Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I ate at Pappy's!

Drew and I aren't super foodies, but we try to get in our fair share of Food Network recommended restaurants from some of their famous shows. I have an app on my phone for TV Food Maps where you can type in where you are and it will bring up restaurants that were on Food Network and the Travel Channel.

So, on our way to St. Louis for Drew's work conference I decided to look up what fine eateries are in STL. One of the restaurants sparked my memory because I remember seeing it on the tv. Drew and I utilized the free night his conference gave to check out Pappy's Smokehouse which is voted one of the Travel Channel's top 100 places to eat in the United States! Of course, Pappy's is a BBQ joint that specializes in what else, but RIBS!

Pappy's is a small restauarant with BBQ sauce bottles lining the top of their ceiling. Hundreds of bottles accompany the picnic large picnic tables with red and white table cloths. You stand in line to order your food before taking your seat. When you round the corner to place your order, you see all of the articles, awards, and celebrity photos. I saw Pappy's Smokehouse on the Food Network's Food Feuds hosted by Michael Simon. Though Adam from Man Vs. Food has an item on the menu named after him. Unfortuntately, it was like 42.00 and there were out of hot links.

The Adam Bomb

Therefore, Drew and I both decided on ordering a half slab of ribs which came with 2 sides. Drew ordered baked beans and cole slaw, typical bbq sides. I settled on the FRIED corn on the cob and slaw. The corn had a light batter on the kernels. It was interesting. Tasted good, but interesting texture. But most importantly, the ribs were delicious! They had a dry rub with the options for sauce on the table. No sauce for me though. The ribs had so much meat on them! All in all, it was a very belly-filling adventure. Definitely one for the travel journal.

Sorry, I had to try before I took the picture!

We left with full bellies and t-shirts from Pappy's!

Welcome to Miles' Home!

With sale season in full swing now, my suitcase stays packed all the time. Only taking out dirty laundry and necessary items for time at home before packing again. With Miss Gabby Mae joining our family in the spring, it means that her bag stays packed as well. Due to the fact that we stay at hotels every weekend, we have to make sure they are pet friendly.

Princess Gabby Mae

After a quick wisdom teeth pulling last Thursday, my nurses Drew and Gabby loaded my half awake, swollen self into the car and headed to the Design in Mind Sale. After the sale on Friday, we headed south to our second sale of the weekend. All of the hotels listed in the catalog were full or not pet friendly. Scrambling to find us a room on the way south, I utilized my Dog Friendly Hotel App on phone to check hotels in the area. After a few more phone calls we settled on the Hotel Indigo. I had never stayed at one of these, but Drew had. He gave it good reviews.

The Hotel Indigo in Columbus, Indiana is a top notch hotel. And boy, are they pet friendly. When you walk through the doors to the lobby you are greeted by Miles, a cute, fluffy poodle-like dog. He lives there. He has a bed and dog bowl as well as toys all over the lobby. But as we found out, he likes to sleep on the check in desk. When we told them we had a dog, they gave Gabby a baggie full of treats for her stay.

They had won us over with the awesome doggie amenities, but the room was really nice as well. The whole hotel was bright and modern, which made it so inviting!

I don't usually do hotel reviews because we stay at so many. Some better than others, but I felt this one definitely deserved a shout out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pride of the KY State Fair!

Bring on the greasy food, hoochy shorts, and tiptoeing children....

Oh the fair....
Most people go to the state fair with their families to ride the rides, eat greasy food, and check out the exhibits. I can count the number of times I have been to the Kentucky State Fair for that purpose. ONCE. My trips to the state fair have included competing in FFA contests, working the state fair as a KY FFA State Officer, or of course, exhibiting or watching livestock. This year was no different. Though we didn't take anything to show, we had clients that were exhibiting their animals.

Before we headed to the fair though, Drew announced one day that this year at the fair he would be consuming a Fried Derby Pie; as this was one of the "special" foods at the fair this year. So after the livestock show was over, we set off to find Drew's fried goodness. Luckily, it was at the same booth as Fried KoolAid. Which we did not try. It looked like playdoh. But ta-da we did find the Fried Derby Pie. Drew's food review stated that is was pretty good, but had a lot of nuts. Nuts, being the reason I did not try it.

While Drew and Lauren tasted the Fried Derby Pie, mom and I stayed with the good stuff. Fried pickles and veggies!! YUM!

The following day, Drew and I ventured back up to the fair to see Matt Nathanson, Train, and Maroon 5 in concert. It was a very good concert and we had pretty good seats. Here are few photos from the evening!

Brining art to life!

My dear mentor Crystal Young (Crystal Cattle) is doing a giveaway with The Farmer's Trophy Wife through their blocks. If you are not a follower of either, you should be.

Bringing a boring Tuesday to life, they are giving away a 20x30 canvas print of one of Crystal's photos that she has taken. Of course, in true competitive spirit, I have already entered in every possible way I can. I love canvas prints and I know exactly which one I would choose if I won and I know exactly where it would go. Hello bedroom!

Being a hobby photographer like I am, I have dreamed of a day when I had nice photos taken by myself that I could make a collage on my wall. Show off my work! Until then I will dream of winning the work of a dear friend and mentor until September 2nd!

Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Address Wreath

Because we all need a little DIY

I really enjoy doing crafts. I love doing crafts and being able to give them to your friends and family. Its a gift you worked on, took the time to plan out, and put in hours of work for that particular person in mind. It is special.

Since discovering Pinterest (if you haven't, hurry go now, I'll wait) I have been finding all kinds of DIY and craft projects. AND since, I have a new house to decorate, making crafts is even more fun.

One of the first items I found I wanted to make was this really cool Address Wreath for our front door.

All I needed was:
1- 14" grapevine wreath
wooden numbers
Acyrlic paint
Fake flowers
and my trusty glue gun

I sat down one evening painted my letters. They started a burgundy color, but I changed them because you couldn't see on our door. While my letters were drying, I arranged and hot glued my flowers to the grapevine. After they were dry, I glued the numbers to my wreath and Ta Da! A wreath was created. I'm pretty excited about the end product and it looks wonderful on our door!

Have crafting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Makes Perfect Scents!

I'll be honest with you. Since graduating from college, the job market is pretty sucky right now. I've searched, googled, applied, and interviewed. Somedays searching for jobs just makes things really dark and low. My husband can attest to that. I mean you go to college for four years, get a degree, and then head out into the real world at one of the worst possible times.

Of course, I was looking for something in agriculture. And of course, I wanted still be able to work for the family business, which I seem to love a little more everyday. (You might ask me that again around Christmas after fall sale season). After many tears, discussions, and thoughts, I have decided to start selling Scentsy to earn some income. In the meantime, I'm still job searching and doing the DP thing. It gives me the freedom I have been looking for, and you know what? I'm really excited about it. Something I have felt like I've needed.

I have some other things in the plans for the future, but right now things are slow going. So we'll see. AS for right now though, I think you need to check out my website and check out our products. The new catalog items come out on September 1st! Until then though, in the month of August items are 10% off! What is great is you can be my friend from wherever and I can share this product with you through my website. You can order right off of it and it will be shipped right to your door!

Somethings in life haven't seemed to make much sense since graduating college, but finally something seems to be making perfect scents!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Won't you be my neighbor?!

Well, its finally official and over.

The Hatmaker's are homeowners!

I haven't been too vocal about the fact that we were purchasing our very first home because I was nervous. It is a long process with lots of paperwork and name signing. And truly, the faith of my happiness and our new home was in the hands of the bank/mortgage people. I didn't want to get too over zealous. I even asked our loan officer one time if I could continue packing.

But now, thankfully the waiting is over. We closed on our new home 2 weeks ago today. That was a Friday and we were able to begin moving on the following Monday at 6pm. Of course, the weather for most of the United States has been HOT, and it was no different moving. We kept everyone drinking lots of water.

After about two and a half days, we were successfully moved out of the townhouse and into our HOME. It was a very weird, but rewarding feeling. Nothing big, just a small little starter home for Drew, Gabby, and I. I'm thinking about getting a fish?

There are not many photos of the new house just yet because I don't want to share them with the world with boxes all in them. But soon. Now, its time to unpack the boxes and make into a warm, cozy, decorated home. One of our new neighbors even brought us some brownies to welcome us to the neighborhood!

I promise to work on the pictures soon!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Make your Mark!

The First Ever "Summit"....

When I was on the American Junior Simmental Junior Board and after interning for the American Hereford Association, I wanted to start a leadership conference for AJSA members. Unfortunately, during my time on the junior board this did not happen, but because of some others shared the same goals as me, last year plans were made for the first ever "Summit" Leadership Conference to be held in Kansas City.

I was honored when the junior board asked me to be apart of the planning process for the event, and even asked me to be apart of the conference itself. Drew, Gabby, and I headed to Kansas City last week for the Summit. After a quick intro from outgoing AJSA President Tyler White, I was on to lead the group of fifty-five juniors through icebreakers. We did paper plate introductions about themselves and themselves as leaders, get to know you bingo, two truths and a lie, silent line-up, and the big finale, a game of Ships and Sailors.

Throughout the two day and half day conference AJSA members heard from industry leaders in animal science, marketing, and communications, keynote speaker Andrew McCrea, and travel to visit ranches like Shoal Creek and Sanders Ranch. Overall, it was a great conference and I am so happy that the AJSA was able to put this on to benefit the future of their juniors. It was so rewarding to see something you have dreamed about be put into action.

Thanks again to the AJSA for allowing Drew and I to be apart of this event, and thanks to everyone for their hard work! Can't wait to see this event in the future.

A few photos from the conference.....

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding

As I sit here, I've just put the final touches on my Matron of Honor (makes me sound old) Speech for the Kilburn-Hurter wedding tomorrow evening. You see, my best friend Salena is getting married tomorrow. :)

Salena and I have know each other for 15 years and have been best friends for 14 of that. I can't believe it has really been that long now. It seems like just yesterday. I thought writing my speech would be such a piece of cake (yum, wedding cake can't wait), I thought all the thoughts would immediately come to me, but turns out there was lots of things to say. It was hard to nail down the special moments we've had together, or articulate just how amazing of a person Salena is.

Last night, as we were outside of her house, she gave Drew and I the sweetest 1 year anniversary gift. She made us a scrapbook of all the important invitations and documents from our wedding. There were a few invitations to showers I never got to see until last night. But after we opened it and I had my crying moment, I realized that we are now growing up, getting married, and starting a new chapter of our lives. For some reason last night it felt much different. I mean I know that Drew and I have now been married for a year, but knowing that Salena is getting married very soon (tomorrow!) made me feel much different. It had always been just us, and now we are both soon to be married. It's a beautiful thing, but still touched me in a very sentimental way.

For a long time, I thought I've wanted to include a certain poem in my speech, but as I wrote it, it just didn't seem to fit, so instead I'll bring it to my blog, as I hope sometime in the near future Salena will read. So, here's to you best friend and sister at heart. I am so happy for the love that you have found.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Welcome to the family!

The Hatmaker family grows!

Drew and I have been talking about getting a Corgi puppy for quite sometime now. We were waiting on a particular dog to get pregnant and for sale season to wind down. When the dog we had been waiting on didn't get pregnant, we were sad but kept on looking for our perfect puppy. After some facebook investigation, we stumbled upon a lady that I knew from when I interned at the Hereford Association. She sent us pictures and we picked our puppy. Delivery was set to happen in the coming weeks.

Well, last week Drew and I were in Kansas City. It was Tuesday afternoon and we were sitting an airport restaurant waiting to catch our flight home. As we sat there, I brought up the fact that we weren't very far from Tulsa, Oklahoma (which is close to where the puppy lived). I brought up that we could rent a car and drive down and pick her up then go home. "No," Drew said. Determined, I got on my phone looked up the price of a rental, the hours to get there, the hours to get home. I was pleading my case with good evidence. I even got my friend Lauren and our waitress in on it. After some great evidence (I should have been a lawyer), we were heading out of the airprot and to rent a car.

We drove an hour south of Kansas City to Louisburg and stayed with our friends the Barbours (whose sons were our ringbearers) to spend the night. We also had to make a pit stop at Target since we only brought overnight clothes to pick up a few essential items and puppy items.

The next morning we loaded up in our Nissan Versa and headed south. We arrived to destination puppy after 1:00 and met the previous Gabby. She was everything we had hoped for. We even got to met her sisters, aunt, grandmother, and grandfather.

Tying up a few loose ends, our Versa now included two happy parents and one Corgi puppy named Gabby. Our adventure back to Kentucky began. Gabby did an excellent job on the way home. She never pottied in the car and typically went to the bathroom everytime we stopped. When we were driving, she slept in her crate like a little angel.

We drove just east of St. Louis that evening and stopped at our first pet friendly hotel. Gabby was so happy to finally get out of the car and run around. Our first night went well, and the next day we headed home.

Gabby seems to like it here now. And loves to chew on everything. She sleeps through most of the night before she has to go potty. And of course, we just love her. :)

Welcome to the family Gabby!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm a Grandma!

If you are a loyal reader or even part-time reader of my less than wonderful blogging skills, I thank you! I'm not always timely and sometimes sparse, but I realy do enjoy writing and sharing.

Anywho... so if you have read in the past you might remember a post about my wonderful sheep named Betty. She's pretty sassy! Betty is growing up to be a very good sheep. I didn't want Betty to have little lambs because she lives at Drew's parents house, therefore I would not be able to be there for labor and delivery, as well as the first few days of the babies lives. Well, mother natures happens.

On March 9th, 2011 Betty gave birth to two little boys. One white ram (Bob) and one black lamb (Billy). I know you are thinking, thats been over a month ago, but I just met them this past weekend for the first time. They have big ears. Bob is a lot like Betty in terms of his personality, and Billy is the wild child.

Betty is a great mother though she still likes her special feeding time; when I take feed in a scoop out in the field, and she is the only one who gets to eat it.

Here is our attempt at a family photo.

The Hatmaker's - Holli, Betty, Bob, and Billy (Photo by dad, Drew)

Though, this is not how I ideally wanted to become a grandma and not at the time I wanted, Drew says I have to love them anyways because they are Betty's babies.

So, here I am, the proud Grandma showing off my babies to the world!


sprung...then went away... then rained... then showed its face again...

Becoming a good house wife has come...well...slow at times to me. I do pretty good on the cooking and laundry, but maybe not so much on the cleaning. Though we are renting right now, it doesn't hurt for Drew and I to dream about the day when we have our own place to put our stamp on.

Other than his wish for chickens, one of our longings is to have a garden. I'm not sure how great at the gardening I will be, but hey, its good to try. I used to hate going to Lowe's with my mom because I didn't have a house of my own to fix up and buy things for, but now I am (slowly) liking going to Lowe's.

On a recent shopping excursion, we checked out the dollar aisle at Target. For Spring, they had these small pots that you could begin your own garden. Boy, was I excited! I got one of everything! My gardening expert, Drew advised me to wait a little bit to plant them. The first day of Spring was gorgeous here and I had the fever! The next day I planted my garden. Tomoato's, Strawberries, Chives, Basil, and Parsley. I placed them in the window seal and began to wait.....

Just a little over a week later my first sprouts were seen! The Chives really took off followed by the tomoatos. The others were late bloomers.

Back to the dollar aisle at Target, they had NEW pots in. This time I purchased Daisies, Forget Me Nots, and Zinnia's. I planted them last weekend before we went to a sale, and by the time we got back..WOW! The Zinnia's were taking over the window and the Daisies too have sprouted. I'm really feeling successful.

We bought seeds and accessories to plant a real garden when the weather stops acting stupid. But I don't see how a real garden can be better than my window seal garden.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy National FFA Week!

I believe in the future of Agriculture...

Other saying "I Do" this past June, those words might be some of the most exciting and impactful words that I have ever recited. I was so excited to join the FFA my freshman year of high school and immediately immersed myself into the organization. I wanted to do everything!

My advisor, Mr. Ashcraft called me an overachiever because I wanted to be involved in anything and everything. It wasn't because I wanted to win as much as I could, I loved the organization and wanted to take in as much as possible. I had success in the organization over my years involved, but never was there a prouder moment than when I was elected to serve the great state of Kentucky as the Kentucky FFA State Secretary.

That year was one of the greatest times of my life. I was lucky enough to serve with 10 other amazing individuals who I am very blessed to call teammates and friends. It was a great year traveling to conferences, facilitating workshops, meeting FFA members; many who have went on became great friends.

We also made time to have fun!

With this week being National FFA Week, I have reflected on my time in the FFA. The memories of my friends and experiences, speaking to groups of students, driving many miles across the state, and advocating for Agriculture and FFA. I consider myself so incredibly blessed to have been involved and be an Lifetime Alumni of the National FFA. It truly was some of these best times of my life, and I hope others have the opportunity to find out about the organization.

I saved all of my FFA t-shirts from my State Officer Year to make a t-shirt blanket. After many years of them laying around, I finally found a place to make it for me, and in celebration of FFA week... it arrived! What a year way to remember the memories of my state officer year.

So, put on your blue and gold this week and celebrate the millions of FFA members across the United States who are striving for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

I don't want to be one of those mushy, gushy kind of girls, but with today being Valentine's Day I wanted to bring attention to the one who warms my heart.

We met at the Tennessee Beef Agribition in 2006. We became facebook friends after that, and always said we were going to try to hang out. Time passed and no hanging out happened. It just never worked out. The North American came around in 2008 and he texted me to ask what time the Simmental sale started, but I never saw him at the sale. He'll tell you I walked right past him and didn't say hello. I say it was sale time, you have to work to get my attention. Not soon after the NAILE, we started chatting and since then we've never looked back.

Love is a very funny thing. For some reason, I think I always knew that it was him. Even when I crazingly drove 3 hours to Tennessee for our first date on New Years, I felt like I was driving to someone I already loved. I've never questioned how I felt about him, and I think (hope) he'd say the same thing about me. :) He puts up with a lot of crap and craziness, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

So, here's to you my special Valentine. May the rest be just as great as the first three. Thank you for always loving me and making my life complete. xoxo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reading on the Road

I'm going to Jackson....

This weekend was the Dixie National Simmental Sale in Jackson, Mississippi. The car ride is quite long and I must have something to occupy my time.

For my recent birthday, Drew got me an Amazon Kindle. I love to read, but honestly, the cost of purchasing books can get quite expensive. Also, what I love about a Kindle is that after you read a book you don't have to worry about storing that book, its on your little electronic device. Plus - I haven't had to charge it once!

With a recommendation from fellow blogger, Crystal.Cattle my first Kindle read was Kelly Cutrone's, "If you have to cry, go outside." I finished it about half way through our trip south, but was on pins and needles to begin reading Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman's new book.

If you don't know who Ree Drummond is, she is a city girl turned rancher's wife who began sharing her experiences on the ranch in Oklahoma via blogging. She is now wildly successful with her blog and her cookbook. Her new book will be no exception. Let's just say I started reading it and could not put it down. I read all the time. Even when we got to Jackson, I stayed in the car to continue reading until I was done.

There love story is beautiful, fun, and humorous. All the things a new love and first year of marriage should be. I highly recommend reading it. It is funny when she begins referencing working cattle on the ranch and taking their temperature.

Currently, my Kindle is resting. If anyone has any good suggestions for my new reading material I will gladly take them.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Where in the world are the Hatmaker's??

Because sometimes we have to ask ourselves...

Growing up, I always felt very fortunate than when my friends at school were here at home, I had the opportunity to travel all over the United States showing cattle and going to sales. Luckily, I married a man who loves to travel like I do and likes my family's business.

After a crazy busy 2010 with sales and wedding stuff, we thought of the idea of keeping a travel journal. We saw one of the cooks on the Food Network keeps a journal about places they eat and what they have. Not only food, but we wandered how many nights in 2010 were spent in a hotel room.

Therefore, for 2011 Drew and I decided to keep a travel journal. It is nothing fancy. It is a craft book I got when I was making Drew's wedding present. I decorated it myself and the pages are all blank inside, which I will fill with our travels. It will include all of our trips, restaurants visited, what we ate, and the hotels we have stayed in. I am really excited about this, and think it will be a great piece of our history and memories to have for years to come.

So far, we have Nashville for New Years, the National Western Stock Show, and a upscale little restaurant we tried out here in Paris.

So here's to all the wonderful places and people we have the opportunity to visit with in 2011!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Year in Review

2010 might have been the best yet!

I know everyone says it that last year was better than before, as it should be. Though for me, I feel like 2010 was defintely the best year yet. So many things happened that made me so thankful for the wonderful people,places, and experiences that are in my life.

One of the things I loved most about 2010 was having Drew to share so many great moments with. It always special to have someone to share all of life's moments with.

Let's start with the most important:

I married my best friend!

After months of planning, the big day was here! I was so ready to become Mrs. Hatmaker and spend the rest of my life with Drew. We were so blessed that so many of our out-of-town friends came in to share in this special day with us.

Traveled out of the U.S. for the first time!

Yes, it was for our honeymooon, but traveling out of the country was a very exciting experience. We flew out the morning after our wedding to the Bahamas. The water was so incredibly blue and clear; we didn't want to come home.

I'm becoming a better cook!

Drew and I love to cook together, and since we travel so much it's nice to be able to cook at home. We love to watch Food Network. I try really hard to cook new and different things plus we have all these fabulous wedding gifts to try out.

I graduated from college!

It might have taken some time, but I finally graduated from college. Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged, but I'm lucky to have great support from Drew, family, and friends.

There are so many great moments that happened in 2010, but I know that 2011 will be just as great. Year one of marriage is around the corner, my best friends are getting married and having babies, and hopefully somewhere out there is a job for me.

Here's to the New Year! Cheers!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can I see your stick??

My dad has been in the Simmental business for over 30 years now. He's been the manager of some outstanding Simmental operations, then went on to begin his own business. His knowledge of the Simmental industry and cattle within our breed is unbelieveable. We often tell him he is the walking dictionary or phone directory of our breed because it seems everyone calls to ask him questions. I find every time he gets on the sale block on sale day that I become very proud.

CNS Dream On...(real)

But perhaps, one of the coolest moments was when he, Chris Schick, and Jon Janssen were awarded bronzed statues of CNS Dream On at the National Western Stock Show by ABS. CNS Dream On is the most influential and most used bull in the Simmental industry in the last few years, and has sold a lot of semen. Semen distributor ABS "bronzes" bulls that have sold record amounts of semen. There are five or less bulls that have been bronzed, mainly Angus, and Dream On was the first Simmental.

Dream On spent much of his life in stud, and sadly died last year. Due to the fact that he had such an impact on the breed, the owners decided to keep parts of him. Chris got his hide, Jon got his head (which is massive), and my dad got....(drum roll)... his penis and scrotum. Of course, due to his massive amount of semen sales, these were the most important parts.

Now you might wonder what you would do with these parts. You can utilize the penis of an animal to make a Pizzle Stick. There are dried and made into a cane. It is super cool and very interesting. And it arrived!!!

It has a small plate near the handle that has the bull's name, date of birth to date of death, and my dad's business on it.

He hasn't received the scrotum yet, but I'm thinking that a candy or nut bowl would be useful for it. :)