Sunday, November 15, 2015


A special Sunday post for a special little dog.

One year ago today sweet Haddie was officially added to our family!  I vividly remember seeing her picture come up on my Facebook.  Within seconds of seeing and reading about her I'd made contact with rescue organization, called Matt and scheduled a "visit".   I say "visit" because I knew that adorable little face would have a furever home with us if she and Bella got along.

Three days after seeing Haddie online, we loaded up Bella and hot footed it to northern Illinois.  When we met her, she was timid and rightly so.  Labradors are inherently boisterous and Bella was only too excited to meet a new friend!  After some playtime, a walk and quiet deliberation where Matt told me it was my decision... I decided that heck yes I wanted this girl to be mine ours! 

In the last year, we've overcome some hurdles with Miss Hadelyn Lott.  She was anxious about traffic and would dive into the ditch if a car passed us while we were running.  Haddie wasn't thrilled even riding in a vehicle, but now she gets highly offended if she doesn't get to go along!  Trips with me to the barn or horse shows are her favorite!

There are times I find myself wondering how this snuggley, well-mannered and sweet dog ended up in a high kill shelter somewhere in Kentucky?  It's a question that I'm asked a lot too.  Honestly, I try not to dwell too long on it because what's in the past is exactly that; the past.  Her present and future are far superior to what she lived prior to becoming part of our family!

Happy Gotcha Day, Haddie!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Beauty Swap Sign-Up

It's time for another Beauty Swap and I'm helping my gal pal Crystal out with the co-hosting duties this time around!  I started reading Crystal Cattle years ago and truly geeked out the first time Crystal commented on something I wrote!  Last year we happened to be in Las Vegas at the same time and decided to meet up for breakfast.  Despite both of our husband's thinking it was totally off the wall, it was a success!  And I actually just spent the last three days with her at AgChat in Nashville; further bonding over bright pink lipstick, vintage turquoise and a love of agriculture.  

I first joined in on the Beauty Swap because my mom quit selling Mary Kay and I was at a loss with all the products on the market!  Through the Swap, I've been able to slowly transition and try so many types of make-up.  The Swap isn't just about make-up either!  I've received hair care products and pretty nail polish too.  

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.  Many of the gals that participate are farmers, ranchers or are in some way involved in the agricultural community... But anyone is welcome to join in on the fun!

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
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 myself know and we’ll try and pair you with someone else.
3. Be sure to ask your partner questions about their likes and dislikes, 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 in case 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 some of my previous reviews (here and here) or head over to the

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Make This: Pumpkin Protein Bites

During the fall, my work calendar is full of classroom presentations about pumpkins.  The best part of scheduling pumpkin presentations is making Pumpkin Patch Pie with the kids!  I find it funny to hear the chorus of "Ewws!" before they actually get to eat their snack, because almost every kiddo is asking for seconds when we're done!

Fun Fact: Illinois farmers grow more pumpkins than anyone else in the world!  

While I do enjoy Pumpkin Patch Pie, I was inspired by With Salt and Wit's recipe to make something a little more healthy.  These tasty nuggets of awesomeness are great for a mid-morning snack and also curb any cravings for sweets after supper! 

Pumpkin Protein Bites
Adapted from With Salt and Wit
Makes 18

1/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup Smucker's Reduced Fat Natural Creamy peanut butter or your preferred PB
1 package Advocare Vanilla MRS or approximately 60 grams of vanilla protein powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1.  Combine cashews and oats in a food processor or blender until they are a fine powder.
2.  Mix the pumpkin, maple syrup and peanut butter in a medium bowl until combined.
3.  Add the cashew/oat flour, MRS, ground flax seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin pie spice to the pumpkin mixture.  Stir with spoon to combine.  Note: You may need to get in there with your hands to really mix it well.
4.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
5.  Remove approximately one tablespoon of the 'dough' and form a bite sized ball between your palms.
6.  Eat those bad boys!

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for later.

Are you pumpkin'd out yet this fall?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Three and a half months.

That's how long I've been on a hiatus from blogging.  It's not that I've not thought about logging in to post a life update or something witty!  I just haven't.  Blogging isn't the only thing I haven't done.  The magazines I haven't read and the books I haven't finished are keeping it company!  So what have I been up to?  Well here you go...

Joined a gym.  For several years, I worked out at home doing DVDs, interval circuits and weight training. I'd reached a point in my fitness that I needed to either purchase heavier weights/additional equipment or I could give the gym a try. I chose the gym and hoped I liked it. I don't like it, I LOVE it! Workouts individually prescribed for me coupled with Advocare products and good food (and the occasional treat!) have yielded some results that I'm proud to show!

Blew out 31 birthday candles.  My friends and family spoiled me!  From handles of margaritas and wine to a gorgeous Kate Spade scarf and pretty accessories.

Listened to lots of live music!  Frankie Ballard, Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Sam Hunt, Craig Morgan and the wicked amazing, Kacey Musgraves.

Hung out with Meghan King Edmonds at a charity polo match.  Okay, so technically, we were just at the same match.  She was in the super exclusive VIP tent and I... was not.

Get really into vintage vinyl.  So far my collection is full of classic country singers:  Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Barbara Mandrell, Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Tanya Tucker.  You get the picture.  The kicker... I don't have a record player to actually play them!  I've got my eye on this one though.

Agvocating.  Over the last several months, I've helped to educate more than 2000 students and their teachers about a variety of agricultural topics through classroom visits, field trips and speaking engagements!  

Celebrated five years of being married to my guy.  In my head I know it's been that long, but wowzers the days really do just fly by!

Registered for AgChat National Conference.  AgChat is a grassroots agvocacy group that strives to connect those of us in the agricultural community using social media and training to engage with consumers who want to know more about how the food they eat was raised and grown.  I'm ridiculously excited to connect with everyone involved!   

Trucked all over Illinois to show Louie.  Our show season kicked off in April and we finished up about a month ago.  Showing horses is equally exciting and exasperating.  You might be on the High Point one weekend and forget your showmanship pattern the next.  Yes, both of those happened this year.  This season did end on a high note; Louie and I locked up the third place slot in the Novice Amateur All Around race and we were Reserve Champion in the NovAm Hunter Under Saddle class!  

 Blog friends, near and far, forgive me for my hiatus.
What have you been up to these days?  
There's no doubt I've missed a lot with you also!