Monday, April 30, 2012

Crossing The 5K Off The Bucket List

I am officially a 5Ker.

Gosh it feels good to type that!

{this definitely deserves a spot on the fridge!}
I was pretty nervous going into the run on Sunday and felt really unprepared. However, I was determined to check this off of my list (and it helped that my best friend had came 8 hours to run this with me, I knew I recruited her for a reason!), so bright and early Sunday morning we packed up our stuff and headed south to join hundreds of other beautiful ladies in a run around Rochester. 

Now, I didn't set any records, but I also didn't get last. I ended up 174/358, so you could even say I was in the top half! :) I did just over 11 minute miles, which I had been averaging, even though my phone said I ran 10:28 miles. Something wasn't matching up between their timing and my GPS, but I am not official enough to care.

{My partner in crime & I after running. don't mind the squinting, it was a beautiful day!}

{the trio. Angie rocked the 10K while Lindsay and I did the 5K}

{my fabulous hubby who came and cheered us on}
I am determined that this will not be my last 5K, so I am already on the search for another one this summer and I am debating about a 10K in September that Kati suggested. I think I could do it!? Either way, I am a lot better off than I was 2 months ago, when the farthest I could run was to the mailbox. :)


Saturday, April 28, 2012

What Kind Of Person Are You?

My husband might think I am crazy, but I will readily admit that I read about 5-10 blogs a day.

Some of them make me laugh, some of them I wish I wouldn't waste my time reading, a lot of them make me wish I had a perfect house and owned a Silhouette Cameo so I could craft away my life and most of them feel like they were written by my friends.

And, every once in a while there is an inspirational blog though that makes me stop and think. A post that makes me want to become a better person.

Those are the posts that make my time spent mulling over blogs completely worth it.

Yesterday's post by Emily Jones on Jones Design Company was one of those.

I don't know how or when I first stumbled upon Emily's posts, but I ended up following because of her gorgeous design work. We have the same classic style and I would love to one day create something as simple and beautiful as she has. I don't read every email that comes in my inbox from her, but something about yesterday's caught my eye.

Her question was valid and I had a hard time finding a really good answer. Probably, because I found it challenging to limit my answer to just a few things. I want to be so many things, but when that happens I often have trouble succeeding at just one. And unfortunately, my list is full of too many nouns, and not enough adjectives.

I am going to spend the next few days mulling this over. What is mine & Mark's motto? What do we want to be remembered as? What do we want people to say about us over the dinner table? When we have kids, what values are we going to make the most important in our family? What two or three words describe us?

And then, when I find an answer I am printing it out and hanging it on my bulletin board. Life is too short to not start becoming the person you want to be now.

I am also a realist and I know that I will not and can not succeed at making every person love me. It's simply not possible. But I can convince those people to respect me for the life I lead, even thought they don't agree with me. And, more importantly, I can succeed at creating lasting relationships with the people who are important to me.

Hopefully, the answer to this question slips off the tip of your tongue!

Have a great weekend!


Friday, April 27, 2012

High Five For Friday

Finally, Friday, you are here!

I don't know about you but 70 degree weather and sunshine makes weeks in the office seem terrible. I don't know how I am going to handle the summer. Luckily though, I have a new office starting tomorrow with lots of light and sun. Maybe I can get a tan through the window!?

I decided I am going to try to make "High Five For Friday" with Lauren at From My Grey Desk a regular addition to Cows, Corn & Country. Hopefully, as you're reading you find some reasons to celebrate too!

High Five #1 goes out to the new Essie nail polish I splurged on this week. I picked up the nail polish addition from my BFF last fall, but this was my first Essie purchase. I am loving the spring Tart Deco color and day 2 without any chips. I am thinking it's going to much more durable than my $2.00 bottles.

High Five #2 goes to the finally getting out to Target Field for a Twins game. We got lucky and got some last minute tickets to Tuesday night's game. We went with Mark's co-worker and wife and their adorable 3-month-old son. Seriously, you should see the hair on this kid's head! He's a cutie. When they slipped out because of rain we met up with Misty & her boyfriend Matt, who just happened to be at the game too! The Twins ended up losing terribly to the Red Sox, but nothing beats outdoor baseball.

{we had killer seats right behind home plate.}
High Five #3 is for a spotless house. Mark spent Wednesday night in the tractor and I wasn't feeling so hot, so I stayed home and went super domestic on our house. The bathrooms are cleaned, the floors are swept, laundry done and everything dusted. Best feeling in the world. Unfortunately, the house being clean didn't make me feel any better and I spent most of Thursday sick. 

High Five #4 goes out to it being 5K week. I am ashamed to admit that I am terribly unprepared and my run Wednesday night went awful. However, I am blaming the bad run on my cold and I am excited to just get it over with. Even if I walk half of it, it's still an accomplishment in my mind...and door prizes and massages at the end! And I also decided that I am signing up for at least one more this summer yet. Any ideas on where or when?

And my last High Five For Friday is for hitting the big 5-0 in followers! Thanks everyone! If you want to follow my blog, you just have to click on "Join This Site" in the upper right hand corner or subscribe via email. To celebrate, I think I am might have my first giveaway next week!

Have a good weekend! The 5K is Sunday morning so while you are at church on Sunday, send a prayer my way! :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Someday House On Our Someday Farm

Just keep dreaming, just keep dreaming. 

My life is all about making plans. As we talked about before, sometimes it's even become a fault. I am always one step ahead, thinking about how I can make things bigger and better.  I guess you could label me a dreamer.

And lately, I have been putting myself to sleep thinking about what color I will paint the walls of my house and dreaming about the cabinets in a future kitchen.

You don't have to tell me that I am a few too many steps ahead of myself. I know.

Here's our current situation: Mark & I are renting a nice little town home in quaint, small-town Minnesota. We have some beautiful wood floors in our living room, a washer and dryer right outside our bedroom door and a huge walk-in closet. Target is in our backyard (which is really not a good thing for our bank account), there is a nice little running path that goes through the park outside our front door and there is a coffee shop down the road that makes a great Sunday morning treat. We are 15 minutes away from my parents and 15 minutes away from Mark's. Mark can get up at 7:45 and make it to work at 8 and he gets to come home for lunch (where I think he usually takes a nap!) and I am only 45-50 minutes away from work.

Sounds great right?

But the truth is, as much as we like it, we are ready for step 2 in life. I want to be able to PAINT my walls. I want to have grass to mow. I want to have a deck to put a real grill on. I want to have cows across the road. I want to be able to plant asparagus and tomatoes and squash and pick fresh flowers, not buy them from the grocery store. Gosh, I sound needy don't I!?

Most important though, I want my husband to be able to head outside and work with cattle and know that he can walk back over for supper whenever he wants. It's a pain to send him to the farm and expect him back in 5 hours and it's even more of a pain to watch him fidget in our house on the nights he doesn't go to the farm. He's not good at living in a town home.

However, the end hopefully is near.

Crossing our fingers, in a few months we will be living in good old rural America. Mark's parents are finally treating themselves to the new house they deserve and we get to move in to the house that Mark grew up in. We are really excited for the change and hoping it comes soon. These farm kids are ready to have cattle chores, watch our corn grow and have a yard to take care of.

I know there are a lot of perks of town living that will be hard for me to give up and I am dreading the hour and 15 minute drive to work, but really, I can't wait to be able to clean, craft and work on cattle in one night. Right now, it's currently an either or situation. 

However, after Step 2 I have a Step 3 in mind and it includes a new house for us someday soon. 

 I would be perfectly content if my someday house looked like this one.

You see, Mark's parents house is old. Like a 100+ years old. It has one bathroom...and bats & mice. Don't get me wrong, it's a great place with lots of family history, but one day I want to build my dream home. In fact, when I agreed to live on the farm, it was the one clause that I gave my husband. A new house in 3-5 years.

So, like any 23-year old, I have a Pinterest board completely dedicated to that "Someday House." 

{you can find all of the links on my Pinterest board.}
Ideally, I would piece together all of these beautiful rooms.

And I sure wouldn't mind if our master bedroom could look like this overlooking a pasture of Angus and Hereford cows.

Do you have a "Someday House" Pinterest board? Share the link with me! I would love your ideas! 

And by the way, can you tell how much I love that light turquoise wall color? You can bet that I am not waiting for a new house to paint my walls that color. Even if I am only living in the farm house for 3-5 years, it's getting a fresh paint of coat on day one!

Until then though, I will continue to hang fun colors on my beige walls and enjoy my view of Target. :)

Happy Dreaming!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Wrap!

The sun is officially setting on a fabulous weekend.

However, I am crossing my fingers that the next week is going to be wildly productive, so I am trying to be okay with Monday being here in 12 short hours.

Like I mentioned in my High Five For Friday post (which I posted on Saturday), we had absolutely nothing planned for the weekend. But like always, we found plenty to keep us busy.

We started Friday off very low-key. A quick happy hour and some pork chops on the grill, followed by a movie and wine was just what we needed.

By the way, my husband has been loving his "man time" lately on our miniature patio with our plug-in grill. Add in a Swisher Sweet cigar and pork chops and what more could a guy ask for?!

{I absolutely can't wait for a big grill and deck someday soon!}
Saturday morning we were up bright and early to wish a special little girl a Happy 3rd Birthday! We got there at 8 am and she was running around like crazy; add some sugary donuts for breakfast and I can only imagine how she was at noon on the rides at Mall of America. But hey, a girl only turns 3 once!

{she's getting so sassy!}
Later in the afternoon, Mark picked out some pigs for Matt to show this year at the Steele County Fair and I went shopping. Even though I got ridiculously good deals shopping, I think Mark got to have the better afternoon. Aren't these little guys cute? It's amazing how much they will change in the next four months though.

{the pigs are nameless yet. have any suggestions?}
We wrapped up Saturday with a dinner date was some friends, hit up church on Sunday morning, did a super quick lunch at my parents and then volunteered as judges at the MN FFA Convention Discussion Meet. After sitting through three rounds of impressive discussions, I think it's safe to say the future of the ag industry is in good hands!

Finally, we finished up the weekend with some kabobs on the deck. Peppers, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, steak and potatoes? The perfect end to a perfect weekend!

Here's to hoping that Monday is half as good as the weekend!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

High Five For Friday!

It's 7:20 on Friday. My weekend is officially here. Alleluia. 

In honor of National High Five Day which was yesterday, I am celebrating High Five For Friday with Lauren from My Grey Desk

There was a few low points of this week, but most importantly, there were a LOT of high points.

It's hard to narrow it down to just five, but here we go.

1. First and foremost, figuring out how to make an Instagram collage definitely deserves to make this list. Yeah me!

  2. My beautiful little niece turns three tomorrow and I can't wait to celebrate it with her! I love this picture of her from her first birthday; she's changed so much since then. Happy Birthday Avery May Stark!

 3. I am also super excited to have a weekend planned with nothing planned. Does that even make sense? If Mark and I want to do nothing all weekend, we can. It's been awhile since we have had a weekend like that and I definitely looking forward to it.

4. High-five #4 is that we finally took time to catch up with some friends that we have been MIA on lately. We got together with our fabulous friends at lunch dates, pizza at Castle Rock, happy hour at Dundas and Bingo at Millersburg and we still have the whole weekend ahead.

5. Finally, my last high-five is for finding the mysterious last disk to the Vince Flynn book I have been listening to on CD. Do you know how annoying it is to get to the MOST intense part of the book to realize that your husband forgot to put the last CD back in the case? Ugh.

By the way, I know Vince Flynn is totally a "guys" author, but the audio book is an awesome way to pass my 2-hour commute everyday. The book was actually pretty good and I am excited that Mark has a couple more for me to listen to. Anyone else listen to audio books? Any good suggestions?

And a little side note, I know I am posting this at 1 pm on Saturday. I definitely wrote it yesterday but I somehow got distracted! oops!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mexico Family Vacation

While on my blogger hiatus this winter, I enjoyed a little rest and relaxation in Mexico.

It was fabulous.

If you are immediately thinking that it was for a honeymoon, I am squashing that thought immediately. It was a family vacation with the Purfeerst family. Family vacations can never be considered as honeymoons, in my book, at least.

Anyway, we spent a week soaking up the sun in Riviera Maya's RUI Palace. If you are looking for a winter vacay, I highly recommend it. It was my first "all-inclusive" vacation, and while I did get a little sick of the amazing guacamole and prime rib suppers by the 7th day, I will never complain about fabulous food and no dishes. Oh...and did I mention the free margaritas and piña coladas at your fingertips? And sunshine? And reading on the beach?

I finally got around to making the family vacation photo book I was in designated to be in charge of it and I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures/layouts with you.
{i love shutterfly photo books. good bye photo album & hello technology.}
You know, to make you jealous. And to motivate you to book your own family vacation. Once in your life, everyone should do a family vacation like this. The whole time I kept imagining my family there. We don't do water, or relaxing, but I still think it would be fun. :)

{isn't that a cute brother/sister picture?!}

{pics from our Mayan adventure trip - ziplines, jungles, rappelling & snorkeling.}
{misty, matt, mark & jim went scuba diving. luckily unfortunately, my ear kept me on shore.}
{we took a trip to the tulum ruins during our excursion trip. btw, mayan calendar mystery was solved.}
{can yo say tequila!?}

I made the book using the Shutterfly custom photo book program, which I love. I love their colorful layouts and I especially love that I have full control. I can go in and size any picture or override any layout. For someone with a little design background, that flexibility is nice. I made some really great wedding ones for my parents, too.

However, I am not loving my Shutterfly customer service lately. When I say it finally got to me, I mean it was two weeks late. But, hey, it turned out fabulous and I am actually making another one for myself (this one's for my MIL). Normally, I am a big Shutterfly fan. Hopefully, they redeem themselves next order.

Any other Shutterfly fans out there? Have you seen their new iPhone covers? I think it will be my next purchase. And more importantly, who here is Mexican vacation veterans? Have any suggestions for an actual honeymoon?

I am not letting my husband forget that we still have one of those to check off our list too! :)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How To Make Photo Collages On Your Phone

For being a self-proclaimed social media nerd, I am ashamed how long it took me to figure this out.

{my favorite pics from this past weekend}
I present to you my first iPhone photo collage!

I am admittedly patting myself on the back as I am typing this!

For weeks – no, months – I have been wondering how THE HECK people were doing photo collages on their iPhones. They couldn't possibly be downloading everything into Photoshop and reuploading them right!?

I am sure you all have seen the before & after pics, the collages of people's fabulous weekends or new shopping finds and unless you were one of the lucky ones who KNEW the secret (or maybe it's only a secret to those who can't seem to figure it out), you may have been like me. Jealous and wondering if I somehow have a broken Instagram app. (I am not kidding. I kept hoping in my next update would have a collage option like everyone else. really jamie?!)

Well folks, thanks to Google, I am lost no more. My life is bigger and brighter than ever before.

And I am here to share my knowledge. :)

So, first and foremost. Instagram does NOT do photo collages. (even though they really should!) It's a completely separate app, which most people, had probably already figured out.

I did a little research here and here and I decided to download Frametastic. Why? Mainly because it's free and I am scared to spend any money in the iTunes store. But that's another story that would make you wonder if I really am tech-savvy at all, so we won't go there.

Once you get it downloaded, it's simple. Almost so simple you don't need this tutorial, but I'll continue just in case. :)

The first screen you get will let show you the options to select your frames. Are there a ton of possibilities? No, but I personally feel less is more to a sometimes indecisive person like me. For this example, I chose the frame in the bottom right corner. The one I had at the beginning of this post was done with the the middle row, far left option.

The next screen gives you your actual collage layout. It's up to you to fill up. Simply touch each square and this next screen will come up.

You can chose any picture from your library or take a new picture. I always take the photo on my camera and then upload it in, because then I get to take advantage of the HDR option on the 4S. I love the sharpness of it

Once you have the photo in, you can double click the photo to size it (use your fingers to zoom in or out and move it around) and best of all, apply effects.
The photo filters are not quite as fantastic as they are on Instagram, but they are pretty good, really. Plus, you can always put it in Instagram and put more filters on it if you are ready to commit yourself to a filter on top of a filter.

You can even adjust to strength of your filter. Too much sepia? Just tune it down. It's that simple.

One of my favorite features is that you even have flexibility with the border. Just click on the fourth little icon under your collage that looks like a frame and these options come up. If you are a color-coordinating freak like me, it's a nice perk. Plus, you can even change the width of the line.

And last, but not least, you can add a little "softness" to your border by simply rounding the edges. Just tap the last button in on the home page under your current collage (next to the frame button) and you can adjust the curve by dragging the slide. Easy peasy.

And the absolute best part of all (besides it being free!), is how convenient it is to share. Once you finish your collage, press the "send" button in the upper right hand corner and the world is at your fingertip. I especially love that you can save it directly to your photo and send it directly to Instagram. That's how you all have been doing it! 

And your done. You have a fabulous picture like this ready for the online world...or a Red Stamp card, which is where I think this one is going. (What? You don't know about Red Stamp!? That will definitely have to be my next app post. It's fabulous.)

As you can tell, it's super easy. Welcome to "iPhone Photo Collage" club!

I am sure there are lots of other apps out there that do the same thing. Frametastic is just the one I like. What apps do you use? 

And by the way, the pictures I used as examples are from a few weekends ago when my little brother was the big winner at SDSU's Little International, a showmanship contest where you show beef cattle, swine, dairy, horse and sheep. He was the Champion Overall Showman as a freshman, which is pretty impressive. I attempted to win that title at NDSU for four years...and never did. I don't think he's let that big ol' trophy out of his site since!

I have been meaning to post about it for a while, but this seemed like an easy way to do 2-in-1. Bam. Check that one off my list!

Can't wait to see your photo collages! And if, somehow, you all already knew what I just taught you, I am glad I am finally as SM-smart as you! :)

Happy Wednesday!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can I Go Back To College?

Let's be honest, growing up isn't all it's cracked up to be.

In college, I couldn't wait to graduate.

I wanted to have more time to spend with Mark. I wanted to have free time after work to just relax and watch TV. I didn't want any assignments or projects to stress me out or silly deadlines to meet. I was sick of group projects and other people's laziness and most importantly, I was sick of volunteering my time, I was ready to get paid.

Plain and simple, I thought all those people who said college was the easiest time of their life were crazy.

Are you thinking I am crazy yet!?

If you are questioning my sanity, a little history lesson on me might help. In college, I was a serious over achiever. I traveled more places than I could dream of. I volunteered to be in charge of everything I possibly could. I waitressed at Buffalo Wild Wings every spare moment and I was a bit picky about my GPA. And I still managed to find time to enjoy college (aka go to Chubs Pub) every now and again.

But the schedule was exhausting.

Thus, my dream to be a grown-up with a "relaxing life."

But here's what I failed to realize:
  1. College has naps.
  2. College has all of your best friends down the hall.
  3. At college, it was okay to go to the bar for lunch and then supper and head back that way for the 9 pm specials. Unfortunately, as a grown-up with a full-time job, your boss is not usually okay with noon happy hour.
  4. BWW could be a mindless job if necessary. Being an editor rarely offers a mindless opportunity.
  5. It was okay to vent about teachers, group members & your drunk friend who pissed you off. It is not okay to complain about these type of people to anyone except your husband anymore. And eventually, even he stops listening.
  6. Weekends were weekends. You could wake up a noon on Saturday and not feel like you missed out on 5 hours of precious time.
  7. College trips were usually free and you could just skip class and make it up later. Vacations are still worth the money, but I am starting to question if "vacation time" is.
  8. No one cared if your old, crappy, $240-a-month apartment was clean. Standards are definitely raised when you have a nice, grown-up town home to live in.
  9. You could have a little extra fun on a Wednesday night and not care if you would be feeling the repercussions for the next three days. In fact, you didn't feel repercussions at all. If necessary, you could wake up and do it all over again the next morning.
  10. It was completely acceptable to not know what you want to do with your life in college. I'm starting to realized that by almost-24 and married, most assume you have it figured out.
Basically, I'm realizng if you are an over-achiever in college and in high school, you are probably going to be an over-achiever in life. It's not going to stop when you graduate.

So here's my advice: learn to under-achieve. Just kidding...kind of.

{ via }
To all my lucky friends still in college, please live in the moment. Don't wish it away (and let me come re-live it whenever I can); all those crazy people were right. It is four great years of your life. Make it worth remembering.

And for me? I am learning to enjoy an exhausting schedule and getting a little more used to saying "no." It's a powerful word. And, while I might hate myself for sleeping in until 6:45, it was an extra 30 minutes with my husband right? And who was I kidding? Group projects, deadlines and working for free? That stuff never goes away.

And finally, I am definitely not going to wishing away my 20s. Or my happily-married-with-no-kids lifestyle. I am enjoying every second of it while it lasts. :)

Enjoy your Wednesday! Make it worth remembering!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Instagram Is Facebook's Baby

It only cost them $1 billion.
Did you hear the news?

Our favorite social media site is now the progeny of Mark Zuckerberg and it only cost him his arm & his left leg & his right lung. 
{via Tech Crunch}
But let's be serious, to Facebook, a billion dollars is petty cash.

I am a little apprehensive about the purchase, but I am forcing myself to be optimistic because:

1. Facebook promises that they are letting Instagram be it's own great self, and
2. I don't hate Facebook changes as much as the rest of the world (I actually like the new layout). Maybe they can help make Instagram even better?

I doubt it though, because literally, Instagram is a perfect iPhone app in my book. My life would be blah without it.

Here are some of my recent faves:

{it's spring at Carleton College!}
{luckily, Marko already owns that stylish shirt}
{march 16th | hello summer!?}
{winner, winner! look at the trophy!}

What do you think of the purchase? Was it worth 1 billion big ones? Do you think Facebook is going to wreck it? 

And by the way, are you an Instagramer? Send me your username so I can give you a follow! Plus, you can follow me at jamielmay. But be warned, you will get some cow pictures! :)