Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The start of 101 in 1001

Write and share goals.

Last week I shared with you that I had completed my first 101 in 1001 goal list. I had start the list way back in 2009, and 1001 days have since passed. You can read more about my first list under the new 101 in 1001 tab. And let me know if you have your own 101 in 1001 goal list published. I would love to link to your page.

My new list is posted on the side of the blog and I can't wait to get going on it, but first I thought I would share the reason or importance behind some of the goals.

Beginning date: February 29, 2012
Completion Date: November 14, 2015

1. Travel to 3 new states - I have traveled to 26 states, but it has been awhile since I have traveled to a brand new state. I haven't spent much time in the NW corner of the U.S. or along the Eastern side of the U.S. Lot of opportunity for a new adventure.

5. Travel outside the U.S. (Canada doesn't count) I am getting the travel itch again. I would love to go back to Australia in the next 1001 days, but South American would also be an awesome experience. Time to start saving again and make a plan.

18. Complete Pinterest Projects. I love Pinterest. And my boards are filled with recipes and DIY projects. Time to start creating!

27. Donate to K-State/28. Donate to Butler. Giving back to the schools that offered me so much is really important to me. I know I paid an awful lot to attend those schools, but there were also alumni before me that gave a lot for me to be able to secure scholarships and complete my goals.

44. Read devotionals everyday. This is part of my Lent project. I gave up chips (I LOVE tortilla chips), but I also wanted to add something. So far I have missed a few days, but I will read for 30 days straight.

51. Book speaking gigs. This past year I was blessed with the opportunity to speak to some agriculture organizations about my experiences of sharing agriculture's story through social media. I've had to turn down a couple events this year due to prior commitments, but I can't wait to connect with other groups and individuals.

58. Meet social media friends in real life. This was one of my goals last time, but now I am upping the number. I love being able to connect with the people that I have spent so much time reading about or tweeting back and forth with.

59. Offer to judge a 4-H or FFA event. Growing up in Canada we just had 4-H. However, it was a huge part of my life. I would love to get more involved in my community and state through these organizations.

70. Golf 18 holes. I can't wait to get the clubs out and start golfing again this year. I picked up the sport two years again, but didn't find a ton of time for the greens last summer. Hoping that will all change.

77. Become a USA resident. Once the Boy and I are married we will start the resident process. Residency is like citizenship, but you can vote. Through school and now I have been on educational and work visas.

85. Make a 101 in 1001 List with Jon. The Boy and I have already started working on one, but we need to get a few more goals posted.

100. Give updates on my list. I wasn't great about this last time, but I hope to do much better this go round. Hopefully, it will get me closer to finishing all 101 goals!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dan Dagget, Author and Environmentalist, has something to say about agriculture

A former member of the Sierra Club

What happens when cows graze the land? Do they do more harm than good? Would the land be better without them or human intervention? As a farmer and care taker of the land I don't think so, but let's hear was Dan Dagget (a former self-proclaimed "eco-radical" and member of the Sierra Club) has to say.

Livestock are amazing animals, and are important part of the environment. Most of the land that you will find cattle on isn't suitable for growing crops. And I would sure like to look a pasture full of cattle rather than another city spreading its fingers into rural areas.

I love Dan's line in the video about how the environmentalist have to be as accountable as the ranchers and farmers. Environmentalists and ranchers need to work together to create an environment that we can all continue to enjoy.

To view more I am Angus videos click here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Turquoise Thursday: Turquoise and Top Shop Shopping

Out on the town in Chicago. 

Remember when I talked about the really great corn conference I attended back in January? Well the quick run over to Top Shop was pretty good, too. And everything looked great with these earrings!

My friend Karen sells Guy & Eva and sent me these beautiful turquoise earrings. 

Chicago was my first opportunity to wear them, and I received so many compliments. 

And I think they will go perfect with this blue Top Shop dress I found for our wedding rehearsal dinner. 

I fell in love with this white suit jacket, but it looked better on the hanger than me so I left it behind.

The store was full of these chunky knit sweaters. I am excited about the trend for the spring. 

And I thought this white blouse was gorgeous, but I stuck with my budget. 

What trends are you excited for this spring? Any new turquoise pieces you have added to your wardrobe?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HSUS lacks farming experience

I don't like HSUS.

Today I'm flying above the clouds and headed to Georgia for a youth livestock show. I love being around youth who are passionate about agriculture.

Today, I read a really good article wrote by a farmer and their thoughts on HSUS (Humane Society of the United States). Take a look.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

101 in 1001 comes to an end.

Checking things off the list. 

Well, just over 1001 days ago I posted that list that is found on the left hand side of my blog. The goal was to complete 101 goals in 1001 days. By posting it for the world to see it was going to make me a more accountable.

How did things shake out?

I completed 66 of my 101 goals. Some of my most memorable?

Falling in love. Way back in 2009 love, marriage, etc. was not in the picture. But now as I write this the Boy and I are under 50 days until our wedding. I couldn't ask for a better partner or best friend.

Despite K-State losing, I had a blast attending my first K-State away game in Lincoln, Nebraska. Good thing I went because with UNL leaving the Big 12 there definitely won't be another reason to see that stadium. p.s. K-State tailgating still wins.

Getting to travel to Australia had been a dream of mine for a long time. The trip that I took in 2012 was amazing. I wouldn't trade the friendships I made or the experiences I had for anything. I can't wait to go back one day.

Sleeping in a tent was awesome. The Boy completely surprised me by setting up a tent by our cornfield.

Attending church 12 times in 12 months was a big personal accomplishment for me. With my travel schedule things can get a little hectic, but I loved the church I found when I was living in Missouri. I haven't gotten as involved since I moved to Iowa, but hope to change that soon.

I also partially completely 11 of the goals. I wish I would have made the push to finish that last little bit of these goals (especially getting that last MAC make-over). However, I am not giving up on these yet. I am so close to reaching one of my financial goals that I'm going to keep on pushing through.

Now for the things that I just wasn't very good at.

Sending out birthday cards. I am the worst person ever at buying cards (birthday, Valentine's, Easter, etc) and not sending them out. Ask any of my family or the Boy. It is not one of my strengthens!

I tried so many times to read USA Today online everyday for a week. I really enjoying reading the paper (even though I do it on my iPhone). I'm going to have to work on this.

I wasn't super successful on my fitness or athletic goals. Oops.

And scrapbooking wasn't so successful. I love looking through my junior college scrapbook, I need to get the others done.

I am glad that I inspired so many of you to start your own lists. I'll be posting my new list soon, and I one of my goals is that the Boy and I will do a list together. Here is another great 1001 days. I hope you are reaching lots of your own goals.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Farm Life Never Stops even when you have a party dress on

Farming in heels. 

This weekend the Boy was a usher in our good friends' wedding. It was excited to be a part of their wedding with our big day less than two months away. I have been tweeting and instagramming (yeah I just made that a verb) about us getting two heifers and a bull ready for the Iowa Beef Expo sale.

On Saturday, the Boy and I worked together on the cattle until he had to leave to go put his black and hot pink tux on, while I finished up on the cattle and met him at the church.

This is what I like to call the barn to party dress transformation.

Barn clothes to wedding clothes in an hour. I also smelled much better. 
The dress is from Express (bought last year) and the silver pearls are from my favorite western store in Kansas City, Nigro's

The wedding was wonderful, but we knew at some point we would have to go back to the farm to do night chores. Cattle get hungry and their needs always come before ours. So after supper, and when the first dance was over we slipped out of the wedding. 

Doesn't the Boy look handsome. 

One of my Twitter followers said that the calves are going to expect their feed on silver platters next time. Our wedding photographer also saw this picture, and asked if we could do this for our wedding? The fact is that on our wedding day the calves are still going to need to be fed. So there is a pretty good chance I might be seen in a wedding dress holding a feed bucket! I wouldn't trade life on the farm for anything. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Guest Post: Cows, Cupcakes & Clearance

Welcome Jordan Kuhn!

Miss Jordan & Missy
Wow, the past couple days there has been quite a stir on the Crystal Cattle blog. My post about Chipotle's Grammy's commercial has caused a lot of reaction from people with varying opinions. However, today we are going to throw a little sweetness into the mix for Valentine's Day.

I "met" Jordan though Instagram, and can't wait to meet her in real life one day. She is a pretty amazing girl that loves cattle as much as I do, and is passionate about her cupcakes and shopping the clearance racks. She even shares one of her favorite recipes with us!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I grew up in Shelbyville, Indiana until I was eight. When my parents split I moved to Greenfield, IN with my mom and step-dad John Gunn. That’s where my passion for agriculture began. Here we raise cattle, hogs, corn and soybeans. This coming fall I hope to attend Purdue University and major in agriculture communications. I’m entering my last and 10th year in 4-H. This past year I was the county fair queen. I’m an active member of Jr. Leaders, the 2nd Vice President of the Indiana Jr. Beef Cattle Association, Vice President of the Indiana Jr. Shorthorn Association and was 2011 Indiana Shorthorn Lassie Queen. In high school I was a varsity cheerleader and a member of Best Buddies. 

2. What is your favorite thing about agriculture?
The “F’s”... Family, friends, and foundation. I feel there’s no other vehicle like agriculture that leads you into a bright future. Through agriculture my family spreads the wealth and knowledge of our products to our friends - farmers and city folk alike. What I have gained through living on a 3rd generation family farm is something I can hardly explain. 

3. If you could tell consumer's one thing about agriculture what would that be?
I’d tell consumers to keep in mind that those eggs didn’t magically appear in the grocery, rather they “poofed” out of a chicken. I think consumers forget the from field to fork aspect. With the world consuming more and growing faster than we can put food on their plates, we have to be mindful of who’s making that happen.

4. Do you have a favorite heifer on the farm?
Bon Qui Qui
I do. Her name is Bon Qui Qui. (The name is an inside joke. Watch Bon Qui Qui at King Burger on YouTube.) She was my show heifer from last year, she wasn’t a big winner. I just loved her pink nose and spunky attitude, plus she calved a heifer for us this year! 

5. I'm always seeing your cupcake pictures on Instagram, how did you get interested in baking?
I’ve been baking since my first year in 4-H in 2003. It was something my mom and I liked to do and it kept us together. We were always baking and the boys were always eating! I got into cupcakes two Christmas’s ago when I got a cupcake maker. I just think they’re so personal and cute! I recently got a KitchenAid mixer that I use quite often, her name is Mrs. Mixalot. 

6. What is the best cupcake you have ever eaten?
There’s a place called Gigi’s at a local fashion mall and myyy oh myyyy do they make good cupcakes. They have thee best red velvet cupcakes with a pudding surprise inside. My mouth is watering just talking about it.

7. What are you favorite places to get a deal?
Macy’s. Just about everytime I go in I buy something on sale. And if it’s not on sale I usually don’t buy! TJ Max is a place I always like to hit as well. I call it – looking better for less.

8. Now on the other end of the spectrum what is one thing you love to splurge on?
Jeans. I own more jeans than anything else. Big Stars, Rock Revivals and Sevens are my favorite. I think splurging on jeans is a must; a good pair of jeans is a necessity in everyone’s closet. They’re easy to dress up or down. One day I’d love to be able to buy a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. (No riding in the tractor in those bad boys.)


Makes 18

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 (1 ounce) bottles red food coloring
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

1 container cream cheese icing (Yes I cheat on the icing) 

1. Preheat oven 350°F and ling your baking pan with paper baking cups.
2. Combine flour & salt in medium bowl. Stir in food coloring into cocoa in small bowl until blended and smooth. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in separate bowl.
3. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with electric mixer at a medium speed, 4 minutes or until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add cocoa mixture; add flour alternately with buttermilk mixture. Beat until blended.
4. Combine vinegar and baking soda in small bowl; gently fold into batter with spatula or spoon (don’t use mixer). Spoon batter into prepared baking cups.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into it comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Decorate as you wish!

I made these red velvet Valentine’s Day cupcakes and used fondant to jazz it up! Ready made fondant can be found at a craft store or you can make it (which I do not recommend doing, very messy). I wasn’t very good at piping to begin with but practice makes perfect. 

Working with fondant.
Give Jordan a big welcome, and check her out on Twitter @Kuhngirl 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chipotle your Grammy commercial still doesn't change my mind.

Ok, time to revisit the subject. 

Things I would like to point out.

1. I have not eaten at Chipotle for years. You can read about that here.
2. I support consumers having options on the method their food was raised - organic, natural, conventional (my family and the boy's family and 99% of the food on the grocery store would be conventional). And no I don't consider our farm a factory farm.
3. I can't stand when groups, individuals companies have to criticize, falsify information, etc. to make their decisions look like the better choice. I get marketing, I am a marketer but to me this is not the way to go about it.

There are so many things wrong with the picture painted in the Chipotle Grammy commercial (this commercial has been out for awhile, just not on T.V.) that I don't know where to start.

0:21 into the video

Pigs, I hope you don't live in Iowa because with the windchill this morning it was 1 degree F (-17 C). If you were outside roaming pastures you probably would have died. 

0:36 into the video

Yes, cattle can be found in barns. Dairy cattle are often in these huge, and I mean huge open aired barns, and they can roam around eat when they want to, and have these amazing bed packs to lay on. Some farms have waterbeds for their dairy cows to lay on. If you would like to ask a dairy farmer more about how their cows live please let me know. I will put you in touch with one, and I am sure they would love to let you tour their farm so you can see first hand how these cattle are living. 

The beef cattle we raise only come into the barn if they are about to calve and might need a little help. Cattle in feedlot spend time in spacious pens, with windbreaks to shield them from the elements. And those feedlot cattle are only in those pens for a few months of their lives (average lifespan around 13-16 months I would say). Yes, we eat feedlot cattle. 

0:48 in the video

I am sure this part is referring to the hormones that SOME farmers feed their livestock. These hormones are already naturally occurring in livestock. There is actually more hormones in a head of cabbage than a steak, by A LOT. This is an in-depth subject so if you would like more information please let me know. And if you choose (you have a choice) to buy beef, chicken, pork, etc. without hormones that is perfectly fine. Just look for hormone free on the label. 

0:58 in the video

I live in eastern Iowa, and I am pretty glad my food comes from across the country. If it didn't I would be pretty limited on what I would find at my grocery store in the winter. p.s. I can't even keep a house plant alive so I am pretty sure a garden wouldn't be so successful. 

I know you shouldn't blog when you are angry, but I am. My friend and family are farmers. I care about the food that I am raising for you to consume, and although we only have 20 cows, we are planning to grow. I support feedlots, dairies, pork farmers. I know families that have thousands of head of cattle, might seem like what consumers and media call a factory farm, but those people are families just like me. Ask a farmer about your food not Chipotle. 

Update #1: 
A quote from Chipotle's annual report - 
“We do, however, face challenges associated with pursuing Food With Integrity. For example, current economic conditions have led to natural chicken and steak supply shortages. It can take longer to identify and secure relationships with suppliers meeting our criteria, and there are higher costs and other risks associated with purchasing naturally raised or sustainably grown ingredients. The growing time for naturally raised meat and sustainably grown vegetables can be longer. Herd losses can also be greater when animals are not treated with antibiotics and hormones and field losses can be higher for organically grown produce. Given the costs associated with natural and sustainable farming practices, and recently due to decreased demand as a result of the weak economic environment, many large suppliers have not found it economical to pursue business in this area.”
Read more from this great blog - Beltway Beef

Update #2:
Here is a very interesting post from a pig farmer about the type of barns they used in that past and what they use now. Thanks Chris Chinn

Update #3:
I have always enjoyed having the option of having anonymous comments. This way it makes it easier for those without a blogger account to comment. However, those that are continuing to comment anonymous and attack me, you just lost the privilege for everyone. I have respect for other people's opinion and love discussion we can all learn from each other. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

And the winner is!

We must really love jewelry. 

Holy cow, there were more than 100 entries in the Valentine's giveaway! I am sure you are all very anxious to find out who's Friday just got a lot better.

After quickly figuring out all the entries, and using to pick a winner, lucky #22 it was.

Hallie you are our big winner!
If you love music, fashion and Texas Hallie's blog is a great one to check out.
Can't wait to hear which of the necklaces you will be selecting. 

And this really doesn't have anything to do with the giveaway, but I was able to do a little shopping in Kansas City this week. I ran out of powder awhile ago, and have definitely noticed that my foundation isn't lasting as long throughout the day. So glad to have this MAC powder bag in my bag. It gives nice coverage, and makes you face look so smooth. Happy Friday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Giveaway: Turquoise Statement Necklaces

That is a lot of turquoise, and I like it. 

Don't you just love finding absolutely wonderful turquoise jewelry to ooh and ahh over, or am I the only one? Etsy once again proves to be a perfect place to find amazing turquoise statement pieces. I mean just look at these necklaces from Noble House Designs.

I first saw this necklace on The Atlantic Pacific blog. This is a double layer necklace of pink spikes and blue green tear drops. Remember this Turquoise Thursday post from a couple of weeks ago - spikes are in.

Let's all say woah at the same time. This is the Turquoise Vintage II necklace

Now for the really good news. Noble House Designs wants to do a Valentine's Giveaway. Below are the three necklaces you will have to choose from. Which one would you pick?

They call this the TC necklace. I call this fabulous. 

And these are Noble House Design's two Valentine's Day inspired necklaces. 

Magenta Necklace. The perfect way to add a pop of color. 

How to enter. 

1. You must follow the Crystal Cattle Blog and Noble House Design Blog to enter, and leave a comment on this blog saying you have. Along with who is your Valentine?

Added entries.

2. Blog about this giveaway, and leave me a comment on this post saying you have. 
3. Follow Noble House Designs on Facebook, and leave me a comment on this post saying you have. 
4. Follow Crystal Cattle on Facebook, leave me a comment on this post saying you have. 

The contest will close Friday, February 10, at 10 a.m CST. Good luck!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

An Award and a Winner

Drumroll please. 

I hope you have all had a great weekend. The Boy and I have spent a ton of time at the barn working on the two Hereford heifers and bull that we will be selling at the Iowa Beef Expo next week. You can view the videos that I took of them on the JJB Cattle Co. blog.

Anyhoo, it is time to announce the winner from my Turquoise Thursday Notecard giveaway and I was nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award by Farm Chic Logic because of this post, so I have to complete a few questions.

First the winner is...

Sarah from The House that Ag Built! Be sure to check out Sarah's blog. She recently posted these delicious Mason Jar Pies! Sarah, under my About Me is my email. Shoot me your address and I'll get these in the mail for you. 

Now onto the Versatile Blogger Award Questions. Thanks you Farm Chic Logic for thinking of me!

7 Tidbits about Me
1. I love pickles, and you can find the best fried pickles at So Long's Saloon in Manhattan, KS.
2. I am a Nikon camera girl, but am now learning how to use a Canon because that is what I have for work. My goal is to be proficient with both brands.  
3. I am getting married to my best friend in 62 days and I can't wait. 
4. I get addicted to saving money. I'll still go out shopping, but I get a high from getting a deal or watching my savings account rise. 
5. I'm horrible at finishing books. I don't know how many I have started and have yet to finish. 
6. I am crazy about make-up like other girls are crazy about shoes. MAC is my favorite brand.
7. I can't stand the noise of other people clipping their nails. I can do my own just fine. 
Enjoy the last part of your weekend. And get excited about the next because I have another giveaway in store for you! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Corn Report: Life lessons learned in Chicago

Really good insight 

No matter where I go I
always seem to find a cow.
As I mention this week I took part in the Tomorrow's Top Producer conference put on by Farm Journal. If you aren't from a farm keep reading, I think you will really enjoy some of the information. It was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. I wish I could have stayed for rest of the event, but the Boy was staying, and I had a job back home and cattle to look after. (We are really lucky to have someone that helps us out when we are away, but try not to rely on him too much.)

Here are the little nuggets of life impacting advice. And if you don't read all the way through at least scroll down to look at the pictures. 

You can have everything in life you want, if you just help enough people get what they want – Zig Ziglar A philosophy I think everyone should incorporate into their lives. 

It's who you know, who you read, who you share information with, and good timing that will get you to the top. Why do the same eight famers choose to sit with each other every day at breakfast. Expand your network. 

Allowing people to make meaningful decisions allows them to take ownership.
Giving your employees a sense of entitlement allows them to take accountability. 

Chris heads up our farm's
marketing group. 
Not making a decision, is making a decision. 

Are you a win-win person? Strive to be the business that always goes more than half way. 

When times are good for the company, time should be spent preparing for the downturn. There have been cycles in business for 200 years, and as long as people continue to have greed and fear there will continue to be cycles. 

There is not a human that doesn't have fear, but courage outcomes fear. 

The farms that are growing the fastest are the best communicators. 

Most popular communication style for farmer is the Teller. Their communication tendencies are fast-paced & outspoken and questioning & skeptical. The fear is loss of control. They need to know who is in control, can be very direct (this sometimes leads to hurting others feelings, and are results oriented. They represent 40% of all farmers. 

Planner is 2nd most popular #farmer communication style - cautious & reflective and accepting & warm. They manage their fear of change through planning for it. They avoid communication conflict.  26% make up this group.

19% of farmers are detailed communicators. They are questioning & skeptical and cautious & reflective. They stick with what is proven. A downfall is that they can have analysis paralysis. They can also be sensitive to suggestions and take it as criticism. 

Only 15% of farmers are socializer communicators. (This is me). The will let you know what's on their minds. Fast-paced & outspoken and love being around people. Find their ideas by talking out loud. Fear not being accepted and they need to be recognized. 

70% of farms or agribusiness will not be passed from 1st to 2nd generation because of failure in succession planning. The failure rate from 2nd to 3rd is 90%, and 3rd to 4th is 96%. Pretty scary fact. 

What is your praise/criticism ratio 
Three kinds of toxic employees that have to be removed from companies – victims, know it alls, non-believers 
People can change, but you can't change them. They have to want to. 

Those that are part of the generation that are 35 years and young fear failure the most. The situation may work out, but it is not the exact way they envisions they find that to be failure. 

Whoever paints the best vision will be the person that people will follow. 

I will definitely be attending more of the Farm Journal series of seminars and conferences. Even though I might not know how to plant a field yet (ok let's be honest, I don't know how to really do anything with a tractor) the information that these speakers gave really impacted me. 

Now for a photo recap:

This is what you where to a farmer's conference
I think I could have counted on one hand how many female participants there was at the conference. 

These conference usually mean a few good meals. The first night the Boy and I went to Morton's (an awesome steak house, but Sullivan's is still my number one). The second night was The Chicago Firehouse. Definitely recommend it. 

We stayed at the Chicago Hilton, which is an amazing hotel, with tons of history. Every President of the United States since the 1940s has stayed at this hotel, and more specifically the Conrad Hilton suite was the room most resided in, including the Obamas. We got to go up to the Conrad! This is the beautiful view from the two story room. If you looked off to the right you could see the helicopter landing pad.

This was the staircase that brought you down to the bedroom floor. It was also the staircase that was used in scenes from Home Alone 2.

I think I could make use of a bathroom like this. 

I have never seen so many beautiful chandeliers in a hotel. The main ballroom was once a skating rink, and could fit 10 two story houses in it. 

Farmer's helping feed the world. 

Wait, how did that get in there? I mean maybe I took a quick trip over to Nordstorm's and Top Shop and did a little bit of shopping. I didn't buy this beautiful Kate Spade purse, but next week I'll show you what I did find. 

It was a whirlwind of a trip, but I left energized and ready to make a difference. I hope you have a great weekend, and don't forget you have until 6 PM CST on Saturday to get you entries in for my Turquoise Thursday Giveaway.
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