Friday, July 29, 2016

bumble&bumble + lark beauty and blow dry studio

Hi ladies!

What a week it's been… I am so happy we've arrived at the weekend! But that's every week, right? On to the good stuff.

Lark is a local blow bar here in Omaha. We are SO lucky to have them and they were the first blow bar  to pop up in the area. I, for one, was ecstatic when I learned they opened, and blogged about my very first experience there a few years ago. Spoiler alert: it was awesome.

I still love to come in as often as possible (though I keep moving further and further away from them ;) ) so I was genuinely thrilled when they mentioned doing some product testing. I LOVE product testing (hello my entire blog!)

Lark is exclusively a Bumble and Bumble salon. I have to be honest and say my ONLY experience with Bumble and Bumble has been at Lark. I have never used any products at home,  but I am always so pleased with my hair when I leave there.

Bumble and Bumble is introducing a new product called Bb Hairdresser's Balm to Oil Pre Shampoo Masque. Here's the deal (per Bb):

WHAT: A silicone free, highly concentrated and transformative masque that liquefies in hands to release 6 transformative oils - leaving parched strands silky, soft and ultra manageable. 

WHY: 6 highly oils are packed into a dense balm for maximum concentration and moisture, then they emulsify to saturate hair at its driest points. 

WHO: Dry to very dry hair that wants moisture, healthy shine, softness and manageability. 

WHEN: Weekly, before shampooing, for optimal penetration. 

So… I love hair masques! It makes me feel like I am doing a little extra for the care of my hair. But I have to admit, I've kind of gotten away from them! About 6 months ago I had a bout with my hair (again) where it went through an insanely dry, crunchy stage. I am finally on the mend (after some intense TLC) but I was excited to see what this mask would do. The only issue? Oil. UGH! Oil + hair is typically not my friend. I understand the benefits, but have never had luck in the past. If you search "coconut oil" here, you will find about the time that I could not get coconut oil out of my hair and had to go to work with my ultra greasy new 'do. Eye roll. 

Anyways, in all of my experience, my hair always wound up extra greasy and weighed down. NOT COOL. Regardless, Ally at Lark and I chatted and she explained to me that the oil would penetrate my hair shaft while it was dry and prior to a regular shampoo. So off we went. 

Ally is amazing and kindly showed me everything she was doing. I watched as she spooned the product into her palms and then let it emulsify before rubbing it into the lower portion of my hair. When she finished, this was the result!

How adorable is Lark Studio? I love being there! 

Next, Ally washed my hair with shampoo. She ended up doing two  rinses (which is pretty typical with a lot of oil type products!) …. and this did the trick. 

As soon as Ally started combing my hair out she could see that my hair shaft was smoothed down! Ummmm BONUS! However, I still wasn't convinced. As she started the blow out, I was still slightly concerned that my hair would have that shiny but oily look. Ally rough dried my hair to about 90% dry and then started round brushing…. and STILL! I kept looking for that heavy "is your hair wet or greasy….?" look and it simply wasn't. 

So… um...I was wrong. 

This stuff is amazing. My hair was gleaming.. literally. And it was not greasy, heavy, sticky, wet looking or any of the other things you may have experienced with oil in the past. It is truly INVISIBLE oil. I am so impressed and will absolutely be buying this to add to my arsenal of favorite hair products ( PS - stay tuned for an upcoming post on my complete hair regimen) !

So, I wanted to show you my hair immediately following the blow out and treatment….

Ah, a fresh blowout! 

and about 24 hours later..

Yep, still not weighed down! 

I have NEVER been able to use oil product AND keep my hair style intact. Ladies (guys, whoever) I am sold! 

If you are Omaha local, stop in and ask about this amazing product! And while you are at it, get a blowout. If you haven't had a straight blowout yet, it's time. It's a pedicure for your hair. It's relaxing, educational, and you feel oh so pretty when you leave! Trust me. 

A big THANK YOU to Ally & the Lark team for introducing me to this fantastic product + your crazy good hair tips and girl chat ;). I enjoyed every second! And now.. it's time to enjoy your weekend! 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

guest post: how to practice gratitude

Hi everyone! It is my absolute pleasure to feature Abigail from Acreage of Grace on the blog today. She is a fellow Nebraskan and small town gal, and someone I have enjoyed getting to know through the wonderful world of blogging. I know so many of us have a list of blogs that we frequent… Acreage of Grace is one of those for me! 

How to Practice Gratitude In Order to Truly Appreciate Blogging

I very recently started a blog (May 10) and I have read so many “How To’s” about gaining success as a blogger.  How to reach 1,000 Followers on Instagram, How to Utilize Pinterest to Increase Pageviews, How to Use Automated Social Media Apps To Increase “Interaction” with Followers. I appreciate EVERY SINGLE ONE of these articles and continue to seek guidance and tools to help me be successful. I would not say my blog is a “success story” just yet, but I am proud of the articles I write and the social media presence that I have. So here is my “How To” article.

Maintaining a blog is hard work people! Deciding to start a blog and then actually DOING IT was a 3-5 year process for me. Which is saying something because I usually just go at things on a whim and see what happens. But for me, my writing is very personal, so it took a lot of encouragement from my friends and family as well as a total lifestyle change for my family before I was comfortable following through on this dream (click HERE to learn more about that process).

“I can write,” I thought. “I love to take pictures.” “I can totally start a blog.” Though it is helpful to enjoy writing and taking photos, blogging is SO much more than that. I have a degree in Public Relations/Advertising and have worked my entire professional career to promote other companies and products. But the amount of promotion I have done for my blog over the last two months has seemed much more time consuming and so much more foreign than what I am used to. Being a “newbie” blogger, there is so much I still don’t know. Because of this I have made some mistakes along the way (I posted a #FollowFriday on a Thursday….embarrassing).

One of my blogging mentors Chrystie V. over at lives by the 80/20 rule. You should spend 20% of your time creating content for your blog and 80% of your time promoting it. I am a full-time stay at home mama and a majorly part-time blogger. Finding time to write and promote has taken a great deal of planning on my end and also a great deal of grace from my husband and children. After blogging for only a couple of weeks I got VERY wrapped up in the numbers game. How many pageviews did I have that day? How many new Instagram followers did I have? How many new Instagram UNFOLLOWERS did I have (totally didn’t know this was a thing until I started blogging :( ).

But then, per usual in my life, I had a great discussion with one of my best friends. She said “Abigail, you need to remember why you started blogging in the first place. What were your goals and objectives? With those goals and objectives, do these numbers you are worrying about really matter?” Wow, talk about some straight truth to knock you back into place. Oh my goodness I have great friends (thanks Laura)! I am not going to lie and say I don’t get excited when I have a great pageview day, or I don’t love seeing new social media followers. But I also am not going to get wrapped up in the comparison game and believe that I am any less of a person because I don’t have the type of “following” that other bloggers may have. We are all different and have wonderful things to offer the blogosphere.

So here is a list of the items I have purchased for my blog in chronological order:

-Blog Design: I know a lot of people would tell you not to waste money on paying a designer. And I know there are a lot of nice templates out there. But I started from 0% knowledge about blogging and knew the only way I would truly do this is if someone made it simple for me, and if I was super proud of the design of my blog. It was going to be really hard for me to promote something I wasn’t really proud of.

-New Laptop: We went from a laptop to a desktop family computer a couple of years ago, and I knew with spending more time “working” from home, I would need a laptop to move from one room to another. I also enjoy the laptop because I am able to go downtown to our local Christian Coffeeshop and write every now and again.

-Thank you cards: This is the third and final thing on my list folks and honestly probably the most important. I had my blog logo printed on shimmery white cardstock and I write personal cards to family and friends who have been supporting me through this journey. I started out doing this as something nice for the recipient, but it has ended up being so gratifying for me. With every single card that I write I find myself remembering WHY I decided to start blogging and WHY I am so grateful to have a blog and WHY the time and effort I put into something that brings me no revenue is so so SO good for my soul. I don’t know a person in the world who doesn’t enjoy a good old fashioned thank you every now and again. Rather you decide to physically write thank you cards, or maybe you decide to send an email or a text or give someone a call or take them out for coffee. However you decide to thank the people in your lives for their support is up to you. It has been so great for me to sit down and identify the people that I want to thank and exactly what I want to thank them for. The cards take so little time and effort, but I have been given numerous compliments from the people I have sent them to.

In summary, here are the three key points in How to Practice Gratitude in Order to Truly Appreciate Blogging:

-Remember your WHY. Striving for and/or reaching your goals and objectives gauges your success, not your numbers.

-”Comparison is the thief of joy”- Theodore Roosevelt said that one and I think Theo had the right idea.

-”There is always ALWAYS something to be thankful for”- Ann Voskamp. Ann is my writing inspiration. Check out her blog over at and also read her book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are- I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, but really her writing is food for the soul. Write thank you cards, make gratitude lists, count your blessings. Make sure to remember the benefits and blessings your blog is bringing to your life or the lives of others.

Thanks so much for reading my article. I truly appreciate it! If you would like to read more, please check out my blog Acreage of Grace at You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Friday, July 22, 2016

local: kleveland clothing


I am especially excited because I get to talk about Kleveland Clothing today. I love local businesses and do my best to shop local whenever possible. Kleveland Clothing actually came on to my radar via Instagram and I was like {WOO!} Another local shop to browse. Granted, they have been around since 2014 - but - in my defense, I live a solid 30 minutes from here, and I don't make it to this part of town as often as I would like.

Seriously though, I couldn't believe how much different this area looked…and for the better!

Kleveland Clothing is located in the Blackstone District, which is 36-40th & Farnam in Omaha. And let me tell you, Blackstone has a lot going on! I am planning a future "day date" that includes lunch, a little bar hopping (Corkscrew Wine & Cheese… yes please!) and of course, shopping at Kleveland Clothing.

I love that they have everything from your basic Nebraska baseball shirt (loving this one) to a formal dress from the 1960s. They house current trends mixed in with vintage pieces - and I am seriously loving it. It's a one stop shop! Not to mention they have tons of accessories to spice up all of their merchandise. Also, FYI, they carry mens clothing as well!

Next time you are in the vicinity, swing down to the Blackstone District  and take a peak around! While you're at it, stop in and browse Kleveland Clothing! It's unlikely you will leave empty handed!

Cindy at Kleveland Clothing is wonderful and set me up in true Kleveland Clothing style. The Sienna blue dress is my absolute favorite! The color and open back details are so perfect for a hot Summer day. And guess what… you can order it HERE! PS- it's only $35!!

Next time you are in the vicinity, swing down to the Blackstone District  and take a peak around! While you're at it, stop in and browse Kleveland Clothing! It's unlikely you will leave empty handed!

Happy Weekending!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Product Drive By

What's a product drive by you ask? Well, I just made it up. Typically when I write a review, it is detailed and comes with a few months of experience behind it. The truth is, I test out so many products every week and they don't all make the cut. But some of them just aren't my thing - that doesn't mean they aren't great products. And sometimes I find products that I like to use occasionally for certain events. And sometimes I find products that I add to my most used line up. Those are the good ones! But what I am saying is, the items I am sharing today are products I just tried recently and do not have as much experience with. 

So keep in mind…these are my opinions and recaps of my short lived experience using them. 

You may have noticed that I posted my Estee Edit voxbox from Influenster on Insta this week. I am in no way claiming to be an expert on these products, but I did have some initial thoughts to share. 

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

| Pore Vanishing Stick
Easy to use, however, not impressed! I didn't really notice any vanishing of the pores. Full disclosure, I only used it twice. But I think that's enough to tell!

| Beam Team Bronze Hydrate + Glow 
This product is interesting to me simply because I am normally not into the super dewy type of makeup - I have my own oily skin to do that for me! I liked how it absorbed into my skin without being oily- and it gives you some SERIOUS shimmer without being too Jersey shore-esque. The top of the cap flips open for a extra bronzy highlighting beam. Conclusion, I would maybe wear this to the pool or lake mixed with sunscreen. Or to run errands. It's just not my thing for daily wear. 

| Barest Lip Color "In the Buff"
I actually really like the color! The formula is nothing to write home about. It came off on my cup about 5 minutes after I applied it. 

| Flash Illuminator  (**WINNER**)
I have to say, here is where I was impressed! This stuff packs a serious punch as far as highlighting goes. The formula is so sheer but you have to use very little to get a really nice highlight! Have to say, I think I am going to keep this for daily use. I read that a lot of people mix it in with their foundation as well. 

And… Cara of Kindly Unspoken  shared earlier this week that she added CoverGirl Intensity Me eyeliner to her repertoire so I had to try it, too! If you follow Cara, you know her eye makeup (and all makeup!) is always totally on point. And I LOVE that she posts super affordable items. 

I've mentioned before that as far as mascara and eyeliner go, I am not much of a brand snob. I basically always use Revlon Colorstay eyeliner and my mascara choice is usually Loreal. These items can always be picked up at drugstores or Walmart/Target. The reason I wanted to try this one is because Cara mentioned the applicator is designed to do thin and thick, winged lines. And I have been looking for something to make the wing application a little easier. So of course, I grabbed it. 

I wanted to kill two birds with one stone - therefore I used my Estee Edit pack (nothing else on my skin!  No foundation! Just a little blush! ) AND I did a before and after with the Intensify Me liner. I was so impressed with the applicator on the Intensify Me liner and the ease that I could apply a winged tip. I didn't go very thick, but it would have been incredibly easy to. This liner stays on REALLY well and I love how it added a little more intensity to my eyes. Most likely a repeat purchase! (Thanks Cara!) 

As you can see… not a lot of coverage but a whole lot of glow!

Can you tell which side I used the liner on? 

Thanks for stopping by!!!


Friday, July 15, 2016

favorite {cleaning supplies}

Image via

Oh happy Friday! It always feels so good to get to the end of your work week - even when you love your job, taking a weekend off is so relaxing. 

So…. cleaning. I know. You don't want to do it, but it feels SO good when it's done! A few months ago I blogged about how I am using a cleaning schedule and how that has been a total game changer for me. Sounds so simple… and it is… but it may as well be revolutionary considering how it has rescued my sanity and made it completely realistic to maintain our household. 

As I was cleaning this week, I realized how much I love picking out cleaning supplies, trying new ones, and figuring out which ones work the best. Almost as much as I love trying new makeup {almost}. Ha!

Also, I have a lot of people in my life (as I'm sure most of us do!) who place a lot of value on a clean home! So, I have collaborated with all of these folks to come up with a list of must have cleaning supplies. 

Some of these items are my own personal favorites as well. 

In no particular order…

Brick was feeling particularly generous and said he would endorse this product for Sweet & Modern. 

Bless his heart! 

Okay, but seriously. I love this stuff. And it's on this list because I wasn't the only one who agreed. I use it for EVERYTHING! Floors, sinks, toilets, bath tubs, walls, tile… it is all purpose. And the smell is heavenly. Sometimes when I am done cleaning, the smell sticks on my hands. And I don't even mind. So, yes. If you haven't tried Fabuloso, pick it up next time you are at the store. Pretty much every store carries it and you mix the concentrate with water. I like to use it to mop, too! 
Bonus: SO cheap. 


Ah, good ol Pine-Sol. Basically, this is used exactly like Fabuloso. One of my friends swears that if you are doing a good on-your-knees-with-a-rag floor scrubbing, that nothing is better than Pine-Sol. So, there you have it!
Personally, I think Pine Sol has a fresh and "I just used cleaning supplies" scent. Which is sometimes very nice. Just your pref!

Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner 
Having a photo of toilet cleaner on your blog does not scream stylish, but that's not what we are discussing today. Big fan of this stuff. I tried a different one a while back and I was so disappointed. I love how it is thick and clings to the side of the toilet bowl. I always put it on, let it hang out for a while, and THEN scrub. 

Windex Multi Surface spray

If I am in a hurry and am looking to wipe countertops down, I really love to use this and a paper towel. I used to buy regular Windex for mirrors, but I have experimented and this works JUST as well, and doesn't streak the mirror. So now I just buy this and save myself the $$ and space. Also, it smells so light and fresh! 

Homemade Floor Cleaner 
{vinegar + baking soda + Dawn} 

My sister-in-law swears by this concoction, and she is a total clean freak (and I mean that in the most admirable and respectable way possible!) According to her, the vinegar neutralizes any unpleasant odors in your home AND homemade = less toxic. Perfect, especially for those of you who have little hands and feet crawling around on your floors. Like she does. 

Magic Erasers
By now I am going to assume everyone knows about these little guys. They are magical. They also claim to clean better than bleach, which could very well be the case. I am also amazed by the old grime and marks (that I thought were permanent) that I can get off with the Magic Eraser. If you haven't tried these for some reason, they are worth every dollar. 

Straight Up Bleach
{for the BA housekeepers}
Sorry, I couldn't resist. Again, my sister-in-law likes to go old school and make a bleach cocktail and go to town! I mean, there's no doubting that something is truly clean if you spray bleach on it, right?! I only use bleach when I am trying to get super serious, like on mold spots or something. The smell makes me way light headed. 

Bar Keepers Friend

Okay. Call me old school, but I LOVE the powder cleaners. I remember in Home Ec, we always had to clean the sink out at the end of the cooking session with Comet. And my mom also did this at home. Years later, my mom started buying Bar Keepers Friend. Same concept, but somehow better. This stuff is magical. It's like the powder version of a magic eraser. There is nothing more satisfying than coating your sink in this powder, sprinkling a little water over it, and scrubbing until everything shines. My favorite part? It takes those annoying food and drink stains off your counter tops in a snap! 
Also, incredibly cheap. 

There you go! I love this list. There are more products that I use occasionally that didn't make the list, but these are the big ones. 

Now tell me, what are your favorites?! Truly, I am dying to know. Cleaning supplies, cleaning concoctions, homemade mixes (that work), tools? I want to know it all. 

And while we are at it, I have to hear from the pet owners: what vacuum do you have? 

THANK YOU for stopping by! And have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

project:retro side tables

Hi everyone! So happy to be back blogging. I didn't mean to take a break… it sort of just happened! We had an amazing weekend hanging out together and seeing some family. We also went out to eat at our favorite restaurant, did some thrifting (our favorite), and saw The Secret Life of Pets (adorable)! And now the week is half over! Yikes!

Anyways, one of my favorite things to do in the evening (besides bake) is work on little projects. About a month ago I picked these awesome, blonde, retro side tables up at a garage sale. For free, might I add. I thought they were so fun and I knew I would think of something to do with them, eventually.

Well, it's taken me a bit, but I finally finished up! The tables are a far cry from my original "vision," but that's how it goes, right?

Most of the bedrooms in our house have a "sitting room" followed by a back bedroom and closet. The guest room downstairs is no exception. We have had this chair sitting down in the sitting room area for quite some time. After I finished up the tables, I realized it only made sense to have a little reading/sitting area in the guest room as well! 

{Side note: I desperately want to get new carpet in all of our bedrooms. This lovely navy carpet just doesn't exactly do it for me. But in the meantime, I picked a color scheme that works with the navy. You do what you gotta do ;) }

And so it was born. I'm super pleased with how it turned out!

For those of you who enjoy projects, I cannot say enough good things about General Finishes milk paint! It is the easiest way to repurpose furniture. You seriously cannot mess it up! There is no prepping required. Most of the time I wipe the furniture off and just start painting!

If you are already a GF Milk Paint lover, and curious, I used Antique White + Patina Green to create that nifty shade!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

the secrets to a happy marriage

Today marks 8 months of marriage for my husband and I. It doesn't seem real that time has gone that quickly. My brother got engaged in June, and will be married in November (just like us!) and it reminded me of how fast those 4 months flew by. The next 4 months will be no exception, and, just like that… our first year will be behind us. 

As I was pondering this, I stopped to read a list that we have framed on our wall. The list is from Clay's grandpa and was a wedding present for us. Every time I read it, I love and cherish it even more. So much so, that I decided to share it with you all. Sometimes the best advice is the the most simple advice… and from your grandpa. 

*copied as written 

Some Advice From experience. About marriage. 

1. The whole thing is based on trust. It's the cement that holds a marriage together. 

2. Marriage is not a "me thing it's a we thing!"Always, always consider each others perception. 

3. As the years fly by don't get so lost in the work a day mundane activities of daily life to keep your love fresh and alive. 

4. It's terribly important, as you grow older, to continually tell each other how much you love each other, need each other, appreciate each other. 

5. When you run into a rough patch, and you will, reflect back on what and why you fell with each other at the start. 

6. Always be able to honestly say "I'm sorry."

7. Communicate. Talk to each other and listen to each others concerns. Remember this is a partnership. 

8. Don't take marriage for granted. It's a living, breathing thing. It's like a garden, it needs maintenance. It has to be fertilized, weeded, watered, nourished in order to grow and thrive. Otherwise, it will die. 

9. Trust me, if you follow these instructions, your love for one another will grow deeper and deeper as the years go by. 

10. Finally, refer to this list as often as necessary. 

I hope that in 50 years we can pass on what we have learned about marriage. Something tells me that this list will be true, even then. 

Clay's grandma and grandpa 

Monday, July 4, 2016

the {best} chocolate chip cookies

Happy 4th of July!

So thankful for time with wonderful family and friends. And nothing is better than a Monday holiday, right?!

I've posted these before, but they are my number one fall back when I am bringing food to gatherings. They are also the number one thing I make for family and friends. If you need that "one" chocolate chip cookie and still haven't found it… you must try this one!

*these cookies are of the sweet, very vanilla-y, soft and chewy variety!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will need:
 2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda

2 sticks real, salted butter softened (NOT melted)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (not imitation) (optional - sub 1 tsp almond extract for a delicious mix up!)
1 box instant vanilla pudding (not prepared)
2 eggs
1/2 bag (or however many you like!) semi sweet chocolate chips


Whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour and 1 tsp baking soda in a separate bowl.

In mixer, cream together 2 sticks of real butter (soft but not melted) with 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup sugar. Add 2 eggs, one at a time. When this is all combined, add a box of instant vanilla pudding powder (make sure it's instant, not the kind you boil) and mix well. Add vanilla and almond flavoring. The recipe calls for 1 tsp of vanilla, but I typically do 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of almond.
Then, slowly add in your flour/baking soda mix until it's all combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
Know your oven! I only bake until the top starts to get golden and then I take it out and let the cookies bake on the pan for a couple minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.


PS- For good measure, here is a link to a 10 minute workout that I love to do when I am in a hurry. It will get your legs burning and your heart rate up! And then have a cookie. Life is about balance! :)