Category Archives: 33 before 33

Ding dong, hello

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

29.  Attend at least one show at the Orpheum.  We’re classy and cultured, man.

And look how shiny my hair was!  And sequins!

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In reality, it’s a long sleeved tshirt with sequins all over it.  Comfy in the back, party in the front. Which is pretty much my perfect idea of glam, let’s be honest.

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Chad and I have never been to a show at the Orpheum together, which tells you how overdue this night out at a show was.  I do love this man.  We scored some great tickets thanks to the generosity of a good friend, and we’re super grateful.

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Coincidentally, I have also been reading The 19th Wife lately, a novel about Brigham Young’s 19th wife, so I was all up on my LDS history.

The show was just great.  We laughed and laughed and laughed and I would never recommend it to my parents, hello so inappropriate and so irreverent and SO funny.  BRAVO!

Visiting Amish country

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

25. Visit Amish country.  I have a lifelong crush on Amish culture.  Similar to my obsession with Laura Ingalls growing up.


Blame it on Lurlene McDaniel and her sad Amish cancer trilogy.  And Beverly Lewis’s entire life work, really.  I cannot handle another little girl with  bonnet strings a blowin’ getting hit by a car while she’s just manning a vegetable booth.  I mean.


Anyway.  While we were out on the East coast last month, we had business in Lancaster, so of course I got all excited and sweet talked our boss into taking the scenic route through Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand.


It’s funny; admit it.

photo 2The scenery was beautiful and the farms were nice to look at and I did resist taking pictures of the people and I’m so glad I’ve been here but there really wasn’t much to see if you didn’t want to go to the quilt shops or museums and please pass the homemade pie.

Catching up: Fair time!

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

7.  Go to the fair.  Corn dogs and cowboys and they call the thing rodeo.

I grew up attending the Dickinson County Fair each August.  The fair was always the last hurrah before school started.  The Demolition Derby was always too loud and scary to be enjoyable, but I loved a good rodeo.  Mom and Dad always let us go on a few rides and a snow cone or funnel cake or some other otherwise forbidden treat.  Sugar and cowboys and spinny rides, oh my!

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Chad and I got to go to the Clay County (Iowa) Fair earlier this month with some friends who live there in Spencer.  It calls itself the best county fair in the nation.  It was pretty good, but I don’t know about the best.  Chad and I explored the animals on our own and then we joined Joel & Kari and their kiddos for dinner on the midway.

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The baby alpaca in  Grandpa’s Barn won our prize for most fluffy.  We also saw a baby calf, chicks and little goats.

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Madison (age 12) and her prize-winning carcass hog.

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We enjoyed sweet corn deep fried in butter (SO good), fried pickles, pulled pork, a loaded baked potato and nitrogen ice cream.

Fair 1I’m glad I got to go to a fair this year.  Late summer will always make me nostalgic for the smell of fried dough and hay, the snort of a cow in a fair barn, and midway lights glowing in the night sky.

See more fair pictures here.

Ireland & Scotland: tickets booked!!

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014. See the full list here.

3. Travel abroad. This girl’s got some wanderlust, and Canada doesn’t count. We’ve been planning a hypothetical trip for a while now and we need to book it!

Tickets booked! Tickets actually booked!


We fly into Dublin on November 20 and fly home out of Edinburgh on December 1.


We’ve got some plans and ideas for the trip, and y’all have been super helpful in sharing ideas and recommendations, but I’ve still got a bunch of research to do.


There’s just so much beautiful to explore.


I’m SO excited, you guys.

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4

New restaurant #3

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

8.  Try one new Omaha bar or restaurant each month.  We love our city, but tend to go to our old favorite places all the time.  Time to branch out.

One of my best besties was in town last week and we wanted pizza to celebrate.  Pitch was closed for a private party, so we headed to Baxter’s in Benson.  Baxter’s opened last December but I actually just heard about it, and I’m SUPER glad I did.

PicMonkey Collage.jpg(Photos from Facebook)

Baxter’s is named after an old Benson auto dealership, and old photos line the walls of the small tiny eatery.  I’ve read some reviews online saying it was pricey, but Chad and I each got a combo (Slice + Tots or Salad + Drink) plus an extra order of the new mini puffy breadstick bites for $17, which seems like a good deal to me.   The wine was a little spendy but not unreasonable at $7 a glass.

I really liked my mushroom pizza with goat cheese and herbs, and Chad and R enjoyed their slices as well.  The slices are a generous size, but without a side I would have wanted  a second slice.  The tots were good, although we agreed we prefer our home-grilled version better.  The salad was fresh and pretty big for a side portion, with plenty of dried cranberries, croutons and a nice Italian dressing.

However, the breadstick bites were hands down the best part of the meal.  At only $3, they were hot and perfectly doughy/garlicky/cheesy deliciousness.  They puffed up so they weren’t too heavy, and the housemade marinara was great with them.

Baxter’s, we’ll definitely be back.  R, come visit again soon.

See New Restaurants #1 & #2 here.

Skin care

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

32.  Develop a skin care routine.  Or at least start taking off my makeup before I go to bed.  I KNOW.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart” – Kahlil Gibran


Despite attending a few Mary Kay & Friends parties a year for the past 10 years, I’ve never had a consistent skin care routine other than washing my face in the shower in the morning, and honestly, I’ve never even taken my makeup off at night on a regular basis.  I know.  I’m a little embarrassed for me, too.

I was blessed with good genetics and pretty good skin (Thanks, Mom!) It’s not fairy-twinkle luminescent or anything, but it’s acne-free for the most part and doesn’t get too gross in the summertime.  But, I know in the long run it’s better for my skin if I take care of it and go to bed with a clean face.  

So since making my 33-before-33 list, I’ve been trying.  It’s not every night that I remember to wash and moisturize before I go to bed, but I’m up to probably 5 or 6 nights a week now.  And yes, I SPF at night, too.  Pale is the new tan, people.

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s making a difference or not.  I haven’t really noticed any changes over the past couple of months.  I’ll let you know when I’m 80 and wrinkly.

New restaurants #1 & #2: a date night

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

8.  Try one new Omaha bar or restaurant each month.  We love our city, but tend to go to our old favorite places all the time.  Time to branch out.

It was high time for a date night.  A perfect opportunity to go to try a new restaurant.  I keep a list on my phone of restaurants I want to try (and books I want to read and movies  I want to see and…) but I was torn between 3 new-ish places that have opened up downtown:  Wilson & Washburn, Kitchen Table and Block 16.  Part of the problem was that on the surface, they seem pretty similar – part hipster, part hyper local, part new American and part good online reviews, and they’re all within 1/4 mile of each other.

I couldn’t pick just one, so we thought we’d try all three, progressive dinner style.  Start with appetizers at one, then move on to dinner, then dessert.  I turned to their online menus for direction.

IMG_7584Appetizers were an easy pick – Kitchen Table has a great happy hour from 4-6 PM, so we headed downtown right after work (or maybe a tad early).  Half price apps and $3 select wines are hard to beat.

IMG_7586Kitchen Table is exactly as hipster as I thought it would be, with teeny flowers and wine served in Mason jars, natch.


Their menu is small-ish but interesting.  They have a few staple items, plus a menu selection that changes weekly.  They also have a few dishes they offer just that day.  We were there early – a little before 5, so it was pretty quiet.


Their appetizer selection is unique, but AWESOME.  I wanted to try it all.  We settled on popcorn & pickles (homemade giardiniera – delish!), ricotta & berry bruschetta, and a housemade pimiento cheese spread.  I wasn’t as impressed with the cheese spread, and kind of wished we’d had went with the caramelized onion dip instead.  Serving sizes were shareable but not large.  But, during happy hour, 3 appetizers and 3 glasses of wine only ran us $20 including tax & tip (which was maybe unnecessary/overdone since we ordered at the counter?  I never know what to do with that.).  We’ll definitely be back for HH.


Despite our sort of large first course, we headed to Block 16 for dinner.  We’d heard great things about their food from friends.  We got there just in time – tables filled up just after we ordered our food and sat down.


Block 16 definitely caters to a vegan/vegetarian crowd but has offers meat entrees as well.  Plus, they have pig art on the wall.  Love it.

I forgot to take pictures of our food, but Chad had salmon and veggies en papillote and I had a spare rib french dip sandwich and side salad.  Both meals were definitely good, but didn’t live up to the hype in my opinion.  Our dinners and one bottled cider ran us $40 after tax & tip (again with the counter ordering and the not knowing what to do) and that felt a little pricey.  We’ll probably keep it in our rotation of downtown restaurants and I’m definitely going to use Block 16 as a resource to find a vegan to have coffee with, but Block 16 likely won’t become a regular of ours.

IMG_7600There are very few days of the year when Chad and I both enjoy being outside.  He has a low tolerance for humidity, and I get cold easily.

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Our date night was perfect weather for Team Wastell and it was nice to walk around downtown and in the Old Market after dinner.


La Buvette – site of our first date.  No turning around!

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Wilson & Washburn didn’t have much on their dessert menu that sounded good, so we headed back to Brix in midtown for their strawberry shortcake and drinks – coffee for her and whiskey for him.  We’ll try W&W another evening.

IMG_7626I love this city of ours.  And my husband.

Touching up paint

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

28.  Touch up paint around house.  A small container of paint and a Q-tip will go a long way around this place.

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There’s a lot of spots around the house that look like this.  A place where the paint or drywall got dinged, plus some odd smudges that just won’t wipe off.  Also note the wood floors that need to be refinished.  That’s on the list, too.

photo 2So this morning, I grabbed a rag (not shown), a mini can of “custom blue” paint and some Q-tips and went to work.  I actually ended up repainting one whole wall in our kitchen because the scuffs were so bad.  I did use a brush for that.

Honestly, the whole house could probably stand to be repainted, but hello, vaulted ceilings.  Not gonna try that.  Touching up paint is one of those unfortunate small changes that doesn’t make you gasp and say wow, but I also don’t have that annoyed/make it go away feeling when I look at our walls anymore.  So it’s definitely better.

Edited: Black trim completed 9/9/2013.

Whiskey Run Creek

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

13.  Go wine tasting locally.


To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Nebraska wines.  The soil here grows super sweet grapes, and the wine from local wineries is often overly sweet and jammy.  Not my favorite.  But I’d heard good things about Whiskey Run Creek Winery, so we headed down to Brownville.


Corn was tasseling in fields along the way.
Mark and Sonja joined us for an afternoon of tasting and snacking on the porch.


The wine was more enjoyable than expected, and we were happy to bring home a few bottles with our Living Social credit.

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33 before 33: 1 down, 32 to go

I made a list of 33 things I want to do before I turn 33 in June 2014.  See the full list here.

12.  List our spare bedrooms on 

We have a 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom house.  It’s a lot of space for just the two of us.  We’ve rented out rooms during the College World Series, but have never had it officially listed anywhere.  I’m not trying to make a million dollars here, but we enjoy having people stay with us, and AirBnB was a good fit for us due to its good reviews and easy-to-use website.  I know a couple of people here in town who have had good experiences listing their homes, so we thought we’d give it a shot.  We’re staying at an AirBnB listing in Minneapolis in August so we’ll get the guest side of the experience.

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If you read our blog and want to come visit, we probably wouldn’t even charge you.  🙂