Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Five: Perfume Edition

You guys, Winter is HARD!

During this depressed and frigid season, I rely on the small things to get me through! Not to say that every day doesn't have it's own greatness, but I have a few little routines to brighten my day.

One of the ways I keep morale up is with perfume. Weird, right? But seriously. Smell is very important to me and sometimes having a sweet or floral scent whirling around me during the day makes me cheerful. Call me crazy, but the days I forget to wear perfume are sort of disappointing.

I am pretty sure my husband will also vouch for the fact that I am big into the smell-good. The days that he wears cologne I am like an annoying mosquito who can't stop sniffing him. It's just SO GOOD!

Anyways, I always used to want to be one of those people who wore ONE perfume. And had one "signature scent" if you will. My mom has literally worn the same perfume for 25+ years. Their whole house smells like it. I love that smell because it reminds me of my Mom. But... that just can't be me. There are too many amazing perfumes out there these days and I like to match my perfume to various moods and seasons. (I can't be the only one, right?)

So today I compiled my top 5 perfumes (as of current!). Some of these perfumes I have been wearing for over 5 years....some are newer to the mix. I do not discriminate, and I love adding something to the collection here and there.

1. Burberry Brit
Mmmmm. Old faithful. I have been wearing this perfume since the beginning of college, maybe high school! It has a sweet, musky vanilla smell that I love. It reminds me of Winter. I especially like to wear it when it's super cold out. I don't know why. I don't have reasons for everything weird I do.
2. Kat Von D "Saint"
This was something I stumbled on to at Sephora about 5 years ago. I generally try perfume based on how they look (marketing people must love me!) but this perfume was just an accident. An AMAZING accident. But this stuff smells so sweet... I have no other words for it. It's just like sugar for your body.
3. Dolce by D & G
This is my newest purchase. Last year I sprayed it on while I was browsing through Sephora. At first, I wasn't even impressed. But that night I kept thinking "what is that smell?" And not in a bad way.  I finally realized it was ME! This stuff smells so good. It's so light, fresh and almost POWDERY.
*It's safe to say I will not be hired to describe perfume scents anytime soon*
4. Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture
I love decorative bottles, in case you haven't noticed. They look so pretty sitting there. This perfume is going to be a permanent fixture in my collection, probably forever. It is probably my most worn perfume and also makes me the most happy. Whoever named it is a genius. It is truly juicy. I don't even know what that means, but it best describes the scent. It is like a BURST of amazing sweet and fruity things. YUM. That's all.
5. Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf
I purchased this perfume about 5 years ago because the friendly man at the perfume counter was VERY persuasive. He convinced me that NO perfume lasts longer than this stuff. And in not so many words, he told me that every guy loves this perfume. Well played, perfume counter dude. I bought it that day. Flowerbomb was out of my scent comfort zone. Like my Mother, I tend to linger around sweet, vanilla like fragrances. But Flowerbomb (true to it's name) is literally just a flower explosion in your nose. Personally, I think it smells better after a few hours then it does initially. But that's just me.
Okay ladies (and gentleman), if you are in the market for a new scent - perhaps I have convinced you with my poetic descriptions of these lovely scents.
Seriously though, you cannot go wrong with any of these. If you are looking to add a new perfume in the rotation, or (perhaps!) a Valentines Day treat for you or a loved one.... give these a shot!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday!

Hi everyone!

This week cannot get over soon enough, to be honest. I already feel like it's been an entire week! And that's never a good sign. But enough of the negative Nancy-isms...

Today we are linking up with Shay for What's Up Wednesday!  And that is always fun!
1. What We're Eating This Week:
The usual. Chicken and veggies. Turkey bowls. Pizza on Mondays. :)
But we are also eating this recipe I mentioned yesterday. Delish!
2. What I'm Reminiscing About:
I am a big time reminiscer  ... for some reason the other day I was talking about the day I met Clay, our first date, etc. Clay probably cringes when he hears me "remember when...?" But it's probably because we co-blogged about it a few weeks ago! :) You can read about how we met from my and Clay's perspective here and here! I love LOVE!
3. What I'm Loving:
These Sorel boots I mentioned last week. And... this week I found this pair and they are on sale! So... it's happening! I can't wait for my feet to stay dry in all of this snow!
4. What We've Been Up To:
We have both been working our normal day jobs and being a boring married couple! And I am not at all upset about it! In addition, we have been planning and dreaming about house projects. None of these are pressing, but there is a list going :) And my Pinterest board is overflowing with ideas!
5. What I Am Dreading:
More snow. Does it ever end? I heard yesterday that we are supposed to get a big snowstorm  next week. I. Am. Over. It.
6. What I'm Working On:
Still working on wedding thank yous. All that to say we are incredibly blessed to have so many friends and family gift us so many wonderful things on our wedding day! I mentioned a few weeks ago that this WILL be done by mid February.
7. What I'm Excited About:
We are planning a few potential get aways for the coming year. I love planning. And dreaming about things we may or may not do. Either way, it's exciting. We are discussing Nashville - neither of us have been. Thoughts?
8. What I'm Watching/Reading:
I'm currently not reading anything due to the fact that I read every book I had on my list over our honeymoon. But I am now watching the latest Netflix season of New Girl. I cannot get enough of that show. Constant LOLs.

And of course Ben. This season.... eye roll. I do like Ben though.
9. What I'm Listening To:
Clay was playing some Americana Pandora station the other day and now I'm hooked on a few songs. I love hearing new artists!
10. What I'm Wearing:
Anything warm. I feel like my everyday fashion is boots, the warmest sweater I can find, and a scarf. And not solely for fashion purposes. I really am just THAT cold.
11. What I'm Doing This Weekend:
Nothing major! Catching up on laundry and cleaning, per usual. And that is fine by me! I love low key weekends.
12. What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month:
Clay and I are going to San Diego! I am SO EXCITED. I have never been to San Diego and have really always wanted to go. We will be spending a long weekend there and taking in the sights... as well as a day of skiing at Big Bear. We are still negotiating on if I will actually be skiing or not... either way... cannot wait!  
13. What Else Is New?
Aside from everything just discussed? Nothing really. We are kind of in chill mode... so is Brick. ;)
Happy Wednesday! Here's to the rest of the week flying by!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Last Minute Supper Saver- Bow Tie Lasagna

Does anyone else say supper?

It's neither here nor there.

If you are like me you sometimes find yourself frantically googling a quick and easy recipe that you can eat… like RIGHT NOW. And something that is easy to find at the grocery store.

Listen… I got your back.

I found this recipe last week while doing that very thing and let me tell you… household HIT!

I loved it. Clay loved it. I mostly loved that from the time I started browning the hamburger until it was going into my mouth... was about 35 minutes. YES!

I love lasagna, but sometimes it just takes TOO damn long to make. Enter… Bow Tie Lasagna! Recipe below.

picture via 

You will need:

  • 1 pound Ground Chuck
  • 5 cups Bow Tie Noodles
  • 3 cups Spaghetti Sauce (or Pizza Sauce, Whatever You Prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (or More, Make It To Your Taste)
  • ½ cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • ½ cups Sour Cream

  • Preparation

Fry ground chuck in small pan. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

After noodles are cooked, drain and drizzle with olive oil. Mix in your spaghetti sauce. (I can’t guarantee your results on this, because I’m spoiled; I am a “home canner” and have the BEST sauce on my shelf, a home canned marinara sauce that I use for lots of stuff—pizza, spaghetti, and of course, THIS.)

Add your fried hamburger, seasonings, cheese, and sour cream. Fold together and allow it all to combine and melt together, over low heat, for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

**These are the recipe providers prep instructions. 

I would like to include that I pour, don't measure. And I add extras. Extra hamburger. Extra cheese. Extra seasoning. Fresh garlic. Maybe some mushrooms. Maybe some spinach! Get creative. You can't mess this stuff up. And in the end, it might look like a blob, but it is a delicious blob, I swear. 


Monday, January 25, 2016

Second Hand Embarrassment Part III

Hi and welcome back to the work week!  If this is your first time with Sweet and Modern, feel free to also check out Part I and Part II. The opportunities for embarrassment are endless with these old notebooks. Lets just say that every time I read my journal, I thank the lord that social media wasn't a thing when I was in 6th grade.

As a side note, this was not an excerpt from my personal diary. My sixth grade teacher had us keep an ongoing writing notebook in which she responded to our entries. This is why in some of the entries you will see responses on the side. Bless her heart for even responding... I would have told myself to get a life.

Without further ado, Second Hand Embarrassment Part  III is brought  to you from 10-19-99.
If you could be another person for 30 days, who would it be?

Oh my word. This is hard. I guess I would want to be somebody famous. Ok, Rachael Lee Cook, She's All That. She is such an awesome person. So cute, and such a good actress. Plus, she got to act with Freddie Prinze Jr. That would be fine by me. I really would like to stay myself, but she's pretty cool. I really don't know much about her background, so maybe I don't want to be her. So... I'm pretty happy being me.



SO hard. Like, oh my word hard.
Obvious choice young Gina. RLC is amazing.  You're right, she is cute. Best actress? Well... you're in 6th grade. Luckily you will eventually see better movies than She's All That.  Also, Freddie Prinze? I mean...he's okay.

And way to completely back out of your original claim. I actually don't know much about her. Actually maybe I don't want to be her. Actually I want to be me!
But that wasn't the assignment...


By: Gina
Bye! Gina
Bye, Gina


We will never know.

And yet another hats off to my 6th grade teacher for responding so positively. I am most certain I would have accidentally burned this thing.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 22, 2016

{Friday Confessional}

I am SO thankful for Friday! Some weeks take a little extra effort to get through, but we are here, and it's time to confess....

{1} I confess that  my sweet tooth got the best of me this week.
I had a craving for brown butter cookies and ended up making TWO different batches this week. If you  haven't ever made brown butter cookies, you are truly missing out. My favorite recipes are HERE and HERE.

image via
{2} I confess that we still don't have our wedding thank yous done!
This is a massive undertaking that I was not prepared for! Luckily my husband did not pawn the task off on me and we have been knocking them out together. In waves. Hoping to be wrapping this task up before the second week of February. Goals.

{3} I confess that my carry on is STILL not unpacked from our honeymoon.
Every night I stare at it and wish it would unpack itself.  It's not that hard, but for some reason this continues on. 10  days and counting...

{4} I confess that I restarted the dryer TWICE to avoid folding my clothes.
I then ambitiously took them out and threw them on the couch. And now they have been there for 4 days. Does anyone else struggle with this?! UGH!

Isn't this picture sad? We've all been there.
and lastly...

{5} I confess that I have had my eye on these boots for close to 6 months now and STILL have not bit the bullet.
And not because I don't want them, if anything, I want them more than ever! Now that I've decided it's time, I cannot pick a color! Does anyone  have any input? Or something similar/better? These are a must! Let's face it, the ol' Uggs can't keep up with the snow. And my husband had his own confessional when he told me that Uggs actually make people's legs look like "cartoon characters." And that's that.
image via

Thanks for joining me today! Have the BEST weekend!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: Tarte Smooth Operator Clay Finishing Powder

image via
I have to be honest, I have never even tried to seek out another finishing powder. When I started using Bare Minerals, I did not stray. And as most Bare Minerals users know, the award winning Mineral Veil really is a fantastic product. It promises a "translucent finish, oil absorption, line minimization and airbrushed perfection." If that doesn't sell you, I don't know what will. But seriously, it does the job. I rarely put on foundation without finishing it off with Mineral Powder. For me, it completes the look  and pulls everything together. And in the Summer, when oily skin starts to peek through, it is a must!

Last month, my Ipsy Glam Bag sent me a small sample of Tarte Smooth Operator Clay Finishing Powder. I almost threw it in the back of my make up drawer, but instead I decided to take it along on our trip to Jamaica (travel size!). And I have to hand it to Tarte, this product is fantastic!

Per Tarte:

Image via

"A translucent, silky finishing powder with Amazonian clay that keeps makeup in place and diffuses imperfections.
This translucent, silky finishing powder keeps makeup in place without ever appearing chalky. It mattifies skin by removing excess surface oil. This powder can even be used alone as a treatment to reap all the benefits of Amazonian clay."

First of all, can anyone tell me what the benefits of Amazonian clay are, exactly? Just wondering.
Per my usual deciding factor, I present to you the pros and cons list.

  • Gives an excellent matte finish
  • Makes your skin feel silky smooth
  • (I have found personally) Works amazingly well for setting under eye concealer

  • Doesn't have the "luminosity" factor. Some may actually consider this a pro.
  • Price tag. Ouch.

This little Amazonian clay number will run you around $33 dollars. That's $11 dollars more than Bare Minerals Mineral Veil. And that's $11 you could use for ANYTHING else. For me, the $22 I spend on Bare Minerals veil goes a LONG way. It's not a product I replace frequently (MAYBE every 6 months). 

And for my extra frugal gals, here's a little tip: cornstarch.

I know, it makes your cookies a little more chewy and thickens up your soup.
But if you are looking for setting and mattifying, a little cornstarch over the top of your foundation will do the trick.

Sidenote: Cornstarch can also be a great dry shampoo. I talk about that here.

So, in conclusion: if you have $33 dollars just hanging out and want to invest in a quality product, Tarte finishing powder may very well be the right thing for you. It's absolutely worth trying!

Happy Friday Eve!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuesday Talk: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel- 7 Day Study

Hey Ladies! I am linking up with Sarah @ Abiding in Grace for Tuesday Talk, and today, I am going to let the pictures do most of the talking.
 I have mentioned before I am more of a home manicure type of gal- so I am always on the lookout for a great top coat. My go-to for years now has been this amazing top coat that I blogged about several years ago. And to this day, I still think it is the best!
My friend Charity informed me that she bought and tried the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish set. She was extremely impressed, which of course piqued my interest! This set runs you about $11-14 depending on where you purchase (and you can get it at any drugstore)!
So.. definitely cheaper than getting a gel set at a salon. But I had to know ... does it stay on?
I snapped some pictures over a period of 7 days to let you decide for yourself! Sorry about my scary hands.

As you can see, by Day 7 I have some (very) minimal chipping.
Verdict: Totally worth the money! I can get similar results with the previously mentioned top coat, but this is absolutely still worth buying. And they have 45 colors to choose from! WOO!
With those kind of options, you can save your cash and do your nails at home!!
Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Remover Wars

Good Monday morning!
Monday always sneaks up SO quickly.. but I have a quick confession... I secretly love Mondays. Why you may ask? I know it may seem like a little thing, but on Mondays, when I get off of work, I get to see my husband when I get home!
For those of you with significant others who have crazy work hours (or just different than your own), you can possibly relate to this. I am sure I would take this for granted if it were a daily thing, but at the moment, it's not, so YAY for Mondays!
Anyways, on to business. For some reason, whenever I am comparing products, I am inclined to refer to it as a "war." Sorry for the increased drama, it certainly isn't a war.
In fact, today, both of our contenders are actually pretty freaking awesome!

Make up remover is a big deal. I admittedly do not take my eye make up off as much as I should, but even when I don't... I still have to take it off before I reapply the next day. I can't be the only one who gets out of the shower looking like I got punched in the face? Either way, you can't start a fresh look without getting rid of the black smudges all over your eyes.
Background info: for years (upon years) my Mom has used this BeautiControl eye make up remover. And for years, she has kept me in stock. To be honest, I don't even know who her consultant is. BeautiControl is like a Mary Kay type of thing, you have to buy it from a consultant. Anyways, I realize that makes it slightly less easy to purchase. Only slightly. In this day and age, you can hop right on to their website and make the purchase here instead of attending a party at some random consultant's home. Usually they have refreshments, which is a huge plus, but besides the point.
Bless my Mom's heart for knowing the products I need. But things happen and I would run out from time to time. During this time, I started purchasing Neutrogena's Oil Free eye make up remover. And it works... oh yes...  it works.
Here is my take:
They both work. Your make up will be gone after using either product. Waterproof or  not. So in a sense, this isn't a battle. But I still believe that BeautiControl eye make up remover has some sort of edge. The formula has absolutely NO greasy trace whatsoever. None. It is like using cold water to take your eye make up off. I HATE any sort of greasy residue. When I use Neutrogena, I have to be super careful it doesn't get into my eye or else I have blurred, greasy vision for the next few minutes.
So, if you are like me, and have never been completely satisfied with the formula, I would seriously try BeautiControl!
For the record, I am in no way affiliated with, sell, or even use any other BeautiControl products. This is just a friendly PSA for those of you whose moms did not {so kindly} pass this make up remover tradition on.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Her View From Home

Hi everyone!

Today will be short and sweet… but I wanted to direct you to Her View From Home where I am honored to be sharing today! 

If you haven't subscribed to Her View From Home yet, do so, stat! :) 

Check it out here

Happy Saturday! 


Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Favorites: Hair Edition

Happy Friday Ladies!

I will be the first to admit.... SO relieved it is the weekend! Even though I had a short week, I am ready for some quality time spent at home.

Today I am linking with Erika, Narci, and Andrea to share our Friday Favorites.

While in Jamaica, I left most of my go-to hair  products at home... and yikes! It was a great reminder why I use these products/tools, and how much they benefit my hair. Many of these products I have mentioned before, but I am rounding up a few of my "most used" today for Friday Favorites!

Infrashine 1 Inch Spring Grip Curling Iron
Okay, I know Hot Tools are all the rave (I have one as well!) but I bought this curling iron a few years ago, simply because it was marked WAY down, and I have to say.... I can curl my hair and reap the benefits for 2-3 days with this baby! Not so much with my Hot Tools... that is just my experience!
DermOrganic Leave in Treatment
My friend Allison used this delicious oil in my hair a few times and I knew I had to have it! It smells so good! And it makes my hair so soft! As with all oil products, I DO NOT use this any higher than ear-level on my hair.
TIGI Bed Head Urban Antidotes Resurrection Shampoo & Conditioner
I stand by this set! I rotate in and out a few other shampoos that I love (Redken, Biolage, etc) but this product continually makes my thick and wavy hair much more soft and manageable. And the smell... one of my favorites.
drybar Southern Belle Volumizing Mousse
I have blogged about this stuff before but I will say it again! I typically do not use mousse as I am not interested in the crunchy 1999 curls it brings about. But this is NOT like that... I rub it into my roots before blow drying and rarely even have to do any teasing after! Totally worth the money. And the smell... to die for.
Batiste dry shampoo
I have tried most of their scents and the bottom line is.... doesn't matter! This product is the best dry shampoo (and I have tried A LOT! Read more about that here ) and I continue to buy it. Best as in best working, best priced, best smell.
If you are looking for an update in any of these departments, I strongly suggest these products!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Review: Hue Leggings

I know.. I am SUPER late to the Hue leggings party. I have been reading about them for well over a year now, and can you believe... I finally bought  myself a pair.

And I'll cut to the chase. They are EVERYTHING they are made out to be!

-See through? Nope.
-Sagging in inconvenient areas (you know)? Nope.
-Digs into your waist? Nope.

-Hold their shape? Yep!
-Wash well? Yep!
-Appropriate for business-casual work environments? Yep!
-High waist band to ensure extreme comfort? Yep!

I bought this exact pair from Von Maur during a pre-Christmas clearance.
At first, I was a little unsure if I liked the seams down the front, but I have since decided they make them look even more work appropriate. They even have faux slit pockets on the butt!
For me, $48 seems a little pricey for a pair of leggings. I would go ahead and say that they are MORE than leggings, and you will absolutely wear them enough to get your money's worth. And.... if you can find them on a fabulous clearance like I did (hello 50% off) then they are a must!
I'm certainly no fashionista, but if you enjoy looking put together at the office AND feeling like you aren't wearing pants, here is your answer.
Again, I'm probably the last person on earth who hasn't purchased these yet, but if you are late to the party like me, I highly recommend!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shock to the System

Hi everyone and thanks for checking back in after my honeymoon hiatus!
It is truly shocking to be back and DOING something. Aside from laying on the beach, I have had zero responsibility for the last 4 days, and it was wonderful!
Also shocking is this weather.... and I'm told that it's much warmer than while we were away. For those of you who are not Nebraska readers, it is currently about 35 degrees, but apparently was -10 degrees all weekend. So sorry to have missed out...
So, bear with me while I settle back in to daily life. Stay tuned as I have several new products to review, including an exciting finishing powder and an inexpensive home manicure (that won't chip on day 2!!!)  Oh the things I get happy about....
In the meantime, I will be catching up in my cozy corner. I've referred to this part of our house before, and while it is nothing special, I swear it just makes me happy.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

See you...

Next week! 

Sweet and Modern is checking out for a beach vacation :) 


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cast Iron Diaries: Pork Chops with Pepper Jelly Sauce

Hello! And welcome to the first addition of the Cast Iron diaries.
I will be the first to admit it... cooking over a stove is NOT my expertise. In fact, I have no expertise in the kitchen, but I would like to think I typically have more success on the baked goods front.
Well, we registered for a cast iron skillet (and received one) for our wedding! Clay uses it to make omelets, etc., but I had yet to venture into this territory. I have always heard of others making cast iron corn bread, but I had NO idea how many recipes you could actually make in the cast iron. The recipes I found inspired me to do a series of things I plan to try to make, solely in the cast iron!
First up... Pork Chops with Pepper Jelly Sauce. I found this recipe on Southern Living.
You will need:
4 (3/4-inch-thick) bone-in pork loin chops (about 2 1/4 lb.)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup red pepper jelly  
To Prepare:
1. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops, and cook 8 minutes; turn and cook 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 150°. Remove from skillet, and keep warm.
2. Add flour and jalapeño to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until flour is golden brown. Add wine, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet; cook 1 minute or until almost completely reduced.
3. Add chicken broth, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in pepper jelly until melted and smooth. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Return pork to skillet; turn to coat. Serve pork with sauce.
Note: We tested with Braswell's Red Pepper Jelly.
So, here's the deal. I stopped at Wal Mart on my way home, and couldn't find ANY pepper jelly. Being that it was 10 degrees and I needed to get home to my dog baby, I did not feel like driving another 15 minutes to another grocery store. I figured I would make do, somehow.
So here is my adaptation: I followed the instructions according to above, but instead of pepper jelly, I used regular (homemade) strawberry jelly. I also randomly had a few tablespoons of a mango habanero salsa hanging out in my fridge, so I threw that in as well! I also want to add that I did not cook the pork chops as long as it said. They appeared to be  getting done quickly so I shortened the initial 8 and 10 minute cook times. You may want to adapt based on the thickness of your cut of meat.  
And... here were the results!
It was sweet and spicy and the pork chops were tender. When I make again, I will probably cook the pork chops even less. Overall, success! And Clay loved it, too! Win-win!
Does anyone have any must-try cast iron recipes? I am a newbie with the cast iron and up for anything!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Tinder Tale pt 2

I am SUPER excited to be back with part two of our Tinder Tale…mostly because it will be Clay telling you the remainder of our time spent on Tinder! (You can read Part 1 HERE)

To begin with, I cannot say with absolute certainty how exactly I responded to Gina’s first message.  If I recall correctly it was something along the lines of “hey!”  with a couple of follow up questions that were probably just as well thought out and articulate as the “hey!”.   But, anyway, here we are.   
I would also like to point out the reasoning behind my failure to message Gina first….she was waaaay out of my league and I knew it.  I figured she accidentally swiped right on ol’ Clay after a few glasses of wine or something. Ultimately, I wanted to save both of us the time and embarrassment of sending out the ubiquitous “sup girl….”  But, interestingly enough, after a few days of no activity on the Tinder app, a message popped up on my phone from the megababe that had really caught my attention.   
One thing I know for sure about the first message is I was at work when it arrived.  I was out in the hall when I saw I had a Tinder notification on my almost brand new smart phone (I was way behind the times, sue me).  When I saw I received a message from Gina my first response was “no way.” There weren’t any glitches or anything, though, so then I was like “Sweet.” Surprisingly, after racking my brain over what to say, all the messages and chatting came pretty naturally.  I say “surprisingly” because when a guy somehow gets a golden opportunity with a girl like Gina the first line of thinking is “don’t scare her,” which is immediately followed by scaring the shit out of her.  We, as guys, don’t mean to, but when you’re trying too hard to make a solid impression things happen….   
Anyways, I found out I really enjoyed messaging Gina. She was very interesting,  fun to talk to, and had a great personality.  So the next logical step was to begin texting her, which was kind of a big deal considering personal contact (phone :D ) numbers were going to be involved and we’d never even met.   No big deal, though, I told her one night that I’d like to text her and promptly ended that evening’s conversation without ever asking for, or providing, a  number. Pretty brilliant stroke on my part.  Thankfully she messaged back, pointing out the blatant omission, and even provided a working phone number.    So things were lookin' up!   
I’ll admit that I had to come off to Gina as either a total creeper or, at the least, a bit of an eccentric when trying to get a first date.  My work schedule at that time really limited my social life so when I tried to get Gina to meet me around 11:00 pm at a bar on a weeknight,  the situation probably seemed a bit suspicious.  But, to her credit (and my benefit), she rolled the dice and showed up.   We talked for at least a couple hours over a few drinks and I was pretty ecstatic.  So when we parted I knew I definitely wanted to go out again and luckily she agreed.  And now we’re totally married!   
Honestly, there is so much more I can say about my and Gina’s early relationship, but I think she wanted me to touch a little on the internet dating scene.  As with anything, there are some positives and some definite drawbacks. Even though its 2015, there is still kind of a negative stigma associated with starting a lifelong relationship with someone via the internet.  For some reason, casual dating (or hooking up) doesn’t really seem to strike those same chords, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you why.  I’m not a scientist.  But at first, I was even a little weary to mention we’d met on Tinder.  I felt like it wasn’t something people wanted to hear. But after a while I think we both started to embrace it. 
How Gina and I met is just as fun of a story to tell as people who met face to face for the first time. Whether it was at a bar, a concert, the library, or wherever.  When it comes to how we met, there are still really sweet and romantic parts of the story... as well as humorous and embarrassing ones.  The important thing is that we found each other and connected, and it really doesn’t matter what avenue we utilized.   I’m incredibly lucky.  And I’m still, like, 90% sure it was the “U.S.A!”  chant on my profile page that got her to finally say something.  Gina is a great American :D      

And not even two years after the fact, we are happily married! And for the record, I'm the lucky one.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Tinder Tale

Today I am super excited because it's girl talk time. And every girl talk time isn't complete without boy talk.

"Who is he? What does he look like? How did you meet? TELL ME EVERTHING!" -every girl, ever. Or maybe that is just me. Either way.

I'm inviting you into the story of us (Clay and I that is)!

I am always hesitant to say how we met, primarily because of the negative connotation it sometimes gets, and partially because I sometimes forget it even happened myself. But it did. And I'm here (along with Clay!) to tell you all about it.

In January of 2013, an acquaintance told me about this app called "Tinder" that he was using to go on dates.

At the time, I was single and had recently started dating in the last year. But, as most of you ladies (and guys!) know, dating is HARD! What do you wear? What if the guy/gal is a major d-bag and you are forced to hang out with him/her for the next several hours? What if he/she is a murderer? All things to consider. Plus, it takes a lot of effort to put yourself out there, and most of the time, you really never know what you are getting. And, if you are anything like me, after a few (hundred)  let downs, curling up on the weekend with Netflix and a glass of wine starts to sound slightly more appealing than another first date.

Also, to be honest, I sort of thought online dating, especially this app, was embarrassing. As in...pathetic. I mean, if I couldn't just meet someone the old fashioned way, then it just wasn't met to be. Right? Right. At least that's what I thought at the time. However, after a little encouragement from a friend, I downloaded the app... "just to see what it looked like." That's what I told myself anyways.

I cannot lie... I was instantly hooked. For those of you who do not know anything about the app, it allows you to see profiles of people within a certain mile (set by you)  radius. You can also select an age group and interest group (male or female). From there, it is essentially a completely shallow judgment that you are passing on one person after another. Do you find that person attractive? Yes? Swipe right. No? Swipe left. If that  person also "swipes right," an instant messenger box opens up and you are free to start a conversation. At this point in time, most people understand Tinder, but this part of the backstory is for the "others" who may be reading. Hey Mom!

 So here I am. A traditional "dater" from Nebraska. I am prepared to scroll through and see a lot of creeps desperately hoping to find a date. (Sorry Clay!) Instead, I couldn't believe how many guys were on there. Normal guys! Guys who looked like people I would date... or be friends with. And the difference to me, as opposed  to other online dating sites I had looked at, was that these are people who were potentially a few miles away. It was almost slightly eerie at the time.

So, fast forward past a year of some (awkward, fun, interesting, creepy, confusing) dates and exchanges, to March of 2014. I had accepted a new job and was making the move to Omaha from Lincoln. In that past year and some, I had deleted Tinder. Readded it out of boredom. Deleted it again (because it was a huge waste of time.) Re-added it because what if, right? So in May of 2014 I came across "Clay's" profile on Tinder. Knowing nothing about him (other than his cute face) I swiped right. Tinder allows you to post 6 pictures ( if I recall) and these were some of the photos I distinctly remember Clay  had on his profile. So... it was an obvious right swipe.

A real positive guy. 

He looks super fun, right? He is. 
Still no idea why this happening but now knowing all three of these guys,
I can certainly only imagine. 

Blurry..  but cute. 

I wish I could remember the exact details, but to my delight, we were a match!

 But then.......silence.

For those of you who are Tinder experts, you know what I am talking about. If I match with someone, I would prefer to be reached out to in some shape or form. I mean... I may be on Tinder, but I'm still a traditional type and...c'mon...I already swiped right. So say something to me! (And please don't let it be frightening. Warning to those of you now considering Tinder. There really are some creeps on there).

Maybe that was not the right way to go about it, but it was my Tinder style.

But, so it was. Again, I can't remember how long it went on exactly, but I kept checking my profile, day after day,  and wondering why this elusive "Clay" character wasn't saying a word. Not even a simple "hello." Granted, this had happened a lot before. So  many times. In fact, I was considering deleting the app again because..... new city! There would be plenty of time for dating and a new scene. But... for some reason I kept going back to his profile. Something about his eyes and smile seemed so genuine, I really wanted him to talk to me. So much so, that I eventually caved and took matters into my own hands. I sat with my phone in hand, thinking of all the clever ways I could strike up a conversation with this (apparently very busy) guy. I mean, he had swiped right, too, so I really had nothing to lose by seeing what the status was here. After hours of consideration and some elaborate pep talks (with myself), I had arrived at the perfect pick up line.


*hands over eyes monkey emoji*

Just seeing it there in the instant messaging text box, all by itself, made me cringe. That little "hi!"...looking so lonely and ...well...pretty nerdy I might add. I can't quite recall, but I am pretty sure I threw my phone across the room in embarrassment and busied myself so that I didn't have to see that "Clay" probably wasn't going to say anything back. If he was interested before, my spazzy "hi!" had likely turned his interest level to a zero.

So....imagine my surprise when I had a brand new message from "Clay."

Woohoo! Okay, so I was  in the clear. Sort of. At least he didn't ignore me.

At this point in the story, I think it would be appropriate to let Clay tell you the rest! And he will... tomorrow!


Friday, January 1, 2016

Review: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye

Happy New Year!

Today doesn't feel like Friday at all! I slept in SUPER late, leisurely had breakfast and coffee, got in a killer workout (Happy New Rear Day with Gretna Jazzercise), took down ALL of our Christmas decor, and have been doing casual (fun!) stuff the remainder of the day. So my vacation day was a success, as far as I am concerned!

That being said, I am THRILLED to review this concealer. As in, over the moon about it. I haven't used a concealer I have been THIS impressed with in a coons age.

While doing my wedding makeup, Renee (Makeup by Renee) mentioned that I should try the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer. I tucked that little piece of information away and reminded myself to buy it ASAP. Well, I finally did a few weeks ago, and girls, this is a must have.

I purchased it in light, because…. hi. I am blonde and practically transparent this time of year. And is there anything more embarrassing than using a concealer in the wrong shade? Yes, yes there is. But for the sake of this conversation, we don't want to use a concealer too dark for our complexions. Yuck. Talk about making things worse. Anyways, this concealer also has collagen as well as vitamin C & K. Which explains why it has a very unique, creamy consistency. At first I wasn't sure, but as soon as I started applying it, I could see why it was so effective.

Since getting it, I hate to do my makeup at all without using it. As I have mentioned before, I am just not a liquid foundation kind of gal, and it has went on fabulously under any and all of my Bare Minerals foundation and other products. I actually think that setting it with my Bare Minerals Mineral Veil has been working famously.

I typically don't do this - I am certainly not a professional - but I had to show you all the brightening effect it has on your under eye area! The right side has the concealer applied, while the left side I left bare. It may be subtle, but to me, it makes a huge difference in brightening your eyes up.

Ladies… if you buy ONE product this month, make it Bye Bye Undereye. You will seriously not regret this purchase! And… thank you Renee for the recommendation!!

Does anyone else have any MUST have concealers? Let me know!

Have a fabulous weekend!!