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Monday, February 1, 2016

We Are Having Babies

Not me. The cows. Yes, it is calving season on the farm. Typically beef farmers and ranchers try to calve their cows in the least amount of days as possible. This is because when they wean the calves from their moms, and breed the heifers the following year, they want them to be as consistent in weight and age as possible. But our farm is a little different.

Remember our farm raises purebred cattle. Now there are LOTS of "purebred farms" that follow the same calving philosophy that I posted above, but not us. Since we sell quite a few of our calves to be show heifers (youth exhibitor them at shows throughout the year) people want them to fall into certain age "divisions." When heifers are shown they are broken up into classes by age. So the Januarys show together, the Marchs, the Aprils, etc. When a family comes to our house to buy cattle they like that they can buy heifers of different ages so their kids don't have to show against each other in class. Therefor we calve a few cows in January and February and then the rest will come in March and April.

Above is the first heifer (girl) calf we had born this year. I love the babies when they are first born because their moms haven't taught them yet that you should run away from people! 90% of calves aren't going to let you get too close after the first day of their life. 

And this is Wall Street. He was born the beginning of January. This was right after he was born. He's got a good mom and she was able to give birth to him with no help from us. 

Make sure you follow me on Instagram at @CrystalCattle to see lots more pictures. Also, #calfwatch16 is a good hashtag to follow if you love baby calf pictures. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to Earn Free SkyMiles Flights Faster

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 11, 2015

Beauty Swap Review: Sephora Necessities

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Four Tips for Successfully Starting a Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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