Wednesday, January 30, 2013

101 Update: Meeting your blogging friends in person

It's been a crazy few days as I have been jumping from one state to the next. However, it has also meant getting to meet/make some new friends.

On the weekend I attended the Kansas Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference. It was pretty cool to have more than 500 young famers come together to learn how to be better business people and raise better food for you - the consumer! While at the conference I spoke in one of the sessions on social media (blogging, Twitter, Instagram, and all that fun stuff).

Just before the conference I got a Facebook message from Janet Phillips, of A Farm Wife's Life, saying that she would be attending too! I was so excited that Janet and I would finally get to meet face-to-face as we have been reading each others blogs for awhile now.

 Me and Janet
She had lots of great turquoise on. 

When Janet came up she went in for the handshake, but I had to give her a hug. I mean I felt like we were already friends! I do not think this is creepy ;) Plus, Janet just helped me get a step closer to goal 58 on my 101 in 1001 list. 

Recently, I started to read a blog called Boots and Bling - How Kat and Tim Do Rural. I have no idea how I even stumbled onto the blog, but as soon as I saw their K-State picture I knew I would like these people. At the conference Kat realized that I would be there speaking and she came and tracked me down.

Kat's cute necklace. 
I was instantly was drawn to the turquoise on the heel. Kat said he husband bought her the charms to go with her Boots and Heels blog theme. Sweet guy. 

I love social media because it has allowed me to connect with so many amazing people. Sometimes I relate to their day-to-days lives, others give me fashion inspirations and some have become valuable resources in times when the Boy and I have questions about things that we need to improve or work on at the farm. 

If you could meet any of your blogger/twitter/instagram friends who would it be? 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Corral Boots and Country Outfitter Boot Giveaway

Recently in my post that told the stories of my favorite boots that I mentioned a new pair of black Corral cowboys boots that came from Country Outiffters. Country Outfitters approached me about doing a review on a pair of boots from their amazing selection. Trust me that is my own opinion. They are constantly posting pictures on Facebook all tempting us with their beautiful boots.

Originally, I picked the Luccheese Chelsea Boots. They were amazing and, too slender my foot, so they went back. My second pick was the Corral Vintage Black Python Boots. I am SO happy that these were the boots I ended up with.

Quite a few of my girlfriends own Corral boots, but this was my first pair. I am pretty sure the heifers approve of them too. 

I love the textured inlay on the boots, and although I got the more of a slender square toe, they also have a very similar pair in a pointed toe, the Corral Distressed Lizard Inlay Boot

But, beyond the boots being pretty, they are really comfortable. This picture was before we headed off to the National Western Stock Show. For six days I was on cement, and I still thought they were comfortable. It was also nice to wear a cute, but practical pair of boots in the barn, and then be able to wear that the same stylish pair of boots out to supper. 

Now here is the really good news. Country Outfitter is giving me a $150 gift certificate to give away! I am going to use Rafflecopter again for the contest. You've got a couple different ways to enter. Can't wait to see who wins, and what they pick. 

p.s. For those of you that are stopping by that are wondering why in the world there are cows in my pictures, my husband and I are farmers and we raise purebred cattle. Although, I love fashion and turquoise, cows are truly my number one passion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And the winner is... Annie Culbertson! I'll be in touch soon with your gift card information.

CountryOutfitter, a retailer of Corral boots sent me these Corral Python Inlay boots to review.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How to add a favicon to your url bar

Recently, I added my little cow as a flavicon. Are you now asking yourself what in the world a a favicon is?

The grey arrow is pointed to my favicon. 

Second question is how do I get my own nifty favicon. 
First, visit the settings part of your Blogger blog. 

Once you arrive at this page click edit on the Favicon box. 

Next it is as simple as uploading your own image. Maybe you are fashion blogger and you want a high heel or you want your companies logo. Just be sure to keep in mind that the image is going to be really small so a lot of detail isn't going to come through, silhouettes work the best. The image will take a little bit to show up. On my blog it was about 12 hours.  

If you are needing more how to's for your blog check out the How to Blog Guide tab or if you have a other questions let me know. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Will it be a boy or girl?

Babies are arriving. 

Not our babies. Our cows are calving! A few weeks ago one of our favorite cows calved, Teardrop. Remember her glamour shot from this fall?

This picture was taken shortly after the Iowa State Fair.

Teardrop in her working clothes. 

Teardrop was artificially inseminated (A.I.). And we used sexed semen. Yes, not only can you A.I. your cows, but you can purchased sexed semen. Reproductive companies have the ability to separate out the sperm that will create a heifer (female) calf, from the little boy swimmers. Only the heifer producing semen is frozen, as the little bull swimmers aren't strong enough to go through the freezing (to preserve it) and thawing (so farmers can then use it to A.I. their cows). This is a a pretty cool illustration on how it works.

Teardrop was bred with sexed semen. So, we were pretty excited to get a heifer calf. But, wait if you have been following on the blog, Facebook page or Instagram you will remember Teardrop had a bull calf. With sexed semen there is still a 7% chance you'll get a bull calf. We were part of that 7%.

Meet Parker, the bull calf that was supposed to be a heifer calf.

Why would we want a heifer calf rather than a bull calf? Teardrop is a really good cow, and we are hoping that we get some daughters out of her so we can have more of her genetics in the cowherd. In other situations heifers out of a certain cow or bull maybe be worth more. In the dairy industry sexed semen is used a lot because heifers are worth a lot more than bulls. We can only get that milk from the cows, right!

Next time you are stuck for dinner table discussion you can bring up this blog post!

p.s. I am excited to be speaking at the Kansas Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Manhattan, KS tomorrow. Maybe I'll meet some of my blog friends in real life!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A week of Instagram: Boots, Blueberries, and Babies

It's been a busy few days around the farm and in the office. Not only did we finally get our first calf, but we have been preparing to take a trip to Denver for the National Western Stock Show, and I can't wait to get there! Our plane is leaving tonight and I am ready to see some friends and cows. Yes, I get excited to see cows. To see all my Instagram photos follow @crystalcattle.

Check out this rainbow. I have been going to an early morning yoga/pilates class and on my way home this rainbow caught my eye. I had to look twice because there was no moisture and it was a full rainbow. I think a little sign that it is going to be a great day. 

Although, my Frye boots are definitely prettier these boots are the warmest, most practical pair I own. They are Columbia's and I got them probably seven years ago. 

Not a good morning when your curling iron breaks. Oh well I guess I don't have to buy one of those curling wave sticks now. 

There have been a ton of blueberries in the grocery store and I have been stocking up. This blueberry, banana and honey concoction is the perfect snack. 

And finally a picture of our new baby bull (boy) calf. He was only minutes old in the picture. I'll be sharing a little more about him next week!

Hope you all have a wonderful day, and the rest of the week brings lots of fun. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

In Style with Winter Weather Gear

Winter is here in Iowa. I've got the pictures to prove it. (OK maybe it was here, and now most of that snow has melted. Although when we are out feeding cows in that cold winter weather I'm not too concerned about fashion it is fun to try and find cute winter clothes. Especially for when I am out in town or headed to some of my favorite winter events like the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo. 

I think this green ruffle coat would work quite well. Not only is emerald the in color of 2013, I am also a huge fan of ruffles. Plus, if you spend more than $50 at Cavendar's you get free shipping. Pretty important to this girl since the UPS man knows me so well. 

I have been seeing these faux fur vests all over Pinterest lately, and Suzie at UrbanCountryStyle had a really cute one on her blog, but it was sold out. However, after a little searching I came across this one. I think it would look great with some skinny jeans and boots. Here comes the really good news - it is currently on sale! 

I also like this pink Under Armour half zip. Nothing wrong with a little pop of color when thinks are a little grey out. 

What is your favorite way to stay warm when winter hits?

*This is a sponsored post brought to you by Cavendar's. The thoughts and reviews are completely my own opinions. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hunk of Meat Mondays: Baked Tacos

Struck Beef Taco Gold. 

Only a couple of days ago I found a neat looking taco recipe on Pinterest. Today, for lunch I was wanting something quick and easy, so I ran the recipe by the Boy and he said go for it.

Things I love about this recipe.

1. The Taco Seasoning Recipe is amazing
2. Because the cheese melts all over the meat it keeps all the meat inside of the taco. Genius!
3. Who doesn't love all that lean protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins in Beef.

You can find the original recipe here, but I adapted it make it smaller, and take out the refried beans.

Baked Tacos

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small can of diced green chilies
1 recipe for Homemade taco seasoning (once you try this stuff you won't use any other taco seasoning)
1 small can of tomato sauce (you only need about 4 ounces)
2 cups of shredded Colby-Jack Cheese
6 hard taco shells

And whatever condiments you love - salsa, lettuce, sour cream, etc.

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

In large skillet brown ground beef and onion. Drain off any excess liquid. Return to pan and add chilies, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Mix well. You don't want the mixture to be runny, keep it cooking and you'll solve this problem.

Place tacos in a 9x9 inch backing dish standing up. Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells. It's OK to fill them pretty full. The meat really bakes down. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat. Place in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Obama why don't you eat a steak

I've got a bone to pick. 

This post may ruffle a few feathers. It's probably a bad idea to publish this post, but why not? The ole Crystal Cattle blog is due for a little excitement every once in awhile.

Let me start off by saying I REALLY dislike buffalo and their bison meat, a lot. No offense to buffalo farmers and ranchers, but I don't think your product makes much sense. Yes, herds of buffalo once fed the Native Americans quite well, however we now have this red meat call beef.

Why I personally feel beef is superior.

1. Beef is a more consistent product, that has quality guidelines. It is called the USDA Beef Grading System. When you buy a Choice steak you've got a pretty good idea of what you are getting. If you buy a Select steak you know the quality will be less, but you are also paying less. (Make sure you cook those Select cuts of beef a little slower and longer, or try marinades as their is less marbling in a Select steak).

2. Your buffalo are taking up room that my cattle could have. Yes, I know that is a really compelling argument.

3. Steak > bison

Why I am I even bringing up this subject other than please don't try and feed me the stuff if we are out to supper together. Today is Mr. Obama's inaugural lunch. It will include steamed lobster, potatoes, apple pie and grilled bison. Mr. Obama in 2009 47.8% of the dollars consumers spend on meat was spent on beef, in 2010 cattle contributed to 15.6% of all agriculture cash receipts, in 2011 then beef industry generated $44 billion in farm gate receipts.

Do you think you could maybe throw some beef on your plate?

Additional note: I found this article that talks about many of the Presidents' inaugural dinners, and many of them have not included beef. I hope whoever we get in 2017 steps up to the plate.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Turquoise Thursday: F21 Turquoise Jewelry Steals

One of my favorite Pinterest Boards to follow is chloe (the chloe conspiracy). I have mentioned her blog a lot, but her steals and deals Pinterest Board always pleases.

 On Chloe's Steals and Deals Board is where I found this great statement necklace. I love the little pop of turquoise color. Wouldn't this look great against a crew neck sweater. 

How can you beat these turquoise drop earrings at $1.50!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crystal Cattle Boot Collection Story

Can a girl have too many boots?

The answer to that question is no, but when it comes to making packing decisions a large selection of boots can make it quite difficult. And that is what I am supposed to be doing this weekend, packing for the National Western Stock Show.

Those are my boots. There are actually three pairs missing. So how does one girl accumulate so many boots. Well let me tell you their stories. 

Ahhh, I am so excited about my newest pair. The boy completely surprised me with this pair for Christmas. I haven't got to wear them a ton get because I had to return them and get a size bigger. However, the night they came I didn't want to take them off. They literally feel like you are wearing slippers they are so comfortable. Big fan! 

2. Justin Tan Crepe Soles
These are a pair of boots that I got in college. I am pretty sure they came from Nigro's Western Wear (Shawnee Location). Best place to buy boots. even though crepe sole have gone out of style, I still wear these boots a ton because they are comfortable, wore in, and the tannish brown color goes with all my Navy color clothing I love. 

3. Shaynne Boots
Remember these boots from the Boot Barn giveaway. I have said it over and over again these are a keeper. They are definitely my craziest colored boots, and they always get a compliment when I wear them. This summer they put on lots of miles attending all the cattle show I had to go to for work. When your work outfit is jeans and black tops you need a little color in your life. 

You are going to learn more about these boots next week. This is my first pair of Corral Boots, and they came from Country Outfitters. You know the store that posts the most amazing pictures of boots all over their Facebook page. Corrals live it to their name. This pair is really stylish, and I love the detailed inlay. Also, really comfortable. They kind of have the slipper effect like my Frye Boots. p.s. the reason you are going to learn more about these next week is because I am having a giveaway! 

5. Justin AQHA Ostrich Skin Boots
I LOVE these boots. These boots have by far made the most miles with me. I bought them at Nigro's Western Wear the summer I interned at the American Hereford Association. You know when you are a college student and somehow you think you have all kinds of money after that first pay check. These boots have been resoled more times than I can count. They will always be my go to pair. Similar pair here

This pair of boots means a lot to me. They were a Christmas present from the Boy, and I wore them on our wedding day. I remember when I walked into Maverick Western Wear in Fort Worth and saw them. You could't wipe the smile off my face. I had planned on buying the boots myself out of my wedding budget, but the Boy confessed he didn't have my Christmas present and really wanted to buy them for me. I think of the Boy every time I wear these boots. 

What are your favorite pair of boots. Or maybe you have a pair that you have had your eye on? Leave me a comment and tell me the stories of your boots. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What a Winter Storm Looks like to Farmer

You are going to need more than a shovel for this one. 

Well, these pictures are long overdue, but I still wanted to share them. The week before Christmas we got a huge Winter Storm. I was kind of excited for it because we were completely bare previous to this snow. Guess you can't take the Canadian girl out of me!

This was the change we saw in less than 12 hours. 
The storm brought in almost 12 inches of snow. And it brought wind, tons of wind. In Iowa that means huge drifts. It would have been nice to stay inside and enjoy a snow day, but when you are a farmer someone else is depending on you - your livestock. So the Boy and I bundled up and made the trip to our farm where the cattle are.

This is what the drive looked like to the farm. 

I am sure the weather was a little deceiving for those that live in town. The snow plows were out, and since there was so much more shelter from houses and trees the wind wasn't making a mess of everything. However, as we exited town we were once again faced with ugly winter conditions. 

When we got to the farm we started to make the rounds. Checking on waters to make sure nothing was frozen, getting cattle their feed and making sure they had protection from the elements. This is our pride and joy Teardrop. She got to come into the barn, not because she needed to, but she is a our baby and we had the room. p.s. Teardop is due to calve Jan. 12 so #calfwatch2013 is officially on!

The alleyway was so full of snow. It was definitely a good workout walking through those drifts. 

The show heifers were happy to get their grain. You can tell that they are fat and happy because of the ice crystals on their back. That fat keeps them warm, and will slightly melt the snow on their back and then refreeze. 

There really isn't anything more rewarding than knowing that you helped take care of an animal especially in a situation like this. However, I hope the rest of the moisture that we desperately need comes in smaller amounts during the rest of Winter. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Crystal Cattle Posts of the Year

Last week I shared what states were reading the Crystal Cattle Blog the most. Today these were the Top 5 posts read in 2012.

5. My farmer friends are sexy and they know it
I love that blogging introduced me to the Peterson Brothers this year. There is almost 20 million views between the two videos. Very proud of the attention these boys drew to agriculture this year.

4. Wedding: We got hitched
Yes, the Boy and I got married this year. Here is the quick recap of our wedding day.

3. Turquoise Thursday: J.Crew imitation necklace
The bubble necklace was definitely the in necklace this year! I love my own J.Crew turquoise, however I was thankful when I found a cheaper option. Did you buy a bubble necklace this year?

2. Cheese is a Vegetable 
So this post was actually wrote at the end of 2011, but it was the second most read post in 2012 so I thought I would throw it in. The Boy still believes cheese is a vegetable, and from all the comments it looks like a lot of other people do too!

1. Chipotle your Grammy commercial still doesn't change my mind 
This was not only the top post of 2012, but is the all time top on the Crystal Cattle blog. The support was outstanding. There was also some people that didn't agree with me either. I guess that is the great thing about America is that we all get to have opinions. The important part is that you respect mine, and I'll respect yours. p.s. I still don't eat at Chipotle.

What was your favorite post, and what do you want to read in 2013?
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