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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NYE 2015: Wear Your Party Clothes to the Barn


Tonight we aren't headed out on the town. Tonight we have two cows that are very close to calving. So we are at home keeping a close eye on them. However, that doesn't mean you can't dress up and have a little fun. So after some arm twisting sweet talking the Boy agree to putting on our party clothes and taking a picture in the barn. Never mind it is only 14 degrees out. 

So wherever you may be Happy New Year. Here is to an awesome 2015. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Bedding for a New Year

2015 is only days away. A new year means new beginnings including the new bedding that we put out this weekend. However, I'm not talking about this kind of bedding (although it is really pretty, and I love this look!)


I'm talking about this kind of bedding. 


On January 1st we have three cows due to calve. Although, the weather in Iowa has been amazingly warm, but it is about to get really cold, and that means we need to start planning for the new calves that will be coming soon. But things don't magically look like this. 


First we had to shovel out all the old bedding and get it clean. Thankfully those doors push open and we used a skid steer to push most of it out. 


Then we bring in the cattle bedding aka plain yellow straw. That's what cattle prefer over gold polka dotted bedding. The Boy is also in the picture waving or maybe saying under his breathe get over here and help me shake out this bedding. 


Lot of shaking happens and the panels go back up. You can't see it from this picture put there is a gate only bigger enough for the calves to fit under. This way they can sneak into their bedding and take a warm nap away from their moms. We change out the bedding throughout the winter to keep the calves happy and healthy. 

You can also check out my post from last year My Bedroom Compared to a Cow's Bedroom to see what the bedding looks like for the adult cows. To get details on the bedding and furniture in the top picture click here

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Tips For Better Air Travel

Is it vacation time? Are you planning a trip soon? Maybe you travel frequently but you feel like you could be doing it better. As 2014 comes to a close I tallied up my flights and I have been on just under 50 plane this year. Yes, I travel a lot. Work keeps me in the sky, family that lives out of state and in Canada keeps us in the sky, and thankfully the Boy loves travel too so we get in some fun trips each year as well.

1. Where should I book my ticket? I always start a Expedia or one of the other major search engines. Once I get an idea of the prices from different airlines I head directly to the airlines website and book direct through them. Why? I feel like I have received better customer service if or when there are problems (delays, baggage problems, etc) when I booked directly with the airline. This is another great blog post about How to Book the Cheapest Flights. I'm a Delta girl and I would say 90% of the time they have been great to work with which brings me to my second point.

2. Pick an airline and be loyal. I don't mean to sound high and mighty, but it kind of amazes me when people expect amazing or above and beyond customer service when you bounce around from airline to airline and buy solely based on price. Repeat customers are likely going to get better customer service. Also, when you stick with an airline you not only earn air miles that can be used towards future flights, but you move up in the membership rankings and this will earn you extra perks. For example on Delta it can mean free checked bags and customer service lines reserved especially for your membership level.

A little side note to Tip 2. Hotels often let you transfer your hotel points into air miles. I stay at lots of different hotel chains and because of this I often don't get enough points accumulated to earn a free hotel room. However, at most hotels you can link you members number to your air line membership number, thus earning more air miles, getting you closer to that free flight.

3. Use an air miles credit card. Since we fly Delta so much we have a Delta American Express. We always pay off the credit card fully each month, but we try and run everything through it. This can add up to a lot of points really quickly. When we went to Vegas for the NFR this year we paid for the Boys flight and our hotel with Delta Skymiles points. Another perks is we get free checked bags.

4. Luggage - to carry on or not? Here are the things to consider. A. Are you going to be a on a small plane? It seems like there are lots of smaller planes now a days, and that means your carry on (usually roller suitcase) likely won't be able to fit in the overhead luggage compartments. When this happens you have to check your luggage plane side and wait to pick it up plane side before you can board your next flight. This isn't an issue until you have a tighter layover and now you are anxiously waiting for your carry on plane side when you could be on your way to your next gate. B. Are you headed somewhere that you absolutely can not afford to be without particular clothing or items? The only way you'll be guaranteed to have them when you land is to carry on. To solve this problem if I HAVE to carry on I usually put these items in a backpack or a canvas duffle bag that I know I can scrunch into an overhead compartment or under the seat in front of me.

5. Know your way around the airport like a pro. One of my favorite apps is the Delta app. American Airlines, Southwest, etc. all have their own app. Why do I LOVE this app? The app is extremely handy when you have a layover and especially a short connection. It will tell you what gate you are landing at and what gate your next flight is taking off at. This way you can plan you route through the airport before you have even landed. It has reduced my stress level many times, and I it has been the fastest way to make friends with the people I am sitting next to on the plane.

6. What do you do when you run into flight problem? Get on the phone ASAP. You can stand in line and the gate agents will definitely try and work their magic. However, if you call the help line they usually have an option where they will call you back when you are the next one in the line. This way as you are standing in line to talk to a gate agent with the other 100 passengers you may get someone on the phone faster.

How often do you travel? What are some of your best travel tips? Where is your next trip to?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Easy Meringue Christmas Cookies

Are you in a panic because you don't have your Christmas cookies made. Need something super simple, but way impressive. Yes, I said way. Then you must make these meringues. What is a meringue? Think the top of your grandma's lemon meringue pie, but a little crispier on the outside and just a gooey on the inside.

What does this recipe require? A little time, because you have to let the egg whites come to room temperature. And these bad boys are in the oven for a long time like 2.5 hours. But think of all the fun things you can be doing in the time. Like I don't know shaking the presents under the tree to figure out what your family members bought you.



Now all the credit for this recipe goes to Make Bake Celebrate. You must go check out her blog, as she has the easiest, most creative sweets recipes. She had meringue ideas for about every season or holiday and tons of cupcake ideas. My meringues aren't quite as amazing as hers, but I would say still impressive. Just like yours will be - way impressive. Do you feel the theme here.

Ingredients

4 Egg Whites
1 1/3 cup sugar (if you can buy extra fine sugar, get that)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
green gel coloring (don't use regular food coloring. Also, in our Walmart this is buy the spices not the sprinkles and cookie decorating stuff)
parchment paper
pipping bag
fat round icing tip for the trees like this
big start tip for the white swirls like this

1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Separate the eggs yolk from the egg whites, and place egg whites in an electric bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer). Let these come to room temperature.
2. Beat eggs until white and foamy. Mix in 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of cream of tarter until soft peaks form.
3. Set time for 7 minutes. Slowly add in sugar a bit at a time taking the entire 7 minutes to do so. This is where finer sugar comes in handy because it dissolves better.
4. If you plan on doing multiple colors this is when you will separate the meringue into groups. Add green gel until you get the color desired. It doesn't take much color to get green.
5. Add the mixture to your piping bags.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7. To make the trees hold your piping bag straight up and down. Squeeze the mixture onto the parchment paper until the base of your tree is big enough, then move your bag upwards and squeeze again until you have your second tier, and then a third. To make the swirls use the star tip and make a swirl (great direction there). Think of how they make ice cream corner as a reference.
8. Add you sprinkles or light star toppers.
9. The meringues don't expand like cookies so you can place them pretty close together. This recipe makes a lot so you will want to get a fair number on a cookie sheet.
10. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 2.5 hours.

I did some googling about whether or not you can freeze meringues and verdicts seems out. Some say yes, others were appalled by the idea. They will last about a week in an airtight container.



And they the cutest little, fat, sometimes crooked Christmas trees you ever did see. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Anniversary Beauty Swap Product Review and Link Up

It's time for the big reveal. I've been watching everyone's Instagram pictures pouring in with the #ccbeautyswap hashtag and I must say I think we are all on Santa's nice list because we got spoiled!

For those that have never heard of a Beauty Swap you can read about the details here, and I promise after the new year we'll be having another one.

This time I was partnered up with my co-host of the Beauty Swap Melanie from The Traveling Cowgirl. Melanie and I first met when I lived in the Kansas City area, now we both live in Iowa and we love turquoise! I think we must have been reading each other minds because she got me the perfect products.



1. Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash - I was really excited to get this mascara as I've hear so much about the product, but have been really skeptical. I guess part of the reason was because I kept seeing people take the results too far and have these cobwebby looking lashes. So what does it do? Well it is a three part mascara. 1. apply what is similar to a regular mascara, then 2. apply what look like tiny fibers (they remind me of feathers) to your "wet" coat to help build your lashes, and 3. reapply the regular mascara to seal. The result is way full lashes without having to wear false lashes. I've been really impressed with the product, and I've been able to get a fuller lash line without them looking fake or too unnatural. 

2. Too Faced Palette Boudoir Soft and Sexy Eyes - This was total surprise to receive this palette. Melanie said she's been wearing the colors from this palette for awhile and I can see why. It's actually similar to some MAC shades I've been wearing, but this palette gives you way more colors and a lower price. The grey's have a purple undertone which is great for my eye color. 

3. Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth - Melanie totally read my mind on this one. I had recently gone to Sephora to pick up some stuff for our NFR Vegas trip. When I sat in the beauty chair the beauty consultant asked me to remove my make-up with this wipe. It smelled amazing! Come to find out that it was the Ole Henriksen wipe. What I love about these two products is not only do they remove make-up but they also contain vitamin C and a bunch of other stuff to brighten and refresh your face. Plus, when I am home I can use the foam cleanser and on the road use the wipes. And did I mention they smell amazing. I'll definitely be purchasing this product once I run out. 

Melanie also include some Josie Argan Nail Polish remover, which is funny because I sent her Argan Face Oil, a really cute turquoise burlap bag and some other fun samples. 

Now here is the good news. Melanie sells the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara and want to give a set away to one of our Beauty Swappers. All you have to do it link up to you blog or Instagram post or leave a comment in the comment section. You have until Dec. 31 to enter and link up. 

Thanks so much to everyone that joined in on the fun. I've even met some of our swappers in person now and it's fun to watch new friendships form! 



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Real Life Social Media Friends

The past few days the Boy and I have been in Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo. It was a bit of a last minute trip, but we had been looking forward to the seeing the rodeo, the food, shopping and seeing if Lady Luck was going to show up. However, there was another reason why I was really excited about the trip.

Meeting online social media friends in real life.

My blog and other social media accounts have served as a Match.com set up for me finding like minded women. Women that are passionate and driven. They have to be open minded. They have to love clothing and make-up. They don't have to be farmers, but they do have to have an appreciation for those that grow and raise food.

I guess if there was a Match.com for finding girlfriends that is how my profile would read. Darcy and Myla are two of the gals that have fit the criteria. I can't remember how we all began connecting. I think Darcy actually might have found my blog first, and I think I found Myla's blog through a comment she left on another blog I was reading. Now I enjoy reading there posts or tweets each week, and I really felt like I "know them."

However, our status has changed to official. A few weeks ago e found out we were all going to be in Vegas the same time. So Monday morning us three social media friends, our husbands and a few other travel partners got together for breakfast. We talked for three hours and I am pretty sure could have gone on for longer!


Topic ranged from boots and make-up, to artificially inseminating cows, to our love of agriculture. Online isn't such a bad place to meet and make friends. So thanks girls for the awesome time and I can't wait for the next social media friends that I get to meet in person.   

Now go check out 
Darcy's blog - Success is Reason Enough 
Myla's blog - Purple Front Door


Monday, December 1, 2014

Ask for Cows for Christmas to Help Others


When I am telling you that I am asking for cows for Christmas it probably isn't going to come as much of a shock to most of you. Cows have literally been on my Christmas list before. However, this time the cows I am asking for are not for me but rather to help feed others in parts of the world where knowing where your next meal is coming from isn't a simple answer.

There are nearly 870 million people around the world that don't know where their next meal is coming from. Heifer International has been helping those families lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. Providing animals to families is the backbone of Heifer Internationals work. The animals that Heifer International provide for families in return provide milk, cheese, eggs, honey and wool. Also, the female livestock go onto produce offspring which allows more families to reap benefits. It is pretty amazing all the information on Heifer International's website about the process. They even consider the breed of livestock that will be best for the area.

On Facebook you may have seen a group called Rockin' Rural Women. We are a community of women that are passionate about agriculture, farming and rural communities. We have also been blessed by agriculture. Each day agriculture provides us with three meals, clothing and impacts every aspect of our life. This is an opportunity for us to use our blessing to create blessings in others lives.

If you are interested in helping our cause whether is only a dollar or more click here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Wrapping Ideas

I love wrapping Christmas presents. I love finding the perfect gift for my friends and family. And then I love picking out the perfect wrapping paper or bag for that gift. When I was little I was the one that volunteered to wrap everyone else's Christmas presents.

Here are a few options to make your gifts stand out underneath the Christmas tree!


I love this Chalk Board Inspired wrapping paper from LilyandVal on Etsy. Their cute store also have all kinds of chalkboard signs and prints. 


I love the idea of wrapping in brown kraft paper. This idea is especially cute idea from Saffron Avenue. Another simple and quick way to dress up brown kraft paper is with twine like these festive colors from Paper Presentation. 
Glitter Twine
Red and White Twin

If you aren't into wrapping presents bags are a quick and easy way to wrap your gifts. I love these polka-dotted paper bags from Bahana Splits Boutique. And they have all kinds of cute Christmas Washi tape


Washi tape is pretty much just fancy masking tape. 

For those that aren't crafty and want a reusable idea why not a Christmas present sack. I like to think that my mom was way ahead of the trend on this one. She sewed cloth sacks when we were little to hold those awkward shaped gifts. The fabric she choose said "I've been so good" all over them, but they also glowed in the dark. The glow in the dark words said "I've been so naughty!"


I love these burlap inspired sacks from Kelly Avenue's Etsy shop. If you search Christmas Present Sacks on Etsy you will find tons of options. For more packing options check out my Pretty Packages Pinterest page. 

Now who has started their Christmas shopping?! It's a month until Christmas. And don't forget to sign up for the Crystal Cattle Beauty Swap. We have more than 50 women registered already from all over the country and Canada!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Be #ThankfulforAg and Fight Hunger

I don't think I have really ever experienced what it truly is like to hungry. Not the I just ate lunch and now I'm hungry so I'll have a snack, and a glass of milk, and now I am stuffing my face and not really hungry. I'm talking about the kind of hungry that happens when you haven't ate for awhile, and you have no idea where your next meal is coming from. As farmers we are blessed to know that our freezer and fridge is full of beef that we raise ourselves and other products that our farmer friends grow or raise.

This year I have made a conscious effort to donate to our locate food bank. It has been pretty simple to buy a few extra cans at the grocery store or make a pile of the things that have sat in our cupboards for too long and then run them over to our local pantry. Also, when we butchered our steers we took frozen meat in. I made me so excited that families were going to get nutritious and healthy beef.

This is a great video that explains what a lot of Americans are going through.

The holiday season is here and I have been thinking of other ways that I can help the 1 in 6 Americans that struggle with hunger. I admire the numerous ways that Feeding America helps raise dollars and awareness about hunger. A trip to their website showed me lots of different way we can make a difference this holiday season.
  1. Shop online at Zappos.com on Black Friday. For every order placed 10 meals will be donated to Feeding America. 
  2. Target and TOMS are teaming up to provide simple ways for Target guests to give back. For every item purchased from a limited-edition collection, Target and TOMS are giving a blanket, one week of meals, or shoes to those in need through American Red Cross, Feeding America, and TOMS. They have everything from TOMS shoes to sweatshirts to candles and bracelets. Shop here
And finally my personal favorite. The #ThankfulAg campaign from Bayer Crop Science. When you visit www.thankfulforag.com you get to build your holiday meal, while learning facts about some of our favorite holiday foods. Did you know "One bushel of corn converts to the amount of feed to produce 15.6 pounds of pork." - Iowa Corn Promotion Board



Once you create your meal Bayer Crop Science will donate $1 per share or #thankfullag hashtag to Feeding America. That $1 donation is equal to 10 meals! 

Farmers work hard year round to ensure that there is food for all to eat. Now let's make sure everyone no matter what their situation is has access to that food. If you have ideas of how you support families during the holiday season share them below. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crystal Cattle Beauty Swap 1 Year Anniversary!

Can you believe it! A full year of Beauty Swapping. I want to say thank you to everyone that has swapped during the past year. I think of all the new ladies I have connected, products I have tried and excitement of a gift arriving in the mail and it has been awesome. There has been more than 100 women participate in the Crystal Cattle Beauty Swap since it started last fall!

This time I have team up with Melanie of The Traveling Cowgirl. Melanie and I's paths first crossed when I lived in the Kansas City area. She loves the rural lifestyle, agriculture, cooking, turquoise and make-up - just like me!

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 19-28, 2014. We’ll send out the pairings by November 30. Get to know your partner and then be sure to get your package in the mail by December 8. 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 19. Feel free to link up and read all about everyone else's find. Here are link ups from Beauty Swap I, Beauty Swap II, Beauty Swap III and Beauty Swap IV.  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. We ask that you try and stick to the rules as closely as possible.

1. Follow the Crystal Cattle blogs and Facebook page. Follow the Traveling Cowgirl Instagram 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 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 $15 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 December 8. 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 18.
8. Since it is almost Christmas include your favorite Christmas treat or recipe!
8. 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.

Click here to sign up! 

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



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Poshmark, Rudolph Stamps, GMOs and everything in between!

Harvest 2014 is complete! And that is a good things because we have snow and it is really cold out. Like Canada cold, but colder. And I can say Canada cold because I grew up there. Since you probably don't want to see another "it cold, there is snow on the ground picture" I'll share some other Instagram snaps.


The oven has been busy. This cook book is one that my great aunt put together. It is easily my favorite cookbook because the recipes are simple, delicious and remind me of family!


This year one of my personal goals is to get more involved in Iowa agriculture on a leadership level. Yes, we are involved raising cattle and crops on Iowa land, but I want to be able to share with others the benefits of agriculture on a larger scale within our state. Last week, I attended my first Iowa Agri Women meeting and I loved it. I learned about a great website www.GMOanswers.com and even met a blogging/social media friends, Kellie from Home Again Finnegan, in real life! She has a true passion for agriculture and conservation. I think I asked her a million questions! The next time Iowa Agri Women is meeting is in February. If you are from Iowa or know of a friend in Iowa who would like to join in let me know. 


Oh yes, wonderful Poshmark. I'm still sending out packages and receiving them. Including buying a pair of 7 for Mankind $130 jeans for $25. Score. I also have developed a love of colored Duck Tape! 


I am so ready for Christmas! And I am in love with these Rudolph Christmas stamps. Do you think it would be appropriate to use them year round? 

To follow more of my Instagram fun search for @CrystalCattle. Are you an Instagrammer? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Green Chile Hamburger Crescent Roll Recipe

There is nothing better than a flaky crescent roll. However, when you add protein and cream cheese then you've got something even more delicious. Plus, I love this recipe because it only takes 15-20 minutes to make.




Ingredients
1 tube of reduced fat crescent rolls
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
2 oz (1/4 of a block) cream cheese 
1 lb. of ground ground beef 
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
4 oz. chopped green chiles

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
2. Begin to brown the ground beef, adding the chopped onions, black pepper and garlic salt. Drain fat from hamburger once browned. 
3. Add cream cheese and green chiles. Stir until cream cheese is melted. 
4. On a cookie sheet, spray non-stick oil. Place squares of the crescent rolls on the cookie sheet. You will need to pinch the seams together. You should have four squares. 
5. Scoop two ice cream scoops of the hamburger mixture into the center of the crescent roll. Fold corners towards the center and pink seams. It is ok if a little bit of the hamburger is peaking out. 
6. Bake for 10-11 minutes. 

Enjoy! And remember to thank a farmer. In this one recipe wheat, vegetable, cattle and dairy farmers produced a product for you to enjoy. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Biggest Wedding Mistake You Can Make


This post could be easily titled biggest wedding mistake, baby shower mistake, graduation mistake as it seems if you forgot this one step people are going to have a sour taste in their mouth. I'm taking about not getting thank you cards sent out.

Yes, the dreaded writing of thank you cards.

It doesn't matter how beautiful your dress was, how awesome the party was or how happy your guests were to celebrate with you. If you don't get those thank you cards in the mail I can guarantee that will be the part that your guests remember.

What is disappointing is how few thank you cards are now sent. So, why does not getting that thank you card in the mail get a bur under my saddle? Frankly, it's rude not to send one. I think it especially bothers me for the events we aren't able to attend. Yes, we are very sorry we can't make it to your big day, but I still took time out of my busy schedule to pick out a gift that I thinking would be fitting, find a card and put it in the mail. Sometimes I don't even know if our gift arrived due to the lack of thank you card.

And no, these excuses are not acceptable:
1. It is a busy time of year. Everyone is busy.
2. We gave favors at our wedding as a thanks. Nope doesn't count.
3. We posted a thank you on Facebook. Really, do you think Great Aunt Sally would find this acceptable?

I know thank you cards can be time consuming so consider these tips to help you get them into the mail: 

1. Don't be afraid of pre-printed labels. Writing a thank you can take time, so save time and use address and return labels or
2.  If you are having a shower (baby or wedding) ask your hosts to have each guest fill out an envelope with their address.
3. Follow the rule of "you can not use the gift until the thank you card is sent." We did this for our wedding and trust me it motivated us to get those thank yous wrote faster.
4. Use the plane ride to your honeymoon destination to write a few. Everyone is going to tell you to relax and enjoy your honeymoon. However, trust me. You will be a lot more relaxed if you don't have a pile full of unwritten thank you cards awaiting you upon your arrival home.
5. Divide and conquer. Get your husband involved. Especially on the ones that are from his close friends or family.

Other tips
1. I love to give stamps or note cards as gifts. This relieves a little bit of the stress off of the bride, mother to be, graduate, etc.
2. If you received cash or a gift card consider letting the give giver know what you are going to spend it on: new towels, saving for furniture, putting to use on the honeymoon, etc
3. If you are wanting to use a photo from your wedding in your thank you card talk about this with your photographer ahead of time. Often it can take 4-8 weeks before you will receive your wedding photos, and this could delay getting your thank you cards out.

Trust me. Your guests will appreciate the thoughtfulness when they receive that thank you card in the mail.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall Beauty Swap Product Review

It has been fun to finally get back in the Beauty Swap swing of things! It makes me so excited to see all of our swappers receiving packages in the mail and showing off their new products. If you haven't checked out the #ccbeautyswap hashtag on Instagram be sure to do so. And keep checking back this week as our swappers link up and review their products.

I was paired up with Taylor Truckey of Michigan. I think Taylor and I's paths first crossed on Twitter. She is a make-up lover herself, and often posts beauty tips on her blog College Girl Ag World. Taylor and I both have a love of bold lip color and she spoiled me with the perfect products.


Taylor's package included lots of fun items, but these are the five that I have dove right into. 

1. I have been noticing the It Cosmetics line lately at Ulta. This cc cream is different than my Stila or MAC cc cream as it definitely has more coverage, while still being really hydrating. I also like that it has an SPF of 50. Taylor has been wearing it herself and recommends wearing it over a primer. 

2. I was so excited to receive brush #115 from the It Cosmetics line. I can not get over how soft this brush is. Even my husband couldn't believe how soft it was. It is perfect to use with the cc cream or my MAC foundation to give an airbrush look. 

3. I was first introduced to the EOS Lip Balm through the inaugural Beauty Swap. I love the lip balm and was very excited to receive the hand cream. Our dishwasher recently broke so this has been perfect for my dry hands. 

4. Both of these lipsticks are from NYX. Which I've seen at both my drug store and Ulta. It is also a relatively inexpensive line of make-up, and I'll admit I have passed it up probably due to that. Call my a make-up snob I guess. However, the lipstick on the right the NYX Matte is amazing! It wears fantastic, and I like the rich color. The lipstick on the left is part of the NYX Simply Red collection. This lipstick also wears great, and has a rich glossy color. 


This is me wearing the NYX Matte lipstick in Merlot.

If you are interested in participating in the swap follow the Crystal Cattle Blog or Facebook page as I'll be sending out information the middle to end of November. And thank you to Ashley of Messy Kennedy for helping me host the swap. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Perfect Fall Cocktail: The Carmel Apple

Fall is officially here. Around the farm that means seeing not the Boy very much because he has been busy in the fields with harvest. The corn and soybean crop yields have been fairly good, and the late night have given him the opportunity to catch some beautiful sunset photos like this one. You can see more of his photos on Instagram by following @jjbcattleco.

In the evening I have been spending extra time in the barn halter breaking our heifers. Halter breaking means getting the heifers used to being tied up and then eventually teaching them to lead on a halter. We do this for two reasons, 1. We'll being exhibiting some of these heifers at cattle shows later in their lives so they will definitely need to know how to lead and act like a show heifer. Another group of heifers will be sold and we like them to be as calm and quiet as possible for the new owners. and 2. Halter breaking calms the heifers down. We try to get them as use to people as possible so there is less stress on them when we are handing them.

All of these farm fall activities make me crave other things like my Apple Cookies. And that recipe requires a little apple cider. However, it only seems that apple cider comes in a big containers. Which led to a quart of apple cider in the fridge and the boy creating the perfect, most amazing adult cocktail ever.

The Carmel Apple

3 oz. Apple Cider
1 oz. Spiced Rum



That's all you need for an adult beverage that tastes just like a Carmel Apple. Hope you enjoy, and while you are enjoying think of the farmers who are working hard to finish harvest and loving the farm life.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fashion Wants vs Farm Needs

I've been thinking about this post for awhile now, and I am thinking there probably will be a part two.

Many of my favorite blogs are wrote by some extremely stylish fashionable ladies. Their daily posts give inspiration to the hot new looks, classics pieces that everyone should have in their wardrobe and bring awareness to the million and one online boutiques. One of my favorite tools on Instagram is the #liketkit hashtag on Instagram. Once you register at www.liketoknow.it, you can like any photo on Instagram with the #liketkit hashtag and you get an email letting you know where you can purchase the items that the fashionista is wearing. 

There have been more than once instance where thing that is exactly the sweater, shoes, pair of jeans that I need in my closet. And then I see the price tag. What wait! Those pants are $200 and her top is $170 and the shoes $225? 

Which leads me to this photo. 


I really would like a pair of leather two-tone leggings. You know the ones that all the fashion bloggers are wearing ;) Just like these nearly $400 leather front Pixie pants from J.Crew. I know they would look amazing with about three different shirts I have in my closet. However, we have a farm. And cows who like to eat. 

During the summer our cows eat grass, semi "free" food. I would say completely free but our farm isn't paid off yet so technically that farm payment means not free grass. As we move into Fall the grass loses nutrition. This means we need to supplement feed that contains energy and protein to our cows so that they stay in good body condition and the baby calves growing in their bellies receive adequate nutrition. 

On the right side of the picture is something called a protein tub (we feed VitaFerm's Pow'R Lyk tub - shameless plug for the company I work for). It contains protein, vitamins and minerals for our cows. Today, I could have bought a $398 pair of pants or I could have bought three protein tubs to feed our cows. These three tubs will feed our 30 cows for 20 days, and then I'll have to buy more tubs. 


On the left is a beautiful pair Tory Burch sandals. It seems like every fashion blogger and quite a few friends own a pair. On the right we have an antibiotic called Draxxin. Yes, these nearly $200 sandals are beautiful however, when the we have cattle take are sick and our veterinarian says that we need to treat our calves with an antibiotic we choose the calves over my feet. This bottle of Draxxin would treat nine 500 lb. calves and costs just over $200. 

Now I am not saying my closet is deprived, and my husband is pretty darn awesome. If I pleaded my case that I needed another Kendra Scott pair of earrings or a new pair of boots I could make it happen. However, I don't think I would feel right. Our farm is really important to us. There are a lot of things that we have to buy because our cattle rely on us, and there are other things that are an investment in our farming business. And when you can buy these Old Navy faux-leather look alike leggings for $30, the fashion blogger $300 leggings don't make too much sense. 

So instead of going on an online shopping spree each week. We'll budget out our money and I'll save up for those on trend wardrobe pieces and accessory treats that I can layer over my Target and J.Crew Factory sales tops. 

p.s. Don't forget that we are currently hosting our Fall Beauty Swap. Be sure to check out all the details. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Beauty Swap

Are you a make-up junkie? Have a draw full of beauty products? Love getting product suggestions from friends? Well here is your opportunity. I am very excited to have Ashley of MessyKennedy help me this month. She is a make-up loving gal just like me and her family also is very involved in agriculture. Our family raises the beef, her’s raises the milk!

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 September 24-October 1, 2014. We’ll send out the pairings by October 9. Get to know your partner and then be sure to get your package in the mail by October 16. 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 October 27. Feel free to link up and read all about everyone else's find. Here are link ups from Beauty Swap I, Beauty Swap II, Beauty Swap III! 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. We ask that you try and stick to the rules as closely as possible.

1. Follow the Crystal Cattle and MessyKennedy blogs and Facebook pages.
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 know and we’ll try and pair you with someone else.
3. Be sure to ask your partner questions about their likes and disklikes, skin tone, preferred colors, etc. or maybe they want to be surprised!
4. Each box should contain a min. of $15 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 October 16. 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 October 27.
8. 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.


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