Category Archives: Uncategorized

Spring Beauty Swap

New friends in ag, gifts in the mail, and fun beauty products to try? Count me in!

I was paired up with Kelsey Pope, a fellow Nebraska girl. Unfortunately, Kelsey is a K-State grad and diehard Wildcat fan, but she knows some of my friends from high school, so we’ll let it slide.

It was fun to get to know Kelsey this spring, as we traded work-from-home stories and our thoughts on our current beauty routines. And, she sent me great stuff to try. I told her how much I love travel-sized goodies since we’re on the road so much, and she delivered.

photoThe Jergens Natural Glow will definitely come in handy this summer – pale girl alert!  The natural cuticle oil was homemade by a friend of hers, and Burt’s Bees is just the best, really.

Thanks for the gifts, Kelsey!  It’s SO fun to go shopping for these beauty swaps, and I love picking out products for my new friends to try.  And thanks to Crystal for hosting these fun swaps – follow @crystalcattle on Twitter to learn more about the next beauty swap.

(See what I got in December’s swap)


What I’m Into / April 2014

Dear April, I love you.Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 4.10.29 PM

You with your stormy skies and turning green and lilacs abloom, I love.

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Work and life brought Ranae to town and I decided that very early coffee with my bestie was worth waking up for.  Turns out, mornings in the Old Market are kind of pretty.

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We had our carpets cleaned, then I dusted and rearranged throw pillows and a brilliant photographer came and took photos of our house for Airbnb.  Tiny teaser above – I love all the little details that she noticed.  Come and stay with us?

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Many moons ago, I served on the board of a young professionals group in Omaha.  We’ve attended their annual fundraising gala each year since, and I glammed it up with a cute dress (with pockets!) and Big Hair this year.  Well, big for me.  For about 3 minutes.  I do straight hair like I do pale skin.  No way around it.

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I love celebrating Passover.  We have several friends who are Jewish and I love sharing the holiday moments that are significant to both Judaism and Christianity.  The sponsored Haggadah always cracks me up, and this year I imagined that when Jesus and his disciples celebrated Passover, it was brought to them, too, by Maxwell House.  #amen.

April 25th, you guys!!! The best.

What I’m reading
I linked up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share books I’m reading in Twitter-inspired fashion.  This month’s reads included AttachmentsCarry On, WarriorSycamore RowDear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, and Madame Tussaud.  It was a pretty great month for books, honestly.

What I’m watching
We’re still keeping up with the usual Scandal and Grey’s and Nashville.  And you guys, George RR Martin frustrates me to no end with his treatment of female characters, but I just can’t quit Game of Thrones.

Around the web
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Oh my, my Homaha sure is pretty.  I love this sunrise/sunset video project by ONELapse.
Click the photo above to watch the timelapse.

Little things I’m loving

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We’re all-season grillers ’round these parts (and by We, I mean Awesome Husband), but spring always makes me want to throw open the deck doors and let the breeze blow.  Asparagus and all their veggie friends are SO good in the grill basket.  Can’t get enough.

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Oh, Trader Joe’s.  You know the way to my heart.  I ALSO can’t get enough of this ridiculous chocolate-cookie combo in a jar.  Spread it on an apple slice and it’s practically a whole meal.

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Apple fritters and coffee and catching up with an old friend.  Good stuff all around.

And yes, I realize that all the things I’m loving revolve around food.  Let’s not talk about it.

Adventures in piggery

We were remarkably at-home this month, as I’ve been wrapping up a new website design for our supplier.  I’ve cranked out some handy resources for our dealers and worked on an ad campaign for a specialty product, and I hung out with this guy, who stuck his tongue out at me about 10 seconds later. Pttttttthhhhbbbb to you, too, pig.


I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her What I’m Into series. Hop on over to her blog for more.

Twitterature / April 2014

A Twitter-inspired look at books I’ve been reading recently.  (And here’s what I read last month.)  What’s on your bookshelf these days?


Attachments / Rainbow Rowell
Warm, funny, full of heart. My hometown girl debuted a fine first novel. It’s no Eleanor & Park but I loved it just the same.

15802944Carry On, Warrior / Glennon Doyle Melton
Bless you, Glennon. I’ve been a longtime blog reader but had never read her book.  Pages and stories full of encouragement, grace, authenticity and sass.  17288661

Sycamore Row / John Grisham
I’ve been reading Grisham for 17 years, and this sequel to A Time to Kill proved again to me why he’s one of America’s great storytellers.


Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom / Susin Nielsen
A total gem of a book.  I was filled with hope for YA reading as I cheered on the darling heroine.  Now I gotta go rearrange my closet.


Madame Tussaud / Michelle Moran
One of the most famous sculptors of all time blurs the lines between Royalist and Jacobin. No holistic history lesson here, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.  Cake, anyone?


I’m linking up with Anne Bogel for her Twitterature series. Hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more.


What I’m Into / March 2014

March came in like a cold, wet, angry lion and today, at least, is going out like a frolicking springy lamb. 
We’re ignoring the snow in the forecast for Friday, mkay? I just refuse.


Mom came to Omaha for a short visit to help me cross the task of Baking Bread off my 33 Before 33 list.  We had such a lovely time together. I should be so lucky to age with such grace and beauty.


We followed the m-bird clouds home after spending a few days in Canada.  The few-and-far-between Starbucks along I-29 and I are getting to know each other quite well.  BjRSj15IUAAFUFk


Chad and I spent a lovely weekend in Denver with a buddy of ours, hiking a bit, eating a lot, trying all the beers and talking about all of the things.  I love going places with him.

What I’m reading
I linked up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share books I’m reading in Twitter-inspired fashion. This month’s reads included The Husband’s Secret, The Magician’s Assistant, A Bride Most Begrudging, and Three Wishes.  Overall, I was not impressed.  Hopefully April’s selections will do better.

What I’m watching
I’m so happy to have my shows back!  Chad and I are all caught up on Scandal, and I’m still keeping up with Grey’s and Nashville.  Also unashamedly binge-watching Dance Academy during the dreaded laundry-folding.  You gotta do what you gotta do.

Around the web

I actually took this e-course in February, but the awesome community of women I connected with during the course has remained a tremendous source of encouragement, support and laughter, as we all navigate love and making it.  You (women) should totally take the course, too.  She’s even working on a course for engaged ladies and single women, too.  Sign up sign up!

Little things I’m loving

photoSpringtime shoes with no socks!  The best.  Please excuse the ridiculous creamy pale whiteness.


I got new glasses, which I just adore, and which also manage to make me look just like my 9-year old self.


Fancy drinks!  We attended a craft bartending event this past weekend that was SO cool.  And delicious.

EDITED TO ADD:  And, I met my long-distance bestie’s long-distance boyfriend.  He’s pretty great.  They should both probably just move back to Omaha.  The end.

Adventures in Piggery


We celebrated National Ag Day/Week and I rounded up a bunch of my favorite aggie shots.  So pretty.
And I’m so grateful to those who work hard to provide a safe, abundant food supply for the world.


I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her What I’m Into series. Hop on over to her blog for more.

Canning Mushrooms

“Canning mushrooms after ldsfhcsr,” the markerboard in the kitchen read.  It was actually a Hutterite-German word for the colony’s breakfast, but I don’t know the word.  Even if this wouldn’t have been an awesome opportunity for the video crew that was working with us, I knew I wanted to help.

Two full pallets full of flats of mushrooms awaited the ladies in the kitchen basement.  They would be cut, washed, cooked and canned in a matter of a few hours. I was handed a knife and got to work.


Stories and songs flowed in and out of English and High German mixed with lots of laughter as they worked together.
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I made it through 2.5 boxes in about 45 minutes, then I had to go to a meeting.

I cherish every chance to help and spend time with the women of Crystal Spring, even and especially if my hands do smell like the earth when it’s over.IMG_2460

Thank you Kindly

I don’t typically buy things from sponsored links on blogs.  I very rarely use Amazon affiliate links, I’ve never done Stitch Fix, and I don’t enter contests.  And, I don’t read Raechel Myers’ blog.  So to be honest, I’m not quite sure how I found her sponsored post on David Kind glasses, why I clicked through to the site, why I signed up for a styling. But I did.

I’ve asked for money for new glasses probably 3 out of the last 4 Christmases, so updating my old (not awful but definitely not cute) glasses has been on my mind for quite some time.  I tried on Warby Parkers a couple of years ago but none of the frames fit my face that well, and I sent them all back.

The biggest difference with David Kind is that they recommend frames for you, rather than picking them out yourself.  I noted that a) I’m super pale, b) I seem to have a narrow face and c) I wanted something age appropriate, not overly hipster.  I filled out the rest of the survey and (not very) patiently waited a few days.

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They arrived in a nifty cork box with a handwritten note from my stylist.  She noted a particular pair that she recommended for my face shape, coloring, etc., but I wanted to try them on anonymously first without looking at the frame names.  glasses 1.jpgglasses 2.jpg

So the trying-on process went.  #6 (clearly) was the only pair that I flat out didn’t like.  The others were all contenders.  Chad and Ranae weighed in, and I made my decision.  My years-gone-by is offsetting the price of them (or so I’m telling myself) and I excitedly placed my order.  In February.  Definitely before No Money March started.


The Laurel in Rust turned out to be my stylist’s recommendation for me, and I agreed!  Love love love my new specs.  Thanks, David Kind.  IMG_2540(yes, I think they look a little crooked, too.  getting adjusted this week.)

No, this isn’t a sponsored post, I’m just super excited about my new glasses.

Twitterature / March 2014

A Twitter-inspired look at books I’ve been reading recently.  (And here’s what I read last month.)  What’s on your bookshelf these days?


The Husband’s Secret / Liane Moriarty
An enjoyable and curious read of intertwined lives, with just enough depth and redemption. Flowed a bit like a made-for-tv-movie for me (and that’s not always a bad thing). Classic book club fare.


The Magician’s Assistant / Ann Patchett
A languidly paced, complex story that unfortunately held not enough magic for me.  Patchett does set a scene exquisitely, but to this Nebraska girl, she didn’t do the Midwest justice.


A Bride Most Begrudging / Deeanne Gist
Easy, cheesy Christian historical fiction at its finest.  Full of colonial anachronisms, fiery tobacco brides and redundant plot lines.  Yet, somehow still enjoyable for a weekend read.

9780060586133Three Wishes / Liane Moriarty
A joyful, big-hearted story of family dysfunction, really.  Moriarty’s first novel drags a bit in places and I found myself annoyed a bit with some of the characters, but still a decent light read.

April, let’s do better.  


I’m linking up with Anne Bogel for her Twitterature series. Hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more.


She works with willing hands

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

1.  Make yeast dough from scratch.  My mom makes wonderful bread and cinnamon rolls, but I’m terrified of baking.



 I have my mother’s hands.  Small wrists, sharp angled knuckles, prominent veins.  We’ll never be hand models.  But we are women who work with our hands, making, creating, cleaning, caring, loving.  Baking.

Well, at least Mom bakes.  An oven with uneven temperatures, a high-humidity house, and a few unfortunate sticky-dough experiences later – I’m officially scared to bake.  So, in order to conquer #1 on my 33 before 33 list, I knew I’d need help.  Mom took a day off work and came to Omaha to teach me how to handle yeast dough.

2PicMonkey Collage.jpgWe started with a herbed peasant bread recipe that I love – it makes the best toast and grilled cheese sandwiches.  We dissolved the yeast, mixed the herbs and flour (by hand, thankyouverymuch – no Kitchen Aid here!), and then came the kneading.

Grease and flour the counter, oil your hands, turn and knead the dough, turn and knead, turn and knead.  Feel the rhythm, count the minutes, learn the dough.  The dough rested on its heating pad nest, the yeast doing its growing work, the balls doubling in size in time.  There’s no rushing dough rising.

PicMonkey Collage.jpgWe worked on whole wheat cinnamon rolls while the bread dough rested.  Turn and knead, turn and knead.  I had to call in reinforcements (Mom! Help!) when the dough got sticky.  Turns out keeping a steady rhythm is important.  No stopping to chat while turning cinnamon roll dough.

After the cinnamon roll dough had rested, we mixed the butter, sugar and cinnamon, rolled out the dough, spread the filling and rolled up the dough.  Rolls get cut with string, just like Grandma did it.  Her hands look like ours, too.


Golden brown and delicious.  I need to work on consistent roll sizes.  Still a lot to learn.  IMG_2416

Also?  Do not forget the frosting.  More butter more cream cheese more better.  That’s important.

IMG_2418I love spending time with my mom.  I love getting to know her as a grown up.  I love the way she shares her heart and her story with such grace, the way she’s finding her strength and voice, the way she pours into her family and community from the deep wells of her faith.  I love learning about her and learning from her and I’m so thankful for the time she gave me this weekend.

IMG_2363But sometimes, Mom learns from me.  Like what it means to “Let’s get a Sonic.”  Excellent.

What I’m Into / February 2014

Oh, February, you sneaky little month. I stopped wearing a coat because it was sunny and almost 60*F one day and I refuse to acknowledge that it’s still cold. Again. Spring, I am SO ready for you.

In the mean time, snow boots, you saved my life. These babies were a spur-of-the-moment purchase for our Chicago trip to celebrate my bestie’s birthday. Holy snow, Windy City. Couldn’t have done it without the boots.



No birthday weekend is complete without a million pictures and nearly that many Bloody Marys. The best.


We celebrated another dear friend’s birthday with $1 margaritas, a cover band and lots of laughter.


And, we remembered that we’re sometimes terrible at taking photos together. But I do love him so.

What I’m reading
I linked up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share books I’m reading in Twitter-inspired fashion. This month’s reads included The Rosie ProjectThe Friday Night Knitting ClubSisterlandThe Coal Tattoo and Bel Canto.  

What I’m watching
Sochi 2014, baby!  I have a not-so-secret love affair with a) Russian culture, b) Bob Costas and c) ice skating costumes.  LOVE the Olympics.  We devoured House of Cards S1 last winter, but haven’t found the perfect lazy Saturday to dig into S2 yet.  I’m trying to avoid reading spoilers but it’s not going so well.  Looking forward to Scandal, Nashville and Grey’s coming back after Olympics hiatus.  ALSO, I am loving Jimmy Fallon and his new late night shenanigans.  I never watched much Leno, but I’m cracking up at clips from Fallon’s new take on the show.

Around the web
IMG_2063We started a new nutrition plan that’s high on protein, high on exercise and high on scouring the web for nutrition data while we’re traveling.  I’ve been using and loving the My Fitness Pal app while Chad chose MyNetDiary Pro for its accommodation of a further breakdown of nutrients.  I’ve never spent so much time researching grams of protein in my life.  It’s kind of annoying, I’m not gonna lie.  Meal planning and shopping requires a ton more work, and I’m so bored of egg whites I could cry.  Actually, I have.  However, it’s also effective, and we’re both feeling like our pants are fitting better.  That’s really what it’s all about, kids.

Little things I’m loving


Popcorn is the perfect snack.  If I can’t decide what I want to eat, popcorn always hits the spot.  


These girlies had a very sweet and silly Valentine’s Day.


I cleaned out my purse and it feels so good.  #lifeunfiltered


The most awesome Throwback Thursday photo ever.  Sisters are the best.

Adventures in Piggery

IMG_2109We went to a tradeshow in Ohio, I had a photo shoot in a barn for a new product, I’m building a new website for our manufacturer, and I shared some thoughts about the importance of being brave in every day conversations.  We’re not all cut out for a Beyonce cover song, y’all.


I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her What I’m Into series. Hop on over to her blog for more.

Trip Report: Scotland Driving (Part 2)


We woke up on Thanksgiving morning and had breakfast in a cute little room overlooking the main street of Fort William.


I’m a sucker for a grandma sweeping the sidewalk, not gonna lie.


Oh, you wanted to know the way to my B&B heart?  Lots of cheese.  I’m not that complicated.


Leaving Fort William that morning we saw what we missed the night before due to fog and darkness.  And what we had missed was AMAZING.  SO PRETTY.  SO THANKFUL for this view.  We’re framing this one.

And this was right around the corner.  I mean.   I wanna film a movie here.


We drove up the east side of Loch Lochy (which, as far as I can tell is like naming a Lake “Lakey”) and the west side of Loch Ness, where we did not see any monsters.  Fall was exploding all over and I was not one bit sorry.IMG_0727

We refilled the fuel tank and snack bag in Inverness, then headed back south through Glenmore Forest Park and the Cairngorms National Park – 216 miles total on Thanksgiving.IMG_0733

We drove past lush green pastures…


And we drove past craggy castle ruins…


And we drove past dusky mountains…


We even saw a Cadillac.  Scotland has all the scenery!  


And, they have blazing bright sunsets at 4 PM.  Womp womp.


We drove through Dundee too late too dark to see much, but I had to take a photo of the city lights.  See, Dundee is not only our fab little neighborhood in Omaha, it’s where my ancestors lived in Scotland a kazillion years ago.  I’m from Clan Graham, of John Graham of Claverhouse, the first Viscount of Dundee. So Grandma, this one’s for you.