Thursday, January 28, 2016

I'm Feeling 22... A Year In Review

Yesterday was my birthday. It was fantastic! As I curled up in bed with a full stomach, after a delicious dinner date at The Cafe, I reflected on all the blessings of the last year. Now that I'm feeling 22, here's my year in review.

Like I said in my last blog post, if you're an Iowa State student and have
never experienced Hilton Magic, you're missing out!

Birthday/Basketball - My last birthday was full of fun and memories. My friend Joni and I dressed up as Legos to claim our 15 seconds of ESPN fame during an Iowa State Basketball game. The Cyclone victory at Hilton was one of the best ways I've ever celebrated a birthday. Getting "I SAW YOU ON TV!!!" snapchats all week was just icing on the cake.

SAEA Quiz Bowl in Atlanta, GA - At the beginning of 2015 I added Georgia to the list of states I've visited. Several Ag Business friends and I went down represent Iowa State in a quiz bowl competition. My team was eliminated pretty quickly, but I enjoyed my first Mellow Mushroom and exploring the big city with my friends. Looking back, Atlanta was my first step toward adulting in 2015 - I flew for the first time without my parents and learned to take major public transportation on my own.


NAMA Industry Tour in Milwaukee, WI - If you've been following my blog for long, you know industry tours are one of my favorite things. I just love meeting new people and learning what they do. While in Wisconsin I did a little beer tasting at New Glarus Brewing Co. and met some fantastic marketing folks from Bader Rutter and MorganMyers (including Sara).
I'm scheduled to go to the National Farmers Union College
Conference on Cooperatives again in 2016! I'm so excited!

National Farmers Union College Conference on Cooperatives in Minneapolis, MN - I go to a lot of meetings/conventions/conferences throughout the year, but this was certainly one of the best. My roommate Meghan and I drove up with a fellow Cyclone we barely knew, Travis, and the three of us came back laughing and joking as friends with many new connections across the country. While in the Minneapolis area we toured several businesses with a cooperative structure and enjoyed a museum about the flour milling industry.

Here's the reflection I wrote right after getting back, I’m motivated by my passions and interest in the community and didn’t know how that perspective fit in the business world until this conference. It was great to hear other people with similar thoughts talk about their successful organizations. This experience certainly has made me consider the business structure I will look for in a future place of employment.


Spring Break in Colorado - Spending spring break on a rowdy beach with a million other college students has never really appealed to me. I don't really like the idea of needing a vacation from my vacation, so last spring a group of friends and I roadtripped out to Colorado. Aside from a bit of car trouble in Kearney, Nebraska the break was perfect. We rented a gorgeous cabin out in the mountains, enjoyed shopping in Breckenridge, and fixed delicious family style meals. We spent hours playing games and watching movies. It was so refreshing! 

Ag Leadership Dinner - You may remember an old blog post about the Ag Leadership Dinner at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. I'm still inspired by the speeches I heard that night and would strongly encourage you to check out Jo Luck's definition of VISION here.

NAMA Casino Night - Our Iowa State National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) helps out at a local casino themed fundraiser every year by serving as blackjack dealers. It's such a fun excuse to break out that little black dress and put on a little make up. This year I drug my friend Ryan along and we had a blast! I'm looking forward to this years event for sure!


NAMA Nationals in Kansas City, MO - This is another conference that's at the top of my favorites list. I rode down with my Iowa State classmates and while they competed in the marketing plan competition, I hung out on the social media corps sharing the stories of the event on Facebook and Twitter. I'm so thankful I had this opportunity to network with so many in ag marketing communications. Watching the Best of NAMA awards presentation was so inspiring!
Here's the group from the AgEI Industry Tour! We have a lot of fun together
in the office and on the road.

AgEI Industry Tour in the Des Moines Area - Yep - another industry tour! By now you probably know the Ag Entrepreneurship Initiative has influenced me a lot. So, naturally spending a day touring entrepreneurial businesses with them was one of the highlights of the last year. I had my first ever wine tasting on this trip at Jasper Winery and got to see how fruits and vegetables are packaged at Capital City Fruit. Visiting La Quercia was really special to me because I knew it was something my Papa Tony would have enjoyed. Meeting new entrepreneurs never gets old!


Beck's Internship - Last May I packed up my little car and moved out to Atlanta, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis, to work as Beck's Hybrids' marketing intern. While I was there I lived in a big farmhouse with girls that soon became close friends. We had so much fun exploring the area and searching for bargains at Goodwill's half off Saturdays. You can read more about my work at Beck's in these blog posts:

May 18 - First Impressions of the Beck's Experience
May 26 - Love for Stories


Beck's Internship - Check out these blog posts to see what I was doing in my internship in June.

June 5 - Blessed with the Best
June 12 - The Road Less Traveled By
June 19 - Who I Am: A Father's Day Tribute
June 26 - What If and Why


Beck's Internship - You can read more about my internship in July in these blog posts:

July 10 - Adrenaline and Professional Development
July 17 - Does It Get Any Better Than This?
July 13- Photo Friday

Adrienne's Reception - Growing up Adrienne was our family's regular babysitter. She was a huge part of my childhood and has been one of my biggest role models. In 2015 she got married and I was lucky enough to get to take photos at her wedding reception. lt was a great excuse to make a trip back from Indiana and it was so special to catch up.


Senior Year Started - In August, the senior year that seemed so far away officially began. In the fall semester I took a full load of 18 credits, worked three jobs and participated in all my usual clubs. I was so busy, but it felt good to be back in a familiar routine surrounded by my closest friends.

Becknology Days - All summer long I heard how much there is take in at Becknology Days. Even though it meant another trip out to Indiana and skipping school I decided I had to see what everyone was talking about for myself. I was not disappointed! There were so many people, demonstrations, and learning opportunities. All three days I stayed pretty busy in the Country Store keeping clothing stocked and helping customers find the items they wanted. The last day I snuck away for a couple hours to hang out with my parents who came to check it all out. They were impressed too!


Aronia Berry Festival - If I had to choose a favorite time of year, fall would have to be it. Harvest is in full swing and there are so many gorgeous colors all around. It's the perfect season to head to a pumpkin patch... or the North American Aronia Berry Festival right here in Iowa. Last September, my roommate Locky and I drove out and spent the day at Sawmill Hollow Family Farm tasting ariona berry wine, BBQ sauce and dips. It was a fantastic event complete with an aronia berry stomp and many guest speakers. I can get Aronia Berry Cayennne Sauce from this farm at the Hy-Vee a few blocks away from my house. Many of my loved ones received it as a gift this past holiday season!
The Ag Business Industry Tours are always a good time!

Ag Business Fall Industry Tour in Kansas City, MO - On the Ag Business Club's most recent trip to Kansas City I learned about the federal reserve. Pictures weren't allowed, but we got to see millions of dollars being inspected, sorted and counted. I've never been around so much money in my life! Our trip also included stops at a Royals baseball game, Lansing Trade Group and Bayer Crop Sciences.

This was our team in Ireland! It was such an awesome group!

Ireland - October was the month of once in a lifetime opportunities. At the beginning of the month, I spent a week with two other Iowa State students touring across Ireland spreading the word of the Startup Gathering on social media. We covered events in 5 cities and caught a little bit of sightseeing along the way. You can read more about each day of this adventure in these blog posts:
Day 1 - Dublin
Day 2 - Waterford
Day 3 - Cork
Day 4 - Limerick
Day 5 - Galway

And if you every plan to visit Ireland yourself, you may be interested in this post from my trip:

10 Things About Ireland Nobody Told Me

Meeting Warren Buffett in Omaha, NE - Sometimes opportunities come around that you just can't pass up. Having lunch with Warren Buffet is certainly one of those things - even when it means being on campus at 4:00am - and you're not a morning person at all. 


Camila - For the last part of the fall semester, my five roommates and I were joined by our new friend, Camila from Brazil. In the two short months she stayed with us, we made so many fun memories together. Many nights were spent enjoying movies, wine, popcorn and conversation! I'm so glad she was able to stay with us and am crossing my fingers a visit to Brazil is in my future!
I'm so luck to have made so many new blogger
friends at #AgChat

Econ 495 & #AgChat Conference - Camila was able to travel to Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee with me and several other Iowa State AgEI students in November. (You may remember this Wordless Wednesday post from our trip.) The group traveled the region conducting research about poultry production and the impact of recent avian flu outbreaks. As travel always does, it opened my eyes to all sorts of new experiences. 

After the class trip ended with a fun weekend in Nashville, they left me behind to attend #AgChat Conference. The conference inspired me and was the last push of motivation I needed to tackle re-branding this blog. In just two days, my photography and writing improved. So many ladies generously shared their advice with me. It was also awesome to meet bloggers I've admired for years in real life. None of this would have been possible without Iowa Corn's generous sponsorship.


Holiday Parties - Getting together with family and friends one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. December was full of fun gatherings and the chance to catch up with friends that I see way too little. Our roomie gift exchange was a success and the perfect send off for Camila. Best of all, I was able to celebrate the reason for the season with my family!

Re-branding Started - I'd been debating about re-branding/moving/changing my blog for months, but #AgChat conference really motivated me to make a plan. Over Winter Break, it was time to put the plan in action. I wrote these two blog posts about my transition (3 Re-branding Changes I Made In 2016 and 7 Re-branding Changes I Made for 2016). Roots Journey is just that - a journey, and always a work in progress, but I am proud of the progress I've made so far. I'm looking forward to some exciting announcements in 2016!


Return to Beck's - For the last week of Winter Break, I road tripped out to Indiana to visit my friends at Beck's again. Celina, next year's marketing intern rode out with me so we could work together on a few projects together. It was a great week and it felt good to be productive, but the highlight was showing Celina all the local restaurants with my old roommate Rachel. It was a yummy trip for sure!

Last First Day of School - I had my last first day of school - for a very long time at least just a few weeks ago. It was such a weird feeling. I woke up that day with a bad attitude, but read this blog post and you'll see I got turned around. Now I'm excited to make the most of these last weeks!

Start AgSolver - The last big event of my 21st year was starting a new job. I'm blessed to have a position as a Social Marketing Specialist for the semester. It's only been a couple weeks, but I'm very impressed with the products and team I work with. The only drawback is my office is so close to my favorite Ames restaurant, The Cafe! It takes so much self control to not grab lunch there every day!


  1. Sounds like you've had a great year! Welcome to 22 :)

  2. Happy belated birthday! It looks like you had a pretty amazing year and I hope this one is even better!

    La Belle Sirene

    1. Thank you! Yes, I'm looking forward to what 22 has in store for me!

  3. Wow you did a ton last year! Such an amazing year. Your spring break sounds perfect, I am not a spring break beach scene person either

    1. I was certainly blessed last year. Yes, I highly recommend a cabin trip if you're not one for the beach party scene! You'll be able to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery without the crowd!

  4. I love this year in review!! It's so awesome to look back on everything you've done in the last year!

    1. Thanks! It was a great reminder of all I was blessed with in 2015!

  5. What an amazing year filled with wonderful memories!!
    Miss Olivia Says

  6. WoW! What a wonderful year for you. :) Looks great! :)

    1. Thank you! It was busy, but certainly wonderful! Looking forward to what 2016 has in store! :)

  7. What a fun year! Isn't it nice to be able to go back and look it all over on a blog!?

    1. It is! I love the opportunities blogging gives you to count your blessings! :)

  8. Such a great year! I love how you went back and revisited everything!

    XO, Rachel

    1. I was blessed with a wonderful 2015 for sure! Can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for me!