What’s Goin’ On? 3 Things to Do This Weekend

I’M BACK! I’M BACK! I’M BACK!

February got a little dicey at the beginning for blogging then I got super busy and had crazy things happen so I just decided to give up on the shortest month of the year. Which, by the way last month was the craziest, fastest month of my life by far (then I was quickly reminded it’s the shortest month of the year so this is probably accurate for everyone)…

Anywho, I have a couple great posts lined up but I just wanted to craft one today to let you know that I’m still alive and kickin’. I wanted to share a few random tidbits and things that I think you should know about. This was actually pretty much my February in a nutshell but decided it could be a “What Should I Do This Weekend?” post.

So here’s a few ideas:

Read Gone Girl 

This technically should go in a separate “February Books” blog post but as you can tell from where this post started, I didn’t really get to reading like I did in January. However, I did read Gone Girl, and yes, I read it in a few days tops, I had to finish it! I never watched the movie so it was all fresh for me. Here’s what I will say about the book; it wasn’t bad but I expected way more. I kept reading because I was waiting for the mind-blowing end and I didn’t really feel like I got it. I won’t give away any spoilers so don’t worry, but I really thought there would be a crazier ending. Don’t get me wrong, it was crazy but I thought there would be an alternative ending from what happened.

After I finished the book I watched the movie and it was good! Crazy seeing Rosamond Pike playing Amy, I only know her as Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice!

I would love to hear what you thought of Gone Girl! Most people would rate in their top books that they couldn’t put down. I’m waiting to read The Woman in Cabin 10, as I hear it’s pretty similar on the thrill scale.

Watch movies fo free at fmovies.se 

watch-free-movies-online

I sure hope I don’t get in trouble for this one but this was hands down one of the best internet finds, ever. The website fmovies.se lets you watch any movie you want online! Even those in theaters! Say goodbye to your productive weekend with this site. I literally watched back-to-back movies one day. Passengers, which was good. Arrival which was super, super confusing. And Ms. Sloane which at first I wasn’t sure about it but after thinking about it I recommend it, especially if you like shows like Scandal.

Plan an “Experience” 

airbnb-experiences

THIS IS FLIPPING AWESOME. Airbnb just launched a new thing called Experiences where you can book actual adventures instead of a place to stay. You get to connect with local experts and they will create experiences for you whether it’s planning a horseback riding trip in Rome, run and fitness in London, and my favorite: party like a disco queen in L.A.

I mean, seriously! How. Cool. Is. That?

 

I know it’s only Tuesday, but whatcha doin’ this weekend? Did you realize that time saving starts this Sunday?… I can’t believe it either. It’s already almost Spring ya’ll!!

 

 

Monthly Book Review: January

january-book-reviews-and-audio-book-review

WE MADE IT! First month of 2017 down. I do have to say this month has been filled with so, so, so much personal growth. I’m reading way more than any other January I’ve experienced in my life and I’ve already done so much soul searching to be a wiser person (you’ll see why when you start to pick up the theme of these books I read)… Self-help anyone? But lay off, those are my favorite types of books!

You probably don’t remember this (because why would you?) but about this time last year, I told the world (my blog) that I was going to have a year resolution of reading more. Well, I actually did! Don’t count me in as a book scholar anytime soon but I thought about reading books more than ever and actually did. Again, I read like a book every couple months but that’s more than I did before! This year I’m already ahead of the game with three books under my belt!

P.S. If you’re a Goodreads user, add me as a friend and do the 2017 book challenge with me! My goal is to read 30 books this year.

P.S.S. I’ve become a HUGE Kindle fan and that has really helped step my reading game up. Especially after discovering Overdrive where you can check out Kindle books from your library without even stepping a foot in a library!

The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone

To be honest, I started this awhile ago but picked it back up when I needed audio to listen to during the Holidays. I have this book in audio form and I’m so glad that I experienced it this way because the author (and reality TV star) Fredrik Eklund narrates it himself and if you’ve ever watched Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing: NYC, you will understand how much spunk and character he has! I read on a Goodreads review that someone felt like he had a huge ego talking about himself throughout the book, but if you actually hear his voice you realize it’s just who he is and he makes it sound okay! I mean the man is super successful and you’re reading a book about how to take points from him, so he’ll naturally sound a little ego-centric. But it works for him.

My favorite parts of the book were about him describing his everyday life, he puts a lot of emphasis in keeping himself healthy, in fact, he suggests sticking to liquid lunches (think: smoothies) so that he can stay on top of his game all day long. Heck, I have lunch then usually get a little tired, cue that “2 pm feeling”. He also sticks to a strict schedule of waking up at 5 am, working out, then working until around 9 pm, but then once he’s off, he’s off. He also takes off Sundays. The moral of his story: Work really, really hard. It’s a refreshing read and enjoyed every second of it! Even when he starts to talk about the real estate bizz, I still found it interesting!


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

I’ve had this on my list for awhile and I am so glad that I finally read it! I finished this a couple weeks ago and I still think about it almost every day. It’s such an intriguing book. I kept thinking to myself how in the world they could fill an entire book up about how to create a good habit (I’ll tell you how below), but they just kept sharing stories about things you would not even think about and how that relates to “building a habit”. Here’s an example: You know how we all brush our teeth? Well back in the early 1900’s, people didn’t brush their teeth so when a new toothpaste came out, the brand was trying to sell their toothpaste to people who don’t even brush their teeth in the first place. So the advertiser first tried to find what would make a person think of brushing their teeth. Answer? To have good looking teeth and remove film from their teeth (more about that film in the book). Next, they needed to make the habit stick so they would keep using the product. So in comes a chemical to create bubbles when you brush your teeth and a minty fresh feeling afterward.

So that’s pretty much why we brush our teeth now, minus the fact that we need to take care of our chomps, but because we built a habit of needing a clean feeling in our mouth to remind us that we brushed. Crazy, huh?! Also, here’s how to build a habit: First, find the que, like are you bored, lonely, or tired? What’s the “que”? Once you find the que you do the habit and then once the habit is done you get the “reward”. So what you need to do is find a new habit to replace the old one. I’m probably butchering this and making it confusing so I’ll just stop now and let you read the book. HIGHLY RECOMMEND for anyone! If anything, you get to read crazy stories of how advertisers have made you purchase something without you realizing it. If I didn’t graduate with a degree in advertising, I would’ve been freaked out. You wouldn’t believe how much Target knows about your shopping habits…


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

First of all, I love Elizabeth Gilbert, who doesn’t love a little Eat, Pray, Love action? I’m actually currently reading that now because of this book! I have to be honest, though, this was my least favorite book out of the three this month but not because of the author, only because I felt like it really applies to authors and writers. She created the book for all walks of creative life, but it still felt so much for a writer who wants to publish novels. That being said, I still throughly enjoyed it! I just skipped around a lot when she would get on a tangent that I didn’t really care as much about.

Most of the time, I read this book before bed and it was always a pleasure doing that because it was so free spirited and light heartened. She would make you think at times and have “aha” moments other times. If you’re struggeling to finish something creative, I would suggest this book to help you get over that hump. You can also check out her podcast “Magic Lessons”. It stems from this book but the cool thing is that every episode features a person struggling with their creativity so you hear from them and then she brings in one of her famous friends (authors, poets, songwriters, etc.) to help give the person some guidance. It’s some good stuff if you’re into that sort of thing!

 

That’s a wrap for January! What did you guys read? 

 

The Worst Job I’ve Ever Had (Part 1)

I’m about to go rogue on this post, ya’ll. It’s Thursday night and we’re going to a concert that doesn’t start until 11 and I’m freaking out about how tired I will be tomorrow. HOW OLD HAVE I GOTTEN? So what am I going to do in the meantime? Write this post with some liquid courage by my side.

Everyone has that one job that was just bad. Well, I have two. I’ll start out with the not as bad one AKA “Part 1”.

It was the end of my first semester freshman year in college. I hadn’t had a job since coming to college so I was down for some money! I also didn’t have a car in town so I didn’t have a million opportunities coming my way. However, one of my friends mentioned that she worked at an office downtown at night and just calls people (so basically it was a call center) and it paid A LOT, like we’re talkin’ like $12-14/hour, and that was a fortune compared to 2007-’08 minimum wage of around $7-something. I can’t remember the exact amounts here but let’s just say this job paid a ton more than what I was used to. (Just wait till you hear how I spent these doll hairs…!)

Anyway, I was definitely going to try and get this job. So I went to interview and it was downtown Lincoln in the Gold’s building (found out later it was walking distance but my little freshman legs still found a way to hitch a ride every night). Here was the job. Are you ready for this?

Here’s what you do at this job.

  1. Sit in front of a computer with a headset. Okay, I got this. That’s easy.
  2. The computer will call someone automatically and you better be ready to read that script verbatim in front of you requesting money for a politician or political matter that has to do with something independent and/or progressive.

That’s all you did. Basically just calling people all over the country and asking for money. Guess what? On one of my interviews I had to call someone, read the script in front of me, and by golly, this person actually gave me money! WTH. Come to find out this would never happen again…

None the less, they hired me on the spot. EF YEAH.

my-worst-job-ever

So I worked for about two weeks following. It was awful, you guys. I do love talking but I’m not the biggest fan of talking on a phone, especially to people who don’t even want me calling them! To make matters worse I have to ask for money. Ah, I hated it so much.

Looking back now I do wish I tried harder. Not because of the job but because of what they were doing. I remember some politician guy doing a live video conference with everyone because the team helped raise so much money for him. For all I know, it could’ve been Ralph Nadar! I dnk! But everyone was freaking out about it but I had no idea what was going on.

Anywho, I was bad and did not like the job. I just didn’t fit in and I was becoming exhausted having to work every night. My last night there the manager pulled me away about an hour in my shift, took me in the office and agreed this just might not be a good fit, but to let me decide what I wanted to do. It was also time for winter break and I was leaving to go back to Omaha for a few weeks and work at my beloved PacSun. She let me wait it out and give her an answer when I was ready.

Side note: I worked at PacSun for a couple years and it was my first job where I actually called my coworkers my best friends so I had high expectations going into this Lincoln establishment.

A week or so into winter break PacSun job I realized, ya know? Why work somewhere you hate? I know what it’s like to work somewhere you actually love so this job in Lincoln just wasn’t worth it.

So I called my manager during my lunch break and she sounded almost as relieved as I did that I wasn’t coming back. So she set up my check to be sent my way. I hadn’t worked long enough to get more than one check at this point. But here’s the catch… I get my check and it was a good chunk of change. So what do I do?

Purchase a roundtrip flight to Arizona to see my best friend and book tickets to my first (of many) Lil’ Wayne concerts in Phoenix. OMG my mom was so pissed that I just spent all my money like that. Looking back though, it was worth every single penny, I still think of that trip all the time!

1930682_1018775112521_1559_n

1909485_1018773472480_5145_n

1928752_1017532001444_2899_n

So moral of the story: Try new things, you might hate it, but at least you can get Weezy tickets out of it!

Best of all: Once I returned from Arizona, almost a week to the day: Lil’ Wayne announced he was coming to Omaha. ROUND TWO!!!!!!!

Fate has a funny way of working, huh?

Also, shout out to all the workers at that place – they were super nice people who really cared for what they were working for. I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it’s somewhere in the Gold’s building. Not sure if they’re still around but if this sounds like your line of work – go find them!

Trying to Keep Yourself in Control When Nothing Makes Sense

Oh man.

Ugh.

I no likey.

I know I’m not alone on this and I hate that I’m even writing a post about this to share with the world but I know I’m not alone but man guys, life has been a little rough the past few days, huh? I can’t read Twitter without my blood boiling, Facebook is actually (how? I have no idea) but not horrible, but still nothing to run away with just yet. It’s still crappy. Then I turn to Insta and things start to make sense again. I look through Snapchat and my god, people are living and… wait, are they smiling too?

Okay, so not everything is falling apart like I thought.

*Apple watch dings* New CNN article: “Trump… wall… abortion…” Omg.

Aaaaand I’m back to the beginning again.

This past election was ROUGH, everyone knows that, even people across the world who aren’t U.S. citizens. Then once the dust (sorta) settled, things started to get normal again. Then Mr. Trump began presidency. Things started to feel warm and fuzzy again once we marched in the streets with love for the Women’s March. Then, BAM! Horror struck. In so many unimaginable ways. Is this what it felt like back in the day when history was totally backward*? (I’m lookin’ at you slavery, pre-LGBT freedom of marriage, that was sadly only over a year ago, and the KKK walking around like they owned the place (still do)). *It’s still backward

I truly feel scared that my brothers and sisters are going to begin suffering unlike they have ever suffered before. AND THEY ARE ALREADY SUFFERING.

This world is cruel, man. And this is coming from a white kid who’s had everything handed to them in life. I DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND to its fullest extent how bad it can be and I’m PISSED.

I’m so mad and I want to scream from the rooftops.

But here’s the thing, I don’t know how to feel because 1.) I need to do my duty and stand up for what is right (but this is consuming and makes you mad and irritable almost all the time) or 2.) Find the positivity in life and don’t let everything consume you (but, hey that’s what I get to do because I’m WHITE). But then there’s the perfect balance:

1.) Always care about what’s going on and pay attention. 2.) Speak up when something is wrong and speak for those who don’t have a voice. 3.) Shine in your community and change lives right in front of you (Holla, TeamMates! Which everyone should join).

I can tell you one thing that I’ve learned. YOU can make a difference. I hateeee how people are against politics being shared on social media, yes, to an extent be kind and don’t share #fakenews but ya gotta stay WOKE, know what’s going on. It’s so important and you can really make a difference. Just look at what’s already happening around us! A crappy Nebraska senator resigned because of a Tweet he retweeted about the Women’s March. That happened because of the march! And go ahead and beat me up for calling him crappy, but he is. He wants to talk about morals and thinks he knows what’s best for people but yet he can’t keep his personal life together. Also, how did he get his job basically taken away when Trump earned presidency from Tweets? Ah, that’s just a discussion for another time I suppose.

Okay, this rant is over. I was never going to revert to politics on this blog but writing this out makes me feel better and connected with people. Who knows, I might even get super uncomfortable about this and remove it. But until then, here it is.

I love all of you human beings! Let’s make this world a better place.

P.S. When is the next Women’s March?

All of the Thoughts I Have While Watching The Bachelor

This might become a 20-part series because of all the thoughts that run through my brain while watching The Bachelor. Before you knock it and tell me it’s brain damaging, let me tell you something. It keeps you on the tip of your toes! (Even though you start to realize it’s also way over-dramatized like every season that came before it). Oh well! I’m just going to sit here and pump out a blog post while watching tonight’s episode. Enjoy! Please share your favorite moments in the comments so we can laugh together and make fun of this show.

Thoughts:

How does everyone look so healthy and skinny? Don’t they just drink a lot and they have to share space with all these people, how are they maintaining such great hygiene? I would have like 10 pimples, be bloated, and have greasy hair from avoiding trying to steal the shower from someone else. I bet there’s always cold water.

Girl #1: “You just have to get competitive to get time with him. That’s what we signed up for.”
Girl #2: “Hi Nick, can I steal you for a second?”
Girl #1: “OMG! I hate her. I can’t believe she thinks she can just take time with him. We have to share.” *cries*

When Nick goes back to his hometown do you think he really personally knows all those people in his hometown? It’s Milwaukee that’s a big city and you just so happen to know the pastry chef? No.

WAIT. An ex just appeared right after I typed that! NO WAY. This just can’t be real. Have you seen the movie The Interview? Where the fake grocery store appears in North Korea? That is how this town “date” feels.

I want to like Nick but then he says stuff like, “Uh, I had a couple firsts here… with girls”. Really? Are you trying to brag? That might not be first date material. 

I honestly just don’t know what to say about Corrine. I just needed to say at least something here because she can’t be ignored. Don’t you think she’s just forced to stay on this because she makes it drama filled? I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that’s how this show works. Correction, that is definitely how this show works.

I can’t believe some of those people are in their early 20’s. That is just insane to me. It’s like the Real World. I can’t watch it anymore because they are younger than me and I used to look at them like they were super old. 

The awkward moment someone reads your name on a date card… “Woooo!”… “Wooo” …”Yay!” …”Woo!”

“Oh, I’m so happy for you… you have a one on one!!!!” – a girl hiding behind so many angry feelings 

I love how the million dollar question whenever they are on a date is asking why they are on this show. It’s like they lowkey know that this show probably won’t help and they have to be crazy to think it will.

One of my pet peeves: “I have a surprise for you!” FALSE. The producers of ABC paid lots of money for you to do this one thing.

Question. Someone please answer this for me. How come when they go on those dates where there’s a huge audience, someone doesn’t spill the beans and spoil it? I’m assuming a contract, but that’s a lot of people! 

How awkward is it to dance and kiss in front of 1,000+ people? No thanks.

Corrine at the farm just reassured me that she is being paid to be on The Bachelor. There’s no way this is real life.

“We’re in Wisconson and I couldn’t be happier.” – an actual girl on this show. Yeahhhh keep telling yourself that!

giphy

“Do you call this immature? *While grabbing her boobs*” – Corrine
Wait, what?

Fake laughs. Fake laughs everywhere!

Oh hell no. She just called herself a Cornhusker (Corrine). NO! You can’t be!!

Vanessa has already won. I call it. 

How long do you think they sit around drinking while Nick talks to each person individually? How are they not wasted.

Dawg. Christina. I LIKE HER!!! Where did she come from???

“I had a lot of fun,” – Corrine *who actually said the date was the worst and ran away and hated life on the farm*
OKAY

The amount of girls who run and jump into Nick’s arms… #CORNY

giphy-1

“Nick go skate around by yourself for a bit” – producer 

“Okay, everyone clear the floor and watch these adults make out.” – producer to the kids at the skating rink

HOLY SHIZ RAVEN’S STORY

Ohhh the drama when someone who already has a rose asks for more attention. 

5s4kkZ1

 

That’s all I got, folks! Next week I’ll be sure to drink vino at the same time to get better enhanced thoughts. 

giphy-2

Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley

visiting-the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter

Ah, Harry Potter. One of the greatest things on earth. I don’t know about you, but I pretty much breathe everything Harry Potter. I’m constantly reading the series, watching one of the movies at least a couple (or few) times a month, scroll through multiple Harry Potter Facebook groups, you get the idea… So when Brandon agreed to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during our quick stop in Orlando before heading to Aruba for a honeymoon, I was pretty much in heaven.

Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter did NOT disappoint. We only made it to Diagon Alley for lack of time, but still worth every penny galleon. We even waiting in line for almost 3 hours to board the ride “Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts”. You guys, I almost cried after this ride because it was like a childhood dream coming true! (More on that below).

diagon-alley-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter

So first, I would plan on at least one entire day or two just to be safe that you cover all grounds at both parks! There are two parks connected by the Hogwarts Express. Diagon Alley is inside the park and Hogsmeade is out on the island. Since we only had a limited time we opted for just Diagon Alley so we could explore it with the rest of the park. If you have to choose, I would suggest Diagon Alley because you have to pay for the Hogwarts Express as well, so it’s definitely the cheaper option.

You enter Diagon Alley from the streets of London feeling like a true muggle turning eleven and discovering that “yer a wizard ‘Arry”! It’s SO COOL! Here’s what it looks like on the outside:

outside-of-diagon-alley-harry-potter

Next thing you know, you’re in Diagon Alley! Now go get yourself a wand ya wizard! Stop at Ollivanders Wand shop and choose a famous wizard’s wand or opt for the interactive one!

choosing-your-wand-at-harry-potter-world

choosing-a-wand-at-harry-potter-world

This is something I wish I would’ve planned ahead of time. Here’s why: I thought that if you were buying a wand that you could do the whole “the wand chooses the wizard” thing. But it’s actually chosen at random sometimes for a quick show while everyone is in the shop. The other thing is you can only buy wands from other famous witches and wizards, where I thought it would be all kinds of wands you could choose from. So I went for Harry’s wand and to this day I still wish I would’ve gone for Dumbledore’s wand (the Elder Wand). That’s okay, though, looks like I will just have to start collecting them all… 😉

olivanders-wand-shop-harry-potter

The wand isn’t cheap, I believe it was $40 and not interactive. You can buy an interactive wand which is SUPER cool! Basically, it comes with a map to interact with things around the park. For example, there might be a feather in a shop window that you can make levitate. I would suggest this if you’re planning on spending a lot of time there to give you optimal time to explore all the secret wand places. Oh, and I suggest getting your wand early on to start your wizarding experience right!

food-and-drinks-at-harry-potter-world

butterbeer-at-harry-potter-world

One of the best parts! Bring an appetite and empty belly because there are a LOT of food and drink options everywhere you look. They have lots of little pop-up shops for drinks and candy that are so much fun to check out! I of course, snagged a butter beer with an upgrade to a collector’s cup! Gotta be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of it but I still drank it because I just wanted to sip out of that cup! We also had lunch at The Leaky Cauldron which was one of the coolest experiences. The entire place is so realistic, it’s incredible what they did to build that entire park. So many details and it just feels like everything you’ve watched and read is right in front of you.

Expect The Leaky Cauldron to be pretty busy all the time, but they actually move quick and get you in fast. It helps that there was just two of us so we could squeeze in. So if you’re in a larger group, you might need to save a little extra time for it. I had fish and chips and they were DELICIOUS!

food-at-harry-potter-world

Photo Credit

diagon-alley

diagon-alley-wrong-meme

Bahaha! That meme will never get old. Diagon Alley is one heck of a place at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! The shops, food, everything. It’s just pure perfection! They do have one ride, “Harry Potter and the Escape to Gringotts” and holy crap it’s so awesome. You will most likely wait awhile in line to get in but it’s worth the wait. They use holograms and… I don’t want to give away anymore! But let’s just say you will feel like you are in the movie. It’s amazing. I almost shed a tear after it.

I don’t really have much more to say other than YOU NEED TO GO IF YOU HAVEN’T YET! I would be sure to plan lots of time if you can (it’s a busy place) and save money so you don’t have to hold back on anything like an interactive wand and trying all the foods you see 🙂

weasley-weezes-world-of-harry-potter

orlando-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter

gringotts-bank-harry-potter-world

visiting-the-harry-potter-wizarding-world-budget

busy-wizarding-world

I want to hear! Have you visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What was your favorite part?! Any tips?

2016: The Year of Wine, Britney Spears, & Unforgettable Times

I think it’s because I’m getting older but HOW IN THE WORLD IS IT 2017? I don’t understand how the world keeps moving so quickly. It feels like 2002 was five years ago and don’t even get me started on how college feels like it was last month (really five years ago). HOLY CRAP.
Anyways, one of my fave bloggers, Helene In Between, put together an “End of Year Review” link-up and I had to participate! So here it goes (in no particular order):

top-travels-of-2016

1.  Driving around Laguna Beach while blasting Hilary Duff’s “Come Clean”. (And making Brandon super annoyed.)

laguna-beach-stephen

2. Experiencing NCLS games at Wrigley Field. GO CUBS GO!

cubs-games

3. Singing “Friends in Low Places” in front of the actual songwriter of that song!!!!

Now this one I will never live down. This was straight up destiny. Here we are just hanging and listening to music in Nashville at the Winners/Losers bar (can’t remember which one we were at), and of course, I want to go up there and sing karaoke with the singer, then he nonchalantly says, “That guy is one of the songwriters of “Friends in Low Places”. UM WUT. So I sang with the other singer in front of him!!! Then I was able to tell the songwriter (Earl Bud Lee) that I’ve always butchered the lyrics “slip on down to the oasis” to “old aces”. *facepalm*

friends-in-low-places-songwriter

4. Playing on the same piano as Tom Cruise in Top Gun at San Diego’s famous place, KC BBQ (also from Top Gun). 

piano-top-gun

5. Falling in love with the Las Vegas High Roller

I didn’t think I would fall for such a huge tourist attraction but this thing is so much fun! Here’s the thing: You get in there for a happy hour and you’re of course about to have a great time!

Here I am sad that I have to leave…

happy-hour-high-roller-vegas

6.Visiting the Unsinkable Molly Brown’s house!!

Those who know me know I loveeee the history of the Titanic, so visiting the famous “Unsinkable” Molly Brown’s house in Denver, Colorado was quite the experience! I learned a lot about her and grew in more love with her story. She was a huge activist for women’s rights and votes among her other philanthropic work. Highly suggest checking it out if you’re in the area. Beware though, the house is old and doesn’t have air conditioning so if it’s hot out… be prepared!

visiting-the-molly-brown-house

7. Visiting the Oklahoma City Memorial

I actually visited this place shortly after the attack when I was younger and this summer I had the privilege to see the memorial they have built. It’s beautiful and so peaceful. It’s a must-see if you’re in the OKC area.

oklahoma-city-memorial

8. Touring the Shedd Aquarium solo

2016 is the year I stopped being afraid to do things myself. I’m no longer afraid to go see a movie by myself, so I thought what the heck when I wanted to visit another museum in Chicago’s museum campus. IT WAS AWESOME!

shedd-acquirium

9. Seeing the one and only Britney Spears!

There’s really not much left I can say about this other than OMG. SHE’S FANTASTIC AND MY CHILDHOOD WAS THANKING ME!

13062341_10206383730774987_3899238912428526043_n

fave-posts

A Weekend in Chicago…

The Day I Became a Wine Expert – My personal favorite of the year!

20 Reasons Why 2016 Wasn’t So Bad

The best recipe of the year goes to… Vegetarian Buffalo Cauliflower Wraps!!!!

Visiting the Chicago Field Museum (I hope to do more posts like this in 2017 #Travel)

The Best Part of “Back to School” Season – These were my favorite photos of the year AKA my only photo shoot sesh thanks to Brandon’s photog skills 😉

Goodbye, 25. Here’s to another year!!

San Diego and L.A. Recap

The Stars I Saw in California

and the one, the only! “The Weirdest Weekend of My Life”

Welp, cheers to 2017! I can’t wait for this year. I am pumped for this year you guys.
Helene in Between

‘Twas the Night After the Holidays…

2017

Oof. The days we all dread. The Holidays (Christmas and New Year) are officially over and it’s time to get back to reality. My decorations are put away and I’m really sad about it. I never realize how bare this apartment can be without a Christmas tree taking up an entire corner with lights and bling. I feel like our living room just went from full-on “winter candy land” to “simplistic spring”. No joke, there’s flowers and white colors everywhere and I feel like it should be spring now. Too bad next week 8 degrees tomorrow… EEK.

This holiday season was an unforgettable one, we spent almost an entire week living in a small Nebraska town. Working from home and bowling at a bowling alley where you keep your own hand-written scoring!! NO JOKE. More on that in a bit.

Starting on Friday (12/23). Brandon and I started our own little tradition where we spend the holiday alone together. We made pasta, drank wine, and shared presents. It was great and nice to hang out before the madness of the week began!

img_6878On Christmas Eve, I was back home for the first time in two years. My fam has an amazing tradition of day drinking so you know I participated! It was so much fun and still managed to get home in time for dinner, fun, and sober up in time for bed. Which was good because we had an early A.M. wake-up call for a drive to western Nebraska!

Christmas day we headed to Paxton and holy crap it was just like tornado weather outside! We had to pull over a few times because it was nuts outside. Very, very odd weather. It definitely did not feel like Christmas day. There was one point lightning struck close to us and it was the loudest boom! It made it feel real ominous with slow Christmas jams playing too. NO THANK YOU.

But, alas, we made it!

img_6880

Just in time for Christmas celebrations at the bar! Yes, you read that right… at a bar! If you’re ever in Ogallala, Nebraska, might I suggest stopping at the Underpass?

It was another great day full of family and fun!

The rest of the week, we worked from Paxton and spent the nights having more fun! One night, we wanted to go bowling and got shut down by two separate bowling alleys in surrounding towns because of bowling leagues. So we had to drive an hour away to a tiny town to go bowling and what an experience it was! YOU HAD TO WRITE YOUR OWN SCORING! No computers here, folks! It was nuts! I’ve been bowling my entire life and never had the chance to keep my own hand written score, it is an experience every bowler should have at least once lol.

Here’s how it works: You get a projector screen to write the score on and it projects it up on the screen over the lane! MIND (BOWLING). See what I did there?

small-town-bowling

My mind was about to get even more mind blown because I realized that Colorado was extremely close to where I was. I had no idea. I promise I passed Geography but I didn’t realize that the panhandle was that close to me! We could literally see lights from Colorado and even went to a restaurant for dinner in Colorado! WHAAAT.

small-town-bar-colorado

visiting-ovid-colorado

Next up: NYE!

For New Years we went to Kearney… Yup, Kearney. And it did not disappoint! I have to say Kearney is pretty fun and have great bars. We went to the Stars/Storm hockey game (Brandon’s idea) haha and might I add that we had glass seats – BOOYA! We also hit up Mac’s Creek tasting room (last wine of 2016)!!!

macs-creek-winery

macs-creek-tasting-room-kearney

stars-storm-kearney

Then headed to dinner at the one, the only, Chicken Coop, and then bar hopping! Bonus: The close bars at 1am in Kearney, which was very good for my liver.

We also decided that every new years eve should be spent in a small (or smaller) town! Next year… any recommendations?

Which brings me here… Watching Harry Potter for the 4th time in two days (Thaks Freeform channel). Getting ready to head back to work tomorrow and crush 2017!

steezy-signiture

20 Reasons Why 2016 Wasn’t So Bad

As 2016 unraveled before our eyes, we felt all kinds of feels, some bad, some really bad, and some were just downright awesome (yup, awesome)! Unfortunately, the negative tended to lead the race this year, but in the midst of the grossness that 2016 gave us, there was a lot of greatness.

In fact, throughout 2016, I kept channeling my inner Countess Luann.

Me in 2016 to just about everything:

raw

The good news is that there was a lot of cool in 2016. Not only did you just live through another year but the world did change in great ways. It might be hard to see it, but I promise, this list will help you see the silver lining in what seems to be one of the most brutal years of our lives.

1. The amount of homeless veterans has been cut in HALF!

Read more about this here.

2. AIDS is declining!

Read about it here and here.

This fund alone has saved 20 million lives!

3. People rallied together for a homeless teen who biked 6 hours to get to college classes.

Read about it here!

4. Texas inmates broke free from their jail to save a prison guard.

Read about it here.

5. A group of people found out that their Uber driver had a son in the Olympics so they rallied together to send him to Rio.

Read about it here!

uberhill

6. An all-female pilot crew landed a plane in a country that women aren’t even allowed to drive in!

Yay! Women empowerment! 

7. One man donates his kidney to his college friend and all eyes were leaking.

8. Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge that swept Facebook in 2015, scientists were able to make break-through discoveries.

Check it out!

9. Cell phones are helping to lift hundreds of thousands of Kenyans out of poverty.

Read about it!

10. Woman with cancer wins 6 games of Jeopardy and donates winnings to cancer research.

jeopardy

“What is… awesome?”

11. Have you seen the priest and imam Amazon commercial? They are actually BFFs IRL!

Read about it.

12. Remember the first bit of 2016 good news I shared? Well, homelessness in total is down!

Great news!

13. THIS man.

Read his story.

awesome-guy

14. A high school creates a yearbook in braille for a blind student.

Check it out! 

15. This school raised money for new shoes for a student!

Watch it here.

16. Boy wearing plastic bag meets his hero!

17. Black man befriending KKK members has led to 200 people quitting the organization!

Awesome! < Read it!

18. Subway passengers come together to prepare anxious man for his job interview.

Check it out!

19. High school student gives new shoes to other student being bullied.

These stories get me every time! Watch the feel-good clip here.

20. Refugees had their own team in the Olympics!

Check out more about them here!

refugees-olympics

This barely cuts it when it comes to how many awesome things happened in 2016, but to be honest, I was lazy and realized that 2017 is literally a day away and this post needs to get out and make people feel good!

Want more good news like this? Here are a couple positive sources:

  1. Sign up for the Goodnewsletter! This is my favorite. Each week, Branden Harvey will send you inspirational and uplifting stories.
  2. Check out the GoodNews Network!

Cheers to 2016 and cheers to making 2017 better. I saw a quote today that said, “2017 will be different. Not because it’s inevitable. Because we say so.” Veronica Roth.

steezy-signiture

The Ultimate Wedding Day Survival Kit

how-t0-make-a-wedding-emergency-kit

My mom #blessed us with this on our big day and I’ll admit I busted out laughing at her when I saw her roll in with this giant tote, but half way through the morning, we actually needed this stuff!! *GASP*

I stole the epic list from my mom to share because this thing was LEGIT. Just grab a medium-sized Rubbermaid tote and stock it with this list. BONUS: You can print this baby off and use it! Also, this makes a great bridal shower/wedding/engagement gift!

the-wedding-kit-checklist

 

wedding-emergency-checklist-download