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Passion for Chaos – Taking Time to Heal
June 1, 2023
Years ago, a friend of mine told me that I have a passion for chaos, and times like these remind me exactly why. Good thing I can operate well under pressure because in the last few weeks I was diagnosed with cholecystitis, completely out of the blue and underwent a cholecystectomy. In lay persons terms, I had to have my gallbladder removed!
In typical chaotic fashion, I found out that I am of the (un)lucky 12% of women that suffer from post-partum gall stones. To quote the ultrasound tech, I had enough gall stones to make a bracelet. I had no idea that post-partum gall stones were even a thing but low and behold, they are, and since going through this I’ve learned that several women I know personally have dealt with the same thing.
So, this past Friday I went in for surgery. It was out-patient, quick and simple, and shockingly the hospital was operating ahead of schedule, so I was back home by about 3pm.
I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful support system, so my family and friends that help me in the barn have helped me keep the chaos at bay while I spend a little time to heal. Thankfully I am feeling really good already, but with a 20-pound weight restriction I am feeling a little stir crazy both in the barn and at home with the kids.
I have been reminding myself that giving myself the time to heal properly is important, and that I don’t want to doom myself for chronic pain or other issues later on. Luckily a couple appraisals in the que have been keeping my mind busy, and I know by the end of next week all be back to all of my regular activities.
Take this as a sign to take care of your health! Without your health, nothing else on your to-do list is possible.
Thanks for being here!
Baby Registry Necessities for Every New Mama
May 25, 2023
This past Sunday I went to a good friend’s baby shower – it was so fun watching a soon to be mama get everything they need to welcome their bundle of joy into the world. I genuinely love baby showers, probably because I just love babies.
Naturally, attending baby showers causes me to reflect on my own shower before my daughter was born in 2021. So much fun and fond memories to think back on, and now as an experienced (kinda lol) mama of infants and toddlers I have a better idea of what shower gifts we got real use out of, and which we could have done without.
One thing that is common now that I do wish that we did was a diaper raffle! Such a cute, clever and fun way to stock up before the baby arrives. They just did this at the shower I attended last weekend and I am sure that they won’t have to buy a diaper until that baby is a year old or more. Anything you can do to prepare the better, and I just love this idea!
As far as other gifts go, I do not think that clothes need to be on your registry for two reasons. For one, you are going to want to dress your baby in your own style – I for one am not a fan of characters. I don’t like to put my kids in clothes with Mickey Mouse or other cartoon characters – I know they are cute and I don’t have anything against a mama that does, but it just personally isn’t my style. Secondly, whether you register for clothes or not, people are still going to give you clothes! I don’t think I registered for a single piece of clothing (except maybe footie pajamas) and my kids might literally have enough clothing to dress an entire army of children. People will give you clothes the minute they find out you’re pregnant, they will give you clothes at your shower, and they will give you clothes when the baby is born – it is amazing and generous, but you are absolutely NOT going to need to ask for even more clothes. In my opinion you also don’t need things like special laundry detergent, white noise machines, or bottle sterilizers.
Now for the things you should put on your registry… this list is a handful of what I found absolutely necessary, but truly if there anything that you think you’ll want, throw it on there! Worst thing that happens is that no one buys it, and you can purchase it for yourself after your shower.
- Wearable Breast Pump– I will die on this hill—wearable breast pumps are an absolute necessity. If you plan on being a mama that pumps, you NEED a wearable breast pump. Freeing up your hands to help your baby, get some chores done, or work was an absolute live saver for me with both babies.
- Swaddles and Sleep Sacks—You are going to want to make it a priority to figure out what works best to help your baby sleep! Our daughter slept well in a swaddle, but our son preferred the sleep sack. I’m no expert but take it from someone who has two kids that have slept through the night since 6 weeks old. Find what works for them and run with it.
- Different Types of Pacifiers—Register for a couple different kinds of binkys! Believe it or not, all binkys were not created equal and somehow a 5-pound little baby will already have an opinion about which kinds are best. Our son has never been a binky kid but our daughter liked these Tommee Tippee ones the best.
- Parent’s Choice Bottles and Nipples – These are the cheapest bottles and nipples that money can buy but they have been the absolute best ones we’ve tried. The nipples don’t wear out or rip, the bottles are dishwasher safe, and they have great airflow to prevent colic. There is literally no need to waste money on the expensive bottles—we tried several of them and they are either impossible to clean, or the nipples wear out in a month. Do yourself a favor and stick to simplicity!
- Parent’s Choice Sippy Cups – Everything I just said about the Parent’s Choice Bottles, ditto for the Sippy Cups. Keep it simple and save yourself both the money and the headache.
- Bassinet – We have a bedside sleeper style and I truly love it. Our babies slept in the room with for 4-5 months and we really love our bassinet and I definitely highly recommend.
- Crib and Crib Mattress – We have found that we love our crib with an attached changing table. We know it isn’t for everyone and that it doesn’t necessarily work in every nursery but we still use the changing table to dress our daughter and she will be two in July. Definitely super handy! As far as a crib mattress goes, we have learned that waterproof ones are best. You’ll save yourself the added laundry of a mattress cover, and remember simplicity is going to be your friend!
- Dresser or Wardrobe—We didn’t have any baby furniture, so we were really glad that we added a wardrobe to our registry! It will give you somewhere to put away all of the other clothes and gifts you’ll receive.
- Formula—Now this is something that we did not think to add to our registry, however I now think that it is something smart to add. It is a good thing to have, just in case, even if you have intentions of breast feeding. If you realize you don’t need it, you can always donate it before it expires, but it is better to have and not need than need and not have.
- High Chair and Booster Seat—Or even better, one that is convertible to both. Eating meals together as a family is important to us so our kids have been learning from a young age how to sit at the table for mealtime.
- Sheets and Mattress Covers – Nothing fancy but of course necessary.
- Strollers—Knowing that we wanted to have more kids, we put both single and double strollers on our registry and we are so glad that we did. I love our Sit N’ Stand now that our son is big enough for the stroller too.
- Car Seat- Remember your baby will inevitably become a toddler! Register for both infant and toddler car seats.
- Wipes, wipes, wipes, wipes, and did I say wipes? You will never have enough wipes.
- Toys, teethers, saucers and everything in between. Remember, your baby will become a toddler whether you want them to or not, so register for toys beyond infancy!
- Soaps, Shampoos and Lotions- Our favorite is Johnsons Bedtime!
- Pack and Play- We have a Baby Trend and a Baby Bjorn and we honestly get so much use out of them, especially when babies are just learning to toddle! The Baby Bjorn is super light so that’s the one we travel with when we need to.
- One thing that we never really thought about but got so much use out of is play mats! We’ve already gone through a couple of them because dogs, but they are 100% necessary if you don’t have carpet in your play areas. I personally prefer the ones that are all once piece over the ones that puzzle piece together.
- We might just be old school, but we love having a rocking chair in the nursery! In our eyes a rocking chair is a must have!
- Lastly, you’ll need a bath for your little one! We like the kinds that adapt as your baby grows—the less things you have to store the better.
There is so much more where that came from, but these items should absolutely be among the first that you add to your registry. There might be some things that you’d like to purchase for yourself, so don’t feel shy about adding gift cards to your registry too.
In my experience your friends and family will be super generous when it comes to welcoming your new bundle of joy, so leave no stone uncovered when it comes to your baby registry.
And hey, if you’re reading this because you’re expecting, congrats! I’m so happy for you – the best is yet to come.
Thanks for being here!
Is Higher Education Really “Higher” for Aspiring Entrepreneurs?
May 8, 2023
I have recently done a lot of reflecting about my degree and the value that it has added to my life. My alma mater, Cazenovia College will close its doors permanently this month and I can’t help but feel like all of a sudden, my degree holds less value. Factor in the certificate courses and independent classes I’ve taken since graduating, and I am wondering even more so if what I learned in my degree program was worth obtaining at all as a self-employed equestrian businesswoman.
The short answer is yes. I do think that higher education really is higher, but not necessarily for the reasons you would expect, and I don’t think everyone gets the same amount of value. My degree is most valuable to me because of the people that I met and made relationships with while in school. I left Cazenovia College with some pretty magnificent role models who to this day I find incredible and inspiring. This year I am seven years out of college, and I am now also inspired by many of my fellow students; so many of them are doing great things and I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with several of them professionally in the last few years. These relationships have true value that you won’t find anywhere else but a degree program.
My specific degree is a BPS in business management with a specialization in equine business management. While I was in school, I learned SO much about disciplines I didn’t grow up around, and as far as the equine curriculum went, I found the most value in the nutrition and health aspects of what was available to us, where on the business side I look back and value what I learned about debate, communication, and economics.
So, now you’re probably wondering where I am going with this—clearly there is value to a college education. Where I have been struggling is more around the idea of a traditional college experience. Even while I was in school, I struggled with the fact that we had a lot of tedious classes and assignments where I felt there could have been work that would’ve been more valuable to us.
I left college without being able to file my own taxes correctly as a small business owner. This was my first “what the heck” moment—I kept thinking “Why don’t I know this? I have a degree in business for darn sake!”.
Since graduating I’ve taken marketing classes that offered real world application for small business because the textbook marketing classes I took in college that applied to corporate business showed to have little to no relevance to me as a young entrepreneur. BUT what really got me about this, is that I was able to take these classes and learn these principles for FREE or very little money through various schools, websites and platforms. Why did I pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars to take classes that did not help me post-graduation—especially since I knew going into school that I had entrepreneurial aspirations.
I think that it is necessary to mention that we should always be learning—I’m not condemning having to continue my education post-graduation. However, for the cost of higher education, I sure do think that there should have been more curriculum surrounding entrepreneurship—generally I truly felt like my degree program tried to steer us away from owning a small business.
Maybe I didn’t pick the program that was best for me—I’m willing to chalk that up as a possibility. Maybe I should have taken some online classes that tailored to me exactly what I wanted to learn, and maybe I should have pursued apprenticeships that directly applied to my goals. I don’t think these options are talked about enough to high schoolers—I was in high school in a time where everyone was expected to enroll in college programs, especially people like me who were very academic.
Is higher education higher? Yes. BUT I don’t think higher education needs to mean enrolling in a traditional degree program. Becoming an apprentice is higher education. Becoming an intern is higher education. Picking and choosing specific online (or in person) classes are higher education. Literally anything you choose to do to help you better yourself and become more educated is higher education.
I just want kids to remember that just because you picked a school and a major or two, does not mean that you will learn everything you need to know. I want kids to know that there are options that will not get you into a ton of debt, and I want kids to know that picking a non-traditional post-secondary education isn’t taboo.
I do think degree programs are the right options for a lot of kids, and I do think they hold true value. Would I have made some different decisions if I realized just how much was available out there? I might have. Where I am now in life, I am happy to have the degree and experiences that I have, and I don’t want to deter anyone from pursuing a traditional post-secondary education if that is what they truly want, but I do hope trends swing the other way, and kids realize they don’t need to take on five or six figures of debt just to have a successful career.
Thanks for being here!
Mother’s Day Gift Guide for the Moms Like Me
May 4, 2023
Mother’s Day is about a week and a half away, so if you still haven’t gotten your mom a little something this is the list for you! Most of this is right on Amazon—Prime shipping will come in handy for all you procrastinators (hehe me included).
If your mom (or wife or girlfriend) is like me she doesn’t want you to go out and spend lots of money for Mother’s Day. Just a little something that they need or have been keeping in their “saved for later” will suffice. If your mom is like me she loves horses and dogs, drinks a little too much coffee, and likes to enjoy a glass of wine a couple nights a week. Maybe she’s practical, likes simple jewelry, and is a sucker for the perfect to go cup. If this sounds like your mom or wife, this is the list for you!
The most important thing to me on Mother’s Day will be spending time with my family, but these are some gift ideas for moms in my demographic! By no means am I saying to go out and buy all of these things, but maybe one or two might be great idea for the mama in your life.
- Cold Brew Maker Jar – Like the true coffee addict that I am, I have been eyeing up this little contraption! Usually I just make coffee and put it in jars in the fridge to make iced coffee but with this I can make the cold brew and store it in the same cute container. A must for a coffee lover!
- Reusable Boba Teacups – I don’t drink boba but hear me out. Iced Coffee. Enough said.
- Ariat Women’s Ignite Waterproof Sneaker – These are something that I’ve been eyeing for myself but since I don’t NEED them I’ve never pulled the trigger. All of us horse people are Ariat lover’s and someone like me might like the options that aren’t crazy colors and patterns.
- Sideways Initial Necklace– For those of us that aren’t big jewelry people! This necklace is dainty but can still be customized with our babies’ initials. Definitely a Mother’s Day must have!
- Personalized Birth Month Flower Ring– Another subtle jewelry option! I like the idea of birthstone jewelry but I’m not personally a fan of jewelry with color (unless its turquoise of course). I saw an ad for these rings months ago and I think it is such a pretty idea—who knew we all even had designated flowers for our birth months? So fun!
- Tiny Horseshoe Stud Earrings– The final option for someone that insists on purchasing jewelry! These are simple, cute and dainty and won’t get in the way of being a mom or working on the farm. I always like horseshoes for the obvious horse connotation, but also for the symbolism for good luck.
- Kodak Instant Photo Printer– Us Mom’s like pictures. Pictures on our phones, pictures on social media, and pictures to hang on the wall. Any Mom on earth would want this whether they’re anything like me or not!
- Large Metal Claw Clip– These may seem both simple and random but as a mom to two under two, claw clips have become a lifesaver. For one, I can never keep track of these things, and two, I am perpetually on the hunt for ones that are durable and strong. There are an unlimited number of sticky situations that come with parenting and sometimes you’ve just got to throw your hair up fast. These are next up in my claw clip cue, and I’m thinking some other Mom’s might want to give them a try too.
- Horse Key Accessory– Don’t forget that us equestrians are Mom’s to more than our human babies! These are a cute little accessory to acknowledge that our horses are important to us too.
- Dark Horse Wine– I am a sucker for fun labels and being the horse person that I am, I will pick up Dark Horse Wine anytime I see it in the store. By no means am I a sommelier, nor am I well educated on fine wine, but this wine is inexpensive, yummy, AND has a horse on the bottle. Pick up what your mom drinks or grab her one of each!
After perusing this list, I hope you have lots of ideas for the horse loving, coffee appreciating, family fanatic Mama in your life! As a mom of littles, and a daughter and daughter-in-law to two amazing women, Mother’s Day is more special than ever and hopefully this gift guide helped spread the love!
Thanks for being here!
Because of Horses, My Kids Will Be…
April 25, 2023
If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me “wow, you must be busy” I think I’d be able to retire tomorrow at the ripe age of 28. Whether I have my kids with me when I’m stocking up at the feed store, or share a photo of them with me on the farm, people just seem shocked that I gladly work my kids into my agricultural lifestyle. My husband and I are determined to teach our kids about hard work and having a work ethic, and I truly believe that a lot of this will be learned through spending time with the horses.
My kids will be selfless. Caring for animals means making their needs a priority. Come hell or high water, every single day the horses (and dogs) need quality care. They will watch me care for our animals and often be asked to help even on days when no one feels like being in the barn.
My kids will be strong. They will carry buckets and hay and probably walk more fence lines than they’d like to. If they ride, they’ll have fit little bodies; strong cores, toned legs and arms, and great coordination. Gym class will be a breeze and someday they’ll be able to happily lend a hand and shovel a driveway for an elderly neighbor.
My kids will be gentle. By being around horses they’ll learn how truly subtle communication can be. The swish of a tail or twitch of an ear—they’ll understand no words ever need to be spoken to have an entire conversation. They’ll learn that there is no use arguing with a thousand-pound animal, and that they won’t ever need to argue so long as they communicate calmly, clearly, and confidently.
My kids will be determined. They will learn that sometimes patience is the only answer. Try and try again, and eventually you’ll get it. I might just have to buy a rotten little pony that is impossible to catch, just so they learn the feeling of excitement and relief when they finally out smart and befriend them. Setting a goal and achieving it, even when they’re frustrated. If they’re anything like me they’ll work like a dog so they can afford the things that mom and dad wont foot the bill for.
My kids will be smart. They will learn so much beyond their education in school. They’ll witness life and death and everything in between. Having horses will teach them time management, money management and how to handle their emotions. They will learn that most of the time, hard work is the solution to any problem, and they’ll learn that if they fail, sometimes there is no one to blame but themselves.
My kids will be resilient. Having horses will teach them that sometimes things just don’t go right. In enough time, horses will get old, hurt, sick, and eventually pass away. They will learn to grieve their losses and then bounce back and move on. If they horse show, they will learn to keep training, even if they came in dead last, and they’ll learn the work isn’t over when the horse show is.
My kids will be confident. My kids will have no choice but to be confident in who they are and what they’re interested in. They’ll have learned how to communicate with an animal ten times their size—imagine the confidence that can give a person. They’ll have confidence in themselves knowing that if they just put in the work, they’ll see positive results. They’ll know they’re smart enough to handle anything and tough enough to push through anything that challenges them.
My horses, my lifelong friends are becoming educators for my kids, and it’s happening already. All the best qualities that I’ve learned as a horsewoman will be instilled in my kids and I feel so blessed that this is the life they get to live. While we’ll experience our fair share of struggles, I’m sure, I can’t wait to see who these kids become, knowing they have mentors with both two and four legs.
Thanks for being here!
How I Keep My Crazy Hectic Life (Semi) Organized
April 17, 2023
Hectic? Yep, that’s me. A friend of mine once told me that I have a passion for chaos and boy did that resonate. I truly like to keep busy— both personally and professionally.
Entrepreneurship in general can be hectic— while this is my 7th year in business it might as well be my first since I completely rebranded in 2022 to become a full time equine appraiser. On top of work, we have 4 dogs, two of which are the size of ponies, and 2 babies (happily in the two under two club).
We bought a new house right around when my son was born last Fall and now, I commute to where we keep the horses, about ten minutes away. In the coming years we have plans to build a forever home and small stable and have at least one (or two, hehe) more babies.
To say that we have a hectic life is an understatement, but we wouldn’t change it for the world! Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes chaos takes over and sometimes I forget things, but in general I am able to stay pretty organized despite having 100 pokers in the fire at any given time.
First things first, I am a list person. If I don’t write it down, I’m likely not going to remember it, and certainly not by the time it needs to be remembered by. I use good old-fashioned pen and paper for my immediate to-do list— I find that if I’m actually seeing the list and walking by it several times a day, I’m more likely to get more things accomplished. I also make sure to stock up on cute notebooks, legal pads and my favorite pens; seems crazy but having these things helps encourage me to write things down and stay on top of my lists. I have also been known to write something down that I’ve already accomplished, just so I can cross it off (LOL). When the completed list gets longer it makes me feel so much better about my productivity!
On my computer I keep more lists— long-term to do lists, goals, classes I want to take, things I’d like to write or research, you name it. If I want to do it at some point, I have it typed into a list and I make a point to peruse through these lists every week. I like to know that my choices day to day are contributing to my long-term goals.
Getting on the same page as my husband when it came to events and commitments used to be a real challenge, however we’ve worked out a simple system that works for us (for now at least). Now, we hang a calendar in the kitchen; one that has a lot of space to write (this is like what we have). Generally, I am the one that puts things on the calendar, but it gives us both the opportunity to see in advance what the week or month looks like with respect to events, doctors’ appointments or special things for the kids. While this seems super basic, it really works, and saves my sanity by not having to answer the question “what are we doing this weekend?” several times a week.
In terms of keeping our house in order, there are two main things that save me time and effort. First is a robot vacuum, or the “bot bot” as my daughter calls it. We have an IRobot and it is a literal lifesaver. With four dogs we have unlimited hair and with 2 kids we have unlimited crumbs, so this vacuum saves me so much time and effort every single day. Secondly, for other rural mamas like me, I can’t recommend more to take advantage of anywhere that offers free shipping. We have a Sam’s Club Membership, Amazon Prime, and I feel like walmart.com doesn’t get enough credit—they have great free shipping options and all the necessities and more at great prices. You will absolutely thank yourself every time you get that giant box of diapers or wipes delivered right to your door instead of dragging the kids into the store to retrieve them.
Anyway, I’ve had my own challenges finding enough time in the day to accomplish the work I’d like to get done, and also give my kids the time and attention they deserve. Now my kids are 21 and almost 7 months old so a lot of the time their needs are really time consuming. Instead of trying to get work done while I’m with them, the first half of the week, I have gotten into the habit of doing mostly housework on days I have the kids all day. My parents and in-laws help with watching the kids the second half of the week, so that’s when I get the chance to really sit and focus on my various income streams.
Since becoming a mom, I’ve had to figure out a system on how to plan and prioritize when it comes to work. I actually don’t even know how to categorize myself; I’m a stay at home mom, and I do also work, BUT I work from home, and I do also take care of my kids. I guess I’m a working stay at home mom?
I will prioritize any work or tasks that requires phone calls or long stretches at the computer for the days the kids are with their grandparents. I am usually able to get smaller tasks done through the week when I’m home with them, but I’ve learned not to count on that. As a type A personality, I’ve really had to learn to be a little more flexible, because sometimes the kids just need their mom and they will always come before my job.
As far as the horses go, I’m fortunate to have some great help several mornings a week with chores in the barn. Every afternoon the kids come with me, and at this point Cole generally sleeps through every trip to the barn. Cheyanne loves “helping” and she tags along while I feed and turn-in the horses. This got a little hairy in the winter when it was too cold or the snow was too deep for her to join me but now that the weather is nice she loves going to do the horses.
I suspect as my kids get older, and God willing we have more, this system will need adjusting and tweaking to continue to be effective, but in general PLAN and WRITE it down. You don’t have to remember everything if you’ve come up with a system that provides you with the reminders you need to still function and be productive.
Thanks for being here!
Yes (Wo)man Burnout: Learn How to Avoid It
April 12, 2023
In my former career as a full-time barn manager and trainer, I was a “Yes Man”, especially when I was first starting out. I said yes to pretty much any service that I thought that I could provide and provide well. At one time I was boarding, training, teaching, hauling, travel training and teaching, taking on project horses, breeding horses, selling consignment horses, offering lease horses, teaching classes, hosting events, traveling to events—you name it, and I was probably doing it.
At this time in my life, I was fully committed to growing my business and was working 7 days a week normally 10-12 hours a day. I thought that since I am in an area where equine business isn’t very prevalent, that I had to do it all in order to make a living. In reality, Field of Dreams hit the nail on the head, “if you build it, they will come”. I have no regrets, and I did find the success I was looking for rather quickly, but I did get burnt-out in ways, and I don’t think that would have been the case if I slowed down and strictly focused on the services that I was most passionate about.
I think that being a Yes Man or a people pleaser as a business owner is a great quality because it means that you are willing to provide goods or services that truly satisfy the needs of your customers. Where this quality is not so great is when like me, saying yes to so many things has you so busy that you have no time left to focus on the long-term goals that you set out to do. I am very proud of the business that I built, especially to the scale that it grew to, but it truthfully was not the business that I set out to create.
Initially when I started my business my goal was to provide a boarding facility for broodmares, stallions, and lay-up cases, and would have liked to take the occasional opportunity for personal sale and breeding horses and very minimal breaking and backing jobs. While I have no regrets because it paid the bills and gave me a lot of day-to-day freedom, my business primarily turned into a lesson and event barn. Over the years, I had plenty of broodmares and stallions in my care and welcomed many many foals, but it was never my main focus because I kept saying yes to more and more lesson clients and all of the services that came along with having a lesson barn. Over the years I got better at saying no—no to services that just weren’t feasible and no to customers that were nothing but a headache, but the stars had already aligned for me to be running a lesson barn and I had barns full of riding horses, not breeding horses.
After about six years in business, my landlord at my old farm opted to make some major changes to the property that I was leasing, and (besides the fact that these changes would’ve made running a business really difficult) I used this as an opportunity to move and completely rebrand. I had taken the ASEA course to become a certified equine appraiser, a newfound passion I had developed, and I downsized to a much small farm where I have retirees and will eventually get back to breeding stock horses.
If you’re starting a business and want to learn from my mistakes, I think that you should outline from the get-go, what services you are most passionate about, but also be honest with yourself and create clear boundaries regarding what services you’d be willing to add (or not) to your business. The more you say yes to new things, the more time you take away from the things that you are truly passionate about. Your business plan should become your new bible – follow it! Be open to new opportunities but make decisions with your long-term goals in mind.
As a small business owner, you should get comfortable saying no, and realize that saying no won’t make you a bad businessperson or ruin your business. You need to think long term and just because you might be losing one potential customer, you are leaving room for one that is willing to pay for the services you truly want to provide. Saying no as a new business owner is really hard, trust me I get it, but you will thank yourself in the long run.
Over time my goals have changed significantly, which I initially struggled with, but now that I have learned to focus my energies, I think that success is much clearer cut and attainable. Being willing to say no is skill, and once you have that skill, you’ll avoid feeling burnt-out, and your goals and dreams will feel attainable again.
Thanks for being here!
Product and Boutique Review: The Branded Buffalo
April 10, 2023
One thing that I love to do is support other entrepreneurs, so when a friend introduced me to the Branded Buffalo Boutique I was immediately obsessed. Right away I ordered the absolute cutest sandals and decided to reach out to the owner Micah. I wanted to her to know that I absolutely loved her store and her style and that I appreciated that she had such fair pricing. Recently I have been feeling like a lot of big box and boutiques alike have been charging an absolute arm and a leg for pretty much anything; the Branded Buffalo Boutique spiked my interested immediately because things are actually affordable for the average Joe like me.
Upon the recommendation from my friend Jane, I ordered the Tooled Leather Sandals. I can pretty much get behind tooled leather anything, but these sandals really caught my eye. Right now, these are my favorite style of sandals and the other pairs that I have are just a cheap $10 Target pair and a Birkenstock pair that are similar to the Croc type material. So, in my head, it is totally justified that I needed a pair that are real leather! When these came in the mail (quickly I might add) I was so excited to try them on. They are great quality and absolutely beautiful! My only complaint is that because of my wide feet, it is going to take some time for me to break them in—but once I do that, they will be PERFECT. I’d imagine that if you are someone with average or narrow feet, they’d be perfect right from the get-go. I cannot recommend them more!
When I placed my order, I messaged the Branded Buffalo Facebook page and let them know that I loved their store and especially their apparel. The owner, Micah, answered right away and we instantly connected so I asked if she would be willing to connect, entrepreneur to entrepreneur and she was excited to take part.
Micah is impressively only 23 years old and is a full-time vet assistant at the Perdue University Equine Hospital. She is an FFA and 4-H alumni and attended Perdue University to get her bachelor’s degree in animal science. Considering her extensive product line and great customer service I was really surprised (and impressed) to find out that she is running her store and growing her brand strictly part time. What dedication!
One thing that I love about Micah and The Branded Buffalo Boutique is that she curated her brands style just by sourcing items that she would want to personally wear or add to her own closet. She describes her style as “western and bohemian mixed with a touch of vintage”. I am personally attracted to the western styles that she has in stock.
On the business side of things, Micah shared with me that her mom is a huge inspiration for her. Micah’s mom owns Black Barn Vintage, an antique and vintage home décor business, and she has watched her mom find success with a huge social media following. Micah has seen this success and knows that for her business to have the same success, that one of her goals has to be to reach more and more people via social media. By reaching larger markets both in person and online, Micah hopes to one day have her own storefront for the Branded Buffalo Boutique.
I think that Micah has a wonderful head on her shoulders, and I am so impressed by the fact that she is only 23 years old. I hope that you all spend a few minutes looking through her shop, and maybe even purchase something—I can assure you that you will be happy! Thanks, Micah, for the opportunity to chat with you and feature the Branded Buffalo Boutique!
Thanks for being here.
Styling My Little Cowgirl
April 5, 2023
Anyone that knows me personally could tell you that I am far, far from a fashion icon, however one thing that I really do enjoy is dressing my little girl in the cutest little western inspired outfits. One day she might resent me for the fact that I don’t tend to dress her super girly, but I cannot resist the cutest little jeans, boots and flannels. In these photos are a couple of my favorite little outfits – I’ll link everything so if you like what you see you can shop for the same (or similar) for your little ones.
My Favorite Horse Books for Kids
April 2, 2023
As part of my daughter’s bedtime routine every night she picks three books or stories that we read together before she fades off to sleep. The equestrian in me loves when she picks the horse books that we have for her, and these are my top 3 favorite!
- B is for Buckaroo A Cowboy Alphabet – This is one of my favorites because it isn’t your average alphabet book. We have a couple barn and farm alphabet books that are really simple, but I like that this book is more complex. It will give several words per letter or use the letter in a sentence. Even though my daughter, Cheyanne, is only 20 months old, we like longer, more complex books and stories for bedtime because we feel like too much page turning keeps her brain a little too stimulated to relax for bedtime. It’s a win win that the book helps her go to bed but is also fun for me to read.
- If I Ran the Horse Show All About Horses Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library – We actually received this book for our baby shower in 2021 and I just adore it. I’ve probably read it to Cheyanne a dozen times already, but I love that it is in the classic Dr. Seuss style and is still an educational horse book.
- H is for Horse an Equestrian Alphabet – This book is a fun choice because it essentially is two books in one and really only loosely follows the format of an alphabet book. The way that this book is written provides both a rhyming story AND an informational excerpt. As the reader you can decide to just read the rhyming portion, just the informational portion or both. Cheyanne also loves it because it is beautifully illustrated as well. Depending on the night (and how tired we are), I either just read the main story, or I read everything. This is another book that we got as a gift, but I do know that it is a little pricy for a kid’s book. I still recommend it though—we’ve already gotten a lot of reading out of this one and I’m sure it has only been the tip of the iceberg.
I would love to hear any other book recommendations that you other Mamas might have! Horse centered or not, we are always looking to build up our little reading library.
Thanks for being here!
Three Mom and Baby Items Best Bought on Amazon
March 31, 2023
I mentioned in my last post that it seems like I’ve tried a million and one different baby products, which is absolutely crazy considering I have only been a Mom for less than two years. I’ve developed a pretty extensive list of great products at the best prices across several different stores. These are three items that I’ve found are the best item for the price, and for me, all three have been absolute necessities. I shop for these 3 necessities on Amazon.
If you are like me, and like to save a buck where you can, there are a few things you should remember when you are shopping on Amazon in general. First things first, if you are shopping for anything baby specific, Amazon (and really any store) will jack up the price as much as possible simply because it is listed in the baby department. My favorite example of this, and the first item on my must have list are in my opinion the absolute best burp cloths on the market. They are fleece, and despite washing them dozens of times they stay super soft and absorbent. Our daughter was the spit up queen, so we went through these rapidly and I literally recommend them to every new mom.
Now, if you followed the link above you’ll realize that it brought you to kitchen towels, not burp cloths. The ones I linked here are bigger than the ones they market as burp clothes, the exact same material, and fifteen cents cheaper PER TOWEL than the smaller ones. Definitely recommend!
The next glamorous item on my Amazon must have list are these generic Choice Refills that are compatible with the Diaper Genie. While we love the Diaper Genie that we got for our baby shower, we immediately went on the search for off brand refill bags. A 3-pack refill of Diaper Genie bags at Target are a whopping $18.49, where these generic refills are a 4-pack for only $11.99- and yes, they work just as well. If you are expecting your first baby, you might think that these are silly to put on a must have list, but trust me, you’re going to want a Diaper Genie, and you’re going to need A LOT of refills.
Last but not least the Tovvild wearable breast pump has been an absolute life saver for me as a Mom of littles. I know that pumping isn’t for everyone, but it’s something I’ve spent a lot of time doing in the last two years. At first, I was using a traditional pump and was stuck sitting in one place, which for me is really difficult. My life is super busy, beyond being a Mom; I’ve got a farm and business to manage, dogs to take care of, and I pretty much am constantly brainstorming some new idea.
With my daughter, I strictly pumped. My son breastfed but I also pumped so my husband could help feed and so I could build up a stash of breastmilk to put in the freezer. This pump allowed me to pump while I worked in the barn, while I played with my daughter, and even while I drove. What is even better is that this pump is less than $60 on Amazon. Do not waste your money on the wearable pumps that are hundreds of dollars. Take the Elvie for example—a pair of wearable Elvie pumps are around $550 (!!!) where these Tovvild pumps are $120 for a pair and they do an amazing job. I could not recommend this pump any more to breast feeding moms!
Stay tuned—I’ll clue you all into what is best to buy at Walmart, and what I get from my favorite small businesses.
Thanks for being here!
Why a Blog?
Welcome to this sites new Blog Page! I recently decided to start a blog and I wanted to separate it into two columns—one strictly for horse topics, and then this one, which will focus more on my life in general and the many hats I wear. I’m sure there are many women out there that can relate to the crazy (but amazing!) life of being a mom, a wife, an equestrian, an entrepreneur, and an advocate of agriculture.
A little bit about me; the cliff notes version. I’m a lifelong equestrian—started riding when I was about 4 and my parents were barely able to pull me off a horse ever since. I was spoiled enough to have two childhood horses; one of which I am lucky enough to have to this day. Right now I only have time to slip in a quick ride here and there—I’m a bit busy these days with dirty diapers and play time. I’m a Mama to two and a dog Mom of four. I’m definitely not the most stylish person on the block, but I love the “modern western” style. Nothing beats the smell of real leather, and I like to have a pair of boots for every occasion. The only jewelry I ever wear is my wedding band and engagement ring, and I think the only place I might like as much as the mountains is the beach. Professionally, I’ve done a little bit in every facet of the equine industry. Boarding, training, brokering, appraising, marketing, publishing, and a whole slew of other equine jobs I did as an undergrad.
My husband and I met in 2015 while we were both in college—I wouldn’t be as cliché as to say it was love at first sight, but we surely have been inseparable ever since. In 2016 we both graduated; him from Morrisville State College, and me from Cazenovia College, and then we immediately went to work in our respective fields. My husband, Matt, is a heavy truck mechanic and works for a Ford dealership. Shortly after graduating I started a horse boarding business, SS Equestrian Services, and I was fortunate to have found success fairly quickly.
Matt and I got engaged on Christmas Eve in 2019 and had a crazy COVID wedding in November of 2020. We got pregnant immediately (literally immediately) and we were expecting our daughter whose due date was 9 months and 1 day from our wedding day. Cheyanne had plans of her own and she joined our family on July 16th, 2021. She was the easiest, sweetest baby – everyone told us we were just lucky, and “wait for baby number two”. Well, early in 2022 we found out we were pregnant again, and we welcomed our sweet baby boy on September 28th. Another perfect, sweet, easy going little babe that made us a family of four!
Right now, my biggest focus is raising our two perfect babies. Having two under two at home while working and caring for the horses is a challenge, but a great challenge at that. I love bringing them to spend time with the horses and I am lucky to have flexibility in my work day—I tend to work sporadically throughout the day, whenever the babies allow me to. I’m very aware of the fact that I’m super fortunate to have a husband that “brings home the bacon” or should I say “brings home the benefits”… (yes, looking at you, medical insurance).
I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a few reasons:
- I enjoy writing, and I generally don’t get the chance to do informal, opinion pieces.
- I’d love to connect with the other Moms and professionals that occupy this space. Working Moms in agriculture are a special breed and I’d love to connect with some of you.
- I want to share my experience in motherhood, pregnancy, post-partum, farm management, business management, home management and really anything you can think of that relates to my life both personally and professionally.
Just like on the equine blog, I want to do things here like product reviews and a sort of column that embodies “I tried it, so you don’t have to”. As a mom of two under two, I’m convinced that the majority of products targeted towards babies and toddlers are absolutely not worth the money—and trust me, we’ve tried about a million different products. I’d like to touch on products from home and baby, to apparel, to horse and farm. A one stop shop, if you will.
I hope this sounds fun and interesting to you, and I can’t wait to connect with some of you.
Thanks for being here!