Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Five

I thought Friday would never get here! I have been extra tired this week and ready for a holiday weekend. So... high five for Friday! Today we are linking up Tif @ Bright On A Budget blog to share 5 things this Friday.

Starting with...

1. Enchiladas
I'll preface this one by saying we (as in my husband and I) aren't really big Mexican food fans. We will grab a burrito occasionally but as far as going to Mexican restaurants... unusual. I decided to try my hand at enchiladas this week and it went well. I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe for the beef one and made up the chicken one on my own. They were a hit!
Finished product.

2. Tassel earrings
I found these earrings at a local boutique for $4 yesterday. They are also really lightweight! (Just like my Sweet Pi & Fi earrings from last week!) So it was a total win.
Sorry about awkward selfie. Had to be able to see the earrings!

3. My Grandma sent me these photos last night in reference to yesterday's post. Totally made my day! She still has them.
Difficult to see but you get the idea!

4. This is a typical night with Brick.
He is always watching. Always.

5. Green Room movie
I haven't done a movie review in awhile, which is partly because there haven't been as many movies out that we are interested in. But I have mentioned before, we LOVE going to the movies. And ever since they put an Alamo Drafthouse a mere 10 minutes from our house, we have been even bigger movie buffs. Anyways, all that to say, the last movie we went to was Green Room. (Side note: I think it is safe to say my husband has a slightly eclectic taste in films, and I have been a part of some flicks that I would have never gone to otherwise. Sometimes good experiences, sometimes not so much. It's a win either way because of the Reuben pizza at Alamo.)

You guys, this movie is absolutely terrifying. It is unnerving, it is disturbing... it is the most suspenseful film I have ever watched. I don't have much else to say. If you are into that sort of thing, you should definitely check it out. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. In terms of what the movie can do to your emotions and anxiety levels, it is fantastic.

Alright! I'm out of here. Thanks for stopping by Sweet & Modern. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Check out another Friday Link up HERE!


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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Old Fashioned Niceties

image via
A few months ago I read an article in my Real Simple magazine about "old fashioned niceties." I loved the article, and consider myself to be somewhat old fashioned. For example, I love cards. And letters. And sending mail. And writing thank you notes. And having people over for dinner. And taking baked goods to our neighbors.

I think life is made up of the little things that we do for others. For me, receiving a letter or card from someone I love is invaluable. I am extremely sentimental (bordering into hoarder...) and so I have had to draw the line about things that I save these days. Anything from my husband is an automatic save. Other than that, I try not to hold on to every.single.card I get in the mail. It's a work in progress...

Anyways, when I read this article, I remembered that my Grandma had a guestbook at their house. Yes, as in for guests who came through their doors. Does anyone do this anymore? I remember I LOVED to read through the book and see who had been there. Some of the pages were even faded and discolored. Regardless of whether I knew the people, there was something very charming about the memories.

Since getting married, we have tried to make it a priority to entertain as much as possible. I love when people stop by, and our favorite is to have a few people over for dinner. For me, it's the perfect time to try new (and old favorite) recipes... and bake. For my husband, it's a great time to mix up cocktails and grill up something amazing (and it's always amazing!)

Considering these things, it took me all of 5 seconds to get on Amazon and find a guestbook for our home. My only regret is that I can't go back and have our first 6 months of guests sign it. :)

If  you are looking to add some sentimental charm to your home, order a guestbook! Or add it to the list of unique presents you could give. Weddings, housewarmings.... yes!

So... do you have a guestbook in your home? Let me know in the comments!


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Liebster Award

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I am so honored to be nominated by a fellow blogger and Style Collective sister Amanda of Delightfully Impatient! It has been SO fun following along and "meeting" other bloggers out there. Amanda has a lot of fun content that I enjoy following along with on her blog site, as well as Instagram! Check her site out HERE!

The Liebster Award is an online recognition given to new bloggers by fellow bloggers for enjoying and valuing their work. It is meant to highlight and credit new up and coming blogs within our community.

Once you are nominated you:
  • Thank and give recognition to the blog that nominated you and link back to them.
  • Answer 11 questions from the blogger that nominated you.
  • Tell readers 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate up to 11 bloggers to receive the award next.
  • Give your new nominees questions to answer about themselves when they post their nomination.
So... here we go!

11 Random Facts About Me:

1. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. It's a real problem.
2. I LOVE Jazzercise. Definitely my fitness choice.
3. I have a latex food allergy (you can read more about that here)
4. I have never dyed or highlighted my hair. For some reason people really doubt me on this one!
5. My husband and I met online. You can read more about that here and here if you want :)
6. I used to be a Surgical Technologist.
7. Much to my disdain, many of my family members call me Bean. As in Gina Bean.
8. I love country music.
9. My least favorite chore is taking the trash out.
10. I have always lived in Nebraska!
11. My actual name is Regina. Yes, just like Mean Girls.

And now for Amanda's questions for me....

Why did you decide to write your blog?

Writing has always been an important part of my life.  I realized that in everyday life, I loved sharing with friends about new products I was trying, things I was reading, recipes I was trying, and just random everyday things! That was when I realized that I could (and should!) share these things in a blog format and it has been SO FUN! And now I get to write AND "meet" a lot of cool people :)

If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
This is a hard one for me! Since it's anywhere in the WORLD I think I would like to do a little European tour. So many places that look so beautiful... I would especially love to see Germany and Italy.

What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Bake or binge watch a show.

What is your favorite blog post you have written?
I love my posts that people can relate to! Probably some of my pieces on Her View From Home.

How did you choose the name of your blog?
I can't remember how I arrived exactly at Sweet and Modern, but I remember it had to do with Sweet reminding me of baking and fun products, and Modern reminding me of lifestyle happenings.

What advice would you give another new blogger?
It's totally normal to have days that you don't feel like blogging or have non motivation to do so! I always remind myself that this is a FUN creative outlet for me. Anything that makes it anything else is something I don't need!

What do you envision for your blog one year from now?
Hopefully meeting and connecting with more bloggers as well as more readers. And new product and recipe finds :)

What’s your favorite movie?
I can't really pinpoint a favorite, but I always say The Wedding Singer because I have probably watched it more than any other movie.

Cat or Dog?
Dog, hands down.

What’s the mostly delicious food you’ve ever eaten?
Oh my! This is so hard. I know I am missing things but for some reason what popped into my  head was a meal my husband and I shared in Colorado Springs, CO at Garden of the Gods. I have no idea why, but we both still talk about how amazing it was.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching stupid reality TV shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette. And way too much dessert.

I am nominating....

Kristin @ A Midwestern Mix
Cara @ Kindly Unspoken
Abigail @ Acreage of Grace

Your questions are....

  1. What is your all time favorite food?
  2. What is your favorite subject to blog about?
  3. Where is your favorite place that you have traveled? 
  4. What song would you sing at karaoke?
  5. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
  6. What do you value most in a friendship?
  7. What is your favorite feature about yourself?
  8. What is your most recent favorite memory?
  9. What product can you not live without?
  10. Favorite book or author?
  11. What would you do with an entire "free day"? 
SO FUN! Thanks for reading and participating :) Be sure to check out Kristin, Cara & Abigail!

Lastly… did you know you can get Sweet and Modern posts sent directly to your email? Subscribe on the right side of the page by entering your email :) You can also follow along on Instagram for post reminders @sweetandmodern ! 


Monday, May 23, 2016

the {BEST} apple pie

Happy Monday!

What a great weekend of doing basically nothing (which worked out for me since I spent many hours in serious ulcer related pain! UGH!) BUT... I also got to spend some quality time with my little family and relax. One of my favorite "relax" activities is baking!

Today I wanted to share what I believe is the very best apple pie the world.

I based this recipe (the filling & topping) on The Pioneer Woman's "Dreamy Apple Pie" because... let's get  real. Ree knows what she is doing. I just made a few changes that I have found better suit my baking style :)

the BEST apple pie

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled. I prefer to use my peeler and peel the WHOLE apple into thin slices as opposed to chopping it up. It makes the pie that much more delicious!
2 TB flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c (overflowing) sugar
1 c and 2 TB heavy whipping cream
3 tsp vanilla extract (not imitation!)
1/8 tsp cinnamon

7 TB cold butter, chopped into pieces
3/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c pecans
Sea salt (to taste, depending on how much you like!)

Pie Crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter (COLD!)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup ice water
(this makes 2 single layer pie crusts or 1 double pie crust!)

Alright! Here's what you do. First, I make the pie crust! This is because it has to be refrigerated for an hour. So...
1. Put the flour, salt and sugar in your food processor and pulse just a few times to combine the dry ingredient.
2. Toss in your cut up chunks of cold butter. Pulse just until coarse. There can still be some pea sized chunks of butter, this is fine!
3. Sprinkle the ice water over your mix. Pulse again a few times. Take the lid off and check it out... it will look course, but when you squeeze between fingers it (should) stick together. If it's not doing that yet, add a little more ice water. Pulse until you find this consistency.
4. Take half of the mix and press it together. I then put it on plastic wrap, push down into a disk, wrap up and throw it in the freezer/refrigerator. You can do the same with the rest, it will save up to 3 months in freezer!

While my dough is chilling I prepare the filling and topping.

1. In a large bowl, mix together heavy whipping cream, flour, cinnamon, sugar,  brown sugar and vanilla extract.
2.  Peel the apples. First peel off the skin and get rid of it. Then peel the apples directly into the bowl. Mix until apples are coated.
3. In food processor: pulse together butter, flour, brown sugar, salt and pecans. JUST until coarse and chunky. You want it to remain spreadable :) (This is your topping)


Now.. preheat your oven to 375 degrees

Take out the disk of pie dough and set it on wax paper. Smash it down. Put another piece of wax paper on top. Roll out to the best of your ability with rolling pin, over the wax paper (mine never ends up being a perfect circle. No worries, it will still work).

Peel back the wax paper and then lay the pie crust onto the bottom of pie pan (9 inch works great! I like to use a deeper pan for apple pie as well!) Push down into bottom of pan and then peel off top wax paper. From here you can correct any areas with your fingers and make the edges all even. Or pretty, whatever suits your fancy!

Pour the filling in over pie crust.

Pour topping evenly over the filling.

Your pie should now look like this:


Put your ready-to-bake pie pan on a cookie sheet. Loosely lay a piece of tin foil over the top of the pie.

Bake for 1 hour (or until the topping is golden brown!) I remove the foil for the last 20 minutes of baking.

And.. finished product! Now, it is my service to tell you that apple pie should ALWAYS be served warm and with vanilla ice cream. But maybe that is just my preference? You be the judge :)


Friday, May 20, 2016


I am extra excited about this weekend because I mostly get to do NOTHING! After a few really hectic weekends, I am welcoming the lack of activity :) And we are linking up with Erika for Friday! YAY!

1. THESE earrings from Sweet P & Fi.
They are LEATHER! I am obsessed with them. They are super light (because..leather) and don't ever make my ears hurt. I need them in every shade. PS- I'll post a picture of me wearing them on Insta...PLUS my shirt is from there! Follow along @sweetandmodern :)

2. Target shoe score
Yesterday I went to Target on my lunch break specifically to see if they had any tan wedges I could replace my worn out favorites with. I figured it would be a fail... instead... I walked out with tan wedges AND black booties... for $18. YESSSSSS!!!!! Target always wins.

I actually got these in black.. but you see the idea.

3. Statement Boutique
Kristin and I attended Statement Boutique's (a local Omaha shop) 5 year anniversary party last night. This was my first time there... and they have a TON of cute stuff! I had to talk myself out of buying everything!

4. Stomach ulcer
This one is kind of a downer, but it would seem that's what I am dealing with. I am taking a 14 day treatment of Prilosec + bland diet and hoping to get this thing under control. Chocolate chip cookies are bland, right?

5. This weekend ending won't be so bad because... Bachelorette starts again! I am SO excited. THIS link of snap judgments of JoJo's guys made me laugh pretty hard :)

Enjoy your weekend!!!

If you want to check out another amazing blog and link up.... here ya go.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hamburger Bowl

Sounds appealing right?

Well... in my family, "hamburger bowl" is kind of an ongoing joke. When we were younger, if my mom ran out of ideas or was simply hurried, sometimes she would brown hamburger (as in, loose meat hamburger) and put a little salt and pepper on it. And then serve it. Yep, just straight ol' hamburger. Sometimes with bread and butter.  As children, we HATED this meal. My sister and I always called it "hamburger bowl," and it was not favored among the siblings. Looking back, it makes me laugh really hard. Mom, if you are reading this, I'm sorry. Mostly because we should have never whined, given the fact that you had dinner on the table for us EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. But still, it's funny.

Anyways, fast forward however many years. One day I stumbled on my very own husband making, of all things: hamburger bowl.

I'm sure I exclaimed "Hamburger bowl?!" sarcastically or something like it. But then I was quickly shut up when I tasted it.

Delicious. Ummmm.. this was not the hamburger bowl I remembered.

My husband is awesome at clean eating. Like, way better than me. You can't compare us. I'm the eat a chicken breast and broccoli followed by a batch of chocolate chip cookies and multiple cheat days a week type; while he is more of a protein shake and clean eating 90% of his life type. Hence, why he had come up with the hamburger bowl concept. Now, don't be discouraged by the early edition hamburger bowl described above (again, sorry Mom!); this is like hamburger bowl on steroids. And the best part? It's a mix and match free for all. It can be as healthy, (or unhealthy) as you want it to be!

The (ingredient) players:

Meat: We frequently do ground turkey, regular ground hamburger, or sometimes ground chicken!

Veggies:  I personally love to put kale in. Spinach is a house favorite. I enjoy throwing a can of diced tomatoes in as well. Mushrooms and peppers have made appearances as well. Get creative!

Seasonings: This is important. I like to throw a variety of seasonings in. This bowl goes from good to great with the right seasonings. We like to use Tony Chachere, and any of the Grillmates (they have all sorts of delicious flavors!). Also used at times... minced onions. And salt and pepper to taste, obviously. Every now and again I'll use a flavor package (like Italian!).

Cheese: A little Parmesan or sharp cheddar  is my favorite. Just enough to give it a little cohesiveness.

Now, we typically stick with protein and veggies (as to make this a cleaner eat) but your options are unlimited.

Why not throw in....
-tortilla shells
-plain greek yogurt (for creaminess)
-chopped asparagus
-goat cheese

I mean, the options are truly unlimited. For the most part, I like to make the bowl look colorful. And  that usually ends up being ground turkey, spinach/kale, mushrooms, tomatoes (Rotel), fresh Parmesan and seasonings. So easy, but so flavorful.

1. Brown meat choice in a deep skillet with some seasonings.
2. Drain any excess grease or water off.
3. Add veggies and steam with meat until veggies are tender (or you can have the veggies steaming in another skillet and then combine... your choice! I like ONE dirty pan! :) ) I like to make sure the spinach has cooked down,  or if I use kale, that it is dark green and tender.
4. Combine meat choice with veggies ( and stir until combined. Add more seasoning (sometimes you lose quite a bit when you drain!)
5. Remove from heat, toss with cheese. Add more salt or pepper if necessary.


When I need lunch at work or on the go, I want something I can eat cold or heat up for 30 seconds. At the same time, I want nutrients and convenience.
Back in the day, I used to be a frozen meal person. Everyday at work I would heat up my "SmartOnes" or "Lean Cuisine." But now, that seems absolutely ridiculous. I can make 6 meals for the price of one. It stores in the fridge (or freezer) and I know the ingredients are fresh, because I made it!

All of that being said, here is my most recent hamburger bowl.

I know, it's not going on the cover of Food Network. What do you expect from a jumble of meat and veggies? But seriously: what you will get is an extremely easy meal to throw together that is convenient to access AND saves you money.

Turns out, my Mom knew what she was doing all along! (Well, sort of ;) )

If you aren't feeling creative in the kitchen for dinner tonight, check your fridge. I'll bet you have everything you need to  make your own version of Hamburger Bowl!

Happy cooking!



Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekend Recap + things to come!

The weekend always goes SO fast. The last few hours on Sunday are so hard when you know Monday is just a few hours away. But... we had an enjoyable weekend and that's what really matters.

On Saturday I traveled out of town for some family graduations. It is always good to see family and I got to kiss the little cheeks of my cousin's babies. My favorite part! And graduation cake, obviously. Sidenote: I wore my new Foi Clothing kimono and it is the perfect addition to any Spring outfit.

Sorry about pic quality, but had to show this Foi clothing piecec off!

On Sunday, the weather held up for us and Clay and I took off for Pender, NE. Pender is the hometown of one of my very good friends, Ashley, and also the location of PoPo's (her family's drive in restaurant). Ashley and I lived together for numerous years, and every time we went to her hometown, we always had chocolate malts and cheeseballs from PoPo's. Clearly it is a fond and delicious memory for me and I have been wanting to share it with Clay for quite some time! It was the perfect day trip for a motorcycle ride! If you ever find yourself in good ol' Pender, make sure you stop in for a bite!
Husband model.
How good does that burger look?

I also wanted to mention, I have been experimenting with a few new products that I am super excited about - stay tuned for future posts about Paula's Choice skin perfecting liquid as well as my ongoing experiment with Masckara's HAC pack! 




Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Favorites: Bra Edition

Happy Friday! Yay! After being up half the night with some sort of stomach bug, this day really cannot end soon enough. God bless the weekend.

So, on a normal Friday I would have a list of things I am currently loving... which is new and changing every week! But this week, I am SO EXCITED about one item that I am just going to talk about it. Over and over. Until I am blue in the face.

My previous dilemma with Summer tank tops was this in a nutshell: "I love this shirt but I would have to wear a strapless bra... and I don't want to."

I cannot count the times I thought about buying a cute shirt or tank top that fell under this situation. Ladies... you know! Strapless bras are the worst. They slide down. They give you ledge boob (I think you are familiar). The are uncomfortable. They don't stay in place. You are always doing the awkward "pull up."

Until... this bra.

If you follow Sheaffer Told Me To blog than you probably already know about this bra. In practically ever post, she mentions that it is the greatest strapless bra in the world. But, I am always skeptical. I mean, a strapless bra is a strapless bra. WHY is it better? But I had to know.

So I went to Von Maur (we don't have a Nordstrom's here in good ol' Nebraska!) and asked to try it on. The sales rep said, "Oh, sure. It's the best strapless bra ever."

I thought that was a good start.

As soon as I put it on, I understood. I just got it. It was clinging to my chest for dear life. I could tell it was different from any other strapless bra. I may have even done a few jumping jacks. And a modified cartwheel (the dressing room is only so big). I was sold enough for me to make the purchase.
It's hard to see in the picture, but it is lined with rubbery material.

But...I knew the true test would be in the actual wear. I immediately went to work with my research.

Results as follows:

Evening out on the town:
Didn't even remember I had a bra on.
Didn't pull said bra up one million times
Didn't take bra off in bathroom and put it back on

Daywear (in the heat!):
Bra didn't slide (even when I was sweating profusely. Sorry, but it's the truth.)
I didn't pull the bra up once.
Ledge boob? None here!

and the ultimate test...

A day at work:
(quick side note, I work with families and kids. I spend a lot of time crawling around on the floor and sometimes playing with children. I would have never considered wearing a strapless to work. Just  no.)
That is all. I didn't even remember I was wearing a strapless bra.  There was no "falling out," sliding down, spinning around...etc.

You guys, this is the real deal. Wacoal knew what they were doing when they created this heavenly bra.

Now, a few things. Yes, it is $65. Which, in terms of bras, is somewhat typical to a little pricey. A VS bra is going to run you something similar. But put it like will never need another strapless bra. Until you wear your first Wacoal Red Carpet bra out, that is. But it's a bra. That could be years. I think the investment is worth it.

I can't remember the last time I went outside and did this pose in a strapless bra! Oh that's right...never have.
Image: Nordstrom's.
So what am I saying? GO GET THIS BRA! And no, I am not being paid or compensated in any way. I just feel that strongly about it. :)

Happy Friday!


Pssst... link up below!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Six Month Recap: On Becoming a Team

We recently celebrated our six month (married) anniversary. Well, not so much celebrated, more so acknowledged. I realize it's not a huge milestone, but what is amazing to me is how quickly the time has gone by. So, in honor of that, I wanted to (re)share a piece I wrote with Her View on here today!

On Becoming a Team

“And then we can take it back to your house.”

“You mean our house.”
 “We should go see my family.”
  “Yes, I would like to see our family, too.”
 “I don’t know how I’ll be able to keep paying this student loan payment…”
 “You don’t need to figure it out, we will figure it out and take care of it.”
I have officially been married for four months now. To be honest, it seems like years ago that we stood in front of our friends and family. But it was four months. Sixteen weeks. In terms of time, it’s been nothing!
And it’s also been everything.
The above is just a snippet of conversations that have happened in that short time period since we said “I do.” And you can recognize the obvious trend. Marriage is so many things, I’ve discovered. It’s comforting. It’s funny. It’s full of love. It’s daily effort. It’s joyful. It’s constant communication. And it’s becoming a team. I love the idea of us being a team. The first time I heard my husband make this proclamation, I felt a sense of peace and belonging. But it wasn’t until my husband was constantly correcting me that I realized… I’m playing this game but I’m not even letting myself be a part of the team. Our team.
Since the moment I graduated high school and hit the road, I have desperately wanted to be independent. I worked almost full time through college to pay my own rent. Buy my own groceries. Have fun with my friends on the weekends. Luckily, my parents were there to bail me out whenever a crisis struck. Typically in the form of me destroying whatever car I was driving. (Sorry Dad!) But I digress. I wanted to say I did it on my own. I hated asking my parents for money when I came up short. And it didn’t just apply to my checking account. I wanted to make the right decisions. I didn’t want to just survive on my own, I wanted to thrive. And I wanted to show everyone that I did it without help.
My oh my, old habits are hard to break.
Ten years later, I still swallow hard when I realize I can’t do something on my own. Even in the years directly prior to becoming a married women, I still had to ask for help from time to time. And it never got easier.
And now, here I am, apart of a new team. On this team, I am not alone. In fact, my husband reminds me regularly that “we are a team.” Sometimes this makes me laugh. But most of the time, it makes my heart explode with love.
For years, I had no idea how much stress I put on myself to do everything on my own. To try to stomach every hurt. Carry every burden. To please everyone with my decisions. To be there when I was needed. It wasn’t until I started to let myself sink into the comfort of “our team” that I realized, truly realized, why two are better than one.
And because of it, I have so much more love. Surrounding me, given to me, and that I can give.
I clearly can’t claim to be an expert on marriage. Time or experience certainly doesn’t allow. But I would like to say of this simple thing I have learned:
To those of you who are seeking your “teammate.”
All things aside, look for the one who always has your back.
 Look for the one who puts you first in every situation.
And finally, look for the one who will stand next to you and gently remind you (however many times it takes) that together, you two are the ultimate team.
These days, I get a lot of practice telling people how married life is going. Naturally, it’s the number one question I get asked in this period of our lives. And yes, while I want to discuss how amazing marriage has been, from now on, I think I’ll simply smile and say “I’m on my forever team.” And really, that says it all. 
**Article originally appeared HERE

Link Up here!


Monday, May 9, 2016

Maintaining Your Home { & Sanity }

Photo from: Helene in Between

Growing up, it seemed we always cleaned on Saturday. In fact, we had a list of things we had to do before we were allowed any extra curricular activities. If I wanted to go out with my friends at night, you better believe I spent some time with a mop and dust rag in my hand that afternoon.  And no, I'm not bitter at all. In fact, I'm thankful that my mom taught me the basics to maintaining a house. Fast forward 15 years: I admit that I let things pile up (clothes) and get a little messy, but for the most part, I insist on having a clean household.

And until the last 6 months, that was a breeze. Basically since I graduated from high school, I lived in an apartment or small house (shared with several others!) The last couple years of living on my own meant that once or twice a week (usually Saturdays, old habits are hard to break!)  I could do a "deep" clean of my WHOLE place in about an hour. No problem! 

...and then I got married. And with my marriage came a much more spacious home. With multiple bathrooms. And hardwood floor. And laundry for two. And a dog that sheds. 

And no, I'm not complaining! I love our home. I am incredibly thankful for it. And I love my husband, and throwing his laundry in with mine is certainly not a burden. I even love our dog...regardless of his shedding habits. But having said all of that, it only took a couple of months for me to start having that "I can't keep my head above water" feeling. 

Like many of us, I have a real life job that takes me out of the house (and all over the place) from about 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM. And I have family. Friends. A workout schedule. You know... normal stuff! When I got home and saw the dog hair, the piles of laundry (usually unfolded), and the dust...sometimes I just wanted to cry. 

And then, I had a revelation! A fellow Her View From Home writer shared THIS article about a cleaning schedule and I thought to myself... duh! I mean, my real life job, that I get paid for, is to coordinate! How did I not think to coordinate a schedule for things that need to be done at home? Thankfully, reading her article (and if you do, there is a great plan for getting EVERYTHING done!) inspired me to figure out my own needs and come up with a plan. 

And, I have to tell you, it has been a game changer! So, here's the plan I created, that works for me. And the best part about this is... you can make your own that works for you. 

Sunday: I don't do anything. Or I don't have to anyways. Sunday is our family and fun day (and the only day my husband and I have off together) We are rarely home! If I see something that needs to happen (pick up clothes, start the dishwasher, wipe down counter tops), I do it quickly. 

Monday: I also don't have to do anything this day. Monday is our date night. :) (See what I'm doing here?! This schedule doesn't have to turn you into the crazy chore lady!)

Tuesday: Surface and Floor day 
Basically, I dust every surface I can get to, sweep and vacuum. We have mostly hardwood floors. I start with dusting and move to the floor. This takes me about 35 minutes.  Seriously you guys! That's nothing. And I throw one load of laundry in right before I start. And it's almost done by the time I finish. And then I fold it later when I am lounging around (AKA watching TV or reading blogs/checking facebook & instagram). 

Wednesday: Sheets and Towels day 
You guys, I used to rarely get to my sheets. I know, gross right? It was just SUCH a pain to me. But now, it's on the list. On Wednesdays. And it's no thing! Who doesn't love clean sheets? I throw a small load of laundry in either before or after the sheets. See the pattern? The laundry happens everyday. I thought I would hate it, but it's so manageable that I now insist on it. And LOVE it for how much easier it makes my life. 

Thursday: Bathroom day 
Pretty self explanatory. Call me crazy, but I love cleaning the bathroom. I think it's because it gives me the most satisfaction. I clean the sinks, mirrors, toilets and floor in both bathrooms. And empty the trash. It takes so much less time than you think. And... don't forget the small load of laundry. By the way, once you have been doing this for awhile, it's ALWAYS a small load of laundry! It's the best. 

Friday: Power clean 
Usually by Friday I need groceries. Or just want to relax! Or I don't want to be home at all. But either, way, I can usually find time to tear through my house and pick up. Putting everything in their proper place makes a  huge difference. OR... I do "One thing" (see below).  Or not. Because sometimes you do happy hour on Friday. I don't have a scheduled "thing" for this day. Why? Because I sometimes need to force myself to relax. But I still throw my small load of laundry in! :)

Saturday: "One big thing" day 
That's what I say in my head. Usually throughout the week, I think of one big house thing I would like to accomplish. Sometimes it is simply cleaning the entire basement. We don't get down there very much, so it's not very "lived in." Another Saturday it was cleaning out and scrubbing down the entire fridge. Depending on your day, your plan, and your mood, find one thing that works for you! Accomplishing those little (or big) projects, once a week, is extremely satisfying! (+ a small load of laundry if you have time! Or more! You make the rules!) 

*side note: some things just need to happen as they happen. I don't know how many dishes your family goes through in a day, but washing dishes/loading a dishwasher, cleaning up spills in the kitchen, and wiping up obvious messes is sort of a given on a daily basis. If you want to keep things tidy, that is. *

I wasn't sure how this was going to go when I started out, but let me assure you: it has completely restored my sanity. I feel so much more put together, less stressed, and more relaxed. Something about coming home, knowing what "day" it is (and not feeling overwhelmed with ALL of the housework) has totally been a game changer for me! I have the list of days and tasks on my fridge. And I've stuck with it. Trust me, when you get to finally put your feet up at the end of the day, it's that much more rewarding! 

Helpful Hints:
  • Music is everything. I highly recommend getting down to some 90s Alternative or old school hip hop while you scrub that toilet. But that's just me !
  • Keep your cleaning supplies stocked and organized! I have a shelf in our hallway closet that is just for cleaning supplies. I can easily see what I have, what I need next time I am at the store, and what would be best for what task! Need a kick starter? Go buy new cleaning supplies and a caddy to carry around while you are working. Sometimes a few new items make the job more exciting. :) 
  • Attire. Sometimes I am able to do a better job when I have an old, scrubby shirt (or an apron!) and rubber gloves on. It just helps, trust me. 
  • Be flexible. What if you have a late night at work one evening? Or dinner plans? Don't let the "scheduling" throw you off. Flip days or combine two tasks on a Saturday as your big project. I promise, this is totally doable. And I have to do this almost every week! 
  • Ask for help! Maybe your significant other/roommate likes to clean, too! Or maybe not. But that's life.  Team up and knock out the daily tasks. For example, my husband does the floors better than I can do them. So if I know I'm going to be late from work, or have guests coming that night, I leave him a note and (kindly) ask him to take over the task that day. :) 
  • For ideas about your "big projects" and other cleaning hacks, check this link out! 
  • And finally, for more cleaning tips and tricks, click HERE

So, how do YOU keep up at home?! I would love to hear all of your tips and tricks! And I love to hear from you regardless, leave a comment or email me! :) 

Have a wonderful day!


Link up here!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Jazzercise: Why it's not the workout you think!

Happy Thursday! I found out that I have been a day ahead of myself for about 24 hours so, that's always fun! Add it to the list of scatterbrained things I am bound to do before I lay my head down to sleep tonight. But anyways, fellow bloggers... are you ever thinking about a subject and suddenly something else pops into your head and you are like... WHY haven't I ever blogged about that before? That happened to me today.

Bringing me to...Jazzercise!

My experience with Jazzercise started when I was very young. My mom owned several Live Jazzercise VHS tapes that she did with regularity. I remember watching her do them... mostly because it was entertaining, but sometimes hopping up and trying to do the moves as well.  As a very young girl, I was interested in fitness. Whether this be for unhealthy reasons (like poor body image) or not, I don't know. But either way, I wanted to workout, too! Side note: I actually owned a Barbie workout tape. Did anyone else have this? There were a few girls (Kim! Why do I remember her name?) and a weird, animated Barbie, working out. Talk about creepy.

Anyways, I would do these videos in our basement, and eventually moved on to the one hour Jazzercise Live tape. Even though it was admittedly cheesy, it was a GREAT workout. Even in the days of strenuous volleyball camps and practices, I can remember thinking that Jazzercise tape could always get my heart pumping just as effectively. And... I didn't hate it!

When I was in college and living in Lincoln, I made the plunge and joined an actual Jazzercise center. I was nervous, like everyone is their first time at a group fitness class. I was thinking all of the regular thoughts:

"What if I look like an idiot!"
"What if I can't remember the moves.. or.. I fall down!?"
"I can't dance. I will look  stupid."
"Everyone will be watching me mess up!"

And so on. You get the point. I had all of those thoughts! And everyone I know who goes, has them too. But here is the reality of the situation: no one cares. They care that you have fun, and you will! If you can get over that feeling and recognize that the important thing is that you are MOVING, I promise you will enjoy your workout!

I have done a lot of workouts over the years. I regularly attended group fitness, boot camps, Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, Barre ... and I always come back to Jazzercise! There were seasons of life where I didn't have access to  Jazzercise center, or I couldn't afford to go, etc. But I always knew that if it was available, that would be my primary workout.

Jazzercise is ever changing. It is upbeat, fun, and it's always something new. How can you get tired of a workout that is never the same? I can't! They even have different class formats- dance mix, interval training, strike, core, fusion, strength.... I mean... we do it all!

My husband will vouch for the fact that I love Jazzercise. I hate when I have to work late and miss a class. Jazzercise is as much about getting in an effective workout as it is a mental release.  I always feel better when I leave a class.

I know there are a lot of associations people make with Jazzercise. I hear it all the time! People laugh when I tell them I jazzercise... "Isn't that for old people?" ... I hear a lot! And I laugh, too. Because really, Jazzercise is for everyone. It is adaptable to your fitness level, age, and capability. And's a hard workout! (if you want it to be!)

For that reason, I am always an advocate of Jazzercise. I don't like shoving an agenda on anyone, because everyone has their preferences. But I will always recommend Jazzercise to friends/family who are interested in working out.

Which brings me to some really great news. Jazzercise is FREE in May! Totally free. No strings attached. If you have ever been curious about it, wanted to try a class, or would like more information, May is your month! I would encourage you to check out their website HERE to find out more about locations close to you.

If you are a local reader, I Jazzercise at the Gretna center, and I am a little bit partial to that crew! However, the great thing about Jazzercise (one of them) is that you can go to any center that is convenient for you!

So, have you tried Jazzercise? What did you think? Are you interested in trying it? If you are nearby, shoot me an email and try a class with me! I promise you will have a great time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How To: Survive A Week Long Motorcycle Trip

Almost a year ago we set out on a motorcycle journey. With (fewer) possessions than I would typically prefer. For those of you who are not aware, we live in Nebraska, and our destination was Colorado. We left on Sunday, July 12th and returned on Saturday,  July 18th. If you are SUPER curious about our route….we started in Omaha, NE and looped around for home after Old Colorado City (Colorado Springs).

Here is a little bit of background information for you regarding my knowledge of motorcycles and traveling on them.

Nope, not an accidental blank space. I literally have no background in this sort of thing. Clay got a bike (informative side note: "bike" is the cool thing to say when you have a motorcycle. Not to be mistaken for a biCYCLE) in the Spring and a "big ride" was discussed, but honestly, I really didn't think I was going to be a part of it. Up until the trip, the longest I had ever even been a passenger on his bike was approximately two hours. And that was a one time occurrence. Other than that, we would take 30 minute rides when it was nice out. So, my lack of experience is noted.

When I figured out that this trip was actually happening, and more importantly, that I was a part of it, ... I sort of panicked on the inside. What do you wear on a motorcycle? What do I need to pack? How am I going to fit all of my stuff on the back of the bike.....when I AM on the back of the bike?!

And don't even get me started on the safety concerns. Going into the trip, I knew that being on a motorcycle for 5-6 hours a day for 6 days seemed to statistically increase our chances of dying a tragic death. But, no worries, my friends and family reminded me of this on a daily basis! Honestly, I just had to pretend there were zero risks. I tried to remember the positives:

  • Clay is extremely cautious on the bike and would never do anything reckless.
  • We were traveling in a pack. A 4 pack.
  • And... well.... we had helmets on...?

Basically I had to not think about the "what ifs" and just enjoy the ride. Not only is this a cliché for life, it is what literally had to happen for this trip to be a thing.

So, anyways, back to pre-trip. I desperately googled "motorcycle road trips" and "how to pack lightly for a motorcycle trip" and came up with zero information.

Which is why this is happening.  For all of you out there dreaming of being a biker babe...or dude... this list is for you.

1. Sunscreen
If you are traveling in the dead of the Summer.. you NEED to wear sunscreen. On your face. On your ears. On your neck. On your shoulders. I would like to personally remind you to pay careful attention to that VERY delicate skin surrounding your collar bone.  And reapply. Reapply. Reapply AGAIN. Every time your body leaves that bike, you reapply.  If your precious skin is exposed for that many hours, you will wind up with a burn so deep, and blisters so painful, you will wish you would have worn a snow suit. That feeling you get when your skin is burning to a crisp… yeah. You don't feel it as much when the wind is blowing on you. If you can tolerate the heat, cover yourself up with actual clothes. And yes, this is a lesson I learned all on my own.

Our first night after riding. Pretty happy...

2. Fanny pack
Ha! Hello 90s vacay! But seriously. I contemplated something super stylish that would ride with me while I rode as a passenger. Comfort was also a factor. I didn't want something on my back that would be jabbing me during a long trip (so a backpack was out). So when it came down to it,  the fanny pack was the obvious (best) hands free option. Not only that, but with the fanny pack clasp, I didn't have to worry about it flying off while we were cruising down the highway. And believe it or not, that little looker holds almost everything you will need at hand. If I didn't look so dorky, I would always carry a fanny pack. It's so convenient.

90s Alt

3. Helmet shield
I bought a helmet that had a partial face shield. Obviously going into this, I had no idea what to expect. Now, I am so glad I did. The face shield blocked not only some sun, but it kept me from feeling like I was getting slammed with wind and any other debris that came our way.

This is the actual helmet that I have. And I love it. 

4. Boots
Safety wise, it makes the most sense to wear a sturdy boot while riding a motorcycle. I don't want to paint a gruesome picture, but imagine if, God forbid, your foot has to touch the ground going 80 mph. Either way, it isn't pleasant. But a boot versus a flip flop? I think you can see the benefit. As previously mentioned, my hot/handsome biker hubs bought me these amazing fringe cowboy boots for my birthday. Can you imagine how cool they look with the fringe blowing in the wind? Yep, that cool.

There's my boots! 

5. Rain gear
The chances of us running into rain, during the Summer, in Colorado were HIGHLY likely. Somehow, we escaped a majority of our trip without inclement conditions. Except for one day. One absolutely awful stretch that made me so thankful that we crammed in the rain gear. For about 4 hours before and after Vail, we rode in a downpour. A freezing cold downpour, I might add. I have never been so happy to arrive in a warm room and take a shower. Don't think you can get away with not bringing rain gear. We honestly almost didn't bring it (optimists!) Luckily one of my co workers loaned this matching set to us! In retrospect, we would have had to stop and wait out the rain. Which would have put us significantly behind. And made us 100x more miserable.

The couple that wears matching rain gear together, stays together. 

6. Chapstick/lotion
EVERYTHING gets dry when the wind is blowing on you and the sun is scorching down. Just trust me on this one.


7. Sunglasses
Again,  pretty obvious. You are staring into the sunlight. Plus, wind in your eyes is not pleasant. I highly recommend these massive BluBlocker shades for your motorcycle trip needs. I wore them under my helmet shield.


8. Heavy duty garbage bags 
Clay had the genius idea of rolling all of our clothes/towels/personal items, and then smashing them into two separate garbage bags. This allowed us to tightly compact the items, all while keeping them in a waterproof bag. And we appreciated our dry clothes... trust me.

Something like this perhaps….

9. Military issued bag (or something similar) 
After we stuffed everything into the garbage bags, we then put them into a military issued bag that Clay had. It is the perfect bag for this sort of travel. Big and durable. Not necessarily waterproof (hence the garbage bags!)

This was us before we left our house. And that is one excited and antsy guy,  pictured. 

10. Aloe vera
For those of us who didn't wear enough sunscreen, or any at all. Those blisters aren't going to heal themselves and the motorcycle trip certainly isn't going to wait on you. Aloe Vera up!

11. Water bottle
I had no idea how the mixture of wind and sun and riding would severely dehydrate me. I was sweating like crazy (it was so hot out), but the wind and movement of the bike caused it to evaporate immediately. So you have no concept of how warm your body is getting. I could chug a gallon of water pretty much each time we stopped. If space permits, keep a little extra water on board.


12. Tent/sleeping bag

If your trip is spontaneous, you never know where you may end up staying! And really, even if you mapped it out strategically, it probably won't end up that way. Something will go wrong. Sorry, it just will. If you carry a tent and bag with you, you can stay pretty much anywhere (law permitting). We camped two separate nights and it was totally worth it. One night we camped in Rocky Mountain National Park. We saved money and got to REALLY enjoy the outdoors.

This picture just doesn't do it justice!

13. Band-Aids
Someone will get hurt. Stuff them in your trusty fanny pack!

Ah, look who needed a bandaid. 

14. Ibuprofen
A must. Headaches? Taken care of. Sunburn pain? We've got you covered. Cramps? Yep!

Still remaining positive pre 4 hour downpour. 

15. Wet wipes
Understand that a majority of your time (aside from on the bike itself) will be spent in gas station restrooms, campgrounds, and basically always outdoors. Trust me on this one. I even used it to wipe a splattered bug off of my leg once. Ride or die. Mostly ride, in the cleanest fashion possible.

Green Bridge Inn. Love this place! 
Ah! I love this guy. 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Us smiling at the base of Pikes Peak. Because we had no idea the next few hours would be absolutely terrifying....
PS-  Pikes Peak on a bike, not recommended. 
But we lived :)

This is when we pulled back into town at the conclusion of our trip. Check out my funky leg sunburn. 

Sorry for the picture overload. Unfortunately, no picture could do this trip justice. It was unlike any trip I have ever been on. Riding through the mountains of Colorado, on a motorcycle, is like seeing it all in a whole new way. It was absolutely picturesque. Some rides completely took our breath away! Even though some parts of the trip were trying (hey Pikes Peak!) we reminisce about this ride a lot, and have so many amazing memories. If you are on the fence about doing something like this... print this list off, pack your bike up and hit the road! I'm pretty confident you won't regret it.

**There are SO many places, sites, and small towns we visited that I didn't have time to mention. If you want more information or have questions, don't hesitate to comment or email me! :)