Thursday, January 31, 2013

Show Us Your Singles!

So, Kelly's Korner blog (check it out here) is doing Singles Day! And... I can't think of anyone better to nominate than my cousin AJ! So we are linking up! AJ! He is 26 years old and lives in Lincoln, NE.  He graduated from University of Nebraska-Lincoln with his Bachelors degree and is a Design Engineer here in Lincoln. 
I may be a little bit biased and all, but he is a GREAT guy. AJ is one of the funniest, most creative and caring people I know. I am lucky and blessed to have him in my family, and he deserves to meet the nicest girl! 

Here is AJ with his brother and sister-in-law. 

Yet another of AJ hanging out with one of his sisters. 

This is AJ and I on New Years Eve :)

AJ is an awesome, Christian guy who really cares a lot about his family and friends. I am thankful to have AJ as a cousin..he has always been like a brother to me! I get to hang out with him all of the time, so I can vouch for the fact that he is truly a great person. 

Of course, there is a lot more to know!!! 

If you are interested in finding out more about AJ, leave a comment here or email and I'll get you in touch with him! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tanners Rejoice!

This is my dilemma:
For years and years I was definitely a tanning junkie. Who doesn't love to have a nice, colorful glow all year around? I don't know about you, but it always made me feel a little bit better, especially in the winter months when I would be otherwise transparent.

Well, in the past few years, I just stopped tanning. It was a combination of becoming increasingly aware of the dangers, and also my skin became very irritated by it. It wasn't worth the hassle, so I just quit.

But, I am blonde. And I am light complected. It didn't take long for my lack of sun to catch up with me in the winter months. Trust me, there is nothing cool about your lightest foundation looking orange against your ghostly skin.

I began exploring my options. Spray tanning? Lotions? Creams? Mists?

I tried it all.

I decided tanning lotion is a lot of work. It is extremely difficult to make sure you get it everywhere, AND streak free. However, if you like this, I think Jergens has the best tanning lotions.

I started getting spray tans a little more regularly, or just whenever I felt it was absolutely necessary that I didn't look freakishly white. For those of you in the Lincoln area, I typically get mine at Max Tan. I have always had a positive experience and the women who spray you are very good at what they do. You can customize your color and they will work with you on where you want to be sprayed.

However, here are my problems with professional spray tanning:

1. You basically have to give up 8 hours of your day. After the spray, you cannot come in contact with water or sweat.  This might seem easy, but unless you are able to get an appointment immediately before you go to bed, it's actually not! You are scarily orange until you are able to shower (8 hours later), so its not like you can venture out in public. Major inconvenience I think.

2. The tan only lasts about 5 days.

3. They typically cost around $45-50 (at least where I go.) Sometimes they run specials for $18-20, which is much better, but still. This is an okay price for me if I am doing it occasionally, but to maintain a tan at that price every week or so? Hmmm... no thanks.

So, enter my favorite new solution:

Casey, my fabulous esthetician at Sweet Jane Salon (you can schedule with her by calling 402-435-8601) recommended Tan Towels for a quick, tan glow. I have seen these little packets at both Sephora and Beauty First, but assumed they did not work for some reason. Last Saturday I picked up a couple of packets (you can buy them in single use packets at Beauty First for about $3-5). Basically, it is a moist towelette with tanning solution on it. You can get a arm or face pack, or a full body pack, which is what I did. The directions say to just rub the towel all over in a circular motion. Sounds easy, right? 
Well...the good news IS! Using a towel is SO much easier than applying lotion and I was able to use the towel on my whole body. If you want a swimsuit ready look, I think I would actually buy two full body packets. I used one and did my full upper body, but just my lower legs. And I felt that my lower legs didn't get quite as tan as my upper body. (Possibly because I started with my upper body)
I am telling you though, this product is genius! I ended up with a streak-free, natural looking tan, and it is JUST now starting to fade a little. 
If you are craving a little tan in your life (especially in this weather! Hello snow!) I would pick up a few Tan Towel packets.  I think you will love them! 
Happy Snow Day....for those of you in Lincoln. Otherwise, Happy Wednesday!  


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Scent Controversy

I am a firm believer that every room in your house should smell amazing. Upon moving into a new house or apartment, I always immediately begin working on making it smell great. That is obviously more important than unpacking, right? Anyways, my go-to was typically wallflowers from Bath and Body Works.

I love those things. I have one in every room. I stock up so much that I have a year's supply in my closet. They are fantastic.

They WERE fantastic.

In the last couple of years, I noted the gradual change to Scentsy products that seemed to be happening. I really didn't care. I considered myself well-armed in the scent department and not interested in a new product. Especially something I had to order from someone.

But, of course, one of my dear friends surprised me with a  Scentsy last year. I was (admittedly) super excited. I got that baby ready to go and plugged it in and... well... I LOVE IT. It's SO much better than a wallflower. The smell factor is amazing... and there are so many wonderful scents to choose from. I was easily sold. And now I am somewhat obsessed with buying and trying new scents. My favorite is still "Luna." If you are on the line about whether Scentsy is for you... I would go ahead and say it probably is.

Here is a pic of some of their new products this season. I recently purchased the warmer in the middle. It looks really cute!

Check out Scentsy here.

Disclaimer: I still buy and use wallflowers. They are just not as cool anymore. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Important Announcement!

Just kidding. Not really.

Ok, but this is kind of important. Yesterday, I was rummaging around Lemon Days (yes...those of you who are in the Lincoln area, it IS Lemon Days at the mall right now) and I stumbled upon this little treat. 

I have been reading reviews on the TIGI Pro Blow Dryer for quite some time. Apparently it is some kind of miracle tool.  Well, yesterday I noticed it was marked down. Big time. As in, it was retailed around $200...and was marked at $60. Um, hello opportunity. Of course I acted immediately. So, after I showered, I purposely left my hair extra wet to test the authenticity of my new hair dryer (which comes with a  one year warranty, by the way). 
Seriously. I was NOT let down. I previously dried my hair in sessions because it took so long. With the TIGI Pro, my hair was completely dry, AND get this, somewhat straight, in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES! I am sorry, but this is revolutionary. 
I may be way behind the times on this deal, but if you are frustrated with the lengthy blow drying process, I would highly suggest buying this! 
Go... now. It is on sale at Younkers! 
Happy Friday! 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Thankful Mondays

The start of another week! I used to hate Monday mornings, but as of lately, I find myself reflecting on the weekend and realizing how thankful I am! Most weekends I get to see my family, spend extra time with friends, and relax... a little bit! So, when Monday rolls around, I like to think about all of the fun activities and people that I am so blessed to have in my life. Plus, it's much better than whining about the week ahead! 

On this particular Monday, I am, of course, always thankful for my family and friends. 

However, moving on to some things of lesser importance. It's the little things in life, right? 

Today I am thankful for: 

it's a 10
The bottle reads "miracle leave in product." Hmmm.. that seems to be a lofty statement. It's not. Trust me. This is one of those "life changing" products.  If you have hair with any length, you know that sometimes the amount of time it takes to detangle your hair is insane. I am telling you: a couple sprays into your wet hair,  and you will never look back. This detangles, softens and adds shine. It is truly a miracle. 

And.. of course...
OPI Glitter Polish 
Glitter polish. When I noticed glitter polish becoming trendy, I was a tad bit skeptical. It reminded me of elementary school when I would buy ONLY things that had glitter in them and subsequently walk around with my entire body as a sparkling mess. 
This is different though. This is festive and fun. There are so many modern colors out there, the one above being my favorite right now! Glitter (in moderation, ladies) is a fun way to brighten a Winter day! If you aren't on the glitter train yet, its time! 

Hoping everyone has a wonderful, thankful Monday!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oh Sean...

Well, it is Tuesday night, and I finally just got the chance to watch The Bachelor! The first episode was as dramatic as always, but I have to say, Sean is my favorite Bachelor! Yes, of course he is extremely good looking, but more than that, he is such a nice guy! He is such a gentleman and his character really shines through in how he talks to each of the women.

If it's even possibly, I am WAY more excited than I already was for this season!

And.... for all of you ladies who are still planning to apply for the Bachelor: there a few rules that I have come up with from watching MANY seasons, and I think every "hopeful" should follow. I had these rules in my mind...but then I realized that really, they all come back to one major thing:

Do not get drunk. 

I am not talking about a 'few glasses of wine chatty,' I am talking 'just took a spill in my nightgown' drunk. It is an easy rule to follow and it will most likely save you from breaking many of rules the first night.

I am hesitant to throw out my favorite girls because I have seen how quickly that can turn around. So, all I will say is that I am super excited to watch this season unfold, and you can count on Bachelor insights for the next couple of months!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Shampoo Diaries

I will admit it. I am a shampoo snob. But, with confidence, I will say I have come to this decision over years of experimentation.

It all started  as a young girl.  I was raised on Biolage. (Well, that came out wrong. No, I didn’t eat it.) My mom always used Biolage shampoo for my sister and I. We both had long hair and she stressed the importance of “taking care of your hair.” Which,  apparently to her,  meant using salon products!

Fast forward 20+ years, and I cannot quite break the grip on this philosophy. And, I don’t want to! I performed an experiment last year (per my friend Steph's request :) ) and experimented with buying non-salon products (you name it, I have tried it) and actually used them for weeks at a time. I have to say, in my opinion, the difference is obvious from the start! My hair always felt heavy, sticky… lacking volume.. etc etc.

So, what do I use you may wonder?

I think the “secret” to shampoo is to never keep using the same one for too long! I have no scientific proof for this. In fact, I made it up. Its my own theory. But I have an arsenal of shampoo in my bathroom… and I switch out sometimes daily! Of course, over the years I have developed some standard favorites. And here they are...

What can I say, old habits die hard. Biolage comes in a variety of kinds for your hair type (normal, dry, oily, etc.) I have found that I like to use the "Normal" or "Hydrating". Truth be told, they all work and smell great. 

TIGI Bedhead Urban Anti-dotes 3
I sought this shampoo out when my hair went through a really dry, brittle state due to a medication I was taking. The first reason I fell in love was because of the smell. I think it smells fantastic! But this shampoo does keeps  my hair so soft and it really does a great job at repairing your hair if it is damaged. 

Redken All Soft
I love how smooth and manageable this shampoo makes my hair. Plus, the smell reminds me of summer. And tanning lotions. And laying out by the pool. Triple bonus! 

Well, there you have my shampoo closet. I am always trying new things, so the truth is, there are about 2-3+ more shampoos that are rotating around right now. But these are my old faithfuls. If you can't find a shampoo you love, I would recommend one of these. 

It's OK to admit if you are a shampoo snob. There is no shame….

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Fun!

Finally Friday! Sometimes the short weeks take the longest to get through! I am so thankful for all of the time spent with friends and family....but it's still not over. There are plenty of gatherings in the near future, starting with the premier of the Bachelor! Ok, this may not be a priority for many of you, but I am super excited! If anyone watched Emily Maynard's season of the Bachelorette, you KNOW Sean Lowe. I don't know of anyone who isn't absolutely thrilled to see him as the Bachelor. I know I am excited. On a deeply saddened note, I remembered I am taking an accelerated class starting Sunday and will be in class EVERY day and night for that whole week. I know, its devastating. It really is. But I have officially come to terms with it and will watch the premier... later. But, everyone else will still be watching it Monday night, so in preparation for your Bachelor premier party (everyone has those, right?) I wanted to share my favorite dip that is delicious, and oh so easy. 

My Mom used to make this for us all the time... sometimes we would even eat it for a meal! It is not anything special, but its the perfect thing to snack on with a group of people. 

And of course...we gave it the ever so creative name... 

"Hamburger Dip"

1 lb of ground beef (you could also use sausage or chicken!)

Velveeta ( you can add as much or as little as you wish)

1 jar of Picante 

Brown your beef (or whatever you decide to use). Drain the grease off. Throw the meat, Velveeta ( I typically end up using the whole box, but you can add slowly until you get it to a desired consistency or taste), and the jar of Picante into your crockpot.  Stir frequently until the cheese is melted. Its that easy! With this dip, you can tailor it to however you like. You can use spicier salsa, more salsa than cheese, more meat, no meat... its endless. 

We always just eat  the dip with tortilla chip, but  I know a lot of people like to up the cheese factor and use Doritos. Either way, you are going to love this stuff!

For anyone who knows me, please don't harass me with live updates from the Bachelor, I can't stand the thought of not knowing what is happening until later! I'm kind of kidding... but seriously.  I cannot WAIT! Everyone have a great weekend... and remember... Mondays are about to become the best day of the week again!