Crunchy vs Creamy: My Peanut Butter Manifesto

There are many great debates in our society: Coke or Pepsi, Democrat or Republican, what color was the dress, and is Matthew McConaughey a good actor; but no debate has more impact on society’s direction than the great crunchy vs creamy peanut butter debate.  I am here today to settle that debate once and for all, so that we can move onto other, less pressing, issues that face us.

The first point creamy enthusiasts will point out, is that it’s easier to spread than crunchy.  In other words: they are lazy and lack the skill required to properly spread crunchy’s goodness.  Why would you want peanut butter to be the same consistency as regular butter?  A jar of peanut butter is no Land O’Lakes. I will not need to spread this in a paper-thin layer and expect it to melt into a surface to saturate it with peanut-ness. Peanut butter stands on top. You want it to have girth, body, volume and stature.  You want that peanut butter to be like a firm handshake, not some limp wristed, noodle like excuse for a handshake.  It’s that heartiness that endeared America to the peanut in the first place. By churning it into a creamy butter, you’re basically cutting off its nuts.  Which brings me to my next point: it’s called PEANUT butter.  How can you call something PEANUT butter and not have any PEANUTS in it? Peanut butter without nuts isn’t real peanut butter, it’s peanut flavored paste.

The most common use of peanut butter is in the famous PB&J sandwich.  In this magical paring, the jelly serves as the smooth substance.  You need something with substance to properly compliment the jelly.  A creamy PB&J is just a mush-mouth sandwich.  Just thinking of the texture derived from that blasphemous combination makes me want to gag.

According to the National Peanut Board, an offshoot communist group remaining from the days of the USSR, 60% of Americans prefer creamy to crunchy.  This cannot stand! As crunchy enthusiasts, we need to take it upon ourselves to evangelize the superiority of crunchy peanut butter.  If we can come together as a people and realize how much better crunchy is, just imagine the feats we could accomplish. Peace in the Middle East? Done. Colonizing Mars? Easy. Literally nothing is out of our reach if everyone can agree that creamy peanut butter has no place in society.  Together, we can make crunchy peanut butter great again!

The 1,200 Mile Commute

From starting high school, moving to a new town and having my parents live over 1,200 miles apart, 2008 was a year of many changes for me.

As a child, I grew up in Tucson, Arizona with my older sister, older brother, my mom and dad. My parents were always very hardworking, supportive and loving as I grew up.  Always attending my volleyball and basketball games as well as track meets, bringing me to tennis, horseback riding, or piano lessons.  My dad would make my lunch in the morning and then drop my sister and I off at carpool, while my mom would pick us up after school and bring us home.  We ate dinner as a family every night and weekends were often spent doing some sort of family activity whether it was going to the pool or helping my dad plant flowers at a property he managed.  We had a lot of family time and I enjoyed it.

 As I graduated from 8th grade my family moved to Big Timber, Montana for my sister and I to attend high school.  The town is very rural and has roughly 1,500 hundred people living there, with 200 people in the high school.  My mom had quit her job and committed to being a full-time stay at home parent while my dad commuted from Tucson.  At the time my dad had been traveling a lot with his side job of managing a catering crew that cooked for the Avon Walks for Breast Cancer and Susan G. Komen 3 day walks.

Entering my freshman year was hard, I often got a lot of questions such as “how do you have nice things since you don’t have a dad” or “well your parents must be divorced since they don’t live in the same state”.  Questions like this were a frequent occurrence since my dad was only able to visit around once a month.  He was so busy working at his property management and landscaping business as well as traveling cross country catering that visits were generally for a short amount of time. I went from having my dad play such a crucial role in my life to talking to him often twice a day on the phone.

Having parents that are married and live 1,200 miles apart is not ideal, but we made it work.  My parents did what they had to do for my sister and I to succeed and I believe our family grew stronger because of it.  I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices that they have made and I know both of my parents have always been cheering me on whether they were right by my side or miles away.

~Maureen Galen

The reality of showing horses with non-horsey parents.

The learning curve is steep.

            Really steep. Mom always said, “The more you know, the more you don’t know.” And her go-to line, “Everything I know about horses I learned from Makenzi.” I started riding when I was 3, and went to my first horse show with my very own horse when I was 10. It was an adventure. I didn’t know what lead we were on without looking, I wore my mom’s old motorcycle chaps, I had sparkly, button-up Murdoch’s shirts, sparkly belts, and pink boots. I was hooked! Each show we went to, my parents started learning what to bring, how I should look, and the in-and-outs of horse showing by strictly observing. I didn’t start out with a trainer…just Mom, Dad, and me. Talk about dedication.

Pig tails, dad, and horses


Mom’s the checkbook. Dad’s the driver.

Not really, though. Mom still jokes about this, but they are so much more than that. After years of sitting through lessons, literally hundreds of hours, they know what to look for and can usually place a class pretty accurately despite being non-horsey. “I have no idea how you would do this, but I think his head looks a little too high. Can you fix that?” “POSTURE ALERT.” “Smile.” (I hated that one.) Although it snuck up on them, they know so much more about horses and showing than they thought possible…the hours added up.

Horse showing or camping?


Food, clothes, and hair.

My mom is the queen. Always needing a job, but never quite knowing how to help, we agreed very early on that she would be in charge of food, clothes, and hair. She, of course, took these jobs extremely seriously. Bless her heart, she would bring me homemade turkey sandwiches between classes, have all my show clothes dry cleaned and organized, and she would spend all day checking my hair and handing me hairspray because GOD FORBID one hair be out of place. Pinning my western hat on was a job she adopted, because one time, at one show, my hat came off and tumbled through the arena. Again, a job she took seriously, she would wedge bobby pins between my skull and my hat, making my head bleed on more than one occasion (she’ll deny this). My mom was the best at all of these things, and I’ve met a lot of horse show moms.

Mom after shoulder surgery with me at the Las Vegas Championships 2016


“Lookin’ good, Dood. Need anything?”

Dad. With a cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito in his hand he found at some long-lost, locally set-up concession stand. As an early riser, he would be up not long after me, wondering around the show grounds, making friends with the other “show dads,” and finding questionable food and coffee. He’d memorize the menu and rattle it off periodically throughout the day…just in case anyone was getting hungry. His signature move was finding me, usually while putting in a tail or blacking hooves, and say, “Lookin’ good, Dood. Need anything?” I’d usually say no, but sometimes I’d ask him to go grab something from the trailer and he’d leisurely oblige, happy to help…after all, he might find another hidden concession stand or someone he hadn’t met yet.

Me, Pilot, and Dad…tired and sweaty


Diva behavior is not tolerated.

“Change your attitude before I rip you off of that horse!” –my mom. Horse showing has a way of bringing out the best…and worst in people. Although I knew my sweet, little mother couldn’t reach me, let alone “rip me off” my horse, it wasn’t an idle threat. Yelling, getting mad at my horse, being snotty or demanding were all actions punishable by leaving the horse show. From observation, horsey parents had more patience for their child’s meltdowns and tantrums (usually.)

Looking like a diva is important, though


I’m so proud of you.

Win or lose, my parents made sure I knew this. Because they never pushed me to ride and show horses, I never felt unneeded pressure to do well (I was hard enough on myself.) Some exhibitors with horsey parents would come out of the ring after a bad ride or a bad pattern and their mom (or dad) would just tear into them. Tears would fly and yelling could be heard throughout the stall barn. If I had a bad ride, my parents would meet me outside the gate, understand my frustration, and try to reassure me it didn’t look all that bad…even when it did.

Winning, winning, winning

The decision to show horses was mine and mine alone. My parents never thought twice about supporting this crazy sport. From buying trucks and trailers and horses to sitting in an arena for 10 hours at a show, I cannot repay them. Whatever you do, do it with your whole heart and never ever look back.



How To Make String Art

Are you looking for a cute wall piece to liven up your living room, or a cute meaningful gift for someone that is hard to buy for? Why spend a ton of money at a department stores for decorations or gifts, when you could simply make them yourself!

I have always been one for arts and crafts, and with pinterest constantly filling my head with crafty ideas and do it yourself projects, string art just looked and sounded something cool to do! If you know how to handle a hammer and can tie a knot, this project should be easy and fun.

Here are my steps start to finish to help you to successfully make a beautiful and one of a kind string art project perfect for a gift, or simply as a decoration in your own home. Trust me, people will be asking where you got them.


Lets Get Started!


Step 1: Tools and Supplies

First you must decide what kind of material you would like to work with( wood, canvas, etc.), and collect all of the supplies you will need. In this project, here is a list of the supplies used:

  • Wood (size is optional, however it must be at least a half inch thick to ensure nails can be        hammered deep enough to prevent them from coming loose)
  • Nails- (16mm-25.4mm long)
  • String (color is optional)
  • Printed string art pattern or stencil
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • Wood Stain (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)



Step 2: Hammer Time!

For this project, I chose to print out an outline, and tape it to my surface. If you would rather, you can draw the image straight on the surface, and follow the lines that way. The benefit of taping your outline onto the board is that you can remove the stencil later on and not have unwanted lines left behind. It also makes following the pattern very simple and easy.

As you can see in the pattern above, the lines are quite complex. If this is your first time attempting string art, I would suggest a less intricate stencil, and work your way up to more difficult patterns.

When hammering the nails, space them about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart.

Once you have finished hammering, go back through and make sure each nail is secure. This is VERY important to do to ensure that while stringing, the nails will not be pulled out, or loosen. This is also crucial to do before the outline is removed because when pulling the outline off, nails that are not secure will come out.

After removing the outline, I chose to stain the piece of wood in order to create a more bold background for the string to stand out from. This step is optional, however, it definitely adds to the piece.


Step 3: Ready, Set, STRING!

For this project, I decided to do a thick cross string pattern.

Essentially, there is no pattern to follow, simply begin by tying a double knot around one nail, this will be your starting point. Be sure to leave a long tail to connect your end piece of string with. From there, create the outline for your pattern by looping the string around the outer points of the pattern.

Once you have the outline strung up, begin crossing the string through out out the nails and fill in the pattern. Decide whether you want your pattern to look more ‘holey’, meaning the board beneath is visible, or more filled in where you cannot see the board.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

This step is just for tying up all the loose ends. (Literally)

Be sure that the string is tight and you have gotten the look you want. For extra securing purposes, use a hot glue gun to glue the two trimmed end pieces that are tied together. This is of course optional, however it does help the piece to last for years to come.

Katie Buckley is a University of Montana Senior in pursuit of a Marketing Degree as well as a certificate in Event Management. She loves Pinterest and gains a lot of her DIY inspiration from the creativity of others and hopes to share her own ideas projects with the world and inspire others.

Why I’m okay with not knowing what I’m doing.

Quick background: I packed my U-Haul on my 18th birthday and drove here from Seattle. I started college when I was 20 years old after working in retail for two years. Real life smacked me right in the face at 18, scraping by for rent and barely affording food. 40’s and Ramen was my bloodline. One day it dawned on me that if I couldn’t afford my cheap rent, food, and booze how was I supposed to ever save for a house or possibly support a child? Fear of the future is what drove me to go to college.

I decided to aim high, I went straight for pharmacy school. I wanted to make a lot of money and have job security. The issue? Potentially 6 years of school. So I switched to getting my bachelors in Chemistry.

I was constantly worrying about what was after school. Would I make enough money? Would I be happy? Would money make me happy? What the f*ck am I doing? This summer I had what some would say was a quarter life crisis. I woke up one day so extremely unhappy. I hated where I was going in life (I had no dreams of being a chemist or grad school), I didn’t love my boyfriend anymore, and most of all I was losing sight of who I was. So I dumped my boyfriend, switched my major to marketing, and made a pact with myself to never think so seriously about the future again.

Plans blind you.

When I thought I had it all figured out, when I made my 5 year plan, when I envisioned myself in a lab making cool drugs, is when I said no to opportunities. I had tunnel vision. I was only seeing what I wanted to see, I was only networking with people that I thought could help me get ahead. I’ve now fully adopted the philosophy that everything and everyone is an opportunity. Talk to anyone you meet, you never know what will happen.

A few weeks ago I was back home in Washington and took an Uber ride to the airport. He was a retired consultant that drove for fun. He is now my mentor and helping me in starting my second LLC to do marketing for one of his startups. Did I think that would happen from a car ride? Hell no, but here I am and I couldn’t be more excited and scared at the same time.

Bottom line.

When someone asks you what you want to do after school, it’s okay to say you have no idea (I do it all the time). Don’t think you have to be the person you set out to be. Make plans but stay flexible. Talk to anyone and everyone. Never say no to a solid opportunity, even if it scares the shit out of you. I know I don’t have anything figured out and I’m finally 100% okay with that.


Nicole Lane