I grew up. Of course we grabbed food at my favorite taco truck for lunch and we drove out to the house I grew up in (my parents moved a little less than a year ago.) We also spent an evening with my childhood best friend Richole, (and saw her beautiful new house!) I love that my favorite people from different stages of my life know each other. Richole’s little boy Wesley (who is a regular “guest” on my So There’s That posts), is officially in the toddler stage and is just as shy and cute, as his mama was when she were little. I can’t believe that I didn’t take any pictures that night!


Didn’t take any pictures with the grandparents throughout the week, but this Snapchat that my sister sent me definitely made me smile.


On Megan’s last day I took her to the Umatilla County Fair and the Farm City Pro Rodeo. These are two of the things that she has heard me chat about endlessly over the years so it was fun to share that with her. We had a blast with my sister to round out the end of her visit.

Megan and I are definitely “soul sisters” in every way, and a large part of that is that she has also become friends with my family. My family is VERY close, so they have always made the effort to get to know and invest in the other important people in my life. Believe me when I say that I know that combination is really special.





Visiting home during the country fair and rodeo has its ups and downs. It’s great because I get to see a lot of people in one location. But there are drawbacks when your family is still involved in many ways behind the scenes. I love that we were able to round out each of the nights during the second half of the trip by going to the rodeo together.


But the star of the trip was definitely Miss Sawyer June (sorry Megan). She was just 3 weeks old when I arrived and I really could have spent the majority of my time snuggling with her. As I mentioned in a post soon after she was born, it’s been 23 years since there was a baby in this part of my family, so basically she’s the shiny new toy that no one can get enough of.


Even her Uncle Tom and Uncle Jay slowed down for some Sawyer time.

So that’s Part 1! I will be back soon with Part 2 and an overload of pictures from the cabin!

Cheers!

Agriculture, Kansas, Photography

{2017} Kansas Wheat Harvest

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” -Thomas Jefferson

I have heard this quote many times before, but since I came across it again a few weeks ago, it has really stuck with me.

Happiness, yes. Tom was certainly right about that one.

No matter what is going on during my day, month or season, so much of who I am is rooted in agriculture and the happiness that it brings me is an anchor that I can rely on. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I strongly believe that a job and your life’s work shouldn’t just be an 8 to 5 that pays the bills.

Over the past couple of days I have been back in Kansas to attend the National Festival of Breads (more on that in a future blogpost), and I had the chance to accompany the Kansas Wheat Commission and their baking contest finalists on a farm tour during the start of wheat harvest.

Everyone knows my happy place is in the Blue Mountains, but I think a Kansas farm with dirt beneath me and blue skies above comes in close second.

In my mind there are few things more beautiful than amber waves of grain, and that afternoon was just the medicine that I didn’t know I needed.

Thanks to the Kejr family for hosting us.

Enjoy!

Cheers!

So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 17

{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}

**********

1. Summer 2016

IMG_3688

Earlier this week I finished blogging about my trip home for my uncle’s wedding at the beginning of July. Below are the links for those posts. WARNING, I had a LOT of pictures to share.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE
View Part 2 about our “Girl’s Day at the Salon” HERE
View Part 3 about the “Wedding Rehearsal” HERE
View Part 4 about the “Wedding Day” HERE

2. Fargo, ND

IMG_3901

Aside from my trip to Oregon, the rest of my July was pretty busy too. A few days after I returned to DC I left again for a board meeting in Fargo, ND. My time there was pretty short and work focused, but I was still excited to scratch another state off of my list. Most of the time I am the one behind the camera so here is a rare photo of me interviewing our new incoming chairman Jason.

IMG_0147

3. Ag Media Summit

IMG_0169

After returning to DC from Fargo, I turned around and left again a few days later to go to St. Louis for the annual Ag Media Summit. I love this event because it allows me to meet and reconnect with people in the ag communications sector, and attend multiple different training workshops. The biggest personal highlight is that it allows me to hang with K-State alum friends and other friends that I have made through things like AFA in college.

IMG_0198

A couple of years worth of K-State ag comm girls.

IMG_0193

Lauren and I met in college through AFA, but I really wouldn’t say we became friends until we reconnected at Ag Media Summit in 2015.

IMG_5767

The list of all the ways we know each other and how our lives keep crossing paths has gotten pretty long, but I am so happy to have Nicole as a friend and to be navigating our careers together.

4. Kayaking

kayak

My first time kayaking! I was so excited that my friend Allyson invited me out for a morning on the Potomac. It is pretty hot here in DC right now so we did not stay out too long.

IMG_0286

5. Escape Room

escape room

I had a blast last weekend with the girls from my church small group. We did not do all that great of a job in the Escape Room, but it was so much fun. Definitely put one of those on your bucket list.

6. Family Chats

IMG_0257

IMG_0258

IMG_0260

Ridiculous conversations like this are a common occurrence in my family. Someday we really should get our own sitcom.

7. What if Animals Were Round?

You are all so very welcome for this.

8. Plantar Fasciitis

IMG_0210

So over the summer I’ve been having quite a bit of pain in my foot, that has only gotten worse with time. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and grew up playing sports, so it took me a little longer than it should have to accept that something was actually wrong and that I needed to get it checked out.

Unfortunately, my assumptions were right and I have plantar fasciitis. I have always been pretty bad about wearing crappy shoes when I’m walking to work or doing anything that I don’t consider full on exercise. So on top of having a tedious recovery process, the compression sleeve I’m supposed to wear all of the time is neon…. not black or nude, but highlighter neon yellow.

Not quite sure which punishment is worse, the pain or this color.

IMG_0221

9. Best Friends

megan card

My best friend Megan sent me the perfect “just because” card for our friendship last week.

10. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

I have never been more excited for anything book/tv/movie related to happen… EVER.

Gilmore Girls is my all-time favorite show. I own every season, and have watched the whole series through multiple times. As soon as I am done with the show below, I am going to watch GG start-to-finish again before the Thanksgiving premiere of the revival.

11. Grey’s Anatomy

IMG_0297

My friend Brandi FINALLY convinced me that I needed to watch Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning (she’s basically a professional super fan), so I have been working my way through it this summer.

This meme she sent me essentially describes my life right now. How have you people followed this story week by week for 12 YEARS!?!

12. On This Episode of “What Not to Wear”…

IMG_0160

My Dad is on the left and my cousin Britton is on the right.
Apparently they BOTH were headed out to golf…
It’s a good thing my Dad is lovable in so many other ways…
And its probably a good thing I live across the country, because there is a chance he will not be happy about me posting this picture.

14. Keep Farmers Farming

I shared this on Facebook a while back and stole my boss’s comment from his own post for this video….

“You can disagree or agree with his party affiliation, but this is one of the most articulate positions on why we should appreciate farmers…and why we should not stand against one form of agriculture or another.”

15. Sign at the Cabin

sign at cabin

My Grammy and Dad made this post originally with words related to the wedding on it, but then changed it out to feature all of the places where our family is currently from. There are a few on the other side that you can’t see, like my hometown, Hermiston. But I almost cried when I saw that they included Washington DC. I definitely live the furthest away by a long stretch.

16. Fake Friends Are the Worst

17. My Life in Memes

87091700f13a69f2bb29aa1f831e8283

beauty meme

IMG_0207

This last one above might as well have a picture of my sister and I together included with it.

18. My Favorite Kiddos

And really a post like this is not complete without new pictures of my favorite two babes. They are growing too fast, and are so adorable and happy!

IMG_0238

Wesley Ray
5 months old on August 4

IMG_0271

Robin Michele
4 months old on August 4

So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Family, Oregon, Photography

Oregon in July | Part 4 | Wedding Day

Hey! We are to my final post about my trip home and the wedding.

On the wedding day I did not pull out my nice camera because I was either busy, or just enjoying the day. Josh and Sonia also hired a great professional photographer, and while I manage to take a good picture every now and then, I have no problem getting out of the way of the professionals and letting them do their thing.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE
View Part 2 about our “Girl’s Day at the Salon” HERE
View Part 3 about the “Wedding Rehearsal” HERE

IMG_0074

The day started out early, but gorgeous.

IMG_0076

frog in flower

That is a little frog there hanging out in the daisy. We found him when we first woke up and let him chill out until we finally needed the flowers back.

IMG_0079

I woke up about 5:30 to start getting myself ready because I did hair for Sonia, all three of the bridesmaids and both of the flower girls. Sonia has really long hair, but it is both very fine and thin, so she decided to use extensions. This was my first time working with extensions, but after a little trial and error, I got the hang of it. It was amazing how much of a difference it made and how well her real hair blended with them.

Note to other newbies… fake hair does not curl normally. You have to cool down each piece for it to hold its shape.

IMG_0082

Taylor had fine, wispy bangs, and we wanted both of the girls’ hair to match so I did one of the tiniest (and probably most difficult) little french braids I’ve ever done, which meant that I needed her to hold REALLY still. Taylor’s favorite candy are tootsie rolls, so we told her that if she held really still and never took her eyes off of it, that she could have it.

PEOPLE, SHE NEVER MOVED.
It was hysterical. Even when I scooped her up to better position her for the hot curling iron, she still never took her eyes off it.

I just wish I could apply that level of concentration to anything at 25.

IMG_0090

IMG_0091

IMG_0089

IMG_0084

We let the little girls pack their own flower pails and Taylor was convinced that we couldn’t leave any petals unused.

IMG_0094

IMG_0096

Sisters.

IMG_0100

IMG_0104

IMG_0108

Excited to have a new aunt/sister.

IMG_0115

I posted this picture of Josh and I to Instagram with this overly cheesy caption:

“You may technically be my uncle, but growing up as your sidekick with you as my big brother you influenced everything from my taste in movies to my humor and so much about how I approach life. I am so happy that you found Sonia and that she’s so much cooler than you.”

IMG_0112

Aside for a short rain during dinner, it was such a beautiful day, and such a fun wedding. I am so happy that Sonia is a part of our family now and that I was able to be home for so long to help celebrate.

And before I go I have to share a few of the professional photos that were on Facebook. To my North Dakota friends, definitely check out Erin at Soulshine Photography. She did an amazing job! I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures!!

josh and sonia 4
Photo by Soulshine Photography
josh and sonia 3
Photo by Soulshine Photography
josh and sonia 2
Photo by Soulshine Photography
josh and sonia 1
Photo by Soulshine Photography

Cheers!

Family, Oregon, Photography

Oregon in July | Part 3 | Wedding Rehearsal

Friends, I am SO EXCITED to share this post with you.

I was a little disappointed at how shaky my hands must have been that day, because there are a quite a few pictures that could have been much clearer. But as you can see I had a LOT of trouble trying to narrow down what I was going to share.

But I just love weddings, our cabin and so many of these people so much, and it really was such a beautiful evening and so much fun.

I mentioned in my first post about this trip that I got a new phone and so I wasn’t connected to my work email anymore. With the exception of a few Snapchats and quick social media shares, I shut out a lot of the outside world. And I am so glad I did, because I was able to soak in these memories.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE
View Part 2 about “Girl’s Day at the Salon” HERE

i do sign with namemark

IMG_3567

Brandt was Josh’s high school cross country coach and mentor, and now they have become friends and fellow coaches.

IMG_3580

dancing with namemark

IMG_3586

IMG_3575

IMG_3587

IMG_3588

Their idea, not mine 🙂

IMG_3592

IMG_3610

IMG_3607

Josh's hand with namemark

short ribs with namemark

Nothing beats my Daddy’s cooking.

sign with namemark

josh with namemark

Taylor with namemark

dad at campfire with namemark

The cook (Dad) finally got a moment to relax.

Grampy with namemark

IMG_3655

IMG_3677

Sonia’s Uncle Johannes came in from Germany to walk her down the isle.

IMG_3613

IMG_3614

The guy (Josh’s friend Bryce) who was going to be officiating was not going to arrive until the actual wedding day, so my Grampy stepped in for the rehearsal. He might have had a bit too much fun with it.

IMG_3621

IMG_3624

IMG_3658

Josh and his groomsmen.

IMG_3659

Josh and Jay with namemark

My uncles Josh and Jay, and two of my favorite guys.

IMG_3673

The bridesmaids and flower girls.

IMG_3665

The Ego Men… can you tell they are related?

IMG_3641

IMG_3643

Sonia’s family are so much fun!

IMG_3681IMG_3685

IMG_3688

He is so weird. The rest of us are sort of wondering why she said yes 🙂

IMG_3639

Brian is Josh’s best friend from high school and his older sister Amy became friends with Sonia because they work together. And those are Amy’s little girls, Taylor and Elaina.

IMG_3741

After the rehearsal my Mom and Grammy were back to prep. Owning a flower shop comes in handy sometimes…

flowers with namemark

IMG_3744

IMG_3736

My Mama doing her thing.

IMG_3737

IMG_3745

Sonia and her Mom.

IMG_3698

IMG_3699

IMG_3714

IMG_3718

IMG_3721

IMG_3728

flag and light with namemark

IMG_3760

marshmellow with namemark

smores with namemark

sunset with namemark 2

sunset with namemark 1

IMG_3748

Thanks for taking a look! I will be back soon with a final post about the wedding day. And for those of you wondering… yes, I will be posting a Facebook album with pictures from all of my trip posts soon.

Cheers!

Family, Oregon, Photography

Oregon in July | Part 2 | Girl’s Day at the Salon

Ok, so I lied.

Originally I was going to break my trip home and the wedding down into 3 blog posts, but looking ahead I have WAY too many pictures to share from the rehearsal, so I decided to make our girl’s afternoon at the salon its own post.

In reality, I could have just named the post “Taylor and Elaina” because the two little flower girls were where my lens was focused on for most of the afternoon. They are just so cute!

Anyway, the day before the wedding most of the girls in the family and bridal party headed into town (Baker City) to get pedicures and manicures. Sonia’s best friend and maid of honor, Jess, also put together a little bridal shower.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE

IMG_3457

cupcake with namemark

IMG_3462

Sonia the bride.

IMG_3461

IMG_3465

My Grammy and Mom.

IMG_3471

If only life was still that simple. These little girls were so much fun.

IMG_3473

IMG_3488

IMG_3523

IMG_3524

Jess and Sonia.

IMG_3532

IMG_3540

Strawberries with namemark

I will be back tomorrow with a huge post about the rehearsal.

Cheers!

Family, Oregon, Photography

Oregon in July | Part 1 | Home & Wedding Prep

At the beginning of July, I went home to Oregon for a much anticipated vacation and family wedding. I mentioned in my last post that May through July was busy beyond reason in so many ways, and though this trip also added to the chaos, it was a great mental break and just the dose of home that I needed. On the day I rolled into town, I headed to U.S. Cellular for an upgrade on my phone, which meant my work email was no longer connected until I could hand it over to the IT guy at work. I was so thankful that my boss was perfectly fine with me completely checking out for a full week.

I have WAY TOO MANY pictures from my phone, Snapchat and my nice camera to share, so I am going to break the trip down into three blog posts. ENJOY!

IMG_0125

IMG_0001

Seriously, though, one of everything from the Taco Truck is on menu for my “last meal.”

Both of my sister’s cats unexpectedly had kittens. It is well known that I am not a fan of cats, but they are adorable when they are little.

That would be my Mom you hear in the background. We were way too entertained by the kittens.

IMG_0008

IMG_0062

Aside from the wedding, the highlight of my trip was that I finally met Wesley Ray! Baby Wes belongs to my best friend from high school, Richole, and he was just a day over 4 months when I met him. He is such a sweet, easy-tempered baby and has such beautiful, curious eyes like his mama. I was overjoyed to see how happy he makes my best friend and unfortunately its things like this that makes living so far away hard. I almost want to cry just thinking that he will be 9 months old before I see him again.

IMG_0059

IMG_3377

The pictures in this post are a tad bit out of order, but it makes sense to group them together the way I did. I landed in Oregon on Saturday, July 2 and we headed up to the cabin the next day for a little wedding prep before heading back to Hermiston so my parents could work and I could visit with Richole and Baby Wes.

Regardless, I was perfectly happy to spend as much time up at “The Diggins” as I could since I only usually get to go about once a year.

IMG_0024

IMG_0023

When Josh (my uncle who is more like a brother) and Sonia finally decided that they were going to get married up at the cabin I was so excited. I kept joking that I was going to be vicariously living through them because while I would love to get married there someday myself, I could never narrow down a guest list that small. #italktoomuch #invitationsforeveryone

There were many little projects to do for setup and decorations so my Grammy and Grampy put everyone to work. Notice though, how Josh and Sonia are nowhere to be seen in any of these pictures… #ahem.

IMG_0027

Grampy, Uncle Joe and Dad.

gallows with namemark

Archway for the ceremony.

IMG_3374

IMG_0028

IMG_3362

IMG_3430

Grammy staining benches.

IMG_0032

Up at the cabin we have named all of the buildings. The garage-turned large kitchen is labeled the “Cook Shack.” The shop that is converted into extra sleeping rooms and a playroom/common area is called the “Bunk House.” The shed is the “Jail House.” You get the picture. So when we put up the archway, my Uncle Joe joked that we should call it the “Gallows.” At some point, my Dad disappears and returns with some rope and starts making nooses and prepping some wood for my Grammy to use to make a sign. If you are wondering how my Dad knows how to make a legit noose, you are NOT alone. Let’s just say there’s a story about an intense game of ‘cowboys and indians’ from my Dad’s childhood. #wildwildwest

IMG_3384

daddys hands with namemark

IMG_3446

grammy painting with namemark

flag at cabin with namemark

Oh, did I mention that I celebrated my favorite holiday, while also at my favorite place? Because I did, and minus the fact that we did not do fireworks, it was great. #Merica

IMG_3328

Since it was a holiday weekend, we were able to catch the flea market in Sumpter, the nearby little gold mining town. There is a LOT of junk at things like this, but there are also many treasures to find, especially if you are into the whole shabby chic/rustic/vintage decor trend.

IMG_3335

In particular, we were in search for some old bottles for wedding table decorations.

IMG_3337

IMG_3331

IMG_3338

IMG_3344

Sumpter, OR

spools with namemark

buttons with namemark

IMG_0022

I just moved at the beginning of the summer and purged many things before I did, so I have been really focusing on not buying too many new things or decorations. However, I made an exception when I found this gem. It is hard to read in the picture, but the little tag says “Bourbon” and it pumps the perfect amount for a shot. It will go perfectly on my cabinet where I keep all of different drinking glasses, accessories and you know… the actual booze.

IMG_0021

I had a fun afternoon browsing with just my Grammy and my Mom. There are so many qualities that I know I get from them, including our sassy attitudes. #igotitfrommymama

IMG_0071

I am convinced we should leave the light up year-round.

IMG_0065

That is it for today! My next two posts will cover the rest of the prep and the rehearsal, and then of course the wedding day. Excited to share!

Cheers!

Friendship, Washington D.C.

BFF Plus Nathan DC Adventure

It’s almost August. It’s almost August. It’s almost August.

That’s been my mantra for more than two months now, and IT IS FINALLY AUGUST.
Life has been pretty darn busy since the beginning of May, and for the most part I thrive stress and being busy, but if I’m being honest, I could not wait for August to get here.

But as I always say, even if it takes me longer than it should, its important to me catch up on the blog and use it as my journal.

In mid-June Megan and Kyla, my college roommates and best friends came to visit me in DC, oh and Kyla’s husband Nathan too. Oh and don’t feel too bad for Nathan… he’s been dealing with the three of us girls together for years.

We’ve been planning for this trip almost since I made the move to the east coast and I was so excited to share my new home with three of my favorite people.

IMG_4820

Screenshot_2016-06-23-17-52-04

They were supposed to come in late on a Thursday night, but had a few delays so by the time they arrived and we made it to bed it was well after 1 am.

I opted not to carry around my nice camera. I have visited most of the places on our schedule before so I decided just using my phone this time around would work fine.

Friday: Mt Vernon, National Smithsonian of American History, hopped around in Chinatown for drinks and dinner
IMG_4824

IMG_4831

IMG_4830

IMG_4829

Saturday: Renwick Gallery, White House and Eisenhower Executive Building, National Mall and all of the monuments, dinner at Café Berlin

13502150_10157107137890434_4054102997231922789_n

IMG_4860

I’ve had multiple people rave to me about the Renwick Gallery and this was one of the few things that I insisted we visit because I hadn’t had a chance yet. I’m so glad we did, it was SO COOL!

IMG_4848

IMG_4855

IMG_4841

IMG_4835

IMG_4869

20160625_113628

IMG_4865

20160625_120955

IMG_4868

13533220_10157107565460434_2654114425430623625_n

IMG_4870

IMG_4878

13533025_10157109423300434_6320177030011679971_n

Cafe Berlin is probably my favorite restaurant in DC!

IMG_4880

IMG_4881

IMG_4891

IMG_4894

Sunday: National Cathedral, food truck brunch event, Arlington Cemetery

IMG_4899

IMG_4901

IMG_4903

IMG_4907

IMG_4906

IMG_4910

IMG_4908

IMG_4912

20160626_145931

IMG_4916

Monday: U.S. Capitol tour, lunch at Union Station, U.S. Botanical Gardens, National Smithsonian of Natural History, National Art Gallery, Senate Gallery at the Capitol, dinner at Tupelo Honey.

IMG_4918

13516331_10157118188010434_2011208223529840108_n

13510757_10157117651160434_3960432698685693996_n

IMG_4921

IMG_4922

IMG_4924

Tuesday: Holocaust Memorial Museum, lunch at Laughing Man Tavern.

Tuesday was a partial day as they were headed out on an early evening flight. Except they didn’t quite make home because of weather and a missed connection, so they spent an extra 24 in St. Louis and made the most of it by visiting the zoo.

I definitely had major #FOMO (fear of missing out).

13575751_10157124726435434_2890973821218705947_o

Funny side story: While we were on the Metro this really big family gets on and this little girl that’s maybe 4 years old is being drug on by an older sibling as she’s yelling “this is not our train” over and over. The Mom looks at the map on the wall and says “I am pretty sure that we are going the right direction,” but after I offer to help, I had to tell her that they were going in the opposite direction from where they needed to be and then offered step by step directions to get to the particular museum they were interested it.

We realized after the family got off, that the little girl, had indeed been right about the train.

Trust me, it was more chaotic and hysterical than I could possibly describe via writing.

Overall, we had a wonderful time and I am so happy that they were able to visit me.

Check back later this week for more updates from my summer!

Cheers.