Category Archives: What I’m Into

What I’m Into / June 2014

Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June. — Al Bernstein


Welcome back to puffy cloud season, everyone!


First things first.  Let’s take a look back at June 1983 – the month that Chad turned 1 and I turned 2.  Yep, I’m the older woman; we’re the same age for 24 days each year.  But seriously, if that’s not the cutest thing on the internet right now, well, maybe just don’t tell me about it.  Happy birthday, Team Wastell!

We spent the majority of the month on the road, but still managed to squeeze in plenty of fun.


Namely, with these little nutters.  We spent a few days at my sister’s tacked on to the beginning of a business trip to the east coast, and I LOVED getting lots of snuggles and silly moments with my nieces.  They’re 4.5 and 2.5 and full of energy and giggles and wanting all the snacks and treats.  Sisters are the best.


We hosted some super fun Airbnb guests, including one couple who bought steaks at a local butcher, but were tired at the end of their day, so Chad the Rockstar Griller Man offered to grill their ribeyes for them.  We’re pretty much great hosts.  Come visit!



Speaking of beef, we were in Chicago over the weekend, so we popped up to Evanston for Al’s famous roast beef with blue cheese.  So good.  And Al’s accepts Euros, so hey.




We took a stroll along the lake and took a picture in which I actually look slightly tan, but do not be fooled.  Just good lighting and a little Instagram.

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 A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Someday Someday Maybe, The Slap, Admission, and Burial Rites.

What I’m watching
Grey’s & Nashville finales, CHECK.  Game of Thrones finale, CHECK.  Bad summer movies and all the funny YouTube videos, CHECK.

Around the web

Check out #DinnerPlaybook on Twitter and Instagram – I was chosen to participate in a fun challenge for one of my favorite food blogs to celebrate a new cookbook.

Little things I’m loving


A dear friend sent me some homemade jam, plus some art from her littles that basically rules.



Even Solomon in all his splendor was not clothed like one of these.


But, new shoes!



Some good friends baptized their baby and I got to do a reading.  The afternoon was full of moments of glory.

Adventures in Piggery
Most of the month was spent preparing for or recovering from World Pork Expo, where people take pigs for a walk, among other things.  Read my full recaps here.



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


What I’m Into / May 2014

It’s not May without ponies and big hats, y’all.

And a sweet and refreshing mint julep or two, natch.


I love our neighborhood, and coffee with Kels makes it even more lovely.  I used to be able to see this building from my old apartment – I don’t miss the traffic noise but I do kind of miss the view.


Moving right along on my 33 by 33 list (although I’m running out of time!), I successfully made pie with my mother-in-law, who was a champion pie baker back in her day.  I married into a darn good family.


We went to DC for #averyhappystart to a marriage for some dear friends, and I waved hi to FLOTUS.  I knew we didn’t have much time to really see the city, but we did walk past the White House and Capital building.  Memorial Day brought out allllll the people, and my introvert self was DONE with crowds.  We’ll be back in the off-season.


Things are greening up and sunsets are turning back to summer glory.  Hallelujah.

What I’m reading
I linked up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share books I’m reading in Twitter-inspired fashion.  This month’s just-a-few reads included The Sense of an Ending, Eating Heaven, and King & Maxwell.

What I’m watching
This is a light TV month for Team Wastell, but we’re keeping up with Game of Thrones. I still haven’t watched the finales of Grey’s or Nashville, but it’s hard to stay un-spoiled.  Looking forward to some good silly summer TV.

Around the web
#yesallwomen all the time.  It’s important; it’s real; it matters.

Little things I’m loving


I’m thankful for non-local produce – these peaches from California were marvelous.


I love summer thunderstorms, especially when accompanied by rainbows.


I love The Good Life as Nebraska’s state slogan, but an Official Committee disagreed with me, and we are now “Nebraska Nice.”  Bleah.  Definitely not loving that.


Traveling with Airbnb is the way to go.  It’s thrifty, plus I love seeing a different side of a city and the spaces in which people live.


I’ll say it again – this guy.  🙂

Adventures in Piggery
Two things I love about my job:  small town old men and pigs who stick their tongue out at me.




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


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.

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.

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.

What I’m into / January 2014

We rang in the new year at home with a happy handful of our best and dearest, then we headed north to Canada in the middle of the Polar Vortex (said in the most ominous voice possible).


We spent a few days with our sweet friends at Crystal Spring Colony in Manitoba. I learned to make pierogi and my friend let me try on her traditional Hutterite dress and head scarf.

Chad and I joke occasionally about joining the colony once/if we have kids. There’s something so appealing about life lived in community, working together and caring for one another with such intentionality. I’d just keep all my opinions hidden under my skirts, I guess.


We hosted several Airbnb guests and I tried to get them all to read the Enneagram books.  I love opening our home to travelers in town, and I love even more my awesome cleaning girl that comes over once in a while to help get bedrooms ready for our guests.  She’s the best.  And she dusts.

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These girls made the most of sunshiney days in their far away North Carolina home.  Despite our near daily phone chats, I miss my sister and I love watching her littles grow up together.

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I started going to therapy and when I talk about it with my friends, I’m overwhelmed by their support and the choruses of “You too? Me, too!?”

What I’m reading
I linked up with Modern Mrs. Darcy this month to share books I’ve been reading in Twitter-inspired fashion.  My early January titles included Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski, He’s Gone by Deb Caletti, and Calling of Emily Evans by Jeanette Oke.  I also joined the Red Couch Book Club and finally started reading (and cheering along with) Jesus Feminist with the rest of the SheLovelies.

What I’m watching
Award shows all around!  I love red carpet coverage – especially when followed on Twitter.  Winter hiatus make it easy to stay caught up on shows (since there are none. Boo.), and I have a bone to pick with Hulu for changing the schedule of their free access to shows.  Not cool, Hulu.

Around the web
Consistent devotions have never been my strong suit, but I’ve loved reading along with She Reads Truth. The Fresh Start readings were, indeed, refreshing.  His mercies are new every morning.  His mercies never come to an end. 

Little things I’m loving

Treasure hunting at Anthro


Bringing home pretty blooms from Trader Joe’s.  Fresh and beautiful for only $4.  Love it.

Adventures in Piggery


January is show season so after our Canada trip we went to the frozen tundras of Minneapolis and Des Moines.  I covered the Minnesota show for  It’s always fun to write for other sites, and gives me a different, more focused perspective on work.  I never thought I’d say this, but I kinda missed visiting hog barns this month.

February, it’s your turn now.


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

What I’m Into / December 2013

In the bleak mid-winter / Frosty wind made moan, / Earth stood hard as iron, / Water like a stone;/
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,/ Snow on snow, / In the bleak mid-winter / Long ago.

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December came cold, freezing hard for the season and snow covered the ground.  Vacation melted into shopping and wrapping and planning and holiday celebrating and the days flew quickly.  Tough situations popped up at work and in our community and I pondered justice and grace and what does forgiveness really mean?  I wonder how earthly consequences and forgiveness look different from that of God and that’s the most subtweety paragraph I hope to ever write about a month.


Advent began December 01, this period of waiting, of expectation.  We were still in Europe for work, so we went to a candlelight Advent service at the York Minster.  God is not an Evangelical American, and I am never more confronted with that beautiful truth than when I attend a service in another country.

PicMonkey Collage

During Advent, I got into in a photo-a-day challenge on Instagram to rethink Christmas.  Daily prompts led to photos and reflection throughout the month and I enjoyed the process and discipline.  Above: Patience, Equality, Delight and Ready.  More over on Instagram.

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We celebrated Christmas and then celebrated Christmas and then celebrated some more.  Christmas parties and Yankee Swap and Festivus galore. I’m so thankful for our friends who open their homes and generously invite others in.  We spent a couple of wonderfully relaxing days at my parents’ home in Kansas, where we did nothing but sit around, chat and eat snacks.  It was amazing.

What I’m reading
Ugh.  Unfortunately not much. I definitely bought more books than I actually read in December.  I’m also having all the need-to-read-more feelings with many of my favorite writer-bloggers posting their annual Favorite Book lists.  So let’s talk again in January, okay?  I’m looking forward to the She Loves book club kicking off, hosted by Leigh Kramer, who also hosts this little link up.  Good stuff.

What I’m watching
Yep, all the Christmas movies.  My worst-favorite so far?  A Princess for Christmas on Netflix, but I think it might have been a Hallmark movie.  You should totally watch it.  We’re still within the 12 days of Christmas, so it’s still the season.  No shame.  I’m all caught up on Grey’s and Nashville, but Husband and I are having scheduling conflicts with finding time to watch Scandal, so don’t tell me what happened in the mid-season finale!!

Around the web
I’ve really been enjoying Sarah Baker Hansen’s take on the Omaha food scene lately.  She’s the Food Critic for the Omaha World Herald and local foodie blogger.  Her approachable writing style and great taste in restaurants make her an easy one to love.  I’ve added an item to my not-actually-real bucket list: take part in a food prowl taste-off.

Little things I’m loving

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Our house decorated for Christmas.  The greenery and lights and candles and little touches sprinkled about make the living room look so cozy and warm, and the whole thing took about an hour.  Plus, I only spent about $30 to add to what I got last year.  Budget bonus.

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Clementines, mandarins, whatever.  They are delicious and they are addicting.  I can’t stop eating them.


My new blog header. My rockstar design friend Kelsey made it for me and I love it.  Also, I love her.

Adventures in Piggery

December snow turned plowed fields into chocolate crinkle cookies, just in time for Christmas.  There’s such beauty to be found in this season of bitter cold and dead and brown.  You just have to look for it.

PicMonkey Collage

Company board meetings were in early December.  It’s always humbling to watch the brilliant minds of the people on the board at work, and listen to their insights and wisdom on our company.  I’m grateful for the time they give.  We went to Gorat’s for dinner after meetings and saw Mr. Buffet, which is always fun.
Just one of the little perks of living in Omaha.  I’m so happy to call it home.


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