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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.

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