Wednesday, May 29, 2013

N. Hahn | Senior Photos

Meet Nikki, a childhood friend of mine who asked me to take her senior photos. Let me just tell you, she is beautiful.

Nikki and I had a great day back in August, taking pictures at my dad's house in Cedar Lake, IN. We then moved to downtown Lowell, IN (where I went to high school) and eventually made our way to Buckley Homestead, a county park in Lowell.

I wanted to share with you a few of her photos. Click the image to see it full size.

[gallery columns="4" ids="389,390,391,392,393,394,395" orderby="rand"]

What I also did for Nikki and her family was create her graduation party invitation. Are these classy or what?


If you or someone you know is interested in booking a photo session, please do not hesitate to contact me


Friday, May 24, 2013

Red Dirt Friday, Vol. 7

We've talked a lot about my bucket list. One of the things on there is to lose 20 lbs. This blog is in no way a weight loss blog and I'm not going to bore you with the details of "what I ate today." BLAH. NO.

[caption id="attachment_385" align="alignright" width="300"]Cougar joins me for my walks. She takes the scenic route, chasing bugs, eating grass and more! Cougar joins me for my walks. She takes the scenic route, chasing bugs, eating grass and more![/caption]

But one thing you do need to know about me is that music motivates me. It gets me going and apparently I need a soundtrack to my day. I listen to a little bit of everything, although red dirt reigns supreme. Currently Lil Wayne is playing on my iTunes ... don't tell my red dirt friends.

I possess little to no athletic ability, so I walk for exercise. And because my life needs a soundtrack, I also need a playlist for such an activity.

Here are five of my favorites -

1. Reckless - Aaron Watson
2. Wear My Ring - Bart Crow
3. Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah - Reckless Kelly
4. 7 & 7 - Turnpike Troubadours
5. Tired of Being Along - Wade Bowen

But because exercise should last longer than three songs, I am taking suggestions! What songs should I add to my list?

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bucket List Update

I am blessed.My friends, family and colleagues are all awesome. I thought it was about time for me to reflect on my "Bucket List" or 24 Things I Want to do Before I Turn 24. I have successfully finished two of them and started on two more!

1. Start a garden - boom done. I have flowers all along our house, a few herbs in pots on our picnic table. And a huge water tank full of sunflowers!


[caption id="attachment_380" align="aligncenter" width="300"]My sprouting sunflowers! The rain we got last night did them some good. My sprouting sunflowers! The rain we got last night did them some good.[/caption]

4. Make chocolate oatmeal cake - check. You might remember my post from last week. This cake was delicious and moist and chocolate-y. Yum.

[caption id="attachment_361" align="aligncenter" width="199"]Right before I popped it in the oven. I couldn't resist having a bite or two of the batter. Right before I popped it in the oven. I couldn't resist having a bite or two of the batter.[/caption]

7. Book 5 Photo Sessions. - 2/5 You'll remember my photos with Hudson Duttlinger. This little cutie is going to be on a magazine cover! If you get Seedstock Edge, look for the June issue.

[caption id="attachment_324" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Who could resist this guy? NO ONE. Who could resist this guy? NO ONE.[/caption]

8. Judge a show - booked! I can't cross this one off the list yet, but I did just schedule to judge showmanship at a local county fair! I can't wait to share more after the event in July. I'm so happy to give back to 4-H, after all the organization did for me.

A few of my friends have their own bucket lists, or 101 in 1001. Check out my friend (and past boss) Crystal's on her blog. I am impatient, so I wanted to make a shorter time frame, but maybe after Jan. 26, 2014 - I can commit to a longer list!?

Any suggestions for completing my list?


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Grandma Peters' Chocolate Oatmeal Cake

I've been feeling rather sentimental lately, and that is in no way a bad thing. My grandfather (or Poppy as we called him) had been fighting cancer for the past 3 years, and he passed away on Sunday. Luckily, we got to celebrate his 75th birthday the week before. My Poppy, Dean Peters, was a gem - quick with a joke, a twinkle in his eye and extremely handsome. He loved John Wayne movies, John Deere tractors and Hereford cattle. I feel blessed just to have known the man.

My mom's side of the family has an affinity for food. We make elaborate meals for nearly any occasion...

We always say - "Some people eat to live, but we live to eat."

One of my Poppy's most requested snacks was Grandma Peters' Chocolate Oatmeal Cake. I thought it would only be fitting to make it for us to eat during his wake.

Here's the recipe:

[caption id="attachment_348" align="aligncenter" width="640"]My mom scanned a copy of the original for me to have. I love how weathered and well used it looks! My mom scanned a copy of the original for me to have. I love how weathered and well used it looks![/caption]

Grandma Peters' Chocolate Cake

[caption id="attachment_345" align="aligncenter" width="640"]All the necessary ingredients All the necessary ingredients[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_353" align="alignright" width="300"]Oatmeal and water first. Oatmeal and water first.[/caption]
Mix together and let cool -
1 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c boiling water

1/2 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1 t. soda
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt

[caption id="attachment_354" align="alignleft" width="300"]All into the pool, as Guy Fieri would say! All into the pool, as Guy Fieri would say![/caption]

Cream together shortening, eggs and sugar. Add vanilla. Sift together flour, cocoa, soda and salt. Blend into creamed mixture.

Add oatmeal at the very last.

Pour into a greased and floured (if you're smart, you'll use cocoa instead of flour) 9x13" cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The finished product will look like this!

[caption id="attachment_369" align="aligncenter" width="640"]It's a really dense cake, and the oatmeal will make it super moist and yummy. It's a really dense cake, and the oatmeal will make it super moist and yummy.[/caption]

If you know what's good, you won't be like me and wait to take a picture after it's half-eaten. But it is so yummy. I promise you will love it. Sometimes, we frost the cake as well with brown sugar frosting (heat 1/4 c. butter, 1/4 c. brown sugar on the stove to make a caramel. Then add enough powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla to make a thick frosting). I'm not much into frostings, so I don't know for sure, but that's what my mom said and I trust her.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

[caption id="attachment_347" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Cougar had to help me in the kitchen as well. Cougar had to help me in the kitchen as well.[/caption]

Monday, May 13, 2013

H Duttlinger | 18 month Photos

My friends Ashlee and Eric asked me to take their little boy's 18 month photos. Simply put, I was ecstatic! Hudson and I go way back, and his arrival was anticipated by everyone.

I think he is darling, and I hope you agree! We fought a little bit of rain and a few tears, but a green tractor and two pigs  made an appearance during the shoot last week.

[caption id="attachment_323" align="alignleft" width="384"]RKK_HDuttlinger_1 copy The Duttlinger family raises show hogs, and Hudson will start showing his own pigs soon enough![/caption]

I've known H's parents for years. Eric and his brother Alan were a few years older than me in 4-H. (That's how Ashlee and Eric met too!) Alan was also the only person I knew in Kansas when I began my career at K-State! Ashlee is my hairdresser, and she is awesome! She works at Trace's Salon in Valparaiso and does fabulous work. Okay, I'm done bragging on my friends.

But, I had so much fun shooting and editing these photos of Hudson. I am also excited to officially announce that one of them will be used as the cover shot for the upcoming June issue of Seedstock Edge!

Seedstock Edge is the official publication of the National Swine Registry, based in W. Lafayette, Ind. and this issue will be sent to over 12,000 people according to their website. I can't wait to share the finished product with all of you. Thanks to Katie Maupin, the director of marketing and communications at NSR, who saw my sneak peek of the photos on Twitter! See people, the power of social media is awesome!

[gallery columns="4" ids="337,336,335,333,332,331,330,329,328,327,326,325,324,323" orderby="rand"]

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thank You, No Thank You

Handwritten notes are the best way to make my day. There's been some controversy recently about what makes a note, specifically a thank you note - "worthwhile."

[caption id="attachment_315" align="alignright" width="300"]2013-05-09 13.05.42 Deanna (Patterson) Lanier wins the award for cutest friend today! Got this in my mailbox this morning.[/caption]

In my opinion (and that's what this is), I think the most sincere and thoughtful way to tell me you're thinking of me is to send a card. [I do accept phone calls and text messages too :)]

This wasn't something necessarily instilled in me. Yes, I sent them growing up, and was taught all kinds of manners (Thanks Mom & Dad) ... but I just love when someone takes the time and the 46 cents to send me a card.

When I was in college, a older woman from my church, Maxine Lea, started sending me encouraging notes. We had never been particularly close, but I do remember her giving great hugs. My favorite part was that she didn't have to send these cards. No social protocol told her she had to ... She just truly liked me, and wanted to send happy thoughts and prayers my way. She also always included $2 bills, and I've kept them all, along with the cards. I pull them out often when I need a little bit of encouragement or peace. Maxine died my sophomore year, and I missed my chance to thank her in person. But I always sent cards back, along with my own little tokens from college life. When I see her one day, I'll be sure to thank her then.

[caption id="attachment_316" align="aligncenter" width="512"]Just a few of Maxine's notes. I keep them in a special place. Just a few of Maxine's notes. I keep them in a special place.[/caption]

So, what Maxine taught me is that personal touches do matter. I've started sending notes and small gifts of my own to the people who have really made a difference in my life. One of them is my Great Aunt Mary, who lives in Crystal River, Fla. But I send them to everyone bosses, teammates, people who volunteered to help with class projects, people I miss, people I love - you get the point. If they make a card for that ... I'll probably send it.

[caption id="attachment_317" align="alignleft" width="269"]2013-05-09 13.36.59 Some of my collection. I get some of the best ones at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.[/caption]

Here's my 3 rules for sending cards -

  1. Handwritten - always. There's nothing personal about 12 pt. Times New Roman.

  2. Include something "personal" - What you did with the gift, how it will help, why you miss the person, etc. A "Thanks for the gift. It'll come in handy. Sincerely, John Doe" IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

  3. Buy good cardstock or paper. This one isn't as big of an offense in my book, as some people just aren't as "stylish" in their card choices as I am. But I am always on the look out for different kinds of cards - cute, professional, big, small, traditional, girly. Seriously ... all kinds. My collection is a little bit out of hand.

I know there's never enough time in a day. But I think that's why cards mean so much to me. If you are willing to take 10 minutes out of your day for me, I am both impressed and inspired.

What do you think about notes and thank yous? Are they still valuable in today's society?

Until next time,


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Big Job

While talking with a friend recently, I realized I write for four blogs. I spend a good portion of my week writing, planning and thinking about blogging. Not what I thought I'd always be doing...

[caption id="attachment_309" align="alignright" width="300"]IMG_2394 One of the photos I took for the Royal Results blog during the 2011 American Royal[/caption]

For those of you that knew me in college, I hated writing. (Yes, I was a student in agricultural communications and journalism.) But, I gained some valuable experience blogging as a media intern for 2011 The American Royal and again with Sure Champ as the public relations intern in 2012.

I always knew I wanted my own blog, as a way to share my life with my friends now scattered across the country. BUT, realistically that wasn't going to happen until after graduation. I was too involved and too stressed out to give a blog the attention it deserves.

So, I started the Bring it on Home Blog in Jan. 2013 and have putting a fair amount of time and effort into it. Thank you to all of my readers and those that comment - I love hearing that you read my blog and something made you laugh or think of something we did together.

[caption id="attachment_310" align="alignleft" width="300"]IMG_0700 I blog to keep up with these ladies, Rachel on the left lives in Missouri and Jara in the middle is currently in law school in Topeka, Kan.[/caption]

What some of you might not know is that I have a few other blogging gigs. First being with my full-time job with Focus Marketing Group. I am our social media manager, so I write 2-3 blogs a week over there, post daily to Facebook and tweet from our account @gotfocus_co. Thankfully, I use a few different tools to schedule these posts to go on throughout the day, and I'm not spending all of my working hours on social media. (Although to some of you, it might seem like it.)

I also moderate a discussion group for BeckAgConnects, a sort of social media site for farmers and ag professionals looking to expand their knowledge. My discussion group is called "Email, Texting, Tweeting ... Oh My!" and I write twice a week about new technology and how to use it in your operation. If you are interested in agriculture and learning more about all aspects, I recommend you look into BeckAgConnects. Beck Ag is a super cool, progressive company, which I was fortunate to learn about during a career fair at Kansas State University. They have been an awesome group to work with!

The final group I blog for is the Kansas Beef Council and their Kansas Beef Chat blog. I responded to their call out for student bloggers through the Kansas State Collegiate Cattlewomen, an organization I was involved in during my college career. I write a post for them about every 6 weeks, and try to give a "human perspective" to the beef industry and use my experiences to make the farmer/beef producer more attainable and personable.  Check out my latest post, "Beef & Horse Racing" about how to incorporate beef into your Kentucky Derby parties and wearing big hats. I like both of those things.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 10.17.05 AM

Blogging is a fun way to write, you get to write the way you speak and put your personality in your writing. So, while I used to hate writing ... I now find it as a way to express myself, occasionally air my grievances and keep up with my buddies.

If you enjoy the Bring it on Home Blog, I invite you to follow my other blogs as well, especially if you're interested in agriculture and/or technology.

Are there any topics you'd like me to cover on this blog? I enjoy feedback and I'd like to give the people what they want!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Red Dirt Friday, Vol. 6

In today's Red Dirt Friday post, I'd like to talk about the newest album from the Randy Rogers Band, "Trouble."

Screen shot 2013-05-03 at 11.00.57 AMI've been anticipating this album ever since they released the title track last fall, and it was finally released on Tuesday!

Trouble is a great song, that tells of all the shenanigans a band can get into on the road. [And believe me, the Randy Rogers Band has hit the circuit hard.] BUT - what makes it really cool is that it features Willie Nelson. Homeboy loves Willie Nelson, and I do too! We even have his picture hanging on our wall...

I've been listening to the record non-stop. There's truly something soothing about Randy's voice. How many of you agree?

If you haven't bought the album for yourself - go do it! It's only $9.99 on iTunes, and is currently sitting at #6 of the top albums of the week! Congrats to RRB!

So, here's to a happy Friday! Listen to "Trouble" by Randy Rogers Band feat. Willie Nelson.

I'm traveling to Augusta, Mo. to hang out with my college roomie, Rachel. You bet your bottom dollar that RRB will be playing on the 5 hour drive!

How will you be spending your weekend?


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Version of a Bucket List

Last week, I talked about a list I made in 2010 of things I wanted to do before I graduated college. [To view the post, click here.] I then promised to make a new list, a sort-of bucket list if you will, to share with you.

I love lists and literally cannot function without them. I am square.

So, without further ado (sorry for the subcategories, can't help myself) -

24 Things I Want to do Before I turn 24

Domestic Things
1. Start a garden
2. Go 1 month without shopping (food and healthcare items excluded)
3. Craft with my old 4-H ribbons
4. Make chocolate oatmeal cake
5. Put all of my CDs onto my iTunes account

[caption id="attachment_297" align="alignleft" width="234"]robinlogo my logo[/caption]

Career Things
6. Fix my rkkcommunications website
7. Book 5 human photo sessions (not family)
8. Judge a show
9. Enter a photo contest

Good Citizen Things
10.Help out a 4-H or FFA judging team
11. Get a library card

Family Things
12. Take Cougar to a dog park
13. Ride in the tractor with my Dad, just like 6 year old Robin did
14. Teach Cougar how to play dead
15. Introduce my family to Nick's

[caption id="attachment_298" align="alignright" width="300"]My fellow Sure Champ interns and me at a baseball game in St. Joseph, Mo. My fellow Sure Champ interns and me at a baseball game in St. Joseph, Mo.[/caption]

Traveling Things
16. See Stoney LaRue (carryover from my college list)
17. Go fishing
18. Visit Joe in Stillwater, Okla.
19. Return to Manhattan, Kan.
20. Go to a baseball game

Personal Things
21. Read 3 non-fiction books
22. Lose 20 lbs.
23. Buy a new laptop
24. Watch The Hatfields & McCoys

I really tried to look for attainable, but challenging goals! I have to admit, coming up with 24 things was hard, so thanks to my friends for helping and inspiring me.

Do you have your own bucket list? Did I miss something important on mine?

Until next time,