One Life Kitchen



Amber Nelson-Wolfe is a State Farm Agent in Barrington, Illinois. She is married to Luke, and mom to four young children. She’s passionate about living a life of service, whether it be financial counseling, community philanthropy, or animal rescue. Amber is fluent in American Sign Language, and holds the designation of Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter. In her free time, you will find her at Cheer competitions, football games, or with her violin in hand.

When in the Office

FASHION STYLE? My in-office fashion style is the same as at home – jeans, t shirt, and heels! 🙂

COFFEE OR TEA? Coffee. Always.

FAVORITE LUNCH? My local go-to is the Neoteca Classic Salad with grilled chicken.


BRING A LUNCH OR EAT OUT? I find great joy in meal prepping, 🙂 so most often, I will bring my lunch. There’s just something about cooking all day Sunday, and seeing the finished product of neatly packaged, perfectly portioned lunches ready to go. (I’m also a wee bit OCD)

FAVORITE SPACE? My front porch. I’m in a beautiful early 1900s bungalow, with a great covered porch, and a stunning maple tree feet away. It’s a great place to brainstorm, or to people watch.

COMMUTE TIME? 20 minutes

NEWS SOURCE? Newsmax, Forbes, WSJ




BREAK TIME? No planned break time, but my team and I are intentional about taking time to celebrate successes. You will always find a cold bottle of Veuve Rose in my work fridge, for whenever that celebratory moment presents itself.

MOST EFFECTIVE HOUR OF THE WORKDAY? 6:30 – 7:30am. For the first hour of my day, I work from home, before I go into the office. I find the quiet early hours give me focus and clarity for the day ahead.

FAVORITE BUSINESS BOOK? True North by Bill George

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR INDUSTRY? I am lucky enough to mentor with the Chief Life Insurance Officer for State Farm. She is also a mom of younger children, and her husband is also a stay at home Dad. She recently completed her MBA at Notre Dame, and has achieved work/life integration throughout her journey. I’m in awe of her, and she’s just a really cool chick on top of everything else. 🙂

HOW DO YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR WORK DAY? There are a series of reports I run at the end of each day. How many calls my sales team made, how many new customers we acquired, how quickly my service team handled current customer requests, etc. It helps guides my actions and decisions the following day.

BUSINESS ADVICE? “Be brief, and be brilliant” – One of my old mentors (female), told me this when I took my first leadership position. In other words – go to the happy hours, go to the business dinners – but be controlled, be measured, make an impact, but don’t linger. Too many drinks, or being the last one at the table, won’t serve your purpose.

When in the Home

FASHION STYLE? Jeans, t-shirt, but ALWAYS heels.

WINE OR COCKTAIL? Lately, I’ve been trying to get on the vodka/soda game – but there will always be a special Napa Cab Franc that holds my heart dear.


MUST HAVE KITCHEN GADGET? The lemon and lime squeezer! Game changer!

COOK OR TAKEOUT? Depends on the day. I love to cook a leisurely Sunday meal, but on a rushed Friday at the end of a long week, there’s nothing better than pizza and a beer.

FAVORITE ROOM IN THE HOUSE? My deck. Our property is very steep, and when you sit on the deck, it feels like you’re sitting in a treehouse. On a quiet spring day, you hear all of the song birds. The deer come through every night at dusk. We even have a family of raccoons that I tend to (but that’s another story for another day:))

HOURS SPENT DRIVING AROUND? Thankfully my husband does most of the driving. I’m just on the bench as needed.

MUSIC OR PLAYLIST? Music - Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, Drake, Jay Z, Miranda Lambert, Vivaldi. All of it –depending on the mood.

SELF CLEANER OR CLEANING SERVICE? – Both. I’m fortunate enough to have a wonderful woman that cleans every other week. I do the “in between”.



HOW LONG CAN YOU GO BEFORE YOU NEED A BREAK? Oh gosh. Might this be my superpower? I haven’t taken a proper vacation in years. Between nursing babies, the business, multiple moves – we’ve snuck in a weekend here or there… does that count? Hah!


FAVORITE RECREATIONAL READ? Many Lives, Many Masters – by Dr. Brian Weiss

SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE? There is a gentleman I mentor with in the Barrington-area, who I look up to greatly. He was one of many children, and grew up in a less fortunate part of Detroit. He had many perceived obstacles, and many setbacks –but he persevered, and led a Fortune 500 company to greatness. I love his grit, his approachability, and his faith.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND YOUR DAY? A drink, and my violin. I’ve been playing since I was 3, and I’m so grateful for that gift my parents gave me. For as long as I live, that will always be my most important outlet.

HOME FRONT ADVICE? Progress over perfection. You’ll never find me with perfectly coiffed kids, with perfectly organized lunches, and perfectly coordinated accessories. I encourage independency above all else, even at the youngest age. If you can do it for yourself – do it. Everyone contributes, and everyone has a role in the household.

Recipe Favorite

Carne Asada with a Spicy Margarita


  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped canned chipotle pepper1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds flank steak


  1. Combine the orange, lemon, and lime juice in a large glass or ceramic bowl along with the garlic, soy sauce, chipotle pepper, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, dried oregano, black pepper, and cilantro. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until marinade is well combined. Remove one cup of the marinade and place in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for use after the meat is cooked.
  2. Place the flank steak between two sheets of heavy plastic (re-sealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the steak with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4 inch. After pounding, poke steak all over with a fork. Add the meat to the marinade in the large bowl, cover, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Discard used marinade. Remove meat from heat and slice across the grain.
  5. Pour the one cup of reserved, unused marinade over the hot meat and serve immediately.


  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 bottle Blanco tequila
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup
  • 1 Poblano Pepper
  • Garnish: salt rim
  • Garnish: jalapeño coin


  1. Pour tequila in pitcher, and drop cut poblano pepper within.
  2.  Rub the rim of a rocks glass with a lime wedge, dip the rim in salt to coat, and set aside.
  3. Add 2 oz of spicy blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave syrup, plus ice, and shake until well-chilled.
  4. Strain into the prepared glass over fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with a jalapeño coin.
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