Monday, October 31, 2011

Crystal Cattle Wedding: Engagement Photos

Up Bright and Early

This weekend the Boy and I had an awesome time with our friends. It was our annual American Royal together weekend, which meant great cattle, wonderful friends and lots of laughs. This year we also throw in engagement photos.

I really can not say enough wonderful this about our photographer Chris of La Brisa Photography. I have admired his work for a long time, and we are so excited for him to be our wedding photographer.

The morning started REALLY early. By 6:30 a.m. we were in my car and headed to Smithville Lake, Missouri. Chris thought it would be awesome to start off the day with a sunrise session, so did we. We just forgot how cold it was going to be. Chris, the Boy and I braved the below freezing temperatures but as you can see it was definitely worth it.

You can check out the rest of our teaser photos at La Brisa Photography's Facebook page and be sure to give them a like. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rockin' Rural Women

Pretty cool ladies. 

Recently, I have gotten involved in a group called Rockin' Rural Women. Is is a group for women from across the world to join in and celebrate the rural lifestyle. That means those women who live on an acreage outside of town, those women who run 500 head of cattle or those women who work on a multi-generational grain farm and everyone in between. 

Last night we had a launch party on our Facebook page, and today I want to introduce you to a really cool Rockin' Rural Women. We haven't met in person yet, but our paths are going to cross at the National AgriWomen Conference in November, where I am speaking, and I can't wait. So here is Celeste! 

A bit about me ~

Doesn't she have the
best hair! 
I am a proud farmers daughter steeped in the rich traditions of all things agriculture! By day I am a fresh vegetable commodities broker and when that is complete I work side by side with my family on our Red Angus cow /calf operation. This past year I have ventured out and created Couture Cowgirl Communications where I do a whole lot of fun things including a weekly blog, write a column and special features for the livestock magazine Pacific Showcase, promote and assist with the marketing of fellow cattle operators, weekly fashion minute on farm radio in the midwest and finally my one true love which I am trying to build bigger and better - speaking on behalf of rural America! I especially love speaking to groups of young people hoping to empower them to be their best selves!! 

I am the current president of California Women for Agriculture, board member of my local farm bureau, legislative director for California Cattlewomen and proud member of American Agriwomen!

I am also a very proud Zia to my niece Paige and looking forward to her starting 4-H and helping her with her projects – keeping my fingers crossed she will want a little heifer to show – no pressure !!!

What is a RRW~

A Rockin' Rural Women is one that steps out of her comfort zone and finds the “magic”- she is committed to her rural roots but is not afraid to get out there and tell her ag story to all those that will listen, empowering folks along the way! I believe as a RRW it is my obligation to fellow farmers and ranchers and to my family to share the ag story!

Biggest Social Media Tip ~

Celeste & her niece
Be yourself - there are a lot of folks on social media who do wonderful things with their facebook page or blog through fonts and photos and beautiful graphics but some of us aren’t as techy as others and that’s ok – your social media platform is a canvas to express yourself, share your thoughts, your pictures and your story like you know how. No one expects you to be someone else so there is no need for you to think that way either!  There is a whole world of wonderful people out there that share the same passion as you do , I love connecting with them and then finally meeting them! I have made some amazing friends through social media circles. Use these new friends to help you share your ag story! 

Favorite Social Media Tool ~

I think the ability to “tag” a person is a great thing! I am all about promoting fellow ag enthusiasts and it gets me excited to be able to share my friends with others.  By tagging you can express your thoughts, be a champion for others and share with them at the same time.  I believe social media is not all about me but about the connections I have created that make me better!

Where can people connect with me ~

I am on facebook or you can follow my blog Couture Cowgirl or twitter at couturecowgirl7. My facebook is a place to share news and information on agriculture issues, my thoughts and current events, we throw in a bit of personal fun every now and then too and I love pictures!!  My blog started just this year and I am constantly learning, my blog covers everything from clothes to cows.  We talk current trends in fashion and offer up fashion advice and tips, I also like to share my ag adventures and special features on special people in my life. My fashion followers enable me build the bridge and connect over to the world of agriculture. 

Three favs in my closet ~
Scarves – I love scarves and wraps and have trillions of them in all patterns, textures and colors, I really believe they add to an outfit and pretty much any time of the year if weather permits I have some sort of scarf wrapped around my neck.

Bracelets, bracelets and more bracelets – there is always a party happening on my arm !

Cowboy Boots – Love my boots and wear them with dresses and with jeans.  I have lots of cowboy boots but my favs are my brown leather pointed toe with flower embroidery. 

I think with these three staples you can spice up any outfit, they are timeless and fun and can really make an outfit pop!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Turquoise Thursday Armparty

Add a little turquoise 

So I've kind of been slacking on my Turquoise Thursday but I am back with two #armparties that can be found on my friends' wrists and a new one for me!

I immediately noticed my friend Hannah's wrist at National FFA Convention. She got this beautiful turquoise and leather bracelet from Classic Leather Designs. I have featured their belts on my blog before, and they make amazing pieces. My photography was a little shaky that day but Classic Leather Designs has more photos up on their Facebook page

So pretty! This might make a nice Christmas present for your friends or myself. Remember I like black and turquoise. Don't wait until the last minute though because Classic Leather Designs's stuff sells out fast and I know they will be at NFR. 

The next #armparty belongs to my friend Abby. Abby always has an awesome #armparty, so I decided to help her add a little more to it. The turquoise and silver bracelet is by Fossil, and was part of Abby's birthday gift. The bobble bracelet is from Silpada and the A bracelet is gift she received a long time ago. 

Finally, I wanted to share with you one of my latest #armparties. I am thinking I might want a Michael Kors watch for Christmas, but it has been forever since I have worn a watch. So I picked up this New York and Company watch on sale ($14.99!). I really like it and paired it with this turquoise and gold bracelet that I bought at a boutique in Oklahoma City. 

If you have a #armparty to share email me a picture at 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Networking, and reaching your goal

Grow, expand, connect. 

On Thursday, I am going to be a part of a networking event, put on by the Livestock Publications Council,  for Agricultural Communications students or students that might be interested in that career path. It isn't too late to sign up so I encourage you to check out all the details on the ACT Speed Networking Event in conjunction with the American Royal.

Now for a couple tips:

1. The Basics
Sometimes you don't have a lot of time to connect with people. Have your elevator speech (a spiel about yourself that you could communicate to someone before they get of the elevator) ready to go, business cards handy, and it doesn't hurt to have a few resumes with you just incase you find that perfect opportunity.

2. Tell Someone Your Dreams
My favorite thing to ask people - What do you want to do with your life, where do you want to go, how can I help you get there? If you never share these thoughts with people they can't help you achieve your dreams. I know sometimes we don't have everything planned out 100% or our plans might change a little bit along the way, but it is important to think about where you want to be so you can lay a plan out to get there, and find the right people to put on your team.

3. Image does matter
I wrote a post called Image Doesn't Matter back at the beginning of my blogging career. Well, no matter how many times you heard your mother say it image actually really does matter. Your image in front of me, your social media image, and how you are perceived by your peers and those in the industry all matters. Quoted from my blog, "Here is what goes through a recruiter’s head when they see your Facebook picture of your recent record-setting keg-stand? - click here to find out. 

4. Social Media presence 
First, and most important rule. Don't set up a social media account if you aren't going to use it. That means Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogging and all the other ones out there. If you create an account be engaged. Also remember that just because you are using social media doesn't mean you are a social media expert. In my mind no one is. 

5. Stay in touch 
Remember afterwards to keep in touch. The people you meet while networking could be the people that open the door to the exact opportunity you have been looking for. Also, you might not get an internship or job with one of these people, but that doesn't mean they can't be a mentor for you. Plus, who doesn't like thank you notes. 

Good luck with your dream and goals, and if you are looking for internships this summer be sure to check out the ACT Internship Job Board

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How will farmer's feed the world?

Lots of ideas

While at the National FFA Convention I noticed the Farm Journal Foundation booth. Their theme was based on Farmer's Feeding the World. Definitely something that is important to me. I know that each day the beef my family and friends is raising is going to help feed our families, our communities and people that we have never met before.

FFA and Farm Journal are partnering to spread hunger awareness in their own communities and in communities around the world. In the Farm Journal booth they had a huge white board that you could write down how you would help fight hunger.

FFA members wrote their thoughts and ideas down about how they could help fight hunger. 

These are all fantastic ideas. I agree that those that are more fortunate need to be aware that there is a very strong need by people in less fortunate situations. According to the National FFA Foundation Executive Director Rob Cooper, "In the U.S. 44 percent of people live at or below the poverty level and can't afford food for themselves or their families."

But what about a lot of the ideas that were left off the board. Like using technology to produce more with what resources we are given in. Farmers are able to produce so much more with much less because of improved agricultural practices.

 Even those people that want to have a little garden in their bag yard have the capabilities the improve their soil with fertilizers, and ward of pests with pesticides and insecticides. That is probably the last thing that some of you want to hear, but if I have put my blood and sweat into growing that tomato I am going to make sure it has every chance to survive! Now if you choose to go the all natural route, good for you. That is why agriculture is so awesome - lots of choices in how we produce our food. 

So although food drives and food pantries are great, let's think a little broader about how we can fight hunger. What would you have wrote on this board?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hunk of Meat Monday: Freezing Soup

Pinterest has genius ideas. 

I would like to once again profess my love to Pinterest. Awhile ago I came across an idea for freezing soup, which is perfect when you are cooking for one (soon to be two).

I decided to try my bright idea out on Debbie Lyon's Beef Enchilada Soup recipes because it is amazing, and one of my favorite crock pot recipes. What I love about this recipe is 1. it contains beef, 2. the ingredients are really easy and 3. you just throw it in the crock pot and come home and boom supper is ready.

All the ingredients you need + taco seasoning + lean beef (90% lean is what I use)

However, this recipe makes a lot of soup. I actually only use 2 or 3 pounds of beef in my recipe instead of the four it calls for. So what are you to do with all the extras? Get out your muffin pans.

Pour the left over soup into the muffin pans. For this I used my jumbo muffin pans, but you can use the regular sized ones too. Then pop the muffin pans into the freezer.

Once the soup is frozen, pop the frozen soup out. I ran a little hot water over the outside of the pan to help them come lose. Next place 2-3 of the frozen soup pieces for large pans or 3-4 for small pans into freezer bags. Then the next time you are needing a meal all you have to do is grab a bag out of the feezer and bam you have a meal! Anyone else have some awesome soup recipes they would love to share?

For more Hunk of Meat Mondays visit Leah Beyer's blog or Katie Pinke's blog. They are both Rockin' Rural Women with all kinds of awesome recipes for you and your family to enjoy. 

FFA Convention and lots of new friends

FFA + Friendship

Last week I was in Indianapolis for my very first National FFA Convention experience, and it was awesome. I was there will be new company and we were launching a brand new rewards program. Throughout the week I had the opportunity to meet tons of my social media friends! Similar to when I met Katie Pinke it was awesome to finally meet some of these people face to face.

Morgan (@MMuller24) follows my blog, and is from Iowa. It was so fun to meet lots of people from Iowa since I'll be calling it home very soon!

Heyley Heupel (@heyleyheupel) was competing at National FFA. It was so much fun to chat to these girls. It is pretty clear that FFA members have their heads on straight. Big goals and aspirations with the tools to get there. 

One night we had some fun at Howl at the Moon, and this was wrote on one of the mirrors. I guess advocacy can show up in the strangest places. 

Now these were probably the two most photo genetic FFA members I met. @NEBenOhio tells me that is is the jacket that makes so photo genetic! @CarolineWeihl is the Ohio State FFA District 1President aka a pretty big deal. Someone needs to give this girl an amazing internship this summer. 

I was able to stop by the K-State College of Ag booth while I was there, and they gave me a little flair. 

And while at the K-State booth I worked on recruiting another Iowa friend Bobbi to get her master's at K-State. I told her the green screen could help her "visualize" herself at K-State. 

There was also Kelli, she was there as a Media Intern. I'm also going to see her next week at the American Royal. Another really talented Ag Communications gal that needs a rocking internship this summer.  

 And Drew, who is an ag teacher in Ohio. He's also great help at suggesting great places to eat in Indy. 

Katie Pinke and I got to reunite, along with a first time meeting of Leah Beyer. She is a really cool gal, I think a Rockin' Rural Women kind of girl best explains her. More of RRW to come soon. Leah is also the mastermind behind Hunk of Meat Mondays

 And @NellieHill a fellow K-Stater and the girl behind @kstateag She was the first one to come over to the booth and surprise me! I also get pumped when I meet other K-Staters.

And the very last person who stopped by the booth was @JakeKnutson. I've been following Jake on Instagram for awhile and I love the pictures that him and his brother post. Jake was there a proficiency finalist, which also makes him a pretty big deal. Jake's excitement is contagious and you can tell that he has a true passion for livestock and agriculture through his picture.  

I know that I have missed a few people, but I loved meeting all of you! Next time you are at an event, convention or meeting don't be afraid to seek out your online friends. Having conversation in real life is even better than what you type out on your keyboard.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Miss America has a message to share

Pageant Queens, Farmer and Ranchers 

Back in the spring I wrote about a wonderful message Miss America Teresa Scanlan was sharing, and she still supports that message today. The message it centered around the questions how do farmers and ranchers affect your life. I answered this question back in my April blog post, but I want you to keep thinking about your answer.

Help Teresa spread her message, and be thinking about show you can share your own message. You don't have to be Miss America to share your passions with others. Speak up, or maybe "type up" if that is more your style. By talking about what we love, in my case agriculture, we can hope that people will take a minute and realize the value in what we are doing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm a Farm Doll

If you missed it the Southern Stylist featured me on her blog as a Farm Doll - what a fun term! Sheena is a pretty cool lady herself. I truly southern girl herself this girl knows fashion, is a wedding planner and has some awesome recipes. She has this recipe for Sugared Pecans on her blog that looks amazing. I'm thinking some of them packaged real cute would make the perfect Christmas gifts.

Keep checking out her blog as she adds more Farm Dolls

And be sure to search for Sheena or SouthernStylist on Instagram! 

Who says that country, rural and urban don't mix! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

I care for them just as good as you do

Putting my animals' needs before my own. 

Remember that AWFUL story about the animal abuse at the E6 Cattle, a dairy in Texas? I was disgusted with the disrespect and lack of care shown to those calves. The story was broke by a Mercy For Animals uncover investigator. I was also appalled that their uncover agent could stand there and not help those animals. I have the same about of respect for that person as the persons committing the abuse - NONE.

Mercy For Animals decided to give a six month update on four of the calves that they rescued, and placed on their farm sanctuary. I am appreciative of them for helping these animals and nurturing them back to health.

They make two statements in the article:

"...with round the clock attention, love and veterinary care, all four calves are now healthy, strong and enjoying the good life."

"While the recovery of these beautiful calves inspires hope, there are still many animals suffering at the hands of the meat, dairy and egg industries today. Luckily, each of us can help prevent the needless cruelty and violence these animals endure by making the switch to a healthy and compassionate vegan diet."

Simmental cows
at my family's farm
in Alberta, Canada
Now I would like to provide a statement. 

My family, fiancé's and I give our animals all the attention they need - no it's not around the clock, but at 3 o'clock in the morning my cows are sleeping and don't need anything, so we are in bed, that's unless they decide 3 o'clock is a great time to calf. Then out of bed we climb. 

Our calves and cows' health is our number priority. We consult with both veterinarians and nutritionists to ensure that we have a proper health and nutrition plan set up for our animals. I really do love our cattle. The Boy and I had a calf get really sick and die this fall. We saw his symptoms early on, had a vet come out to do a check up and treated him with the prescribed medicines, but he still died. It broke both the Boy and I's heart to lose him. Our animals are part of our family. 

However, in saying all this I am still going to eat meat. You eating meat has nothing to go with the level of care given or not given to animals. And because we have lots of choices you can either go to Wal-mart and purchase your beef or you can go to a local farmer and purchase you beef. Both equally suitable options, you make the choice. 

Don't let groups like MFA, HSUS and PETA fool you. I do everything in my power to ensure that my animals are care of, and that other people in the farming and ranching industry are doing the same. 

Fat and happy Hereford cows at JJB Cattle Co

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome to the Cattle Hair Salon

Do you need a wash or a trim? 

The cattle that my family and that the Boy and I are purebred cattle (this means that they have registration papers just like a purebred dog would). We also show our cattle and this helps us market our cattle and genetics.

This fall my family will be showing quite a few animals, and my dad has been working hard on getting them in show shape. This means brushing, washing and even giving them hair cuts (we call this clipping).

So today, I would like to present you with the steps of washing cows.

First, you need to tie your cow's head up high. This will help restrict their movement. 

Next, you take a garden hose with a nozzle on it and wet down the entire animal. After this step I take a soap specially formulated for cattle and put that all over their body. 

Then I take a scrub brush and work in the soap. Cattle usually really like being washed because of the scrubbing. It is like an all over massage. 

And as you can see washing cattle gets the cattle really clean, but you get really dirty. At least diamonds are really durable. 

Once I've scrubbed and rinsed all the soap out of the animal, then it is time to brush. I use two types of brushes to brush all the hair in one direction, usually forward and up at an angle. 

 You can see I've brushed the top part forward. All the hair must be brush forward in the same direction. Part of the grooming process is to accentuate the good parts of the animal and hides the flaws. 

And finally we use a giant hair dryer called a blower to dry the animal's hair. If you follow me on Snap Chat (Crystal Cattle) you'll see lots of snap and video from the "beauty parlor." 

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