Sunday, December 5, 2021

Farmer Gift Guide

Both men and women farmers aren't the easiest to shop for. We are notorious for buying what we need, or in my dad's case saying for 45 years straight "he doesn't want anything." I've rounded up a few ideas that will be sure to please farmers from young to old. 

1. Melissa of Hungry Canyon is an incredible farmer, teacher, and small business owner. While she is known for her greeting cards I love all the agriculture gifts she also carries. 

2. Dr. Hake shares the modern story of agriculture and gives back with each purchase from her Support Your Local Veterinarian line.  

3. Livestock Collective has tons of shirts and stickers for all of your stock show friends. 

4. Scents of Shame is a candle company my cousin started and my sister sells them in her boutique. You'll be laughing at all of the descriptions and names. Boss Cow and Night Checks are two favorites. Use code CRYSTAL10 for 10% off. 

5. Jon and I both LOVE our heated vests. You won't want to go winter with them. 

6. I don't know why we waited so long to put up cameras in our calving barn. These were easy to install, a great price point and the app makes it easy for us to pull up the cameras on our phones. 

7. This feed scale is so handy. Battery operated, super portable. 

8. For the person that has everything get them what my husband considers the best gas can EVER. 

9. Jon and I both just started wearing Kuru shoes are we are SUPER impressed. They are designed with a sole that forms to your foot and provides superior ankle, arch and heel support. Jon wears these ones

10. I have a new favorite insulated cup. I love these because they actually fit in our vehicles' cup holders and they keep things hot. Plus, you can't beat the price point. 

If you still need some more gift ideas, especially for those hard to shop for men farmers check out this gift guide, and kids will love these farm booksMake sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

By clicking on these links I may receive a commission from qualifying purchases.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Stocking Stuffers and Gifts Under $30

White Elephant gift exchange? Stockings to fill? Gift needed for the SIL? I've got you covered with these easy-to-please ideas. 

1. I bought one of these embroidery kits this summer. A fun activity to do on the couch and then have a fun piece of art or gift to give. 

2. I have talked about this lip mask a TON but it really is the best. I use it at night and during the day too. 

3. Target has the best throw blanket and I have one on my lap every single night. 

4. This beanie is on my Christmas list. I always love the ones with the poms. 

5. I love these coil hair elastics because they are gentler on my hair, plus they give my ponytails a ton of volume. 
6. This is definitely my favorite tumbler. I love the tapered bottom because it fits in all my cup holders and is easier for me to hold. Plus, it comes in a ton of colors. 

7. I am always losing my tweezers. I also like to keep a pair in my car because somehow that is when I always find that straight eyebrow hair. 

8. I have been pro Wet Brush since the first beauty swaps. Gentle on my hair, get the tangles out, and are easy to clean. 

9. These headbands are SO soft. Grab a bundle and have a girls night. 

10. I LOVE my little drill. Plus, since it's pink Jon doesn't steal it and if he does I can spot it right away! 

Make sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

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Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Best Children's Farm Books

One of my favorite gifts to give to families and our kid friends are books. I have rounded up a few of my favorites that will be perfect for under the tree. 

1. Rowdy Ringo came as a recommendation from my friend Rossie and the author is a friend of hers. I love finding new authors. 

2. James Herriot was my personal favorite growing up. It tells the stories of an English vet and all his farm animals. I have given this book to lots of friends. 

3. 12 Ways to Know Christmas was written and illustrated by one of my friends. The pictures are GORGEOUS. 

4. Amanda Radke does a fantastic job sharing a glimpse into farm life with her books. Levi's Lost Calf is one of my favorites of hers.

5. Brave like Brizzie is written by one of my college friends and I had to order it as soon as it arrived. While not necessarily an ag book it still has a wonderful message. 

6. Tales of the Dairy Godmother is a great glimpse into how a dairy farm works.

What are some of your favorite children's books? 

Make sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Bestie Gift Guide

1. Sequin Hat // I love so many items in this Etsy shop. Grab some hats or jewelry bags for your girl gang and you can all have matching sets. 

2. Lip Set // I have used the Laneige Sleeping Mask for years and it is one of my favorite products. The classic is my favorite but I love the fun minis they come out with each year. I use the mask all day long.

3. Scrunchie Watch Band // Not all gifts need to be practical. This is a fun one!

4. Brave Devotional // This was on the list last year because it is one of my favorites.

5. Sunshine & Rainbow Mugs // Both of these were given to me by two different mugs. They are a perfect size and my favorite ones to reach for.

6. Eyeshadow Pallet // This is the pallet I've been reaching for the most. Morphe products are really great quality and you can't beat the price.

7. Hardware Huggies // Lately I've been drawn to earrings without backs. I love that you can reverse these to a smooth metal side. They come in both silver and gold.

8. Star Struck Earrings // You can't beat this earring pack. Give them all together or split up and share amongst friends. There are a lot of cute items in this star struck collection. 

9. Affirmation Cards // These come with a cute way to display each card. 

10. Dutton Sweatshirt // Because you know we are all chatting about everything that is going on at the Yellowstone. Comes in additional colors. 

Make sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

By clicking on these links I may receive a commission from qualifying purchases.

Foodie Gift Guide

I've rounded up a few of Jon and I's favorite kitchen gadgets and things to eat. Whether you love preparing the food or simply want to be the one to consume it these gifts are going to please anyone. 

1. Cookbook Holder // I have one of these in my kitchen and it always gets compliments. They are also super handy when cooking. 

2. Chop Local Meat Bundle // I love supporting this website because it directly supports local farmers and butchers. They have all kinds of amazing products available.

3. Thermometer // I love this thermometer and have bought it multiple times because ours always seem to go missing. Makes a great stocking stuffer.

4. Cast Iron Scrubber // I finally learned that this chain-link scrubber is the key to cleaning your cast iron.

5. Leather Knife Bag // This is what I bought Jon last year and it turned out so good. You can customize it with a logo or name. It is the perfect way to keep his knives organized and they stay sharper not hitting other things in a draw. 

6. Global Knives // Speaking of knives these ones are amazing quality and a great price point. Anthony Bordain recommended these knives in his book and they are the ones Jon has been collecting over the past few years now. 

7. Goldbelly // We love this website for unique gifts for people of any age. Jon had Peg Leg Porker ribs in Nashville and is obsessed with them. I LOVE cookie dough and Do is the best. For my birthday Jon treated me to lump crake cakes and they were incredible. 

8. Spiceology // I grabbed these spices for Jon and my brother in law last year and we love using them.

9. Tumblers // My most recent tumbler purchase and it might be the best because yet. It is a little hard to tell from the picture but these are 20 oz and not huge like the 30 oz. The 30 oz ones are too big for me. These tumblers hold the right amount of liquid and my hand can fit around them. Plus they fit in my car cup holders! 

Make sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

By clicking on these links I may receive a commission from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Entrepreneur Gift Guide

Do you have a friend or sister chasing after her dreams? Maybe she has a side hustle or she is climbing the corporate ranks? Perhaps you are the boss and you want to treat yourself. The gift guide is boss lady approved.

1. Ring Light // A ring light makes such a difference with on Zooms or when recording videos. I love the larger size, but this smaller one is handy if you are in tight spaces. 

2. Affirmation Cards // A friend sent this version to me as a gift and I have now gifted them to many friends. The perfect pick me up for hard days. 

3. Amazon Dot // I was gifted on a few years ago and I love having it in my office. I use it for music and playing podcasts. As I run out of items in the kitchen I have Alexa add them to my list for my next shopping trip. 

4. Extra Long Charger // The perfect stocking stuff because someone is always stealing mine. 

5. Apply Airpods // Yes, a splurge, and yes I was skeptical but these things are amazing. The noise-canceling is incredible. Jon wears his all the time on the farm. 

6. Erin Condren // I have been loyal to this brand for a long time. Lots of people love their planners but I think their notebooks are way underrated! They are so sturdy. This is the planner I use for my time-blocking. Make sure you also check out their pens

7. Laptop Bag // I have two favorites. The green one is more traditional but has so much room. I love that it has a removable laptop sleeve and a water bottle holder. Recently, I've been using this backpack version that also has a laptop compartment. You can also wear it as a shoulder or crossbody. The little poufs are fantastic for cords, personal items, and more. 

8. Female Collaborative Biz Box // I was gifted one of these gift boxes last quarter and they are awesome. It is full of items from Female Owned Businesses. In addition to full-size products and samples, there are opportunities to participate in live webinars. A portion of each sale goes towards a scholarship fund to help other women build their businesses. 

Make sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

By clicking on these links I may receive a commission from qualifying purchases.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Hard to Shop For Guys Gift Guide

What would you like for Christmas... "nothing." Is there an answer that makes you want to pull out your hair more?! With the assistance of my hard-to-shop-for-husband, I have rounded up some tried and true gift ideas for your father-in-law, husband, brother, boyfriend. If I have items missing from the list make sure you comment below or DM me on Instagram

1. Snack Pack: If you want to watch a guy go wild give him a snack pack. This is the perfect gift for that hard to shop for guy of any age. 

2. Waterproof Speaker: Jon actually got this for me last year. It was perfect for the shower but we also used it on our golf cart a bunch and you can't beat the price. 

3. Heated Vest: This was one of the number one gifts last year so I had to include it again. I have the women's version and love it as well. 

4. Fresh Clean Tees: Another item that my husband won't stop talking about. The quality of these tees is fantastic and they are incredibly soft. A pack works out to $15 a piece which seems inexpensive for as nice as they are. Use code CRYSTAL10 to recieve 10% off.

5. Hiking Shoes: Jon grabbed these hiking shoes to wear around the barn and farm and he gives them two thumbs up. They have a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with more 5,900 ratings. 

6. Leather Knife Case: I gave this to Jon last year and the quality is AMAZING. I bought it through Etsy but it came from Europe so I would order early. They can put any logo on the case. 

7. Barefoot Dreams Blanket // This one makes me laugh. Jon was gifted this blanket last year and it is just as soft as all the influencers say it is. Jon uses it every night and won't let me steal it. It is spendy but he gets great use out of it. This is a good dupe option. 

8. Extra Long Charging Cable // These make the perfect stocking stuffers. I bought these extra-long ones for Jon before his surgery last spring and they have come in so handy. 

9. ChopLocal Smoker Bundle // I love this because not only does this support local farmers but your guy gets a box of high-quality meat ready for the grill or smoker. Hopefully, he'll then share ;) 

Make sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

By clicking on these links I may receive a commission from qualifying purchases.

Mother in Law Gift Guide

Mother-in-laws can be hard to shop for but they sure are special people so be sure to treat them this Christmas. 

1. Flower Subscription // We did this last year for my mother and father-in-law. I worked with our local floral shop to deliver a bouquet to our inlaws for the first three months of the year. It was the gift that kept giving.  
2. Lavish Hand Cream // This cream smells so good I can instantly tell when my MIL has put it on. 

3. Engravable Necklace // Customize with a date, names or sayings. 

4. Packing Cubes // This is a repeat from last year because so many of you love these. My MIL uses them all the time. I think she even grabbed a second set. 

5. Cardigan // Splurge on this cardigan and I promise you'll be her favorite. 

6. Wine Wands // Love the wine but not the headaches? I have your solution! 

7. Capri Blue Candle // I know everyone has their favorite candles but I have converted MANY people with this one. My all-time favorite candle scent. You can also grab it off Amazon here.

8. Eternity Necklace Earring Set // This grab-and-go set makes the perfect gift. Also comes in silver. 

9. Neck Massager // With 32,000+ 4.5 Star ratings this will be sure to relieve some stress.

10. Cup Warmer // Don't get her coffee or tea go cold with this mug warmer.

Make sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

By clicking on these links I may receive a commission from qualifying purchases.

Gift Guide for Teens

I won't lie I might have the most fun putting the teen gift guide together. I always make sure that I run my guide by teens and they tell me I am spot on. You might even steal a few ideas off of here for yourself. 

1. Photo Printer // Time to get those photos off your photo and printed. Perfect size for decorating your room. 

2. Eyeshadow Palette // Colour Pop has fantastic makeup at an incredible price. I have one of these palettes and I've been reaching for it most often. 

3. Smiley Face Beanie // The smiley face trend is everywhere. 

4. Phone Wrislet // I didn't know these were all the rage until recently. Shop a small business here or this is an Amazon option

5. Stud Earrings // I love this two-pack of earrings. I wear the gold version. Perfect for multiple pierces or sharing with a friend. 

6. Affirmation Cards // The perfect pick me up or the way to set the tone for the day. 

7. PaperMate Pens // For doodling or journaling 

8. Mighty Patch // I use these. They stop me from picking blemishes (something I wish I didn't do as a teen) and are super discrete. 

9. Tiny Tag Necklace // Personalize with a variety of symbols or an initial. Available in gold, silver or rose gold. 

Make sure you don't miss any of my gift guides by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. You can also check out all of my previous gift guides here and I'll be updating them throughout the month. 

By clicking on these links I may receive a commission from qualifying purchases.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Brisket and Noodle Soup

When you are looking for something warm and comforting brisket soup is going to be your new go-to. It is especially handy when you have a husband that loves to smoke brisket on our Traeger and we often have leftovers. 

  • tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound cooked beef brisket, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 medium celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 Poblano pepper, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine or beef broth
  • 2 quarts lower-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 1 ear fresh corn)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces uncooked medium egg noodles, cooked

1. Chop onion, carrots, celery and mince garlic. 
2. Melt butter in large dutch over medium-high heat. Add brisket, onion, celery, carrot, Pobalno pepper and garlic. Cook until just softened, approximately 6 minutes. Add tomato paste, cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes. 
3. Add wine or beef broth, and scrap the bottom of the pans to lift up any brown bits. Add chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, corn and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. 
4. Add egg noodles and cook for the length indicated on the package (usually 10 minutes). If you need to add any more chicken broth do so now. 
5. Discard bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. 

Makes 4-5 servings. Can easily double the recipe for larger groups. 

Here is to all the summer travels! Make sure you don't miss any of my summer tips and finds by subscribing to my weekly newsletter

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Summer Vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

It’s good to date your husband. It is even better when you can hop on a plane and vacation together in a cool location like Steamboat Springs, Colorado. While Jon and I had been to Steamboat before, this was our first time going without a big family group. Obviously known for its winter skiing and sports, there is something extra magically about Steamboat in the summer. 

Foodie Central 

We plan trips, stops and whole vacations around food. Whether you love good food as much as we do or are simply wanting a good bite to eat between activities, Steamboat has you covered. Each night we made sure we had a reservation. I only started on reservations a week before our arrival and dining times and options were limited. With some schedule rearranging, we could still get into some of our favorites, but I would recommend getting things locked in earlier than later. 

Another tip is happy hour is your friend. Traveling from central time to mountain played in our favor. At most restaurants, we were able to catch the end of happy hour and grab some half-priced drinks and snacks. 

Our Favorite Restaurants 

Breakfast: Highly recommended by the locals, The Egg is no fuss, true American breakfast spot. We loved it so much that we did breakfast here two days in a row. Don’t pass up the biscuits and gravy, the waffles or anything that has bacon in it. We went here during the week and never had to wait, but have heard it is an incredibly popular weekend spot with longer wait times. Freshies also came with high reviews, but we didn’t get a chance to try it out. 

Mexican: Taco Cabo was phenomenal. I am not sure I have ever had a better carne asada taco. This was the last place we ate on our trip but I think if we would have tried this place the first night we wouldn’t have eaten anywhere else. 

Steakhouses: E3 Chophouse is in the most beautiful locations along the Nampa River. Highly recommend making a stop here for happy hour. The lavender honey slush was my favorite cocktail of the whole trip. Excellent steak and fantastic key lime pie will make it a memorable dinner. We’ve done 8th Street on past trips. Here you get to choose your steak and then grill it yourself. While a neat experience we have enjoyed other places more. Ore House was another local recommendation that we have added to our list to try on future trips. 

Italian: We decided to go with more classic Italian and choose Mazzola. Again great food. We loved the fried calamari as an appetizer and they do family-sized salads. Mambo looked good, too with a patio option and a slightly more modern Italian menu. 

Small Plates & Signature Cocktails: Jon is not a big fan of small plates but I convinced him to try Laundry, and I am glad we did. A fantastic collection of seasonal plates with a really cool vibe. Laundry is also known for its whiskey and tequila infusions, and craft cocktails. 

E3 Steakhouse Patio
How to Spend Your Time

While you might decide to simply eat your way through Steamboat, there are a plethora of other activities to fulfill your time. I’m going to specifically stick to the activities we have done during our summer trips. 

Golf: Jon and I are big fans of golfing and there are two courses we have spent time on. Let me preference by saying that I am by no means a pro golfer, probably somewhere below average but I do love it. Don’t let the challenge of these courses stop you from visiting them. The Haymaker is a wide-open course; however, it is easy to lose a ball with deep rough/long grass areas. Rolling Stone is a stunning course with incredible views. A river crosses through the course multiple times and it is common to catch sightings of wildlife. It was easy to rent clubs at both courses, but did add to the expense. If we had to make a choice Rolling Stone would be our pick. 

Horseback Riding: I don’t remember the name of the outfitter we used, but we did this on one of our family reunion trips. Half of the group did the trail ride and the other group rode a wagon to a meeting point where we then enjoyed a "cowboy" dinner together.  

Whitewater Rafting/Tubing: Whether you are looking for a thrill or want to more lazily float the Nampa these are two popular activities. Again, tons of guides offer these services and other companies that will rent you the equipment. 

Pro Rodeo: On Friday and Saturday nights from mid-June to mid-September you can catch the Steamboat Pro Rodeo. There are lots of options for food at the event as well as a bar to grab a cold one. 

Zip Line: I am not a huge fan of heights, but we had so much fun at the Steamboat Zip Line Adventures. You’ll get to see breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains from a whole different vantage point. 

Strawberry Park Hot Springs: We were scheduled to finally make a visit here and then it didn’t work out, so I have a few tips. According to the locals, Strawberry Park has become one of the biggest attractions in the Steamboat area no matter the time of year. It is slightly out of town, and you can visit the hot springs as a guest or stay at their hotel and have access. The hot springs do require a reservation (make this early!). However, we made an error. If you are not driving to the hot springs yourself, you need to book THEIR shuttle. We thought we could use our condo’s shuttle to get up there, but by the time we figured that out it was too late and we had to cancel our plans. There are hot springs in downtown Steamboat, but we’ve been told that Strawberry Park is substantially larger and the place you want to be. 

Gondola Ride: It is fun to take the gondola up the mountain. No matter the season the views are stunning. When we were there (June 2021) major renovations were happening to the gondola and at the base of the mountain so this area was all shut down. 

Where to Stay:

Jon’s family owns a timeshare at One Steamboat Place, located at the base of the mountain. The location, amenities, and condos themselves are fantastic. Most of the condos are 3-4 bedrooms, with large living rooms and kitchens. One of the other huge benefits is that they will shuttle you anywhere in town and offer complimentary pickup/drop off from the airport. I believe anyone can rent at One Steamboat Place, but you would want to call to get those details. 

Other options in that area include the Sheraton Resort Villas and Steamboat Grand. However, there are TONS of hotels, Airbnb and VRBO options in Steamboat. I think it would be fun to stay in downtown Steamboat sometime. If you have traveled there before and have a favorite place leave a comment below.

Other Things to Know 

You really can’t beat the summertime weather in Steamboat. Even when it is hot the lack of humidity is ideal. It is cool in the mornings, and be prepared for an afternoon rain shower – especially in June. However, any rain typically moves out as fast as it moves in. 

We fly into the Hayden airport when traveling to Steamboat. It is about a 30-minute drive from Hayden to Steamboat. While the flights are not exactly cheap, the time and money saved from flying into Denver, renting a car and then making the 3+ hour drive makes it simpler to choose Hayden. 

We spent three full days in Steamboat and then had two travel days on either side that allowed us an afternoon and morning. I felt like we got a lot done in this amount of time. I would really like to hike to Fish Creek Falls sometime. If we were going to try to fit everything that we did on this trip (two days of golf and an almost hot spring trip) I would definitely want to add another full day. 

Here is to all the summer travels! Make sure you don't miss any of my summer tips and finds by subscribing to my weekly newsletter

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Spring Loft Haul

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I LOVE the Loft. I would say almost half of my closet is LOFT, partially because the quality of their clothing is so good and it lasts forever. Once I had my "colors done" and finding out that I am a House of Colour Spring it was time to refresh my wardrobe. 

I loved these two outfits. One of the best things about Loft is that they also offer petite sizes. I am 5'2" so going with the petite in the coral dress made it the perfect length. See all the items I tried on in the LTK app or click on the photos below to be taken to each item.

I could have come home with a whole closet full of tops. I love these because they will be perfect for summer, but then I can easily layer them under a jacket or cardigan in the fall and winter. 

You can see the entire Loft try on here. Make sure you don't miss any tips and finds by subscribing to my weekly newsletter

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Small Business Gift Guide for Spring

This post is sponsored by Travel Iowa. All opinions are my own. 

Between year-end teacher's gifts, graduations, bridal showers and even Father's Day you are going to need to keep your gift closet stocked. This winter I was introduced to the Shop Iowa online marketplace. A one-shop stop to find hundreds of unique products from small business owners that makes gift giving easy.

I've pulled together a few of my favorite gift ideas, but you'll definitely want to check out the site yourself. I promised you'll find the perfect items to treat your friends, family, or even yourself. 

1. DIY Crossstitch Kit: I LOVE these kits. Either spend some time creating this work of art for your favorite person or send them the DIY and they can create the masterpiece themselves. 

2. Iowa 319 Ballcap: I am a 319 girl. Your favorite new grad, mom or dad can be repping in this hat all summer long. 

3. Almost Famous Popcorn: I LOVE visiting Almost Famous in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but it is even easier to order online. I am a sucker for lemon desserts so Lemon Cookie was an obvious choice for me, but they have some great sampler packs. 

4. Personalize Cookbook Holder: One of my favorite wedding gifts was a cookbook holder. It is the handiest thing while whipping up my favorite recipes, but it also looks super pretty on my kitchen counter. This one from Blossoming Creation can be customized with your favorite chef's name. 

5. Greeting Cards: You know one of my love languages is notecards so I made sure I grabbed a couple from Iron Leaf Cards.

6. Handmade Pottery: support local artists through the DKW Art Gallery in Marion, Iowa. Each mug is one of a kind and they offer free shipping. 

If there is anything that came out of a LONG 2020 it was an emphasis on supporting small businesses. The Shop Iowa website has made it super simple and FUN to find unique items. And if you are an Iowa small business owner reach out so you can get your items included! I can't wait to shop more goodies.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Iowa Best Burger Tour

This blog post was sponsored by the Iowa Beef Council. All opinions are my own. 

When you are a self-proclaimed foodie, and you get asked to try the best burgers in your state you instantly say yes! Each year Iowa Cattlemen's Association and Iowa Beef Council crown one restaurant as having the best burger in the Iowa. However, it is up to a secret group of individuals to taste test the Top 10 Burgers in Iowa. So while the secret judges were tasting and casting their votes I got to drive across the state and back and share my findings. 

My Top 3 Picks (in no particular order)

1. The Map Room, 416 3rd St. SE Cedar Rapids, IA
There is something about the seasoning that they use on their burgers that makes that beef flavor pop. The Map Room is a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that will surprise you with its internationally inspired burger recipes. Consider visiting on a Tuesday as once a month The Map Room participates in Cheeseburgers for Charity and donates 10% of their proceeds to a non-profit or fundraising effort. 

2. Bambinos, 102 N Lydia St., Ossian, IA
When small-town bar and hole in the wall collide you get Bambinos. You aren't going to find them on social media, but what you will find is the most AMAZING burger. So good that Bambinos ended up being named the 2021 Iowa's Best Burger. Sue, the cook and co-owner, has a heart of gold and is a true scratch-cook. We are already planning on making a trip back and getting in some golf at the Silver Springs Golf Course while in town. 

3. The Saucy Foccacia, 5100 Foundations Dr. NE #100, Cedar Rapids, IA
Eastern Iowa really brought it with their burgers! What started as a food truck has grown into two Cedar Rapids locations. Their burger has been named a Top 10 Best Burger five different years and I could taste why. I LOVED the buns they use for their burgers and they were so juicy without being greasy. You'll also want to grab some of their pickle fries. 

On our tour, I thought a lot about how hard these small business owners have worked to stay afloat this past year. Each day they work to grow their business by serving a product that my husband and I raise. Whether you order a burger from a restaurant like these or a fast-food joint, buy beef at a grocery store or directly from a farmer you support the beef industry and that means supporting farms like us

You can see a complete list of the 2021 Top 10 Burgers here. And if you want more behind the scenes of my tour make sure you check out my Burger Highlight on IG. Don't forget to follow @IowaBeefCouncil so you can have the opportunity to nominate your favorite burger joint for the 2022 Iowa's Best Burger Contest. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

House of Colour Experience

If you have been following along on Instagram I have stopped talking about my House of Colour experience and for good reason. I can say with certainty it was one of the best things I have done for myself. Plus, it was SO much fun. 

Kylie an Autumn, myself a Spring, Addie a Winter

Ironically, having your "colors done" was quite popular in the 80s. However, House of Colours techniques are a little different than your grandma or mom's color party experience. The ultimate goal is for you to discover your season, learn about the 36 colors that are in your season and then identify which of those colors are your wow colors. 

My color analysis was done with House of Colour Consultant Amy Savage, and two other friends Addie and Kylie joined in at the same time. We first walked you through whether you look better in blue-based (cool colors) or yellow-based colors (warm colors). Winter and Summer seasons are blue-based and Spring and Autumn are yellow-based. It is important that you are bare-faced and your hair is covered if you color your hair to allow your true skin tone to interact with the colored drapes. 

As Amy draped her silks around my shoulders I quickly watched the color in my cheeks brighten, eyes sparkle, and the shadows under my eyes disappear when the correct color season was shown. On the flip side when colors were too cool or too warm the shadows on my face were harsher, I looked washed out and tired. 

The only difference between these two pictures is the addition of a lipstick and my wow color silks.

After Amy determined that I was a Spring we moved in my wow colors. These are Spring colors that I can wear head to toe. Other spring colors look best on me if I wear them as an accent or top or bottom only. Amy also showed me what makeup colors will truly complement my season. To my surprise, brown mascara is best for me, and although I was slightly skeptical after wearing brown mascara for the past week I can truly tell a difference.  

So what happens next. I left with a book of swatches that show all my colors to help me identify what pieces I should be adding or removing from my closet. Unfortunately, black on my personal favorites is not in my season. This doesn't mean that I can't ever wear black again, but if I truly want to put my best foot forward there are other colors I should reach for. Also, just because I am a Spring doesn't mean I need to look like an Easter egg. Rich chocolate browns, tans, cream and dove grey are all in my color wheel and serve as great neutrals for me. 

I can't recommend the color analysis enough. The process took about four hours for all three of us to go through it. It does have to be done in person because colors aren't always accurate online. Next, I would love to do the style analysis which can be done online. There are consultants all over the U.S. but I can't say enough good things about Amy from Johnston, Iowa. 

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