Monday, April 8, 2013

Getting Hitched!

I'm getting married! Well... not yet. But I am engaged! So excited!

I haven't posted on this blog for a while, and I apologize to my readers who NEED the latest beef scoop! Interning in Tallahassee has kept me quite busy! I love meeting new people, and people who are successful. My new life motto is "Fake it till you make it", and it's served me well so far.

There are so many successful people who seem to really love what they do, and some who seem less than thrilled. I want to find my passion, and I want to find something I love. That is important to me, and I've been praying and working for that dream job for some time now.

I'll be done with my internship in May, and I'll be starting a new job (hopefully), going to our annual Cattlemen's convention (can't wait!!) and PLANNING A WEDDING!

Wish me luck, and I'll be back soon to update about all of the great goings-on during session this year! If you'd like to read the proposal story.... click here. Thanks for following, and your constant and unwavering support and prayers, I need it all!

God Bless,

The Beef Queen

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm Proud to be a Floridian!

Hey there! Thanks for keeping up with my blog. It's been a very busy week here in Tallahassee during my internship, but I'm loving it!

Yesterday I visited the an older office in a beautiful building down the road from my office. Let me just say, if you haven't visited Tallahassee, you NEED to. It's one of the most beautiful places. It looks like it doesn't even belong in Florida, because of the scenery and the hills. I feel like I'm in Georgia or another state. It's cold right now, which makes me feel like that even more. I'm in love. I miss my town, and friends and family, but I'm enjoying every minute here.

In Tallahassee, many of the buildings are older and they are made out of beautiful, rustic, romantic red brick. I LOVE this look. The older buildings have this style that makes me want to sit on the balconies and fall in love with a great book and a mug of hot chocolate.

Now that you're in the same mood as I am, you'll appreciate this blog post even more.

Because of my fascination with these great red-brick beauties, the building I visited yesterday held me in awe for several minutes. It wasn't a historical building, so to speak, or a place that you can go and tour, (it's a working office building) but I wish it was. There was this gorgeous luxurious study full of leather chairs and big heavy books. This leads to my discussion of how AWESOME Florida is.

Did you know that Florida was the first place to have cattle? This makes us the birthplace of America's cattle industry! If you've read my other posts, you have heard this already. Being in Tallahassee, and seeing some of our legislation at work, I feel very proud of our great state. There will always be things that need to change, and things that seem unfair at times, but overall, I couldn't dream of living anywhere else.

We found a book called "Florida's Handbook", and we found several editions. This particular one was the 6th edition. The books were written by Allen Morris. It was so neat because this edition covered pretty much everything about Florida from 1957 - 1958. There were around 1.6 million registered voters in the state; now, we have about 11.9 million, as reported by an article by the New York Times in October of this past year. (I'm putting some links to my sources, so feel free to check them out!)

According to this edition, Florida had about 1.4 million beef cattle. We ranked 23rd among the states for number of cattle and calves, but 13th in production. Now, according to statistics from the USDA, we have around 1.7 million, not a huge increase, but (according to this report) we are 16th for number of cattle and calves. According to a report by the Florida Ag Statistic Services, we rank 11th in the nation for beef cattle, 19th in total amount of cattle. (Reports vary depending on the year and source, but most of them are pretty similar.

Here is a picture collage I made of pictures I took while flipping through this awesome piece of history:

I love Florida, and I'm proud to be from such a great state! I'm a history lover when it comes to things that mean a lot to me. Feel free to share your stories about my state or yours, if you live elsewhere in this beautiful country. I always encourage people to research where they are from, because it's something that makes you, YOU. Thanks for reading, feel free to share the facts and always remember to keep learning!

God Bless,

The Beef Queen

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tallahassee: The Next Frontier

WOW! What a splendid weekend I've had!

Hopefully everyone had a marvelous holiday break! As of December 15th, 2012,  I can officially say that I'm a college graduate. I'm the first in my family to graduate, so it's been a really exciting time for me! I earned my bachelors degree in Mass Communications, but my focus is Public Relations. (If you've read my blog before, I'm sure you just rolled your eyes and said, "Duh!"). :)

What's next, you ask? I'll tell you!

This past weekend, I moved up to Tallahassee to start my internship at a law firm just a few blocks away from the capitol. I'm very excited, and today is my first day on the job! I'll be up here assisting one of our agriculture lobbyists that the Florida Cattlemen rely on. I'll be here through May, and I'm already LOVING the town. I'm keeping a private journal of all of my goings on, so I'll be able to look back years from now.

After a long 5 hour drive (made even longer when I got pulled over for exceeding the speed limit - ask my mom, we weren't speeding, it was a case of mistaken identity!!), we found ourselves in Tallahassee. Mr. Winn and Mr. Sam, my two bosses, helped get us accustomed to the area and mom and dad helped me get settled in to my cabin in the woods.

Everyone has been extremely pleasant, and I'm so ready to jump in full throttle. I'm currently learning to navigate the websites of the Florida House of Representatives and Senate, and soon we will be in session! (March 5th through May 3rd). The first few weeks will be relaxed but I will have to learn the layout of everything so that I'm prepared to be the best intern I can be when session starts. I have been learning a lot, and it's only my first day! I'm not sure how much I'll be able to share, because there is so much involving legislature and politics, but I'll be posting as much as I can. I look forward to seeing all of my fellow Cattlemen and Cattlewomen at the FCA Quarterly in March, it's a great time full of education, great people, and memories! The legislative quarterly was were my passion was fueled, and it was the first time that I really thought I could make a difference. I encourage you all to get out there, learn about your passions, and then see where they'll take you! My passion took me to the state capitol, imagine what great things you can accomplish if you let your dreams run away with you!

I'm still wondering why it's taking so long for me to get a spot in the senate or the house... I've been here for a whole day! :) If you can, say a little prayer for me. I'm a small town girl, a long way from home in a very intimidating place! Thanks for your support, it's what keeps me going!

God Bless,

The Beef Queen

My Very Busy, Beef-Filled November!

Hopefully, your Thanksgiving break was as awesome as mine!

When Turkey day finally rolled around this year, I was so excited to have a break! My November was packed with the most amazing beef-related events, and I just had to share them with you all.

I love to fill as many weekends as I can with volunteering within my county's Cattlemen's Association or the state association. The weekend of November 16th - 18th, I was able to do both!

As the county Cattlemen's Sweetheart for 2 years in a row (I gave up that title in May this past year), I was able to attend the "Farm City Week" luncheon provided for the tour buses that led residents and visitors around our wonderful county. The tour takes the passengers to different farms and shows them firsthand what Manatee County's agriculture is all about. Last year I offered to help in any way that I could, and this year I was asked about being a tour guide!

I LOVED being a tour guide! I was able to share facts, Ag-related jokes and stories, and I met some awesome people in the process. I invited our current sweetheart to ride along on the bus. If something like this is offered in your area, I highly recommend getting involved. If it's not something offered, look into what it would take to start it. I would talk to some of the farmers in your area, and see if they would be interested in an event or something of that nature! People love to shop locally, and if they can connect a product with a name, face or even family, that would make a huge impact on their impression of our industry!

The next day I led a part of our annual prospect show's workshop for the exhibitors. It's another Farm City Week event, and it's one of my favorites. I used to show and attend the workshop, (it's mandatory, but still fun) and now I'm leading my own workshop! I spoke to the kids about the variety of careers in agriculture available, and it was an awesome time! We even got to cook some steak on a grill with some of the more advanced "show jocks" and spoke to them about grades of meat and how to check for quality. It was an awesome time, and I love hanging out with those kids. You won't find a better quality of youth then you will at your local fair.

The event on Sunday was a little more adult than the previous two. Last year, I was asked to attend the Clearwater Uncorked Food and Wine festival to help out the Florida Beef Council showcasing some of our delicious steak. Last year, the steak was marinated in Sam Adam's, this year, we used Everglades seasoning. DELICIOUS. I tried to leave the samples on the platters for everyone else, but every now and then, I'd do a "beef shot". I'm only human!!

These events always leave me wanting more... BEEF. The people involved are amazing, the kids are great, and I leave feeling satisfied and so happy. I know that if my career path leads me into this industry, I'll never truly work a day in my life! Happy Holidays, thanks for reading!

The Beef Queen

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Being Yourself.... Online and In Person

I get asked to speak at a lot of events for young adults, and there are a few topics I love to touch on after my main topic has been discussed. 99.9% of the time, I am asked to educate audiences about Florida's Agriculture, and more specifically, Florida's Beef Industry. This upcoming Saturday, for our county's annual Farm City week prospect show, my speech will be about becoming an advocate. I always include information about our beef supply, but this will be awesome as I get to talk about my journey from my awkward teenage years to self-proclaimed "Beef Queen".

After my speeches are done, I like to include a little section about college, life in general, and your online presence. I wrote about the elevator speech exercise for my last blog. (For that stimulating story, click here.)

I hear it all the time in my major (public relations).....

"Be careful what you post online, employers will see that!"
"Don't post pictures of the parties you go too, that will get you kicked out of college!"
"Don't use profanity, or you'll go to jail!"

Some of the warnings can be a little intense, but the message rings true. I am friends with people on Facebook and twitter one minute, and the next minute I'm in their class talking about something agriculturally related. It's important to me that I stay professional and polite on my page, because people see that. I hate the thought of someone going to a classroom to speak and saying, "College is not about the parties, it's about homework and being an adult", and then a student "friending" them and seeing pictures that should NOT be posted for anyone to see. That's irresponsible and unacceptable. I'm not saying that people aren't allowed to post on their sites, it's yours to post. However, I DO think you should use discretion.

I like to stress the "Dad-friendly" rule. This got a LOT easier... when my dad joined facebook. It helps keep me in check. Often, I'll see these young girls saying things, and posting pictures, and I turn into that adult. "What are they thinking??"

Social media is great. It's improved lines of communication, it helps with keeping companies and even politicians accountable, if they so choose, and it's made a way for us to reach out and tell our stories. I believe firmly that every person has a story that is worth telling. I would just hate for that story to be one that reflects negatively on your character. I have said all of this to say the following... here are some simple rules for staying true to yourself, but being successful with your online presence.

- Keep social media as "Dad-friendly" as possible. How would you feel if your grandma knew all about your Saturday night?

- Post positive things that you are proud of. Earned a B in chemistry? That's awesome! Failed that test because your teacher "hates" you? Not necessary.

- PG Pictures. We all LOVE to see pictures of you and your boyfriend, but we don't need to feel like peeping toms. Keep them as PG as possible, please.

- Pretend that a future (or even current) employer WERE looking at your page. If you have a problem with your job or a co-worker, find a solution. Don't bad-mouth on the internet. That has gotten people fired before, I've seen it happen.

- Use your best judgement and be yourself. Don't try to put on a front by any means, but act as if your profile directly reflected your life.... because it does. How you portray yourself online is a direct reflection on how people actually see you, especially since most of the people you are "friends" with or "follow" aren't people who are lucky enough to spend time with you to know any better than what they see online.

Please feel free to share this information, and educate someone you know that has an issue with posting negative or harmful stuff online. It's a bigger deal than they think, and it will probably come back to hurt them in the long run. I'm not perfect, and neither is my online profile, but I'm proud of how I come across as a person in real life, and online.

Thanks for reading, have a blessed week!

The Beef Queen

Friday, October 12, 2012

Elevator Speeches - Don't take the stairs!

Most college students, especially those in any of the communications majors, have heard the term elevator speech. Most of us have heard it again. And again. And again......

If you haven't heard this term (regardless of your major or job) then it's something you should learn. Quickly. Elevator speeches have several names, but they are basically all formed around a simple principle. If you only have a small amount of time to speak to someone, and you need them to remember you, it's easy to get caught off guard and flustered.

Enter, the elevator. Speech. :)

Why do I need an elevator speech? I'm a bio-med major, or I already have a job!

Elevator speeches are great for a number of different occasions, each speech can be tailored to the event. This little blurb about you should include: Your name, something interesting about you that sets you apart (as it relates to the event/person), and something that you see as a goal or a challenge.

Examples: My name is Kelly Davis, I call myself "The Beef Queen" because I am an advocate of Florida's beef industry, and my dream job would be serving as Florida's first female Commissioner of Agriculture.

This is an example of an elevator speech for a job interview. There are different examples for different situations. You could have one ready for a job interview, meeting someone at work or at school that you admire, speed dating (even regular dating), etc.

These are great for people who find it hard to "brag" about themselves, which is one way that people describe talking about themselves. This little prepared speech comes in handy in a million different situations, especially when you hear the dreaded "Tell me about yourself".

I speak at a lot of 4-H clubs, FFA chapters, and other types of school and business meetings. This is always something I try to bring up, especially when there are younger people involved. It gives you an edge when you can answer something like this on the spot. Your confident, because you have something to say, and it will help people remember you.

At the last 4-H meeting I spoke at, I had each of the members write down some interesting things about themselves, and what they wanted to be when they get older. After I was done with my presentation, I had some of the students share some of their information as if they were just meeting me for the first time (which was effective, as many of them were!). This is a great way to encourage kids to get confident when speaking about something they love or are passionate about, whether it's drawing, sewing, speaking, cooking, showing cows, politics, or whatever it may be!

Hopefully you have a desire to go figure out your elevator speech, and I know you won't be caught off guard the next time you meet someone! Keep it simple, and keep it YOU. You're pretty great, and everyone deserves to know that!

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!

The Beef Queen