Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to Earn Free SkyMiles Flights Faster

This month the Boy and I were on 14 flights in 17 days. A trip to Texas for our nephew's 1st birthday, a trip to Hawaii for one of my best friends weddings and then a trip home to Alberta, Canada to see my family for Christmas. And in between all that I also made it to Kansas City for a year end sales meeting, but I jumped in my car for that trip.

As you can see we do a lot of traveling, and flights aren't cheap. But we've been able to afford it because we can usually book the Boy's flight for free on AirMiles points. So what is the secret to earning those free flights? He are some pointers.

1. Stick to one airline. Delta is my airline of choice and that is what we fly 95% of the time. Even if the flight is $20-$50 more we'll still go with Delta. That's because it allows our points to build with one airline. It also allows me to build status with one airline and over time that leads to earning more points.

2. Look into an airline branded credit card. Since Delta is our airline of choice we chose the Delta American Express. After the first year there is a yearly fee, but for the amount we save by not having luggage fees more than pays for that cost. Also, for every dollar spent we earn one point. We run EVERYTHING through our card to capitalize on earning points. However, we are very careful to completely pay off the balance in full EVERY month. If you are incurring interest you aren't really getting a free flight.

3. Shop through the airline webisites. Delta has a SkyMiles shopping site. When you visit this you can see all of their partner site. Lots of popular stores like Sephora, Macy, Lowes, Nordstrom, etc are affiliated. Once you have logged into your SkyMiles account, you pick your store and you are redirected to their website. You create your online order on the store website like normal, but when you make your purchase points are credited to your miles account. For example, on my most recent Sephora purchase I earned three Delta SkyMiles points for every dollar spent. American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines both have these programs too. Since starting to shop through the Delta site this spring I have earned nearly 10,000 points and every little bit helps.

If you are looking for more ways check out this really neat blog completely dedicated to travel points.
And don't forget to check out my 6 Tips for Better Air Travel if you are hopping on a flight soon.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Beauty Swap Review: Sephora Necessities

Hello beauty product lovers! It is time for my Crystal Cattle Beauty Swap (#ccbeautyswap) review. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Beauty Swap a little bit of background. In December gals signed up, and then I matched them up with a partner. The partners chat about their beauty product loves, and things they might want to try and then they swap packages. This go round I also had the help of my friend Myla at the Purple Front Door!

My partner Carly is a fellow Iowa gal. She is a Sephora loving gal, and slowly becoming addicted to MAC like me, so of course in her package I had to send her some of my favorite MAC products. I'm kind of a bad swapper or maybe a super excited one because Carly sent me my package in the cutest package, and I kind of tore it a part before I even remembered to take a picture of it.

Carly was spot on with her peppermint colors and Chai tea. She also sent me these awesome bobby pins. The seriously don't move. I'm on the road now and they are packed someone in my suitcase so I'll update you with the brand later on. However, these two products in the box were really the stars.
I was SO excited to receive this sleeping mask from Sephora. I've tried the Sephora sheet face masks before, and one of the Sephora eye sheet masks sitting in my make-up draw. Starting this weekend and through Christmas I am going to be on 14 different flights. That is not a typo. Flying is hard on your skin. My hair dresser actually recommended these masks and wears them while flying. Her skin loves her even though the passengers may think she looks like Freddy Krueger. I was thinking about doing the same on our flight to Hawaii, but now this sleeping mask, which is a cream is going to be a much better option. 

Next, is the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bachelorette. One of my original Beauty Swap partners Ashley at Messy Kennedy raves about this lipstick. Now I will admit you have to be careful applying it. The color is INTENSE, and since the formula is liquidy, technical make-up term there, it is pretty easy to color out of the lines. However, once you’ve got it in place it isn’t going anywhere. I’ll definitely be purchasing more lipsticks out of this line.

Now it's your turn. I want you to either comment below or link up with your reviews. You can also check out my Crystal Cattle Pinterest Board for some great reviews and inspirations. If you missed out on this swap be sure to follow my blog or Facebook page so you can get in on the next! 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Four Tips for Successfully Starting a Blog

In November, I had the opportunity to travel to two awesome conferences. Iowa Corn graciously sponsored me to attend the AgChat conference. You know when you have followed bloggers for so long that you really feel like you are real life friends. Well I finally got to meet a lot of these "online friends" and guess what? We really are friends!

The second conference I attended was one I actually spoke at, Future FarmHer. This was an awesome conference for high school and college aged women who are interested in a career in agriculture.

During both conferences I got to share tips on how to start blogging, but I also learned a lot from the other attendees. These were my take aways.

1. Don't let naming your blog paralyze you. I have heard the story one two many times. You think and think and think on the perfect blog name. A month goes by and still no blog, that turns into six months and then a year, and you still haven't started blogging. Katie Pinke of The Pinke Post shared she really didn't spend too much time thinking of her blog name, and it has nothing to do with agriculture although agriculture is a theme she talks about quite often. Once you do think of a name check out other social media platforms to make sure it is available. For example I am Crystal Cattle on everything - twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, Facebook, etc.

2. Blogger or Wordpress. Still lots to debate over this. If you want to monetize your blog you'll eventually need to do a self hostess Wordpress blog. In the meantime this is my advice. Find a friend that can help you and see what they are using. That way if you have questions you'll have someone that can help you out.

3. Build Up Content Before Launching. This piece of advice came from Cristen of Food and Swine and I thought it was one of the best pieces of advice I have heard. How often do you see someone announce their new blog, you read the intro post and then there is nothing else to read. Publish a few posts first, and then have people come check you out. That way when they are on your blog they will get a feel for your content and hopefully come back for more. Also, I try to write a few blog posts at a time, and then schedule them out over the month.

4. You have to talk about your blog so they will come. You can't write an amazing blog post and except people to find it. You need to email the link to your friends and family. Tweet it out. Post is on Facebook. Pin it. These things will drive traffic back to your blog.

Do you have a blog? What are some of your tips? Or have you been thinking about creating a blog. Leave me a comment, which I doubt you'll do because most people who read blogs are lurkers ;) However, if you want to email me and chat let me know! You can find all my contact information in my About section.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Crystal Cattle 2nd Anniversary Beauty Swap

It is finally time for another Beauty Swap. I know many of your have been anxiously waiting. This time I have teamed up with Myla of The Purple Front Door! Myla and I met through blogging, then got to meet face to face at the National Finals Rodeo last year, and we are currently on a trip together in Nashville for the AgChat Conference. 

If you have been following Crystal Cattle for awhile you'll know that I love make-up. And for those that are new I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with wearing lipstick or mascara while working on our farm. The cows certainly don't seem to mind. This month actually marks the SECOND year anniversary of the Crystal Cattle Beauty Swap! 

The Beauty Swaps are an opportunity to meet women from all over the country (we've had some Canadian girls swap too), and get to try out beauty products that we might not necessary buy for ourselves. I am pretty sure stock in EOS lip balm, Benefit Fakeup concealer and Neutrogena make-up removal wipes have all risen since the beginning of our beauty swaps

So how does a Beauty Swap work? Once you have signed up we’ll pair you with another beauty loving blogger (or someone that enjoys Twitter or Instagram). You’ll have a little bit of time to get to know your new social media friend, and then you’ll send each other a gift of beauty products. Sign up for the Beauty Swap will take place November 8- 18, 2015. We'll send out the pairings by November 22. Get to know your partner and then be sure to get your package in the mail by November 30. It is really important to follow these deadlines as we have had a few Beauty Swappers send their packages off and get nothing in return :(

Once you have received your box start testing out your new beauty product. We'll host a link up on December 10. It is fun to link up and read all about everyone else's finds. Here are link ups from Beauty Swap IBeauty Swap IIBeauty Swap IIIBeauty Swap IVBeauty Swap V and Beauty Swap VI.  You don't have to have a blog to participate, but we do ask that you have a social media way to communicate and join in on the fun. Use the hashtag #ccbeautyswap on Twitter or Instagram. Below is a list of a few rules and guidelines that we ask you stick to. 

1. Follow the Crystal Cattle blog and Facebook page, and The Purple Front Door Blog and Facebook page. 
2. Email your partner within 72 hours of receiving your match. If you haven’t heard from your match after three days are up, let Crystal or Myla know and we’ll try and pair you with someone else.
3. Be sure to ask your partner questions about their likes and disklikes, products they like to use, skin tone, preferred colors, etc. or maybe they want to be surprised!
4. Each box should contain a min. of $20 worth of product. Please include one full size item. You may also include samples of products with your one full size item.
5. Items must be new, unless you’ve discussed this with your partner. (Perhaps she loves purple nail polish and you have bottle you know you won’t use anymore.)
6. Packages must be shipped by November 30. If possible it is a good idea to get a tracking number incase something gets lost.
7. Once you receive your package create a post revealing what you received and link up with us on December 10.
8. Since it is almost Christmas consider including your favorite Christmas treat or recipe!
9. If you do not follow the rules you may forfeit you right to participate in future Beauty Swaps. Crystal Cattle has the right to refuse participation for any reason.
10. Understand that unfortunately sometimes you may send a package and get nothing in return. This is out of our control and a risk you take. 

To sign up click here!

And if you need some ideas of what past Beauty Swap packages have looked like check out the Beauty Swap Pinterest page

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Turquoise Girl Boss is the Best Kind of Boss

I am not a coffee drinker. I actually don't even like the smell of it. I am a chi tea girl though, and thanks to my Keurig is doesn't matter that our nearest Starbucks in the next town over. 

Recently, I came across the Etsy store Sweet Water Decor and I am in love with their mugs. 

Who wouldn't want one of these cheery cups to get your through the work day or maybe warm you up after outside working on the farm. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Honor A Farmer, Play a Music Video

One of my KEEP Collective
arm parties
Now you might not think of farmers begin the centerpiece of a music video but recently I stumbled on such a thing. Nowadays there are all kinds of farmers. Marketing buzz words, political issues and a disconnect between the consumer and farmers has created a fair share of challenges. I don't think there is a day that passes that I don't see some sort of attack on farmers. There are big and small, organic and GMO, those that use antibiotics and those that don't, there are all kinds of farmers and we all choose the best path for our farms and families. This leads me to our WHY.

All farmers have their why. My WHY is this is my passion. I am in love, obsessed, infatuated with agriculture. I simply love being on a farm. I love raising our cattle. And I love that this way of life is also our business and my career.

Check out this awesome video from seventh farm family The Henningsens and if you love it click here. The Why I Farm movement is working to honor farmers and wants CMT and GAC to add it to their music airways.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Top 5 Must Have MAC Make-up Products

Recently, a friend of mine reached out because she was making her first trip to a MAC make-up store. There really is nothing better than all those beautiful little black boxes and vivid rows of eyeshadows. She wanted to know what my favorite products were, and that got me thinking. Even though I have mentioned some of my favorite products here, here and in Beauty Swap posts I had never wrote a blog post on my absolute favorites. So here we go!

1. Prep + Prime Skin - This is one of my all time favorite MAC products. I can't count how many times I have reordered this product that I have been using since high school. Primer is one of the most important parts of make-up. It protects your skin, smooths out any fine lines or imperfections and helps keep your make-up in place. I've tired the MAC Prep + Prime with an SPF in it and I don't like it as much. I have also tried the Prep + Prime Natural Radiance and I still love this original formula.

2. Fluidline - This is my go to eyeliner. It is a creamy formula that you apply with a eyeliner brush. If you want your eyeliner to stay put all day this is the product for you. I like both the Blacktrack for black, and Dipdown for brown.

3. Pro Longwear Lipcreme in Unlimited - This is my favorite lipstick EVER. I am pretty sure I will be 90 years old and still wearing this lipstick. The color in the picture I don't think is very accurate. If you've seen any of my Instagram or Facebook pictures it is the rose pinky color I often have on. This lipstick literately lasts all day, but has a super creamy formula. I like a lot of other MAC lipsticks, but don't wear them too often because they don't have the staying power of the Pro Longwear formula.

4. Powder Blush: MAC's blushes were one of the first MAC products I wore. I love the staying power of their blushes, and they last forever. I am pretty sure I have had this current one called Melba for almost two years and there is still a ton of product left.

5. Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly - This is another product that I wear religiously. MAC has a eyelid primer but I prefer the Paint Pot. The Paint Pots are actually a cream eye shadow. However, since Painterly is so neutral it is the perfect base for my eye shadow. It covers the red in my skin, allows my eyeshadow color to be truer and keeps my eye shadow in place all day. On days that I don't want to do my whole make-up I'll just apply a little of this product with my finger tip, and throw on my eyeliner and/or mascara. Again, this little pot will also last forever!

So what didn't make the list? I love all the MAC eyeshadows so it is really hard for me to choose a favorite. Your best bet it to go to a store and try them on. The make-up artist will likely suggest 3-4 to  wear together. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with MAC mascaras. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I hate them and find other brand to wear. I had been a long time lover of MAC's foundations, but recently I've been wearing a NARs foundation. Do you wear MAC? What are some of your favorite products

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Best Chocolate Milk in the World!

Happy milk loving lady. 
Attention guys and gals, Fairlife - thee most amazing milk in the world - finally showed up in our grocery store. I was almost jumping up and down in the aisle when I found it at our grocery store. What's so awesome about this milk? Well let me tell you.

1. It is ultra filtered. What does that mean? Fairlife runs their milk through one-of-a-kind filters. This allows them to remove lactose aka sugar, but keep all the good stuff in like protein and calcium. Therefore people that are lactose intolerant can drink this milk! The video at the bottom explains the process.

2. Remember that I said Fairlife keeps the protein in? So much protein that Fairlife is 50% higher in protein than regular milk. Beef and Fairlife milk are now my go to protein sources. I kind of like greek yogurt, too ;) 

3. The Fairlife milk lasts WAY longer. I have no idea why, but I bought my Fairlife yesterday (Sept 19) and the 2% is good until Nov 4. That is amazing for our family of two. We love milk, but I have lost count of the number of contains that have gone bad in our fridge because it wasn't drank fast enough. Since I travel for work so much it is hard to go through a container before the expiration date. Fairlife just solved my problem, and is going to save me some moo-la. 

3. TASTE! Holy cow this stuff tastes amazing. It definitely is richer and creamier than regular milk. The chocolate was so chocolatey that I actually cut it a bit with the 2%. I always thought Fairlife milk just sounded cool, but now I also know it tastes amazing. 

When you are shopping the dairy section of your grocery store make sure you take a look in the organic section. I do not purchase organic products because I know they are no safer or nutritious than regular products, however the Fairlife products were beside the organic stuff. (Fairlife isn't organic).

So the next time you are out doing a little grocery shopping check out Fairlife and give it a try. I think you are really going to like it! 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Turquoise Thursday: KEEP Collective Arm Party

Remember when I first through out the term #armparty? Well, I've discovered the ultimate arm party thanks to my friend Sharlene at Country Girl City Wife. She new that I love turquoise and share with me some of her favorite KEEP Collective bracelet designs.

Not only do I love the turquoise bracelet, but the "live your dream" bar is perfect. I've ordered a bar for myself that says "all things are possible." That is the great thing about KEEP Collective is that ever band is customizable with hundred of charms, letters, numbers and gemstones to choose from. 

KEEP Collective is actually a sister company to Stella & Dot, and as you can see they love turquoise as much as all your Crystal Cattle fans. I have recently become a KEEP Collective stylist, and would love to help design the perfect KEEP bracelet or necklace for you. Don't worry it isn't a requirement that it contains turquoise ;) And if you really want to have some some fun ask me about hosting an online social. That way you'll earn shopping credit towards your very own arm party! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sunsets Are Like Opportunities

Sunset photos are kind of like opportunities, if you don't snap the picture fast enough they are gone. Recently, one of my college teammate's dad passed away after a long fight with ALS. You could say he was just getting into his prime and had many life lessons still to share. Regardless, our opportunities to learn from him and continue to make memories with him have faded away.

Tonight there was a beautiful sunset on our farm. I wanted to snap the perfect photo. I really would have liked to grab my big DSLR camera, but I knew by the time a grabbed it the sunset would be gone. Sometimes the circumstances aren't perfect, but if you don't seize the opportunity it will be gone in a flash. 

Just food for thought. What will you do to make most of the opportunities in front of us. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Turquoise Thursday: Pioneer Woman Dishes and Cookware

Have you heard yet about Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman's AMAZING new collection at Walmart? I used major online shopping constraint but couldn't resist picking up a couple pieces. Especially, since they are so affordable.

I could not resist this two piece casserole dish set. The whole theme of the collection brings together beautiful turquoises and red along with pretty floral patterns. 

I also thought this turquoise cow creamer was adorable. However, I don't really have an use for it so I only bought the ramekins, which will be perfect for all of the recipes I make out of the Dessert for Two cookbook

Ree has also designed some amazing bowls. Big serving bowls and perfect smaller bowls for dessert and ice cream. Some of these are already sold out online however the collection releasing in stores later in September. 

And since it is Turquoise Thursday I can pass up posting this turquoise 7-Quart Dutch Oven. Now what pieces will you be rushing out to purchase? Or maybe you are like me and are anxiously waiting for the mailman to bring you your new pieces. Thanks Pioneer Woman for being all out amazing! Not only do you fuel my love of turquoise, but you fuel people's interest in food and agriculture. I always love watching her cooking show and reading her blog to learn what is happening on her Oklahoma ranch. She allows amazing access to an agriculture lifestyle that most don't have the opportunity to see very often. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why We Use Antibiotics on Our Farm

I've wrote about this subject before but I thought I would revisit it because I know antibiotics are a concern for consumers. Also, I feel the media doesn't quite give the whole story and instead tell us no antibiotic use in livestock is best. However, being a farmer I also know that antibiotics (also know as antimicrobials) can heal sick or hurting animals. Healthy cattle make healthy beef that my family and your family can enjoy.

This time, on our farm, the cow needing antibiotics was one of the Boy's favorite cows named Fantasy. About a week ago we notice that she had a serve limp and her foot was very swollen. Poor girl! This is one of the signs of foot rot. It is a very treatable aliment with an antimicrobial, and so Fantasy received a shot.

We work very closely with our vet for recommendations on the correct antibiotics to give to our cattle depending on the symptoms, and we always follow the dosing instruction on the bottle for the amount that should be given. In addition each antibiotic has a withdrawal time. This means that the animal can not be slaughtered and enter the food chain until the withdrawal period is over. As well, the United States government mandates that no beef with antibiotic residues that exceed FDA standards be allowed in the food supply; therefore, all beef sold in the United States is safe from antibiotics. 

We treated Fantasy, and then headed out to the Iowa State Fair the next day to exhibit our livestock. When we got home we noticed that Fantasy had not gotten any better. This time we decided to run her into the cattle chute for further examination, and we were very surprised to see what we found. 

Yes, that is a rock that was wedged up between her toes. Can you image how sore your foot and leg would be if you walked around with a rock in your shoes for several days? We were able to remove the rock, but the area was very infected. Following our veterinarians advice, Fantasy received another shot of an antibiotic. As soon as she got out of the chute she instantly was able to put weight back on her foot. There is no better feeling than knowing that you helped an animal when they are in pain. The antibiotic will also help the sore heal so further problems don't arise. 

Now some of you may say that our misdiagnoses required us to use more antibiotics than necessary. I guess I view it something like this. Recently, I had a serve bladder infection. I went to the doctor and they have me an antibiotic. I thought I got better, but the next week I was back in the doctor's office. The antibiotic they had given me didn't work and they had to switch things up. Sometimes similar situations happen with our cattle. 

The Boy getting the antibiotics ready for Fantasy. We use antibiotics on our farm to help our cattle get healthy again. I would never want to leave one of our cows in pain when I know that an antibiotic could help them. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beauty Musts for Beating the Summer Sun

Whether I am on the farm or at the beach (she we actually took a family vacation this summer) making sure the SPF is ready is really important to me. Not only am I a fair skinned beauty, but skin cancer is scary. Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime?

After using these products for the last couple weeks, and trying a few others that didn't live up the hype I am ready to share my favorites. 

1. Klorane Dry Shampoo: I have tried a lot of dry shampoos with no luck. I was about to give up until I got a sample of the Klorane Dry Shampoo in my Ipsy beauty bag. This stuff is amazing. I love using it after being outside when you hair is a little sweaty to freshen up. It also works great for those days that you want to skip the hair washing. I am now on my second bottle. 

2. Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster: Even if you want to protect your skin, most of us still want that sun kissed glow. Since I am so pale it is hard to find something that is natural looking. I had read about this Clarins product on a few beauty blogs, and it definitely lived up to its claims. You drop 2-3 drops of this oil like substance into the moisturizer that you are going to use right away. Since you are adding the self tanner you can control the color. It has given me a nice glow. 

3. Rash Guard Swin Shirt: Sometimes it is hard to get the sunscreen everywhere. Since I knew we were going to the lake I invested in a rash guard shirt very similar to this one from J. Crew. This shirt offers a SPF of 50 and is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV protectant. 

4. Clinique City Block Sheer: I have been using this product since 2010, and I love it. It is tinted and I apply over my moisturizer and under my foundation. It is also great on those days that you don't want to wear foundation, but your skin needs a little evening out. Highly recommend it! 

A few pictures from our vacation. Target Field. My nephew Bode. Campfire S'mores. 

What are some of your favorite ways to beat the summer heat? 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Frozen S'Mores

I love Cool Whip and I love S'Mores. So combining them into ones dessert seemed like a fantastic idea. Especially since it has been waaay to hot in Iowa lately.

1 jar of marshmallow cream/fluff
1 tub of Cool Whip (I always buy the lite)
1 box of graham crackers
1 bag of melting chocolate or chocolate chips

1. Begin melting the chocolate. One of my favorite ways to melt melting chocolate is in a zip lock bag in the microwave. Microwave for a 45 seconds the first time, and then 30 seconds at a time until chocolate is melted. It helps to "massage" the chocolate between cycles. This is also a good tutorial for melting chocolate chips or melting chocolate. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Farming Simulator Game Review: I Never Wanted to be a Farmer

I didn't grow up like most farmers. I didn't play with tractors or ever imagine what it must be like to drive them in real life. I was going to either A) be in the NBA or B) work for my family's plastics company. As luck would have it by age 13 I hadn't grown tall or become skilled enough to chase my NBA dream, and my family sold its plastics company. I remember thinking it's ok, you're still a kid with plenty of time to figure this out, while still worrying about the future. Then I got my first Hereford show heifer and my world changed again. I now had a purpose, a goal and a passion. No matter how winding the path has been since I knew where I'd end up and that is right where I am now. I am a Farmer.

Now I told you all of that to give you some perspective as to what you are going to read in my review of the video game Farming Simulator15. Usually my wife the lovely Crystal Cattle herself rolls her eyes when I tell her I'm going to play video games, but one day she actually told me that I had to! I got excited and got ready to go down to our new basement and play NBA 2K15 because that is what video games are for, to escape reality for a bit and turn your brain off. Then she told me I was going to be farming on my PS3 instead of dunking on everyone in my path. For once Crystal was given something via the blog that I could use! 

Farming Simulator 15 is one of the most realistic games I have ever played. I started out with the American farm in the career mode over Europe, because I am American and very proud of that so why on earth would I pick Europe? Well it turns out that if you want to learn what you need to do in the game you need to start off on the European map. After learning the ropes I returned to America and started living the dream. Kind of like what many of our ancestors did. 

You start out with a wheat field ready to harvest. I found that you can hire a worker to drive the combine while you go and get the grain cart to get the grain from the field and to the bin. Once you get the field harvested you can also hire someone to till the field and to plant it as well as spread the fertilizer. This is where Farming Simulator 15 got to be a little too real for me, you see in real life I drive the grain cart as well. It turns out you can hire every other job done in Farming Simulator 15 as well as in real life but the cart, at least I can't figure out how to. Hiring someone to drive the grain cart in real life is also the thing I can't seem to hire someone to do either! 

I would say Farming Simulator 15 is very relaxing and an all around enjoyable experience. There are some technical parts of Farming Simulator 15 that I'm not sure little kids would be good at. On the other hand kids are way smarter than many of my friends or I were in our younger days. If I were to change Farming Simulator 15 I would add a few more analytical tools such as cost of production, a chart to view past and present commodity prices and trends, among others. Modern farming is so much more than simply driving a tractor. I would also add beef cattle but I'm sure that's just because that is the way Crystal and I farm. 

If you are someone who has ever dreamed of being a Farmer this game is for you. All of the fun of farming with none of the real life stress! Farming is not something I planned on doing but it is now what I love. Farming Simulator 15 is a great taste of what it is like to be a Farmer.

And now for the fun part we have a copy to give you! It is a version for Xbox 360. To enter all you have to do is comment below with what you love about farming, or if you aren't currently a farmer what you would raise or grow if you could farm. I'll randomly select a winner on June 26 at 8:00 a.m. 

Disclaimer: We received a free copy of Farming Simulator 15 for review, however all opinions are our own. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Seven Tips for Attending the Kentucky Derby

So there was that one time that we went to the Kentucky Derby. Yes, the Boy and I were incredibly lucky to get to go to the Kentucky Derby with my mom and dad this year. It was amazing. And now there is the chance that we could have been there to watch a Triple Crown winner! Churchill Downs is such an incredible place. The history is incredible, and it was such a neat opportunity to watch another piece of its history. The fashion is amazing. As my farmer dad put it, "This is like the Oscars." And the horses definitely lived up to all the hype.

I've heard from so many of you that also hope to sometime attend, so I thought I would put together a few tips and tricks.

1. How do you get tickets? You get lucky. Ok, not quite, but kind of. How we got our tickets was my mom put in for a lottery through Church Hill Downs last fall, and then we were lucky enough to be drawn for the opportunity to purchase tickets. The tickets are not cheap, and they go very fast. We ended up sitting about 12 roles from the rail. Although, we were incredibly close to the action it was hard to see much of the big races. Of course there are other reserved seats with better views, but that means more money. Other options for tickets are to buy general admission and sit in the infield. Think tailgating with everything from fancy to trashy. There is a huge screen to watch all the races from and you can walk up the day of the event to buy these tickets.

Tailgating and horse racing from the infield.

We had tickets for the Oaks, which is the day before, and the Derby. During the Oaks the crowds were much smaller and we spent a lot of time walking around the grounds. We spent a lot of time at the paddock watching the horses being paraded and the jockeys mount up.

2. You've got to get a hat. It's the Derby, you definitely need to take the opportunity to buy a fancy hat. Originally, I had bought a head band style hat with a bunch of feathers on it. I love the look, plus I figured it would be easier for packing. However, our first day at the Oaks was REALLY hot, and I was very jealous of the shade my dad's cowboy hat was giving him. So I ended up buying a brimmed hat in the gift shop. I was sure that prices were going to be crazy, however I was shocked at how reasonable the prices were and the selection was awesome.

3. Forgot the heels. You are going to end up walking a lot, like. I am not joking. Even if you are cabbing it the cab drivers can't get close so you are going to do a ton of walking just to get to the grounds. I was very glad that I had packed sandals to wear on day two. You could tell the veterans that had packed extra flats in the person and had heels in their hands on the way home.

4. Save your pennies. The Derby is really expensive. We paid $230 a night for a Super 8 and we booked before Christmas. Drinks aren't cheap either. Plus, you might want to do some betting. And as I mentioned before if you buy reserved seat the tickets are pricey. Just keep reminding yourself it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Also, all of the food and drink stands only take cash, and you'll need cash to bet.

5. Pack a lunch. I mentioned that the Derby is expensive however you can bring in your own boxed lunch, water and pop. All the details and guidelines are on the Churchill Downs website.

6. Bet early. As the day progresses there will be more and more people betting. I stood in line for more than 45 minutes in-between race 8 and 9 to place my bets on the race 11 aka the Derby Race.

7. Find the love of your life. This tip comes from the couple that was seated in front of us. They met last year at the Derby, and five months later she was moving across the county to live in California. My mom was convinced he was going to propose in front of us. That didn't happen. She said, "Bring your single friends, and just walk around. I guarantee you'll meet someone." I'm lucky I had my love with me!

Do you think American Pharaoh can do it? Who will you be betting on?
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