Friday, August 1, 2014

Red Dirt Friday, Vol. 16

This blog post is a long time coming ....

In fact, it's about three weeks in the making.

image courtesy of the Windy City Smokeout Facebook page
Today, I'm FINALLY talking about the Windy City Smokeout - a concert and BBQ fest in "the city" ... aka Chicago. My friend Rachael and I bought these tickets back in MARCH, and I could hardly contain my excitement. Rachael and I have been friends for 12+ years, at least. Probably because we both love [good] music and [good] food.

You may remember her family (husband Eric and son Huck) ... they're frequent highlights on this blog.

Boyfriend and I went up to the city to meet our friends, with our dog in tow. Cougar got to hang out with her Uncle Mark (Boyfriend's brother), while we attended the concert and ate our weight in BBQ.

I think next year, (assuming the music acts are as soon), I'd like to make a whole weekend out of it!

We decided to get VIP tickets, for only $100/each, we got primo seating unlimited BBQ samples, private bathrooms and a super speedy (also) private bar.

The Redd's Apple Ale was delicious, as always...

Besides the food and company, the music was divine and the company didn't suck.

Serious pictures were not going to happen. But I like him anyway.
You all know how I feel about red dirt music (obviously), and Saturday one of my absolute favorites was playing - RANDY ROGERS BAND! [You may remember this post about RRB.] Josh Abbott Band & Kevin Fowler also played and I sang along to every single song.

We were pretty close to my boy Randy :)
I mentioned before that we really like food. And because we didn't get enough BBQ (jokes), we decided to leave a little early to make it to XOCO, Rick Bayless' fast Mexican restaurant, in order to get churros. I snapped this picture of Kevin Fowler as we were leaving.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blueberry Picking

My friends and I are always looking for wallet-friendly entertainment. I met up with my two friends from high school, Rachel & Kim, this past week. In addition to our spending limits ... we're not wild, crazy party people and we wanted a central location to meet up. Where I live is about an hour south of where Rachel lives. There's not too much entertainment wise in between.

Welcome to Indiana, right?

So, this week we decided to go blueberry picking in DeMotte, Ind., a nearby town. Partially because we had never gone, partially because we like blueberries and partially because we're always up for an adventure!

We chose Eenignburg's Berry Farm, and even though a few mosquitoes were a bit pesky - we had a great time! And perfect weather, sunny and 75ish :)

Check out their website or Facebook page for more info.

Rachel modeling her bucket!
The people at Eenignburg's have got a system down pat. 

You can bring your own containers, or use their handy buckets outfitted with ropes to tie around your waist. They'll weigh the container and then they lead you to a row of bushes and show you the most effective way to get the berries. Then, you're off! It took us about 45 minutes or so to get all the fruit we wanted. Then we returned to the stand, weighed our harvest and paid. They even included a few recipes with great tips for using the blueberries!

For about $20, we got a little more than 10 lbs. of blueberries to take home and share with our families.

I've got my berries home and washed them real quick. Some of them have been bagged and placed in the freezer ... handy to take out when you're CRAVING blueberry muffins in the winter. (Do other people get cravings like me?)

I've also made a double batch of blueberry muffins to share and am planning on making myself blueberry pancakes this weekend as well.

There's lots of tart, delicious berries in here!
I'm curious about what other cost-friendly activities you do with your friends? I think we're going to try hiking, going to the beach at Lake Michigan and maybe apple picking later this year.

Regardless of what we do, it's always great to meet up with old friends and catch up. Rachel is a teacher and Kim just finished pharmacy school and will be moving to Washington state in a few weeks. WOW! When did we grow up?

Look at us, all American and stuff! L to R - Rachel, Kim and Me

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I am a do-er. I go to bed thinking of all that needs to be done tomorrow, and I wake up thinking of how I'm going to get it all done. [As a side note, I really dislike procrastination ... ]

In a small way, I'm a little bit of a daydreamer. I daydream about being productive and crossing things off my to do list. You may remember a previous post about being a morning person here - Recipe for Early Morning Productivity.

But then, I have this sort of inner struggle --- where's the divide between productivity and personal time?

As part of my job, I manage the Pinterest account for Focus Marketing Group, and one of my favorite boards is this one - Quotes to Make You Feel Good.

(As like any girl) I really enjoy collecting quotes. Sometimes you just find one that speaks to you and your mood.

But I find myself divided and looking for balance --

Do I want to be the driven, hard working individual?

Image courtesy of

 Or do I want to the person who savors downtime and embraces it?

Image courtesy of Beyond Blessed

I'm not saying there's a right or a wrong way to live. And I'm certainly not saying I've got it figured out. I'm just wondering if other people feel the same way? Does finding this balance ever get easier?

I'm filled with questions today, but such is life. I'm excited to see where life leads me, and maybe finding a balance between ultra-focused and ultra-relaxed will come easier.

Please leave your comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Red Dirt Friday, Vol. 15

Back when CDs were cool, I was the queen of the mix CD. I spent hours every summer creating new mixes to play in the barn while my brother and I were working cattle. I had creative names, like "WC YA HEARD!" --- because we were headed to the Will County Fair. [I cringe at the lack of creativity now.]

The Kleines were famous for loud, potentially offensive music at these shows. On more than one occasion we were asked to turn down the music and change the song. Growing up in NW Indiana, we thought we were pretty gangster. Actually, Joe still does...

My obsession with iTunes had just started, but ripping off music from the library was my preferred method of getting my favorite "old" songs. I would hear a song like "The Sign," by Ace of Base. I would make a list and head to the CD collection at the library taking approximately 10 CDs home, just to add them to our growing music collection. These days, my computer doesn't even have a disk drive.

But, to celebrate summer, sweet sweet summer ... I thought I'd throw it back a little. I've created a list of 5 songs that I would definitely put on my summer barn mix (if I could.)

1. Novocaine by Sean McConnell. Catchy lyrics, and a nerdy looking dude with glasses and a smokin' voice ... I'm in.

2. Your Last Broken Heart - Eli Young Band. Their newest album, 10,000 Towns is really good. Die hard fans and those that just liked "Even if it Breaks Your Heart" will agree.

3. Change Is - Ryan Bingham. Sexy, gravelly awesomeness. [Excuse the f-bomb drop in the song. The words alone are worth it.]

4. Sealed with a Kiss - Kimberly Dunn. Homegirl can sing! I love hearing a female voice on Red Dirt radio.

5. Set Me Free - Reckless Kelly. Ahh, the voice of a Braun brother. There's nothing better. Also, apparently, this video is for an outdoors company, so enjoy the view!

This is a solid mix of old and new. In a past life, I must have been a DJ.

Also - if you know what's good for you ... download the Homemade Tamales - Live from Floores album from Randy Rogers Band. Live albums are my FAVORITE.

But, I want to know ... what songs are on your summer playlist? 

I'm always looking to add new music to my collection -- you never know when I might want to make a mix CD again :)


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

... And We're In!

We've officially spent more than a week in our new home. I can sum up the moving process in two little words --

It. Sucks.

How do two people and a dog accumulate so much stuff? That's what I want to know.

Most of it has made it into our humble abode ... but a few key items have not.

The walls are actually a shade of "Robin's Egg" Blue.
LIKE OUR BED. Apparently full size beds do not fit up our stairs?? So we have a box spring in our kitchen. Not cool. This little problem will need to be solved via a tractor and loader. We are also hillbillies.

AND OUR WASHER / DRYER. The move kept getting moved back because of the plumber. As of this week it's officially done and now we just need to get those bad boys over here.

There's still boxes everywhere!

The only room that is mostly together is my office (a necessity for working at home).

We also got a gas stove and it's wonderful ... but I am having a hard time adjusting. We've had a few burnt meals. Whoops!

That's what's happening in my life. I apologize for the crappy iPhone photos. I promise there will be more to come with that high dollar machine I usually wield, a Canon.

Despite all the complaining above, I really do like the new place! We certainly have more room and it's exciting [and scary] to be in control of all the decisions regarding our house.

I like the place, even if the dining room looks something like this ...

Tell me moving experts, what advice do you have for getting everything in place in a timely manner?

Until next time,

Friday, May 16, 2014

My life in Images

Like many people my age, I am documenting my life in pictures (and occasionally the written word on this blog).

Here's a little bit about what's happening -

1. I have a bottle calf - Orphan Annie. Annie's mom died a week ago, and now I'm her "mom." I feed her twice a day and give her hugs and pets on the head. I love her.

2. We are moving this weekend / early next week! So much crap to do yet.

Floors are done! Now to put stuff on them ...

3.Cougar is still perfect. She likes to "help" by eating sticks, running around in circles and then sitting on your feet. I love her too.

I want to write more in-depth posts about each of these pictures, so stay tuned. But boxes don't pack themselves, videos don't edit themselves and websites don't update themselves. DANGGG.

Any moving advice?

Until next time,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bucket List, Progress?

You may remember a post from earlier this year, where I posted 25 Things I Want to Do Before I Turn 25. Well, buying a house wasn't on the list, so the bucket list has taken a bit of a back seat.

Regardless, here's an update ... on the list and on my life. 


Cougar Fleming on our "hike." Notice the muddy paws.
Domestic Things
1. Go on a spending freeze. [Go 1 month w/o shopping (food and healthcare items excluded)]
2. Craft with my old 4-H ribbons [I've been collecting ideas on Pinterest at least]
3. Put all of my CDs onto my iTunes account
4. Make a budget [and stick to it for at least 2 months!]
5. Volunteer to babysit for one of our friends. I need to get over my fear of children

Career Things
6. Fix my rkkcommunications website
7. Book 12 photo sessions [not being picky - livestock or human] - 3 in April
8. Blog at 4 times/month for 6 months

Good Citizen Things
9. Help out a 4-H or FFA judging team
10. Donate clothes two times [once in the spring and again in the fall] - 1/2
11. Shop for a church in or around Rensselaer.

Family Things
12. Take Cougar to a dog park - took her to Stoney Run on 4/26
13. Teach Cougar a new trick
14. Host a family event
15. Take more pictures, not on my iPhone

I've also been making a conscious effort to take more photos. These pasture pics were fun!

Traveling Things
16. See Stoney LaRue (carryover from my college list)
17. Go fishing
18. Visit Joe in Stillwater, Okla.
19. Have a girls only weekend, not in one of our current zip codes
20. Go to a baseball game

Personal Things
21. Make 3 recipes from Saveur, a magazine subscription I bought in 2014.
22. Lose 20 lbs.
23. Buy a new camera.
24. Watch The Godfather movies. These are apparently classics I am missing in my life?
25. Get Nick to eat Chinese food at least once. His hatred of rice is ridiculous in my eyes.


Obviously, I'm just getting started on this list. I hope to revisit it soon, once we get moved it'll be considerably easier :)

I am looking for any and all suggestions on how to make these things happen. Thanks for baring with me folks!