2016: living with intention

I slid into twenty sixteen like an ill-prepared marathon runner crawls across the finish line. My muscles were sore, my brain hurt and my body needed about 14 gallons of water.

2015 was a year to praise for it’s glorious adventures: moving, jobs, friends, et al. 

Just look at that map, though. That's every work trip, friend trip, Haney vacation (oh, hey, Mexico). It's great, right?

I'm so grateful to have a career that allows me to work with some of the most talented agriculturalists and developers in the world. Truly.

Just look at that house in the historic Jonas Snowstorm of 2016.


And I'm also grateful to say I'm a happy homeowner. A homeowner who really likes to stay home. 

This year I'm going to live more intentionally. Weigh my options. Keep my priorities close. Do more of what makes me happy.

I can say this, you know, because it's a resolution I can keep. It's already February for crying out loud. I'm doing this. It's happening.  

will loves courtney

A week to the day after turning 21, my little brother married his high school sweetheart. Courtney, who is making a run for the title of favorite sister, is the perfect addition to the Clay family. In all honesty, she most definitely works harder than anyone else and has somehow found a balance in being Will's biggest cheerleader and keeping him alive. The latter, of course, it a big feat considering his adventurous shenanigans. Bless you, Courtney. 

WillClay
WillClay_Brother
ToriAnnaClay

The only thing that could have made Saturday better was if college football took a hiatus so my better half could join. Fall weddings, man. 

source: Originallyson Photography

source: Originallyson Photography

source: Originallyson Photography

source: Originallyson Photography

Sammy Kershaw might have written his '93 hit about Courtney, y'all.

She just really doesn't know.

But she is.

On the inside where it counts, too. 

on the eve of fall

Today, on the last official day of summer, I’m thrilled—and relieved.

As I look back at the happenings of the past few months I feel a lot like Drake. I wasn’t at the bottom when I started (ahem, Degrassi: The Next Generation) but I feel pretty high right about now.

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I’m working from the office in the cattle barn this week, which is a stone's throw from the working pens. My heart is full of gratitude for a career in digital media that allows me to pursue my passion for the agricultural industry and work anywhere there is high speed internet.

And, yes, I’m thanking my lucky stars high speed Internet found its way to rural Oklahoma.

The view from the west pasture on Sunday afternoon. 

The view from the west pasture on Sunday afternoon. 

I’m three weeks into a new job, folks. Three weeks with an all-digital agency based in Boston and a client in the animal health industry

As part of the strategy team I’m working with talented, passionate stewards of the digital space on blogger engagement programs, new websites, social strategy, et al.

With an innovative, international brand.

Pinch me. 

Grateful just doesn't seem to do it justice. 

are we there yet?

I woke up in the 5 o’clocks because the weight of the world had found itself snuggled on my chest and I needed air more than Jordin Sparks in ’08.

I thrive under pressure. If you have a project in the 11th hour I can be your Oliva Pope. Maybe that’s the problem? I’ve known about our move to Nashville for too long. I’m in the 5th hour and there’s too much time between now and August 8.

It’s just too long to micromanage every detail. From sealing every piece of freshly-laundered linen in a Ziplock space bag to tracking action items (like selling furniture and confirming carpet cleaners) in a shared Google Sheet to making trips to Goodwill to reading books about living a minimalized life I’m simply over thinking everything.

We’re going to get there whether or not the windows in the guest bedroom have been spit-shined. I don’t need to control all the things.

So, as of today, I’m just going to roll with it.

Because, I’m coming off a pretty spectacular weekend with my lovely friend, Kirby; Courtney is already filling my school nights with concerts; and my mom is coming this weekend. Which basically means she’s going to whip my house into shape and I’ll repay her by driving her to all.the.thrift.shops.


tips for downsizing before a big move

This will be the third year in a row I've made a big move. Partner that with moving into a one-bedroom apartment for football season and you'll arrive at the conclusion that "stuff" isn't important and donating it to someone who needs it and selling big pieces to pay for the move is a pretty strong tactic. Or, at least that's where we arrived. 

1. Take stock of everything in your home you can do with out and be relentless. 

Do you love the headboard in the guest bedroom? (yes.) Do you remember who you were with when you found it and how much of a deal it was? (yes and yes.) Do you have all the feelings. (get over it.) 

Does the bedside stand from Hobby Lobby really need to make the move from Texas to Tennessee? (no.)

2. Be creative.

Whether you're writing copy for Craigslist or a buy/sale/trade Facebook group, sell your product. Be witty. Channel your inner Mindy Kaling.

3. be a shot caller.

Price your items a little higher, because they (the people of the internet) are going to negotiate. If you don't want to negotiate with a stranger from craigslist - don't. It's still your stuff and you get to make the decisions. With that, if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, don't meet up with them. There's plenty of Craigslist fish in the sea. 

4. being a pack rat cost cash money.

When you put value to lugging around all the stuff you think you need it get's a little #firstworldproblems to the extreme. Packing supplies, UHaul trucks and storage containers cost money. We (yes, you) are so fortunate to be surrounded by so many high-quality materialistic items. Let's get over ourselves and know our worth isn't synonymous with our processions.

I asked the following questions when deciding whether something could stay. 

  • Does it give you joy? (source: The Life-changing Magic of Tidying)
  • Can it be replaced?
  • Do you need it.

Moving is hard, but moving a lot of stuff you don't need just because you're too afraid to let go is harder. Literally it's harder. Stuff is heavy, man.

I haven't unpacked my suitcase.

As I mentally prepared for a week on the road (work-week in Hartland, Wisconsin; friend weekend on Grand Lake, Oklahoma) I told myself this was the week I would conquer suitcase living.  

If I mentally prepared, pinned all the right pins and planned accordingly I could still make it to yoga 3-4 times, run on the treadmill and make good food choices. Try as I might when I’m on the road it’s like I push pause on real life.

I can’t run errands, run to the grocery store or clean the bathroom, so I’m basically on vacation, right? 

Wrong.

I’m just really bad at living out of a suitcase. Just ask my yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase.

I suppose as long as you fill your week with adventures like visiting rural Wisconsin's The Kiltie, where you'll most definitely question the Steak Pizza, but devour a double cheeseburger you're doing okay. 

Because sometimes you begin your day knowing you need to sell working-from-home in Nashville to your boss and end your day by celebrating that your boss is completely okay with you working-from-home in Nashville

Surprisingly, I only needed one Spotted Cow for that celebration. 

And sometimes life brings you lemonade and you get to spend the week with your friend since sixth grade lockers on one of Oklahoma's most beautiful man-made creations. 

And sometimes you get to keep all the vodka to yourself because your friend is rockin' a baby bump. Which, by the way, makes you the skinniest person on the boat.

Turns out adulting is hard, but I'm really good at faking it. 

for every grapefruit there is a burger.

Have you noticed the more you try to avoid bad decisions the more opportunities are available? In the peak of fitness motivation I find myself surrounded with a plethora of happy hour and lunch invitations. When you’re seeking new friendships and a heightened local network, it’s unacceptable to turn down either of these invitations.

So, I turn to ClassPass for two-a-days, my trainer* for guidance and MyFitnessPal for accountability. Additionally, I surround myself on social media with those who are seeking healthy lifestyles. Looking at you, AlisonSarah and Kelly.

grapefruit

But, life can't be perfect. Mine, anyway. It can, however, be intentional.

As I learn to wake up a bit earlier to make breakfast, a meal I've skipped most of my life, and pour over the Word, I've chosen to leave room for impromptu adventures.  

Adventures with friends .... and burgers. 

hopdoddy

Because sometimes you're invited to an infamous burger bar and you just don't want to say no. 

*Yes, I meet with a personal trainer once or twice a week  depending on my schedule — to pick up a few new tricks to help whip my body back into shape. Give George an Insta follow for random grams and tidbits of motivation. 


hopdoddy burger bar

hopdoddy is known for excellent customer service, exceptional burgers and delightful craft beer. It's no wonder the line is consistently out the front door. I give it five stars.

website | instagram | facebook | twitter 

the best part of austin

In Austin, dogs are welcome everywhere. Well, nearly everywhere. Everywhere except the grocery store?

On top of that, I work at a dog-friendly agency, which means Molly comes to the office every Friday. Bottom life: we've created a monster who believes she is entitled to go with us where ever we go.

Molly
zilker_molly

This is actually Molly's world and we're lucky to be a part of it.


Bored.

A photo posted by Molly Haney (@themollyhaney) on

They're leaving me. Jerks.

A photo posted by Molly Haney (@themollyhaney) on

house wine + s'mores

Once upon a time I made a happy hour date with an Oklahoma girl named Emily. She’s a small town Oklahoma girl who happened to move to Austin the same weekend as the Haney team. On this particular Friday (ahem, last Friday), I was somehow granted an easy commute. Basically, an Austin miracle.

We met at House Wine, which happens to be one of my favorite places to hang out in all of Austin. It’s a house that serves wine. Get it?

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And, they serve s'mores. S'MORES.

Unrelated and not particularly important: I wore a floral dress I scored on the cheap from Nordstrom Rack. 

While we talked about housing markets, Kendra Scott knock-offs, Emily's recent wedding, traffic patterns and vacations we destroyed a plate of urban campfire s'mores.

I've never been so messy in public in all my life or had a more delightful happy hour. 

lady bird lake with the lady molly

Man, I love my dog.

She’s survived a bachelors, masters, a handful of boyfriends, a new last name, seven houses, four jobs, three states and more slices of pizza than I care to admit.

There’s just something about the way she stays close when I’m under the weather, knowingly tilts her little white head when we’re deep in conversation, yearns for someone to knock on the front door and ditches me for the sportswriter’s office when I head for bed.

More than anything, I truly believe she wishes she were a farm dog. When we’re home (home will always be Oklahoma, y’all) she loves nothing more than rolling in the horse stalls, chasing the chickens and sneaking into the bull pen to get up close and personal with an animal that could end her without a second thought.

Since she’s a rural gone urban girl, too, we take long walks when possible.  Saturday was no different. This weekend, we headed to Lady Bird Lake for a few miles of squirrel hunting.

At 9 a.m. it was around 75°. With her short, summer ‘doo I thought we were good to go. She was in her element, man. All systems go.

She treed a squirrel, made friends with a few walkin' ladies and swooned at her reflection in the lake.  

We stopped for water breaks at the 1.0 and 1.15 mile markers, respectively. In our eight years of walking, this was the first time we've ever had to stop for a break. The temperatures were in the 80s now, but I was hopeful we could keep at it. 

Molly had other plans, however. She was satisfied with chillin' and people watching. She. was. done.

So we turned on our heels and headed back to the car.

Except Molly was all, "nah, call an Uber."

 
 

Her legs refused to walk. So I carried her back to the car like a princess, turned the ac on blast and drove home.

Home, where she whined like a toddler because she wanted to go back into the heat to chase squirrels. 

Figures. 


This is my 'hood.

A photo posted by Molly Haney (@themollyhaney) on

Follow @theMollyHaney on Instagram

It's true. Molly is on Instagram. You can follow her if you'd like. If you're not into following dogs on Instagram, that's cool too. 

Basically, I just really needed to cut back on the number of dogs photos I was posting. 

It was getting out of control. 

Small Town Virginia

Adventures are my thing; however, in recent months I’ve become jaded with work-related travel

I was in a travel-too-much slump. 

Granted, I don’t travel as much as some humans, but it’s difficult to navigate a new city and a new marriage while cultivating a community of friends and digging deep roots. Such a whiner, right? Girl you get to travel, suck it up!

A slump, for sure.

Thank the heavens for Mexico. Its delectable tacos and top shelf margaritas pulled me out of my slump like a one-sided tug-of-war. That’s a feat considering I was nothing more than dead weight.

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It’s when I drove into Smithfield, Virginia, the Ham Capitol of the World, my love for small town America washed over me like the first time I stumbled into a Chickasaw Country.

My heart found rhythm with the windshield wipers, the rain was falling like a Forrest Gump soliloquy – perfectly in tune with all of its surroundings, and the corners of my mouth turned up even though exhaustion was radiating through my body. 

After a quick stop at Smithfield’s headquarters (agency life, eff tee dub), my co-worker and I headed downtown to collect content assets. Read as: exploring with a camera. 

Businesses thriving on Main Street found success through antique stores,  ice-cream shops, confectioneries and boutiques. Oh, the boutiques.

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I nearly dropped $300 for a bag I didn't need. Then I remembered I didn't really have $300 to spend and I have way too many bags.

The lovely lady at Wharf Hill (photos above) was Lorelai Gilmore in the flesh - I'm sure of it.  She loved her job, her town and new little nook of Main Street and her secureness in self and contentment in life was evident. A bright spark on a rainy day. 

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And because I love food, we stopped by Taste of Smithfield to swoon over the tourist trap the locals surely frequent. The cuban sandwich paired with tomato basil soup was just what I needed to get me through meeting prep. Speaking of, could something please make me a cuban and bowl of tomato basil soup. Please?

The thing about work-related travel is that you have to, in fact, work. When all three team members made it to Smithfield, it was time to buckle down and review presentations, reports and update each other on projects. Face time is valuable when you work in two different states. 

As we poured over details we did so surrounded by locals in Smithfield's newest (and only?) brewery. At exactly 5:05 locals poured through the front door ready to celebrate hump day with a glass (or two) of local, craft brews.

This girl, however, squealed at the sight of an Oregon Pinot. 

From our corner table with elevated pews for seating, we got to work. 

Consider the travel-too-much travel slump over. Just in time for a trip to Wisconsin. 


What to do and see in Smithfield, Virginia

Stay: Smithfield Inn, Smithfield Station
Both equally adorable and delightful. 

Eat: Taste of Smithfield 
Try the pork wings!

Drink: Wharf Hill Brewing Co.

Visit: Main Street

 

managing expectations with succulents

A house is not home unless you have flowers on the porch.

This statement became part of my life when I moved to Oklahoma City in 2010, when adulting seemed impossible. 

Because in my experience weekend warrior happenings are always followed natural disaster happenings, this year I kept things in perspective.

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Goal: use the decorate pot gifted to me by my mom when I joined the Oklahoma Pork Council team.

Simple enough.

After a gym session (working on that undergrad fitness level, y'all.), I headed straight for my happy place - Home Depot. Succulents, in my mind, need less work and fit right in Texas. Please, Lord, let this be true.

I lack self control.

There, I said it.

I couldn't stop at one pot. The little pig, who we shall all call Kevin, needed a friend. 

B.

PTO Request: to Look at Cattle

As an adult, the most precious commodity in your* professional life is PTO.

How many hours do you accumulate?
How many roll over?
How many weddings are this year?
Graduations?
Baby showers?
Save a few for a yet-to-be-named virus to knock you off your tracks.
Do you need a travel day for Thanksgiving?
Don’t forget the 10-year high school reunion.


To be fair, these questions are typically reserved for those who leave all that is comfortable of hometown living. Read as: the Haneys. With my family in Oklahoma and Indiana, his in Tennessee and our zip code in Texas – my PTO is as fiercely guarded as the gold in Fort Knox.

Friday, I cashed in the first of my 2015 PTO allocation.

My family's ranch has taken a new spin since I left the Rural Route 3** property. Cliff’s notes: my family is an off-ranch operator for a certain Texas ranch. Because of this, you may have consumed Akaushi beef that hit the ground in Oklahoma.

As a natural inquisitive human, I reached out to the executive director of the American Akaushi Association, who happens to be an Oklahoma State alumnus. Questions. I had so many questions. 

Smiling the smile of a six-year-old child,  I drove an hour southeast of Austin driving against the grain of early-morning traffic. 

Following the curves of the dirt roads, mud splashing on my car, Conway on the radio it occurred to me how quickly I can slip into the urban of my life. Too quickly.

That changed as I drove through the ranch gate.

As I sipped my black coffee, history, industry tidbits and thoughts on consumer research were swapped over a rustic, kitchen table. Our conversation paused intermittently to gaze out to the front pasture. The lush vegetation and overflowing waterways were a drastic comparison to the drought-ridden areas of the country.  

I pulled up the hood on my NorthFace rain gear and we headed to the truck.

With each pasture, I learned more about the Akaushi history in the United States.

With each turn, I was once again reassured the American rancher is doing the absolute best in animal care, nutrition and sustainability.

With each conversation topic, my soul became more grateful for the opportunity to work as a communicator in the agricultural industry.

With each 'grammable moment, I realized I should use more PTO days.

B.


*my.
** Per the 911 address system, Rural Route 3 Box 175 has been replaced by a series of characters that I can’t seem to remember. 

What's your kitchen personality?

My first full-time paid position post-graduation took me to downtown Oklahoma City where I promoted Oklahoma’s pork farmers. Although checkoff programs can be a hot button issues for some (looking at you non-internet using Grandpa Compton…), I was grateful promote the state as a whole instead of one specific farmer. The impact was greater.

Commodity research and promotion programs, also known as checkoff programs, are established under Federal law at the request of their industries. Checkoff programs are funded by the industries themselves, with the goal to increase the success of the businesses and farmers that produce and sell certain commodities.


These programs allow farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders to pool their funds and develop a coordinated program of research, promotion and consumer information to improve, maintain and develop markets for their products. They also yield many additional benefits for public health and nutrition, local and global economies, as well as humanitarian efforts.
— USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

In that first position I learned to lean in before leaning in was a buzzword. My boss[man] pushed me to do more by pretty much throwing me to the ocean and seeing if I was going to sink or swim.

I also learned to work with like-minded humans in similar positions in other states. Cue the most significant professional relationships of my career.

When I joined Charleston|Orwig I tapped those friendships and professional networks because promoting hog farmers is important to me. I’ve seen firsthand how they care for their animals and how their presence in rural America makes communities richer by their contributions to programs and initiatives.

Also, bacon. 

#PinkPork Pinterest Sweepstakes

How can you truly encompass all that is great about perfectly-cooked pork? By perfectly-cooked pork I mean pork that is cooked to 145° F before removed from heat and allowed to rest for three minutes before slicing. Cooking to 145° results in tender, juicy pork that has a blush of pink in the center. (After 5 years, I have this elevator speech on lock.)

Let's cut to the chase. Have you ever wondered what type of kitchen you would be if you were to be a kitchen? Sure you have! Well, you would if a quiz were to exist on site like Buzzfeed. 

It's simple. Take the quiz, pin your results and enter the sweepstakes. For every entry, Ohio's hog farmers are donating one meal of pork to a local food back (up to 25,000 meals!). 

Personality results

I'm a sucker for personality quizzes and assessments. I'm ENTP, Di, Orange and now a rustic kitchen. 

Rustic interiors have a sense of connection to the past that's hard to resist. Which is good, considering that heritage is important to you and you find unique ways to incorporate family heirlooms into your everyday life.
The aroma of Apricot-Glazed Ham radiates from your oven, bouncing from the exposed beams. This, of course, causes your heart palpitations. The love affair you carry on with dinner is evident in each and every serving, filled with love, passion and commitment.

recipe: apricot glazed ham (serves 20)

Not only do you help make a donation to a local food bank and learn about your personality you also receive a corresponding recipe. 

Ingredients
5 pounds full cooked whole boneless ham
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup apricot nectar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

How-to
Place ham on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 325°F oven for 1-1/4 hours or until meat thermometer registers 140°F (about 15 - 18 minutes per pound). 

For the glaze, in a small saucepan combine brown sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in apricot nectar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.

Brush ham with glaze. Continue baking 15 - 20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with glaze. 


Full Transparency

I worked with Ohio Pork Council on behalf of Charleston|Orwig for this project. I gave this project real-estate on Rural Gone Urban because of the impact the pork industry has made in my professional career. I was in no way encouraged or compensated for this blog post. Although, I wouldn't mind if someone sent me a gift card to buy a few pounds of bacon. 

You're My Superhero.

In a world where being busy earns a badge of honor, I’ve found myself striving to be the first person at the office, the last person to leave and the person sending emails on the weekend, which, by the way, is a Millennial’s way of saying, “look! I’m working on the weekend!”

I’m the girl using app after app to organize my life often requesting events be sent via GCal. Because heaven forbid something in life happens that isn’t planned and documented on a Google calendar. 

Try as I might, I can’t turn off work and turn on life when I leave the office. No such switch exists. There is only one 24-hour compartment: life that includes work. It’s blended – good or bad. 

After set work hours, I spend my evenings preparing for upcoming projects and staying on top of industry news and current events (thank the sweet stars for you, theSkimm). 

Those are in addition to attempting – unsuccessfully, I might add – to see the inside of the gym three to four times a week, talk to my parents, at least one aunt, my sister, friends comprising at least seven states, have real conversations with my husband, take the dog for a few walks and make new friends in Austin.

To be fair, for me – in this stage of life – working significant amounts is the only way I’ve been able to keep my to-do list from depriving me of oxygen. This is what you’re supposed to do in this stage of life, I tell myself. Pay your dues. 

Why?

Maybe I see the mom balancing work, leadership roles, her marriage and children Instagramming her perfect marketing-term-of-the-month dinners.

I see emerging career leaders knocking down walls, being overly-prepared for meetings and quoting scholarly articles and case studies released within the past 48 hours.  

Everything looks so perfect from the outside. I see you nodding your head, reader. It’s just smoke and mirrors, they must be struggling like the rest of us, but are they? 

While filling my soul with today’s sermon, my mind was anywhere else. I was creating to-do lists, referencing my short-term career goals and analyzing my current work performance.

In that moment I realized I am not a superhero. I cannot – and will not – be able to do it all. 

I want to be known as the woman who is deliberate with her time – not busy.
I want to be successful at work – and at home.
I want the moon.

Most of all, I want all women to know you don’t have to be a superhero. Superhero mom most likely has a village to help and support her. An incredible, selfless village. Emerging career leaders are making sacrifices and feel uncertain about their decisions – just like you. 

You’re good enough.
You’re making waves and changing lives.
You’re my superhero. 

The Underdog.

Growing up I thought the Beach Boy’s hit Kokomo was about Kokomo Grains. You know, the one in Indiana. That song was followed by Aaron Tippin’s There Ain't Nothin' Wrong With The Radio, which was followed by Hal Ketchum’s Small Town Town Saturday Night. Add in Conway, Prince, Whitney, Ian, Michael, Suzy, George and Garth and you’ve created the foundation that is my support structure for all things creative in my life.

Music is intertwined into every memory – past, present, future – of my life. 

Because of this, I’ve learned to trust those behind the fm channels. They’re playing the best songs – as voiced by the people. Or are they?

I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy happening in Nashville, but I’m not saying something fishy isn’t happening. Aaron Watson debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard’s Top Country Albums, but isn’t given airtime on local radio? 

Quick. Someone grab the DeLorean and tell Loretta Lynn if she were in 2015 Honky Tonk Girl could climb the charts without jukebox and radio play.

To be fair, I’m not sure how exactly I feel about this. The people are putting their money behind their voice – Aaron’s The Underdog is currently sitting at 16 on iTune’s overall chart – but the radio execs aren’t playing the songs.

That just seems like a bad business model. 

Bluebonnets

To me, Texas country is the rain on a tin roof, taking lunch to grandpa in the field, learning to drive on rural route three - it's the raw, undeniable truth that is rural America. Aaron gets that.

Bluebonnets is a bare-all, intimate track depicting the loss of his daughter, Julia. I can't imagine a better way to cope - and honor - the loss of a child. 

"Arron Watson can out pick, out sing and our pray anyone in country music." - Josh Abbott, this past Saturday at the San Antonio Rodeo. 

What others are saying

The Rest of the Story

While the rest of the country was (is) dealing with white tundra that is winter in February, the weather in Austin turned from perfect and sunny to non-so-perfect and a little bit rainy. *sad trombone*

Rain in Texas? It’s because I’m wearing my moccasins e’rday, obviously.

Because of the rain, I fell into my rainy-day habits that are everything that is unreasonable and first-world of exploring Dillards. A girl just needs something new to wear to a work event, am I right?

While perusing the Vince Camuto dresses, my grandma called to inform me had stumbled upon my Instagram and did I want to know the rest of the story

Of course, Paul Harvey. Lay it on me. 

"Ahhh, I could really use the Dodge about now."

A photo posted by brooke clay haney (@thebrookehaney) on

While loving everything that is Johnson County, Indiana, before AgChat's National Collegiate Conference, I drove past this big, red Dodge taking residence in an iconic rural barn. To be honest, to me it was nothing more than a 'grammable moment a few football fields away from my mother's childhood home.

To my grandma, it was more. 

This Dodge was one of a pair she drove during harvest near the time my family purchased a grain elevator on the south side of the county. 

Oh, hey family heritage.

Also, my grandma has Instagram? No way. 

Dreaming of a Grand Canyon Adventure
Photo:  Mary Kate Pedigo  

A long time ago, back when ripped jeans, A&F hoodies, trucker hats, layers and layers of tank tops were in style my dad and I started joking about riding mules into the base of the Grand Canyon and camping overnight. Well, I was joking. He was dead serious.

My dad is a denim-on-denim, cowboy-hat-wearing, John-Wayne loving man of America. He was born to do things like ride mules into the Grand Canyon, and I was genetically modified to seek adventures. 

That conversation has been buffering for quite some times. That's what happens when you graduate from college and enter the workforce. Your PTO becomes a hot commodity and you'll protect it with your life. 

Last night while enjoying an Oregon Pinot (a celebration for finishing a 21-day food challenge), it occurred to me there was no reason this couldn't' happen. 

Google.
Text dad.
Send screen shots.
Consider Dave Ramsey's budget concerns.
Text dad.
Cross fingers you can get on the waiting list. 

Turns out, there's a 13-month waiting list for mule excursions. It's a thing, people. 

This is happening. 

Rose Bowl 2015hu

I’m a fan of Oregon. I have been since I saw them play in CenturyLink Field and then again Stanford Stadium. 

Their speed combined with killer uni combos has earned them the spot deep in the pit of my heart as my favorite Pac-12 team. 

Walking into a historic stadium knowing I was part of history – the first playoff game in the history of college football. I tried to act cool – you know, like I’ve been there before.

I walked into the stadium like, “oh, no big deal.” Except it was a very big deal. And I had very good seats. (Thanks Lyle, if you’re reading.)

With the sun casting its last breath on the mountain scape in the distance and a B2 Stealth Bomber making its way overhead, my skin began to take on the appearance of a fleshly plucked goose.

I was at the Rose Bowl. 

Two Heisman quarterbacks were facing off in the first playoff game in history. History. 

Even if you don't appreciate sports, you should appreciate history. it's human nature. 

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The first quarter kept me grounded. I made friends with the agricultural marketers to my right and golf clapped along every milestone play. This was when my inter dialogue was at its best. "I'm probably not appreciating this as much as I should. I wonder if my grandma is watching. Man, I walked too much at Disney yesterday." 

it was all fun and games until I got cold. Who knew it could be that cold in California? 

I was underdressed, man.

In those chilly moments I had a choice. I could stay cold and stay lame, or I could get loud and get warm.

I chose the latter. 

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The Ducks kept scoring. 

Jameis thought about crying.

My fingers hurt.

I lost my voice.

The Ducks scored again.

I was so happy thought about crying.

I laughed until my stomach hurt.

I tweeted.

I borrowed a hat.

I cheered like an actual Duck fan.

It was perfect. 


Ag Facts

I met up with fellow advocate, Marie Bowers Stagg, during halftime. She's a fifth generation Oregon grass seed farmer. 

On New Year's Eve she, her husband and father toured the Rose Bowl to see the field up close. (jealous.)

The Rose Bow's field is perennial ryegrass with a Bermuda grass base. This works well because Bermuda is a warm-season grass and Perennial Ryegrass is a cool season. So when the Bermuda goes dormant the Perennial ryegrass takes over.

Read Marie's Rose Bowl recap on Oregon Green

a wild night with fried chickens

Last spring while in the midst of a video shoot for National Gypsum's Ask for PURPLE campaign, one of my favorite Charlotteanswine Wednesday advocate and all-around quality humangave me a sneak peek at one of his fun projects. After a long, quiet day on set this gave me all the giggles. 

Today, he shared the final product and I couldn't be more thrilled. 

If you're keeper of children, particularly of boys, you need to hit play. Regardless of your children keeper status, hit play.

When I was riding the struggle bus in a job that wasn't quite my cup of tea, Rob made going to work a little brighter because he's one of the most creative minds I've ever worked with.

Where most people see things in black and white, he sees them in ROYGBIV. For real. It's superhuman. 

What's it like being rural gone urban?

Recently I was asked about the most difficult aspect of my rural gone urban life. Difficult? I get street tacos every day! Every. Day. 

To be honest, though, some days your heart is full of guilt. Panging, real, raw guilt. 

Typically, it's the days you're wearing a light jacket to work while your friends and family are mucking though the mud, snow and ice.

They're pulling calves and breaking ice while you're devouring a few episodes of Keeping up with the Kardashians. They're leaving the house after dinner to ensure "everyone's good" while you decide if you should open a bottle of Oregon Pinot. They're facing cold and exhaustion while checking on just one more pasture and you're minding your time by debating between sweat pants or yoga pants.

The guilt comes as you call your dad and he's talking to you about your seemingly non-important urban errands as he drives a sprayer. He always listens like it's the most important thing in the world, but it doesn't make your guilt feel any less significant. 

During undergrad, I scribed my first article on agritourism. It was then I was first exposed to the terrifying truth that the average family is four to five generations removed from the farm. 

When you choose an urban life, you're flirting with that statistic. 

My urban life affords the opportunity to have a direct connection to consumers. I mean, I am a consumer. This intel, if you will, helps aid clients with strategic social and digital plans so they can better tell their story and unveil a new layer of transparency. 

Credit:  Tori Anna Clay

Although I'm not physically on the farm I find new ways every day to connect with not only home, but with farmers across the country. I work harder to tell the story because I know how much agriculture effects not only our lives but the foundation of America. 

My passion for an industry impacting the world is not lost by the attributions of my address.

I am not defined by my ability to choose between five grocery stores in a three-mile radius just as my rural friends are not defined by their indifference of living within the city limits of an urban jungle.