The Stars I Saw in California (and Then Some)

I’m still not over the trip to California I went on a few weeks ago. I have another (long) post coming on it all later, but this post is the best I can do where I can concentrate on the Nebrasketball game and write at the same time. So if you see typos, that’s why 😉 Just leave a grammar or typo error in the comments and I’ll be sure to fix it!

So when you think of stereotypical California, you think celebs and as much as that isn’t all that true, I think it is. I bet 1 out of every 10 people you meet is famous in some shape or form. JK, that’s not true but I mean check out all these stars I found while in galavanting around the Golden State for 4.5 days.

Tom Cruise’s Piano in Top Gun

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I even conveniently placed my bud light on top of the piano not knowing. Totally not staged, people.

San Diego’s KC BBQ‘s claim to victory! Top Gun was filmed at this hole-in-the-wall but flipping awesome bar and BBQ joint. To be completely honest this was my all-time favorite bar we went to. I felt at home at that place! The bartender loved me!

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Seriously. Fantastic night. We even played Panic! at the Disco on the jukebox. (I’m going through a pop-punk rock phase again and Panics’ new album is LEGIT). They only sell beer and wine here too – they keep it simple, but lit. It’s an oddly hidden place close to the water, the Cheesecake Factory and hotels. It looks like it belongs in Raymond, NE but it just pops right up in thriving San Diego.

Dave Grohl

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This one was the most “legit” star I found. Completely unplanned destiny. So here’s the deal. You probably look at that pic above and go “really Stephanie? First off, you’re a creep. Second, that’s probably some random guy who looked like him.” NOPE. No, it’s not ya skeptic. I gotta tell ya, I’ll do anything and not be embarrassed or shy. But seeing celebs, I shrivel up. I just don’t want to act like they’re better than me because in my head IMMA STAR! (I totally envisioned this in my head just now) so I didn’t get the guts to ask for a pic…

But okay, so here’s the story. Brandon and I walked into a beach bar at Mission Beach (which is my new favorite beach – besides Coca-Cola Beach in South Padre of course) 😉 for those who know what I’m talkin’ about… I hope you’re nodding your head yes right now. But we sat down at this table and started ordering, looking around, lovin’ life, ya know – California things. I kept looking at the guy directly across from us. He’s famous I kept thinking in my head. I can picture him in magazines and rock album covers. WHO IS HE? He totally noticed that I kept staring at him too. But to be fair, he was literally in my view, it wasn’t a huge place and he was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!

So I started googling “90’s alternative rock bands” – I knew he had something to do with rock and more 90’s. Then WAM! I found it. Foo Fighters. Which then led to finding a wonder assortment of Dave Grohl pictures when the real Dave Grohl was right there. It was like magic. Like everything in the world started to make sense. I saw the light…Dave Grohl. He’s a pretty big deal you guys. ALSO, we read somewhere that he doesn’t listen to Nirvana because it makes him sad and “Smells like Teen Spirit” played while we were all sitting there. Oops. I, of course eavesdropped for him to validate the fact that I knew it was Dave Grohl in the flesh and he talked about touring. So I was right. Then he talked about how his wife cheated on him back in the day (we’re pretty close now, we tell each other secrets – even if we’ve never talked). He even mentioned how he’s surprised no one has recognized him yet. HAH! I KNOW YOU DAVE! When he was leaving I was going to ask for a pic, but he turned to talk to the lady he was with and I was a wuss. So instead, I creepily took a pic of him leaving and getting into his car, which you guys, it was some old car! How cool, he’s down to earth AND nice? WINNER.

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…And can’t believe I just wrote a novel about my Dave Grohl sighting. Is that pathetic?

Laurence Fishburne

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We went to the Lakers/Bulls game on a Thursday night and my celebrity goggles were locked and loaded. I was really hoping to see Leonardo because he supposedly has season tickets but no Leo… 🙁

However, I did spot other friendly faces! Like Laurence Fishburne. He was sitting down on the floor (of course) but I didn’t spot him until half when everyone was walking around. I love the show Blackish so I noticed him right away!

We also found…

Mark Wahlberg

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We were pretty sure he would be there because he’s Jimmy Butler’s good friend. But boy, did Marky Mark work the crowd! He only walked through a couple times and everytime, every person would stop to talk to him – he seemed pretty coo! He is also very much RIPPED.

And then there’s the obvious, but biggest celebs in my eyes.

Kobe Bryant

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UM, WHAT. Da Black Mamba. He even played! It was so awesome. What a thing of beauty…

D. Rose and my boy Pau (and the rest of the Bulls)

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Seriously, I consider Pau a good friend of mine. Because that one time he was in Lincoln, I saw him eating at Single Barrel and told him, “welcome to Lincoln.” He said, “thanks” and smiled and the rest was history… “History” meaning that I never saw or talked to him again. Wah wah.

Reggie Miller

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YES! REGGIE!!! Love that guy.

Laguna Beach

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*As this song plays* I actually did play this song as we drove through and made Brandon really annoyed. Hehe! But the cast wasn’t the only star of the show. While Kristen was yelling “Ste-PHEN!” the scenery of Laguna was hanging in the background the entire show. I swear I took the pic above at one of the spots where they would awkwardly meet up by the beach and talk about life or breakup at.

Laguna Beach was so cool, though! I totally get the hype of that place. It’s beautiful. Reminds me of a Colorado town, but on the beach. Just cute and cozy with lots of scenery.

Okay, that’s all I got folks. Prepare yo self for many more California posts coming. 🙂

P.S. We’re down to the final hours of the giveaway! Enter if you haven’t yet!

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Win All-Natural Face Care Set + $25 Gift Card

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Consider this my Valentine’s gift to you! You could win ALLL of this above! What is the grand prize you ask? Only the amazing products from MyChelle all natural skin care that includes:

  • Fruit Enzyme Cleanser
  • Fruit Enzyme Scrub
  • Pumpkin Renew Cream (I hope I know who wins this so I can try this stuff!)

AND a $25 gift card to the brand new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in Lincoln! (However, can be used at any location)

Just sign up below by “liking” Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market on Facebook and following me on Instagram 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway ends 2/17 at midnight and must be in the U.S. or Canada to win – Sorry, S&H is just too expensive!

The Best Grocery Thyme I’ve Ever Had + GIVEAWAY

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First of all, apologies for the horrible pun, but I couldn’t resist! I had the opportunity to check out the new grocery store in Lincoln, NE – Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market. Not gonna lie, when it was first getting built I wondered why because there’s a Whole Foods nearby and a Natural Grocers, so I was a little confused why there would be another health-inspired grocery store, but now I know why…

IT’S SO CHEAP! Think: Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s gave birth to a baby, but the baby was raised by HyVee. That’s Fresh Thyme. It’s cheap, lots of produce, meats, cheese, fish, and tons of vitamins and healthy things like makeup, hygiene stuff and errthang. They also have “regular” food too (as Brandon likes to call it), seriously. Brandon’s example of “regular” food was mini hotdogs wrapped in buns that you can microwave.

He even found cheese for $2!!!!! That’s a huge chunk for $2! Call us budget savvy but that’s a steal!

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I bet we could actually buy a couple wheels of that cheese with our tax refund and have enough left over to buy…

3 BOTTLES OF WINE FOR $10!! The deals just keep on comin’ people! Gonna live the lavish life at Fresh Thyme.

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I really liked the fish selection and all of the pre-made foods you can buy. CUZ AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME TO COOK.

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I actually do, I don’t know what I’m saying. I will have a (hilariously-awful photographed) spring roll recipe coming soon from ingredients I bought at Fresh Tyme for a whopping $10. In fact, when I checked out I had the “Walmart Effect”. What is the Walmart Effect you might ask? It’s when your total is cheaper than you thought it would be. Every time I buy groceries at Wally World, the total is ALWAYS cheaper than I thought, but when I shop at say, Russ’s, it’s the opposite. ALWAYS more money than I thought. So I love the “Walmart Effect”.

You know what else is cool about Fresh Thyme? They are from Chicago and even sell Goose Island and Chicago hot dogs! ULTRA BONUS.

And you bet your booty we purchased a pack.

Now. For the fun part. A giveaway! My very first giveaway! I’ve always wanted to be a legit blogger and do a giveaway!

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Here it is…

MyChelle Dermaceuticals skin care Fruit Enzyme Cleanser, Fruit Enzyme Scrub, Pumpkin Renew Cream, AND a $25 gift card to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market!

It’s an awesome clean, natural product line that you can purchase at Fresh Thyme! BUT, of course, you have to do something for me first – but it’s so simple. Just “like” Fresh Thyme on Facebook and follow me on Instagram below 🙂

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway ends 2/17 at midnight and must be in the U.S. or Canada to win – Sorry, S&H is just too expensive!

My First Year on Instagram

It was a mere four years ago…but I remember it like it was yesterday.

Kinda.

First off, you’re probably wondering how I got to this post topic. Well, I decided my Instagram account needed a little clean up because I’m trying to step up my Insta-game and even though I HIGHLY doubt anyone would scroll through 600+ photos but in case they do, I want to be prepared.

So I endlessly scrolled until I hit “229 weeks” ago. And boy did it get ugly. It got so ugly that I could not let these photos go unnoticed – they’re way too epic!

So I screenshot the pic, deleted it, and now I’m sharing it on here. I can’t wait for this you guys. It’s bahaddd. Now, I’m no Instagram expert, but I know these filters, lack of description for questionable pictures, and blurry images are taking advantage of Instagram’s coolness.

Ready? Here we go.

Exhibit A:
“The Bad Filter Conundrum”

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I had the filter world in my hands and I chose the worst options. I was a huge fan, as you can see, of the darker shadowy filters with rounded images. And don’t even get me started on the “vintage polaroid-esque”. I loved that shit. By the way, those are all of the first Instas! ^

Let’s start to break it down a little more.

“SJP”

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Did I…Did I seriously just take a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker and Instagram it? Yup, I did. I actually remember this, it was a magazine cover and I had just got my first iPhone so I thought I was hot shiz and could do anything I wanted (news flash: not cool enough to randomly and creepily Instagram random stars you like).

“Memorial Stadium…balloons?”

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Goodness. Is this really worth throwing out on Instagram? AND THERE’S ZERO DESCRIPTION ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON. Ugh. This is going to annoy me throughout this post. Tell me, were descriptions not available four years ago?? I don’t remember. I hope so, because I could’ve at least said something.

Speaking of, I remember thinking this pic below was the bee’s knees. But oh so blurry now. Be grateful your iPhone photo quality upgrade, kids.

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“The Framed Ducks”

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Actually, cool picture – funny. But that black frame’s gotta goooo.

“The Shelved Pumpkins”

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So many Instagram offenses in this. First of all, why? Second of all, there’s that polaroid frame again. Third of all, WHERE IS THE DESCRIPTION? How can you expect people to take your photo seriously when this makes absolutely zero sense.

Shoutout to Christen for liking this picture!!!! Real Insta-homie right there!

And to roll off “The Shelved Pumpkins” I would like to present to you…

“The Crispy Hexagons” 

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…If you want to revoke my Instagram card right now, I won’t take offense to it. 218 weeks ago was such a confusing time for me.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it might have gotten weirder with…

“Toliet Paper Boot”

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This really could’ve used a description. I remember this was at Main Street and we were gathering in the big back stall like always and slinging back shooters, laughing, and I guess taking Instagram pictures…Oh my, look at how far we’ve come!

Also! My Insta-homie shining bright once again. THANK YOU CHRISTEN!

But, I saved a good one. This might win the weirdest Instagram picture, and mainly because it doesn’t have a description so it leaves a whole lot of questions.

*Drumroll, please…*

“The WTF?”

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Yup, I told you it was good. I have no words. Actually, I do. I can explain everything. This was my pottery from high school (surprisingly, I passed the class and went on to make a bust of my head my senior year – I was going places PEOPLE!)

Next up, this slew of disasters.

May I present to you…

 

“Apple Core” 

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Now I want to quickly share my other foodie picks. We’re all victims of food porn, but at least it’s good looking. Mine? Not so much.

We got…

“Goons”

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“Questionable Fish Taco”

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AND I mention it’s from Taco Johns. Nice. How clazzy.

Last, but not least. Another creepy celeb picture Instagrammed.

“MA MAN. Jeezy”

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I’ve never done a #mcm (man crush monday) but this is the closest it ever got.

Now I would like to take a moment to thank those who follow me on Instagram and put up with these sometimes questionable, sometimes laughable, sometimes “oh no she did not just post that”. This one’s to you guys!

Cheers!

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The Cheapest, Easiest, Healthiest Meal Ever

First off, where’s the snow at? $100 says we get nothing but a little snow and a whole lot of rain! I’m okay with that, though because after basking in the San Diego sun, I can’t handle this cold let alone crappy snow!

I’m also totally going through a vacation hangover right now (a more successful trip than this one). So much in fact that I’m pushing through with my blog post consistency goal and keeping it light, but useful.

And what’s more useful than a recipe?! AND an easy one at that!

Are you ready for this? I’m coining it as ‘the easiest recipe you’ll ever find on a blog’. It’s the true definition as “I’ll never make it as a food blogger”. But it’s simple, easy, and lazy. In fact, you might even think this recipe is a parody to real food bloggers, but it’s not. I’m being 110% serious (so don’t judge).

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Half of an Avocado
  • Brown Rice (or wild)
  • California Veggies
  • Spice Blends (I use garlic salt and Mrs. Dash Garlic Herb – so much garlic. Yum.)

Step 1:

Sautee da veggies

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Step 2:

Once they start getting softer, blend the spices *talking in British accent to add drama while I say “blend the spices”*

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Step 3:

Microwave your brown rice. (Or prepare you how like, but I use minute rice – BA-ZING!)

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(Ignore nasty, dirty microwave)

Step 4:

Add the rice (I only add half a cup), veggies and avocado in a bowl and mix

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Step 5:

EAT.

Yup, that simple. 🙂 Enjoy! And if we do inherit a ton of snow from the west, happy snow day teachers and students!

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Traveling Isn’t a Luxury, It’s a Necessity.

Twas’ the night before vacation and all through the apartment, two creatures were stirring and packing their things… Okay, sorry. I thought I had a good thing going there but it fell a little flat. My bad.

This is a post I actually wrote Tuesday night and scheduled for Wednesday. (Check out me being all on top of the blog!) We’re heading to San Diego (Anchorman’s voice, “a whale’s vagina”) today and I can’t wait! It’s the first legit vacation we have had since the honeymoon.

I LIVE off travel. So I’m like a kid on Christmas Eve right now. And this isn’t just some work trip or quick shindig, this is a real-deal, turn your email away message on, and don’t check in on anything but when your next drink or meal is kind of trip.

Quite the life right now. Or as Drake would say, “WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.”

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But it got me thinking… I’ve noticed some people have this perception that a vacation is a luxury, not easily obtainable and rare. Vacation can not be a rare thing. You’re living life wrong if it is. Unless you literally don’t like leaving your home, then this post is invaluable to you. But back to what got me thinking. You shouldn’t feel like traveling is something you can’t have. You NEED it. And it doesn’t have to be something extravagant either. Take a road trip to a town an hour away, search for Groupons there and just hang out and see what the place has to offer. It will make you so rich in so many ways. I truly believe that.

Also, if you want to take a bigger trip, save money. It’s not impossible, it just might take you some time to get there, but that’s okay. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all.

I have felt that those who don’t experience the world or life outside of their “normal”, they have a bitterness towards the world and feel unsafe. The world is a beautiful place and you have to enrich your life with it so you can see awesome things and meet people of all walks of life.

There was this quote thing I came across once and I had to save it because it was so on point, I COULDN’T EVEN. Check it out…

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That’s all I got for this post. Just get out there and see the world (or your own backyard) 🙂 HEY! And feel free to plan your next trip on Travefy! 😉 Shameless plug. I had to do it.

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P.S. In other news, I saw The Big Short tonight. WOW. Pretty good. I suggest checking it out!

7 Medium Blog Posts That Changed My Thoughts…

I LOVE MEDIUM!! Seriously, it’s one of my favorite daily emails that I always look forward to. The simplicity of Medium is perfect and they always seem to put into words what I believe and thinking. It’s nice to read quality writing to explain the current events and beliefs. (I’m lookin’ at you crappy Facebook posts…) I also thoroughly enjoy seeing how many minutes it will take me to read an article! Nice touch, Medium!

So I’m a Medium-bookmark-whore, and here are some of my all-time faves:

  1. Stop Saying Technology is Causing Social Isolation

    Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 7.54.08 PMSo I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little old school when it comes to social media and technology. I LOVE it, social media has created jobs for me – so I love it. But when we’re at dinner or out together and everyone is on their phones, I notice it. It doesn’t go unnoticed to me and I hate it. I still find myself in front of my phone in social settings, but then I set it down and live in the present. I’ve always been torn because I believe in living in the present BUT also realize that living in the present is taking full advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Reading this was a breath of fresh air because it stopped making me feel guilty for living in a time of fast news, growing social contacts, and technology. I loved the part with the pictures of everyone’s noses inside a newspaper on the train. I don’t think we are that much different today, we still would like to read a good book or catch up on the daily news while commuting or relaxing in the day. Read the entire article here…

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  2. Has NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovered an Alien Megastructure

    Uh oh…here comes Alien Steezy!!!

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    BUT YOU GUYS. This article is insane! I don’t think I stopped talking about this read for a couple weeks after I first checked it out. In a nutshell, there is this “host star” floating around our galaxy (okay, not really floating, but it’s there) and it has a ton of energy around it – more than it should. KIC 8462852 is the star…

    the-planet-huntersThey thought it was a mistake, but everything checked out when they researched again. It could be nothin’ and it could be somethin’. It might be from ancient civilizations long-gone, current life, or who knows!

    “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

    Read entire article here…

     

  3. The Jerry Seinfeld and John Grisham Productivity Hack

    This is one of those articles I read that just stuck with me. I think of it everytime thoughts of becoming a better writer pop up in my noggin. “Ya gotta write every night, Stephanie!” says Jerry Seinfeld in my head. Spoil alert: The productivity hack is to do something everyday to get better at it.

    “Persistence creates luck. Persistence creates experience.” 

    Jerry would write every single day and mark a check for every day on his calendar when he did it. It’s called the “One Perecet Solution”. “The concept that if you aim to improve your business (or yourself) by 1% each day, in only 70 days you’ll be twice as good as you are now. This begins with small steps. Pick one thing you want to get better at, and do it every day.”

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    Talk about motivation, AMIRIGHT?

    Read entire article here…

  4. In Praise of the AK-47

    This is a powerful article and ingrained what I was always thinking but couldn’t really justify it or put it into words. Basically, this article is about how gun enthusiants believe that the AK-47 is fantastic and the momma of guns. But it’s not. Because of one basic reasoning:

    If a thing is designed to kill you, it is, by definition, bad design.”

    in-praise-of-the-ak-47
    Well, dur. Yes. How could I not have thought of that! I know the world isn’t perfect, but I’ve never liked guns, they scare the shiznits out of me and that sentence summed it up perfectly. Also, knives scare me too, so this isn’t a political statement, they just really do scare me because they are designed to kill. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT.

    Read entire article here…

  5. 7 Rejections

    I’ll keep this short (like the email rejections) but check. This. Out. The founder of AirBnb was trying to get funding in 2008 for a “bad idea”. Look how he turned out! NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMZ!uMNAEeX
    Read entire article here…

  6. The Reason We’re Addicted to March Madness

    When I read this I was just like…‘yes. Yes. Yes!’. It makes so much sense!

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    I should mention the upcoming quote will totally contradict the motivational article a couple numbers back because…

    “We feel like we have less control over our lives and our destinies, even if it is only a perception.

    That’s why March Madness continues to have such a grip on the national consciousness. Yes, it’s cool to fill out a bracket. Yes, it’s fun to skip out on work and go watch basketball at a bar all day. But, more than anything, it’s because it provides the opportunity for something that is increasingly rare in our world: the underdogs have a chance.”

    Read the entire article here…

  7. 6 Things Conservatives Need to Change in 2016 to Engage Millenials

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    During this election season and pretty much always when it comes to political stuff, I have instant opinions and thoughts (that’s normal) but I’m trying to see evey possible side that I can and understand what makes people think the way they do. So this was a really interesting read! Even though I don’t consider myself conservative, there’s a lot of great things about the conservative party that aren’t seen because of the crap in the media today. This article totally nailed it! My favorite ‘thing’ was “Care about people more than politics”. Because it’s all we got, right? Without people we have nothing. 🙂 I also love this because a lot of older people from generations before millennials pass off the millenials as liberals and don’t know how to keep America great. That’s not true at all. We have just changed – and that’s a great thing. If nothing changed, I wouldn’t even be able to vote in the election.

    Read the entire article here… (Really recommend this one, it’s very well written)

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The Weirdest Weekend of My Life

Warning: Long post ahead

I was trying to think of blog post ideas the other day and thought a post about the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me would be pretty good. I had a had hard time trying to figure out what the “craziest thing to ever happen to me was”. I kept thinking of college parties and was like no, that’s not really that crazy. That’s just college. But then I thought about a trip to Chicago that Brandon and I took a couple years ago. It might not be the wildest thing you’ll ever hear, but it was one crazy trip to Chicago. It was like an endless string of events that were just straight bizarre.

So firstly, this trip was already going to be epic because we were hitting the three B’s – Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks games. To get all those sports in one weekend? Amazing. But it was about to get cray. I hope this sounds as nuts as it felt, otherwise, I’ll just sound lame that this is “crazy” to me… 😉 Want a sneak peek before reading any further? Think tornadoes, sickness, and getting lost in Chicago (in an area you don’t want to be lost in).

Let’s start off with night #1 shall we? Bulls game was up first. It was my first Bulls game as well as my first time in United Center. It was AWESOME. We had really good tickets too!

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Check out those seats! Everything was going perfectly until I started to not feel so great. I thought, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I never get sick and now here I am at a Bulls game and I’m feeling sick. This is ridiculous. Still an awesome time, but I couldn’t even eat my veggie burger I was so pumped about… That sounds weird, but when you’re from Nebraska, veggie burgers are hard to come by at sporting events. I felt awful though, and I remember riding the bus back downtown and we were all crammed in there and standing and so many stops…and turns…bleh. Just thinking about it makes me sick. So the first night, I was in bed not partying. LAME. That should’ve been the sign of how the rest of the trip would go.

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The next day was the other two B’s of the trip: Bears and Blackhawks. When I woke up I felt much better. So that was good. It was in November and I remember waking up to texts about how there was supposed to be severe weather in Chicago. Really odd. But we braved it and made the long trek to Soldier Field. I still wasn’t 100% so seeing NFL fans plastered was not fun. It was my first NFL game, and I’m not sure I liked it because of this experience. I like to party but those fans were nuts. I saw 50 years olds partying harder than I did my freshman year of college. I respect, but dang!

We finally get to the entrance. Nonchalantly the security tells me I can’t have my purse. Um, what? Yeah, I guess at NFL games you can’t bring in purses! You have to put all of your stuff in a clear bag, not concealed. AW HECK NO WAS I GOING TO THROW MY PURSE AWAY. So they give me a big Ziploc bag. I cram all of my stuff in there and Brandon puts my purse in the back his pants. Lol, I wish I was kidding and now he’s probably super embarrassed. But if we took it back to the hotel, there would be no point in even coming back. So here I am carrying around a ziplock bag with all of my things in it and it would barely close. I was not having it. But that was the best part of the game.

We make our way to our seats. They were up pretty dang high which is fine, but I was literally scared of getting hit by a drunk person and falling to my death 40 rows down. This isn’t how I planned to die.

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If you look down the wrong way, you’ve got a one-stop ticket to your plummeting death. P.S. I don’t know how NFL fans don’t die from falling in stadiums.

Here I am facing my optimism and trying to act cool and remind myself it will only get better from here. Also, I still wasn’t feeling good enough to drink–otherwise I would’ve been drinking to make myself feel better.

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While I was busy NFL fan watching and trying to catch glimpses of Michael Oher (they were playing Baltimore), the clouds starting twisting and turning and it got chilly and extremely windy. Next thing, I hear death calling…tornado sirens.

Ah shit.

It was time to retreat to shelter, which there is no “safe” shelter. Have you seen this stadium? The only shelter that’s safe is in the locker room. I honestly felt I was going to die here. We were so high up, there was absolutely no way we were getting down in time. The wind just picked up more, it started raining (it felt like stabbing knives) and here I am clutching onto my Ziploc bag of belongings and trying to get down the stairs to shelter. But alas, everyone is drunk and not moving and being stupid. Literally remember one guy saying something like, “BRING IT, GOD”. Nope. Please don’t “bring it” God. There was a kid having a panic attack and a lady about to pass out. I wish I had a GoPro because it was CRAZY!! You could see things flying around in the stadium in circular motions. I really thought it was the end. After a while, the whole stadium was cleared out except for our section and we had barely moved.

Towards the end I swallowed my pride and thought I don’t even care if I look stupid at this point, I’m getting out of here. So I started hopping rows of seats while saying the Hail Mary in my head. I laugh now because omg, how funny is that scene? I was like, “BRANDON, LET’S GO!!” *while plowing down seats*

We were soaking wet and poor Brandon had to run for his life with my purse smashed into the back of his pants. Hahaha. Classic.

When we finally made it into the flooded bottom (water was practically to my calves), the weather had passed and everyone was crammed.

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EPIC. We did not return back to our seats. I was so over it at that point. I was getting over a rare quick sickness and now here I was soaked and cold walking back to our hotel.

Again, I picked up my optimism and put my positivity pants on and got ready for the Blackhawks game that night. We get on the train and head back down to the United Center. Tonight was my night to redeem myself from the previous evening and party it up like Chicago intended me to the night before.

We get off the train and start walking… It looked different than the night before. There weren’t that many people around. There’s a huge event going on, why aren’t there other people? We first thought the worst, that we got off at the wrong stop. You don’t want to get off at the wrong stop in Chicago by the United Center. (Figured out later, we were about a miles west of the United Center). It really didn’t look shady, though. It actually reminded me of a college neighborhood, not like the bottoms, clazzier even. Then we turn the corner and see a sketchy looking shop with a guy hanging out by the door outside sipping on a bottle with the brown bag.

Being from Omaha, I try not to get worried about a rough part of town. I’m not scared of getting in a bad situation so I stayed calm, but as we kept walking the calm kinda wore off and I was like, Brandon, I think we need to get out of here. Everyone who drove by us would slow down and look. Eek, it was bad. After walking the wrong way for a while, we turned around and found the bus stop (THANK THA LAWD). Our phone told us that the bus was seven minutes away and it was the longest seven minutes of my life.

An older guy walked over to us and was really nice (he could tell we weren’t from there) but then he said, “Y’all be careful, there’re a lot of people trying to get their bread these days around here”. Holy shiz. When he said that, I was just thinking Brandon has no idea what he’s saying, but it’s not good. Lol. We should not be here. So we finally got aboard that bus and made it to the United Center. At this point of my life, I gave zero efs and nothing would get in my way of having fun. I just survived a tornado (sorta) and got lost in a not-so-great part of Chicago. So how do I redeem myself? By getting tipsy at the United Center, of course.

The price of booze at these events are out of control so we did what any other savvy shopper would do. Bring in a couple shooters and crystal light.

Oh, and before I go any further,  I should mention we were sitting all the way in the upper deck.

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AKA far up where we can concoct our beverages in peace and not be worried about getting caught. So we mixed the drinks and enjoyed the atmosphere. I thought, wow, this could really be it…no more weird business going on for me!

Then a couple security guys walked up to our row, looked at me and did that little finger motion to make me get up and come to him.

NO. NO. NO. YOU ARE NOT RUINING THIS FOR ME, SIR. HAVE YOU ANY IDEA WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH TODAY!

He points at my pink water and was like ‘what’s this’? (I still can’t believe how calm and collected I was because I can’t lie, I will shrivel up and tell you anything you want to know) But no one was ruining my night. Not even you, Mr. Security Guard. So what do I say? “I mixed crystal light in my water.” “Crystal light?,” confused and not buying it security man says. But I was sticking to it because technically I wasn’t lying. I just didn’t say the other ingredient. Then he goes in for the sniff.

I was just thinking; okay, there’s a 50/50 chance he won’t smell alcohol. 

He gave me a weird look. Then told his other security guard friend, “it’s just water”, and he looked so defeated.

MWAHAHAHA!!! YES!!

But then he still had to smell Brandon’s pop. So it was either a win or a loss. But, he didn’t smell anything peculiar in a 32-ounce cup. HELL. YES.

We got away with it. But also, any chance of a buzz was completely killed because we thought all eyes were on us at all times. Not to mention it was super embarrassing because everyone around us watched it all go down, though the guy behind us told us later the security guards should mind their own bizness. But wanna know why they came up and pulled us aside? Supposedly there are hidden cameras up at the top watching the crowd and they saw me put powder (crystal light) in my bottle and shake it. Apparently that could be how a bomb is made. According to the United Center security. So they thought I was a legit threat.

Welp, United Center, I’m no threat to you. I was just a kid trying to have some fun after an insane weekend of events. Also, to be clear – Crystal Light got me in trouble. Not a shooter.

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We spent the rest of our last night in the Windy City feeling both blessed and destroyed. #Blessed because we survived and didn’t get kicked out of the Blackhawks game and then destroyed because well, I think you understand…

COMMENT: I don’t believe this is the craziest thing, so please share your crazy story with me! 🙂

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“The Art of Decluttering”

I am barely recognizing myself this weekend. First, I spent a Friday night IN READING! To be fair, I did consume three glasses of vino too…

But I started reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.  I’ve heard a little about it but bought it last week because I fell into the Target shop-hole and bought everything in sight.

It’s a great book and fast read (me, likey that) and Marie pretty much convinced me that I need to get my shit together and get rid of things to make more space for life. It’s a great philosophy actually, at first I was like yeah, right. But she’s pretty good. Instead of the constant struggle of keeping your home clean, you need to just get rid of the things in your way and let go. Supposedly by doing this, you will never have to worry about cluttering up your place again. But we’ll see how that goes!

So, okay, step one: Get rid of unneeded energy. I don’t know about you but I’ve always had a tough time letting things go. I’ve gotten a lot better after moving over five times in the past eight years. In fact, I will throw things out just so I don’t have to deal with it and bring it to my next apartment. Maria teaches you that you should be choosing what you WANT to keep, not what you want to get rid of. When you start throwing things out she says, “take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.” Okay, that sounds extremely dramatic, but it worked. I kid you not. Like, when I held a tank that I used to wear to college parties, yeah – I could let that one go because all I could think about was drinking jungle juice in that top. Which is a fantastic memory, just not in the place I am in life anymore (even though I still consume Barton’s almost every weekend).

Okay, so we got the deed down, throw things away you don’t feel sparks of joy for you anymore. Next, where the ef to begin? HAVE YOU SEEN MY HOARDS OF CLOTHES, BOXES, THINGS, MARIA?!

Maria says to start with clothes first, then books, papers, misc, and lastly, mementos. I thought, clothes – that’s easy. I have so many that I don’t wear. TONS of college shirts, hand-me-downs, etc. Bring it, Maria. So I went at it Saturday morning (again, who am I this weekend? Being productive on a Saturday morning??) I should mention that you have to start with tops and bottoms first, then work down the line to things like handbags and shoes. That’s the catch when “tidying up”, you can’t just become a clean machine, you have to do it in steps and don’t get ahead of yourself. So I started with clothes: tops, shorts, bottoms (not jeans), and shoes. That’s all I could handle.

I don’t have a before pic of my dresser drawers, but let me explain that every time I did all my laundry I could barely fit my PJ tops and bottoms in drawers. They overflowed. I started here because it was easiest. I don’t feel as much connection to these clothes so I went through it in like 30 minutes. This is all going bye-bye…

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BOOM SHAKA LAKA

So much win right there. I was like, wow. That was easy! OH! I forgot to mention another rule: no listening to music or TV when doing this process. Gotta connect with the threads. 😉

Next up, the scary closet. Here are the before pictures (don’t judge, I live a busy lifestyle). Kidding. I’m just a slob. MOM. DON’T. LOOK. 

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Pretty scary, right? It really wasn’t though! It was awesome! To be fair a lot of those clothes I already knew were going to Goodwill, I just hadn’t organized yet. I didn’t keep a timer on this, but it honestly didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Maybe about an hour?

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a couple struggles in there. I put those to the side, but by the end everything was looking so clean it was easy to say, nah. I don’t need that. This looks too good and I don’t want to add you back in here to clutter it back up! You know what I realized though? I owned some clothes that were just “safe” pieces. Like a long dress that I didn’t even really like, but it was an easy dress to wear when I needed something more dressed up and would cover up if I felt bloated or wasn’t in shape. I got rid of it. Because I realized it was in a way, negative energy. I also got rid of those clothes that I was saving for when I slimmed down. You know those ones. An article of clothing that you own to hopefully fit in perfectly one day or if it’s just a “safe item” – get rid of it. It doesn’t make you happy.

Alas, here’s what happened. (P.S. Don’t vacuum marks make a place look super clean?)

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CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS!!!!??? Seriously, get this book. It’s worth it. Here’s what I have SO FAR for things to get rid of (ignore all the extra clutter around it, that’s a whole other day’s worth of work…)

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Peace, love, and declutter.

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Shonda Rhimes’s ‘Year of Yes’ Book Review

519M5lbusyL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Author: Shonda Rhimes

Genre: Nonfiction

Release Date: November 10, 2015

Pages: 336

Stars: 4.5/5

Faaaabulousss! Love this book. This is a book that you can pick up and reread any day. A perfect book for the shelves to bring back down on a rainy day! It’s a good blend of learning her past and how she is the way she is and how hard she works! The best lesson you get is straight up inspiration from a hard-working woman who adopted three girls all by herself!

I especially loved reading her speeches at Dartmouth college graduation and at her Human Right Campaign speech. They are so, so good. It’s also really cool that while she’s talking about being a badass woman, she also opens up about her weight issues and how “the more I work, the fatter I get”. I love that because I’ve always wondered how some people can work all day long, not work out, but stay healthy at the same time. There has to be a balance. Speaking of balance, Shonda totally turns work off at 7 p.m. every night and doesn’t work on Saturdays (I think, it might be Sunday…) I hate the stigma that if you want to be successful, you shouldn’t have a life and you should get zero sleep. Talk about a life ruiner. Not for me. I would rather balance the two before I wasted my life away. And she gets that because of her kids.

Let’s see…what else am I missing? I love the way the book is written because she writes like she is talking to you. When you think of good writing, you think of big words and sentences that you have to go back and reread a couple times before you understand (maybe that’s just me) but she is so real. I love the way she writes and she’s always giving nuggets of knowledge – and everyone already knows that who watches Greys or Scandal. 

Enough of my babbling, go check it out for yourself!

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Top-notch quotes to live by:

“I need to believe that Beyoncés life is perfect. It keeps me going.”

Why I love this quote: Because you know the quote “Beyoncé has 24 hours in a day too.” That pisses me off because she also has people working for her and making her food and can afford expensive trainers, etc. However, Beyoncé is amazing, we all know that. But I always get a spark of motivation when I witness “da hustle”, and Bey’s got it. So does Shonda.

“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”

Simply, beautiful.

“No one is meaner than a pack of human beings faced with someone who is different.”

This goes with her awesomeness about equality and casting ‘real’ people. This especially rings so true over what’s going on in the world! I was reading this book when then Syrian refugee stuff was hitting hard (on Facebook) and I was so furious every night before I would go to bed after reading stupid comments (bad idea). But Shonda brings a light to the darkness, I tell ya!

She also brings up good points that even I was like, hmm. Oh yeah, that makes sense. Like when she said this…

“I really hate the word diversity. It suggests something…other. As if it is something…special. Or rare. Diversity! As if there’s something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV.”

I say diversity all the time and I scream it from the mountain tops with love! But, she’s right. We’re not different. Especially in America.

“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”

Yeah, I don’t even have to say anything about that one.

“Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”

Okay, one last thing! I forgot to mention up top. But I am a dreamer fo sho, HOWEVER, creating a vision board isn’t going to make it a reality. Ya gotta work. Something about hearing that from Shonda really made me listen 🙂 This also comes from her Dartmouth speech:

“They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true.
I think that’s crap.
I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.”

P.S. I think I said the word “love” about 30+ times. I guess the book really is THAT good!

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