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Rebecca Collected

Things I Wish I Would Actually Do

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
1. Keep my nails looking nice
2. Exercise with regularity again
3. Actually make hair appointments
4. Garden more
5. Choose reading over mindless scrolling every time
6. Cook spontaneously, and for fun
7. Learn about a topic just to expand my horizons
8. Finish scanning all my great-grandparents' postcards to each other
9. Finally take the pile of donations to Goodwill
10. Buy and frame more art
11. Make decisions about fixing up my backyard
12. Make something
13. Buy new hangers


Things I'm Actually Doing Well
1. Knowing when I need a break from routine
2. Saving money
3. Making some progress on our house projects
4. Incorporating more veggies
5. Decluttering
6. Trying more eco-friendly alternatives
7. Composting, finally
8. Duolingo every day
9. Reading books I like and abandoning ones I don't
10. Learning new skills at work
11. Vacuuming
12. Making better purchases
13. Travelling more

Ranking Everything I've Purchased This Year

Saturday, October 19, 2019
So this is probably a bit crazy.

If you're following along at home, you'll know I've been having some Thoughts about shopping. You can blame Hannah Louise Poston over on My Beauty Budget for this, because I've been watching a lot of her videos on her no-buy year and her subsequent budgeting adventures. Back in July she made a video ranking everything she had purchased with her budget in 2019, and it was absolutely fascinating. Maybe I'm just weird like that, I don't know. Either way, I immediately started writing down a list of everything I purchased and I'm here to share it with you. Brace yourselves -- I'm sure you're on the edges of your seats with excitement.

Now I was never planning on doing this post, so here's my disclaimer: I haven't been saving receipts or writing things down throughout the year, so I put this list together just based off of credit card transactions and order histories. I'm sure I've missed some stuff. I guess if I've forgotten them, that tells you a lot about where they'd be ranked, right?

Also, I'm not including boring things like food, bills, housing payments, etc because well, those are boring purchases I have to make. Except maybe that unnecessary jar of cookie butter from Trader Joes, but whatever.

Without further ado, here's my 2019 purchases so far, organized into a few categories and ranked from best to worst.

(FYI: Several of the following links are affiliate links.)

Thinkx underwear - Absolutely love not having to worry about pads or a cup if I don't want to!
Loewe puzzle bag knock off - This bag is the only bag I've been using. It's cheap and plastic, which isn't great, but I absolutely love the design of the real bag just not the price tag so this is a good compromise.
Shark vacuum - I did not know I could enjoy vacuuming so much. So. satisfying.
Uniqlo U crew neck t-shirt - This is the best white tshirt known to mankind.
Everlane cashmere sweater - I only got this because I had store credit. I would have never purchased a sweater this expensive if I had to see that money come out of my pockets, but I've learned sometimes it's worth it for something this classic, simple and perfect.
Anne Nowak print - You've already heard me talk about this.
New Plant Parent book - I learned so much.
Blue decorative bowl from Danish design museum - Honeymoon souvenir
Glass flower vase from Danish design museum - Honeymoon souvenir
Bowl from Hay - Honeymoon souvenir
The Danish Chair book - Honeymoon souvenir from the best museum room ever
So many books from the library book sale
Palm, pathos, schefflera plants - Plants make my living room look so much cozier
Black decorative bowl from a local artist
Everlane indigo wash blue jeans - I haven't owned jeans in this wash in years. They've been getting a ton of use so far
Everlane blue cotton sweater - A sweater I don't tuck in?? Wild.

Who Gives A Crap toilet paper - Yes this is toilet paper. It comes in fun paper, it's recycled paper, no plastic and they donate a bunch to charity. It makes me feel happy, and it's not that crumbly, flakey mess that is 'plush' toilet paper from the fancy brands.
Peter Thomas Roth face mask minis set - I like a good Sunday evening mask.
Book haul from Waterstones - I love buying UK chic lit.
Homeostick lip balm - Idk what happened, but this was definitely not 16 bucks when I bought it. Seriously best lip balm ever, especially when you have eternally peeling lips like me.
Lamps from West Elm - These fit my living room so much better than what I used to have
Dishware from West Elm - Just in time for the holiday meal season
H&M oatmeal tank - A lifesaver in the summer.
H&M grey fuzzy sweater - And a lifesaver in the winter
H&M army green linen shorts - I didn't own shorts until this H&M haul. These were super comfy this summer.
Veja tennis shoes - My only pair of tennis shoes.
Birkenstocks - Errand running, summer weather essentials.
Edinburgh Gin Distillery liquor - Another Honeymoon duty free souvenir
Bombay Sapphire gin - We went to this distillery on our Honeymoon!
Sipsmith gin - More duty free purchases
Cashmere blanket from Marshalls - This is the softest blanket ever.
Zanna Van Dijk 'Sculpt' guide - I like having another set of pre-planned workouts to choose from.
Wax Buffalo locally made candle - Got this on our wedding day. It smells like fresh spring trees. I love it.
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter - Bottled glow for those of us without our own.
Madewell mules - I love the style of these, and I keep wearing them, but they won't stop giving me blisters. I will persevere.
Flowers from Trader Joes - Sometimes you just need some eucalyptus.

Necessary But Meh
Garden plants - I have a garden every year. Buying plants is kind of meh by now.
NARS soft matte concealer in a darker shade - I've got ridiculous dark circles. This was just a necessary repurchase
Glossier bow brow x 2 - Repurchases of my tried and trues
Glossier lash slick x 2 - Repurchases of my tried and trues
Deciem - Natural Moisturizing Factors - Super solid everyday moisturizer
Deciem - Lactic Acid 10% - Upped it from 5% to 10%!
Deciem - 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil - Nice little natural vitamin A
Uniqlo white crew socks - I really needed more socks.
Kitchen towels from a local weaver - Hemp blends >>> Cotton
CosRx overnight rice mask - This is such a boring product to use, but I always feel like my skin is so much brighter in the morning.
Deciem - Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% - Gritty, but works
Deciem - Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% - VitC combo
Deciem - Squalane Cleanser - Boring, cheap, doesn't hurt my eyes
Everlane black micro rib - Wore too many holes through the elbows of my previous black cotton crew
Glossier cloud paint in Beam - I can't be assed to wear blush most days, but this is good when I do. Easy and natural. Kind of wish I had it in the pink shade instead though.
Glass spray bottles - Sometimes a girl's gotta get some prettier spray bottles for spraying naughty cats or cleaning showers.
Washcloths - Finally purchased a bunch for dedicated face washing.
Reusable makeup remover rounds - Been sitting on this purchase forever as well, for no good reason.
H&M white tank - I needed some basic tanks...
H&M black shorts - And some shorts...
Hourglass blush - For my wedding. I like this, but again I rarely wear blush
Sunscreen - The most basic of purchases
Bed set for guest room  - I needed to keep my guests warm? Boring adult purchase
Deciem - “Buffet” - This product brings me no joy whatsoever, but I want those peptides and it's cheap.

Hindsight is 20/20
Black vase from a local artist - I just don't have anywhere for it!
Hydrangea - I planted this in a spot that will ultimately be too small for it once it grows, so that was dumb.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation - A repurchase for my wedding, but I never actually fully finished the previous one, so now I just have two when I should have just waited.
Glossier brow flick - This is fine, I just like bow brow better still
Isle of Paradise tanning spray - I'm just pale. It's so much effort to tan. I should just embrace it.
H&M oatmeal linen pants - I like these, but they're a bit more formal than my everyday outfits.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer - This is nice, but I use the NARS one more often
Briogeo hair care minis duo - Eh. Used this up. It was fine. Probably didn't need to spend money on it.
Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize - Wore this in my wedding. I like the shade and product, I just probably could have borrowed something from someone else.
IGK hair mask and styling spray - I have been wanting to try IGK stuff for so long, and I found some at Marshalls but both of them have crazy spray nozzles so the product just sprays out in super fast jet stream and so I have to spray it onto my hands first, which is annoying. Maybe just defective products?
Deciem - 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil - I like this, I just don't use it much.
H&M earrings - Again, too formal for most days. Still glad I have options when I dress up though.
Glossier color slide - This just doesn't stay put on my hooded eyes
H&M white shorts - Ok maybe as a pale person I don't really need white shorts? Idk.
H&M jumpsuit - Got this because my mom and sister told me I needed to dress up for my rehearsal dinner which is dumb and pointless when it's your wedding and you don't want to. Whatever. I own a jumpsuit now that I look good in.
H&M oatmeal-colored sweater - Got this oversized, now it just feels a little too oversized
Everlane blue cotton long sleeve - I thought this would be useful, and I have worn it, but it just is maybe a bit too thin?
Terracotta vase from a shop in Seattle - I like this, but I just don't think it fits in with my decor like I thought it would
Plant mister - I just thought this was cute. It is still cute, but also kind of pointless.
Zanna Van Dijk cookbook - I haven't cooked out of this at all yet. I always forget about ebooks.
Vases for guest room - Target finds. Nothing special. Probably not even necessary
Decorative pillows for guest room - Are decorative pillows ever necessary? I don't really love them either, just meh
Throw for guest room - Target again. Not great quality. Thought I needed to "finish" the room when in fact it's still not really that polished.

Total Regrets
Gold and tortoiseshell bracelets - These are cute, but bracelets just kind of annoy me.
H&M mustard tank - Haven't worn it. So much color.
H&M blue and white striped shorts - Haven't worn these either. Getting cute when it's 100 degrees is just not something I'm interested in apparently.
Nail polish - This color just sucks
Essential oil lavender lip balm - I really needed lip balm. I don't actually like this one.
2 pairs of mule heels, one in black, one in leopard - Impulse buy on clearance while with my sister. Haven't worn either.
Lamp for guest room - I don't actually like this at all anymore.

Too Soon To Tell / Just Purchased
JCrew waxed cotton winter coat
Steve Madden heeled Chelsea boots
Wallpaper city guides for Porto and Lisbon

So, some thoughts, in case you're not bored of reading yet.

1) Consumable things don't rank as highly on average.
2) Things purchased on a whim rank lower.
3) Useful things tend to rank higher.
4) Clothing items only rank highly when they slot in nicely with the rest of my wardrobe and they're things I love. Items that are a little too different or statement-y don't get as much love.
5) The longer ago I purchased it, the less likely it is that I think it falls into the 'Love' category. Am I just still infatuated with the things I listed as loves? Will that wear off in time too?
6) I really have my daily makeup routine down pat. No need trying to tweak anything there. The makeup that ranks lowly is makeup that doesn't get used often.
7) Same with skincare. It's boring at this point, but it's a perfectly good and fairly cheap routine.
8) Purchases that help me be more sustainable ranked higher than an equivalent non-eco-friendly purchase probably would have. Case in point, period undies vs regular tampons.
9) Souvenirs from travel rank highly, likely because of the associated memories.
10) Art or locally make products rank highly.

Now that I've done this, I've been extra conscious of my purchases so it was definitely work well worth it. Perhaps it bored you to death, which is fair enough, but I'd definitely be interested to hear your own reflections on your purchases if you do something like this too!

New Art

Saturday, October 12, 2019
Sure, I may have purchased a car, a house, gotten married, advanced my career, etc, but I think the single most adult thing I've ever done is spent my hard earned money on art. And then on framing said art.

After purchasing this way back in April, taking it to a framer in May, I finally have this back and hung. (Turns out if you have really thick paint on paper rolled up in a tube it takes a loooonng time to flatten back out.)

I love how this little corner is starting to feel a little more intentional and cozy. Now I'll just have to start making some actual decisions on how to reupholster the reading chair I have near this so it's not so 1980s... (Living room decor update soon maybe?)

Anne Nowak Northern Light. Green

Summer Highlights

Saturday, October 5, 2019
Before my little unexpected sabbatical, I used to post one of these at the end of every month as a nice roundup of the major events, the things I'd been enjoying or the feelings I was having. Ironically I've missed posting them for some of the most life-changing months of my life, so let's take a sec to look back on the summer as a whole.

Wedding - Obviously the biggest event of my summer. It was an absolutely perfect day, from the setting, the people, the weather, the food all the way to the playlist (which is honestly probably the thing I spent the most time on during the entire wedding planning process 😂). Planning a wedding is truly a nightmare if you're not a detail-lover, even if you're doing a smaller affair, but it was worth it because I felt like our wedding was a great reflection of us as people and as a couple, and I had the time of my life forcing all my friends and family to make fools of themselves on the dance floor and during karaoke. I just never want to do it again, thanks.

Honeymoon - We had a few weeks after we got married to recuperate, but then it was off to Europe for our honeymoon. We spent a few days in Copenhagen, a city that surprised us by how much we liked it, and then over to London again because we just can't stay away from it. It was a very laid back, cozy, enjoyable trip for just the two of us -- the perfect antidote to the more stressful wedding planning time and all the extroversion that requires.

Selling John's House & Nesting - Technically this can be part of the Honeymoon section, because it actually sold at 4am Copenhagen time a few days into our honeymoon. We spent so much time fixing the house up right before and after the wedding, so having the house sell on the first day it was listed was such a great outcome. It's so nice to be down to one place, no more shuttling between the two homes all the time, mowing two lawns, cleaning both places, etc. Even now, three months later, we're still getting all of the remaining things that hadn't been moved over before all settled in (does anyone know how to hang a 25 ft ladder in the world's smallest garage??), but we're making good progress. I am really pushing for the day when everything has a designated spot in our home again. The end is in sight!

Seattle Family Trip - At the end of July my family went to visit my brother-in-law's family in Seattle. We stayed at their house for the weekend and got the highlights tour of the city. We haven't been on a family trip for a few years so it was nice to spend some time together and to see a new city guided by incredibly hospitable locals.

Seeing Friends - Summer is the most social time of the year for me. Every year we get together for all the summer birthdays -- Thai food and beers for one, after work drinks and burgers for another, morning sand volleyball for another. Then there was the annual trip to Brews at the Zoo, where we old people pretend we can still drink in excess prior to eating dinner, with a backdrop of cute animals. We celebrated new jobs with old coworkers, met up with old roommates in different cities and window-shopped at many, many stores. It's always nice to hang out with all my various people, and something about the warm weather makes it even more fun.

A few other things of note that I've been enjoying this summer: our little garden, seeing Nick Offerman, going to the Omaha symphony with my sister and brother-in-law, new vegan restaurants in town, free yoga at the park near our house, my dad's retirement and the mayor declaring it Steve Henderson day, biking to pop-ups, fall sports starting, scheduling overdue maintenance and improvements for the house, swimming in family friends' pools, composting, new house plants, summer scented candles and our new diffuser, reading early in the morning on weekends.

Charity book sale haul

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The most magical time of the year is upon us once again! The library charity book sale has returned, this year a month earlier than normal. Despite the fact that I still have several unread books from previous years of the very same sale, I once again found myself leaving with an armful of ridiculously cheap books. Here's what I picked up:

Veganomicon - Isa Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero: I actually had to content with multiple people scouring the cookbooks table for vegan cookbooks. In Lincoln, Nebraska. I was a little shocked, but happy. I found this gem before the others and I'm so glad because I've been wanting a copy since we gave one to my parents as a Christmas gift last year. It's not the updated version, but it was only $1.50!

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng: Honestly I know little to nothing about this book aside from the fact that it's been absolutely everywhere lately so it must be pretty good. Hardbacks aren't my favorite, but this recent of a book is quite the find at these sales so I swiped a copy.

Le Mariage - Diane Johnson: I actually read the previous book in this series, Le Divorce, when I picked it up at this sale a few years ago. I enjoyed the read, and it had some interesting commentary on the differences between French and American culture, so I'm sure the sequel will be a fun read as well.

Behaving Like Adults - Anna Maxted: It's a British chic lit author. Nothing else required.

The Complete Poems of John Keats: I really liked learning about Keats' poetry when I was in college so for a little over a buck I figured I'd pick up all of his works and get back into Romantic era poetry again.

Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe: I have this hair-brained idea that I should read the Guardian's list of 100 books everyone should read, and this one is on that list. I don't know that I'll ever accomplish that feat, but if I do, this purchase will help. Plus, the cover of this version was lovely, and I'm a sucker for book design.

Heartburn - Nora Ephron: I saw Anna from The Anna Edit recommend this book last year so here I am.

The Sun And Her Flowers - Rupi Kaur: Again, it's all over everywhere, so why not see what the fuss is about. At the very least, it's really visually pleasing!

Sketches of Young Ladies, Young Gentlemen and Young Couples - Charles Dickens: I think my brain is yearning to be back in school and learning about 19th century novels again. Charles Dickens is always a good pick, and I've never seen this before! I'm excited to dig into some social commentary.

Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher: This is a completely indulgent purchase. I already owned a copy of this from a previous book sale, but it's the mass market smaller format, which I find harder to read, so when I saw this trade paperback version I grabbed it right up. I've read a few of her novels before and really liked them, especially as autumn reads, but I've yet to read this one, arguably her most famous work. When the air gets brisk and the leaves start to turn I'll probably crack this one open.

Ladies Coupé - Anita Nair: I always have a few random picks, and this is one of them. A feminist Indian novel, it follows the stories of different women riding together on a train. Sounded interesting and I like to read books from women authors outside America, so we'll give this a shot.

White Teeth - Zadie Smith: Another recommendation from The Anna Edit. I love anything with an expansive, sweeping plot with lots of characters so this very is promising.

Dirty Pretty Things - Michael Faudet: Another book I know nothing about -- it just looked pretty.

Some thoughts on shopping

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Popping on here again to share a couple thoughts on shopping I've been mulling over in the past week.

I haven't really made any conscious decisions to change my shopping habits, but in the last few year or so they've definitely changed. I've been shopping a lot less, there's way less in my wardrobe than there used to be, the pieces are all a lot more considered than before, and I only get something new after spending quite a bit of time considering it first.

Most markedly, I haven't been finding myself enjoying the actual activity of shopping as much. I get this idea to head out to the mall, and if I don't manage to talk myself out of it before I actually leave, I tend to get bored of it all after the first shop or two. I used to shop for hours on end. Maybe it's just because my best shopping buddy no longer lives near me, and the shops in my local malls aren't the places I want to be spending money at, but it seems to have lost it's fun.

I don't think I was entirely conscious of the change in my perception of shopping until I happened upon Leena Norms' 'Why I'm failing • no buy challenge update' video. She talks about her relationship with capitalism, how she did at buying nothing unnecessary for 6 months and what it means to live within a capitalist world while you're trying to cut back on shopping (amongst several other thought provoking and humorous topics). Her video was in response to Hannah Louise Poston's content about her no-buy year, so naturally I had a deep dive into her channel. About 5 hours and several videos later, my brain was firing on all cylinders. Watching Hannah's 'My First Shopping Trip After The No-Buy Year (Storytime)' video was like watching her explain my own thoughts on shopping to me. It was uncanny.

So. Here are some videos. I hope they resonate with you as much as they did with me!

It's been awhile...

Sunday, September 8, 2019
Back in April I wrote a long, meandering post about burnout and how overwhelmed I was feeling. Apparently that was the straw that broke the camel's back, because despite not planning on taking a break from posting I didn't write another word until right now -- 5 months later.


So I guess I did have a lot going on. Even though our ceremony and reception was a pretty low-key affair, wedding planning is no joke. Add to that already rather ominous load planning and organizing a honeymoon, fixing up and selling a house, moving and combining two lives, in all the big and small ways that entails. At the time I was definitely feeling the strain of it all, hence the post in the first place, but I think I thought I was able to keep a lot more juggling balls in the air than I probably should have been attempting.

Now that the dust has settled and I've given myself a bit of time to recoup there's finally a small space of time that I'm wanting to fill again with this little hobby, but only with a renewed outlook. This isn't my full time job. Hell, this isn't even earning me a single penny. Previously I gave myself a little challenge to post every week, which for the most-part was a nice, friendly little push to do something regularly and resist the urge to come home every night and waste away the evening. But eventually, when things really started piling on, I felt the pressure rising.

It was never the writing -- that was always the easiest part. Nor was it coming up with ideas. It was always the photos. For whatever reason, taking photos -- finding the light, a "cute" area of the home or subject of the photo, getting a suitable backdrop, etc -- just started to feel like a huge uphill battle that repeated week after week. When I was thinking about returning to this blog, I knew I needed to let that pressure go and find a new, sustainable approach.

So here's how this return is going to go. In order to make this a no-pressure space to just share what I'm feeling, what excites, intrigues or troubles me, I am not going to stick as closely to a schedule as I used to. I don't aim to turn this into anything big, so amassing a great following that eagerly awaits a scheduled post isn't a goal of mine. I'm fine being a little bit more loosey-goosey with it all. Secondly, I am not going to put pressure on myself to create picture perfect images for posts. I might even post quicker, more off the cuff posts with none at all. That might be a bit strange in this image-centric Instagram-devouring society we're all living in right now, but we'll see how it goes. In fact, I'll start with this post today. #yolo and whatnot.

If anyone out there is still reading, I appreciate you, I'm excited to be back at it again, and I hope you're onboard with this new plan. Be on the lookout for a few more rambles again shortly!


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Discussing burnout really seems to be in vogue at the moment, and maybe that's part of why it's on my mind, but boy oh boy have I been feeling it lately.

In fact, this is the first time in a year and half I haven't had a post for the week ready for Sunday morning's publishing time. I'm writing this from my couch the night before this will go up, and I have no real idea of what is going to come out or where I'm going with this train of thought.

I have spent every single night over the last week working on something for our upcoming wedding, doing some type of life admin thing or working on either my house or John's house. And despite the fact that it's Saturday night and there's a full day of the weekend ahead of me, it feels like tomorrow will be more of a chore than a day off because we'll be out of the house for about twelve hours for Easter related get togethers. The most time I'll have to fill as I wish from now until next Sunday is now, and I'm here working on this.

We drove past a park this afternoon. It was 80 degrees with sunny skies and a light breeze, so it was packed with people tossing a ball around, having picnics, reading in the sun or kayaking on the lake. I could smell the charcoal grills and the grilled food through our open windows. At that moment I wanted nothing more in my life than to have an afternoon with nothing to do. No nagging thoughts of a to-do list longer than classic novels. No scheduled fun time squeezed in between projects. I just wanted to be living a life where things or events weren't my main priority and instead it was my main goal to just sit in a moment and soak it in.

It all sounds incredibly privileged and cliched, and it is, but that doesn't stop me from wanting it.

Obviously when a person is planning a wedding it tends to be a stressful time, and is even going to be a pretty low key one. Soon that will be over, and then hopefully John's house will be finished and will sell quickly and then all will be back to normal.

But I just know I'll immediately start in on some new project, because some part of me is apparently hardwired to think that if I'm not working on something I'm wasting precious time.

Thanks, industrious immigrant farmer ancestors.

Even when I'm not feeling stressed, I'm just always moving. Oftentimes I'll tell John I need to run upstairs to grab some scissors or something and he'll come find me 30 minutes later scrubbing a toilet after having vacuumed the rugs and rearranged a closet. I still wouldn't have managed to grab the scissors. Needless to say, I'm not always very good at sitting around and doing the nothingness I say I crave.

My desire to always be doing something is a bit of how this blog even got started. I just wanted something to do. But when does a hobby turn into a responsibility, a commitment to something rather than fun? I feel guilty for not having something more than this made for this week, and yet it really doesn't matter. I'm not doing this for anyone but me, I'm certainly not making any money, so why do I feel like this too is turning into a chore? Do I need to take a break? Should I give it up entirely or just put it away for a few weeks, or until things calm down a bit more?

All this has me thinking a lot about what I actually prioritize. Right now I would say that's my house, fitness, food, living a lower impact life, my style and beauty routines, traveling and reading. It doesn't seem like a long list, but when I hold it up to the image in my mind of a serene, lazy day at a park, it suddenly seems lengthy and even a bit frivolous. I feel like I have to let some of those things fall back into the background so I can actually have time to fill up my own cup. As an introvert, that time to do one thing I really like is absolutely key to me staying sane so I better figure something out quick.

This has all been a huge ramble, with no real point or structure, but if nothing else I hope it's made you take a second to think about your priorities as well. Anything you want to reevaluate in your world right now? Let's chat about it below. In the meantime, I'm off to go do a face mask and take a few deep breaths. See you next time!

2019 Travel Plans

Sunday, April 14, 2019
Some of you might see the title of this post and feel the urge to remind me that a quarter of this year has already gone by and that maybe I'm a bit late to the game. Fair point, but I've been pretty busy with wedding-related tasks and fixing up John's house so for me the travel year yet has yet to begin! After this slow start to the year travel-wise, I plan to squeezing in some quality exploration in the next coming months. So where am I headed?

London & Copenhagen: After much hemming and hawing, we finally decided on honeymoon locations. While we originally thought about going to Greece, we conceded that we were just too close to the dates we wanted to go to book a hotel that had what we wanted, and the remaining places were just too expensive for what they offered. So we shifted gears, and now we're going back to London together a little more than a year after our previous trip! After three visits and living there for a semester, it's safe to say I love the city and John really enjoyed it when we went last year as well, so we're going back for more. This time it has the added bonus of being one of the top cities in the world for vegan restaurants and you can safely bet that our list of things to do there is mostly just a list of restaurants. We also wanted to go somewhere new together, so we book ourselves some cheap Ryanair flights to Copenhagen for a couple nights as well. I'm counting down the days until I can wander the halls of the danish design museum and hit up the free wine hour at our hotel. But first we just have to do that small thing of actually getting married...

Seattle: In late July my whole family will be heading to the west coast for a long weekend in Seattle. My brother-in-law grew up in Seattle and his parents still live there so we'll be staying with them in the suburbs of the city. I've never been to Seattle before so I'm super excited to see the city with locals and have a nice homey place to return to each night. My sister has talked up the meals she eats with their family whenever she visits too so that definitely doesn't hurt. I need to start working on a temporary nickname for the weekend however, because my brother-in-law's mom is also named Rebecca! Suggestions welcome. 

Portugal: One of the benefits of having a retired mom that loves to travel is that she's subscribed to every cheap flight email notification a person can be and she reads them all almost as soon as they hit her inbox. My family has been talking about taking a trip ever since we realized that our last non-camping family trip was in 2012 😳so when she saw cheap flights to Portugal, a country none of us have been to before, with availability right around Thanksgiving, we leapt on it. We'll be there for a week, starting in Lisbon. We haven't planned anything yet, but I imagine we'll be staying in an Airbnb together, spending some time in Lisbon and maybe renting a car so we can see a little more of the country. I'm looking forward to traveling with my family, especially since we don't speak the language. Having a group takes a bit of the stress of traveling away. At least if you get lost you're lost together!

A Weekend Getaway?: I am thrilled to be going to as many places as I've listed so far, but I'm also eager to squeeze as much travel in as possible so I'm still contemplating a weekend getaway to somewhere close to home if possible. I need to make an IKEA run, so perhaps Kansas City (if they ever reopen I-29) or Minneapolis, where several aunts and one of my best friends live? Denver is always nice for some hiking, but then again John hasn't been to the Snowy Range, a family camping favorite, so perhaps a Wyoming trip is in order. Even just a quick little camping trip to a nearby state recreational center or lake would do. Where ever it is, I want to get out of Lincoln and Omaha and explore some new places!

What are your travel plans for the rest of the year? Or do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know! Otherwise, see you next time!

March Highlights

Sunday, April 7, 2019
Every so often I have one of those days that makes me feel like I need to pinch myself. This March I think I had one of those days every single week and I'm feeling ridiculously lucky for it.

Booking our honeymoon: We started out the month strong by finalizing all our honeymoon plans and getting all our flights, hotels and Airbnbs booked. We're heading out this summer for two weeks and we'll be going to London yet again (we can't help ourselves) and taking a little jaunt over to Copenhagen as well. I can't wait to eat at as many vegan places in London as I possibly can fit in and to see the chair room at the design museum in Copenhagen! We're still finalizing what else we want to do with all our time over there but I'm sure I'll share it here at some point so watch this space.

A surprise bachelorette party: A few months back a friend asked if a couple of us wanted to come up to Omaha for a sleepover because her husband was going to be out of town. I thought nothing of it. It turns out it was all a ruse to get me in Omaha so my friends could surprise me with a pseudo bachelorette party. Most of my friends live out of town at this point so I was very surprised when my friend that currently lives in California opened the door of our hotel room. We had a great time going to dinner at Modern Love, drinks at Nosh and then back to Hotel Deco for some more rosé and snacks, including a cake emblazoned with the phrase "Same Penis Forever." My friends are great.

My bridal shower: There's a definite wedding theme to last month, but we're getting close so everything is really gearing up. In the last week of March a very organized, crafty and plan-loving family friend threw me a bridal shower. I knew nothing about the plan or theme -- I was simply told to show up at 11am. It turned out to be a travel themed shower which was perfect. She made a vegan brunch, we drank mimosas and got really competitive trying to see how many words can be made from the word "travel." (The answer is 72, by the way)

Visits from friends: With all these wedding related events happening, I ended up getting to see a lot of friends from out of town. Like I mentioned earlier, my friend Melissa from California was here, my friend Jade from Wisconsin came and my friend Nicole and her boyfriend from North Carolina that I've mentioned in my guest room makeover posts (here and here) stayed with me for a weekend. It was absolutely fantastic getting to see all of these people, especially when I wrangled them all up in one room for my bridal shower and dinner and drinks that same evening. I am so grateful I'll get to see them all again in a few months for the wedding!

Odds and ends: There were a lot of big events and milestones this month, but there were also some smaller things of note scattered throughout. We were lucky enough to use my parents' tickets to Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra at the Lied Center, which was a fantastic performance. My parents brought me up on jazz music and it's always really fun to see performances that can at once delight you, make you want to dance and cause an entire hall to get so intensely quiet in awe of a ballad that you can ear a pin drop. I highly recommend seeing them if they come near you. Another entertainment highlight was the return of Queer Eye. If you haven't watched season three yet, grab some tissues and go log into Netflix immediately. We can continue when you've finished.

Finally, if you've been following the news I'm sure you've seen the headlines about the flooding in the Midwest. In Lincoln we were lucky enough not to see any flooding, but other parts of Nebraska were and still are particularly badly hit. My friends flying in said they saw lakes where water should not have been and some of my coworkers have family whose homes were completely submerged and destroyed. A lot of this month was colored by mandatory and then voluntary water restrictions. We skipped workouts to avoid showering, switched to bottled water and used disposable plates and silverware. For someone who does her best to avoid using anything disposable or plastic, these swaps were the opposite of what I usually make, but sometimes it's important to remember that the plastic-free, waste-free option isn't always the right option. Despite all this, it's been an absolutely fantastic month and I feel so privileged, happy and loved. See you in the next one!

Guest Room Makeover: An Update

Sunday, March 31, 2019

You faithful readers might remember that about a month ago I started work on transforming this once almost empty room into a guest room, and I'm happy to report that as you're reading this it will finally be housing some guests! 

I don't consider this room done by any means, but it's got all the basic necessities to be considered a pretty comfortable setup. We've got a bed, actual bedding (minus a bed skirt), real life pillows, a lamp plus a light bulb (such luxury), plants, a giant TV and Xbox (boys will be boys and whatnot), a chair that you can't actually sit in yet (I really need to buy clamps and wood glue), and a semi-styled shelf! 

The miraculous part of all of this is that the only things I bought were the duvet and cover, the two throw pillows and blanket and the lamp. The rest I already had! No bad for conjuring a room out of nowhere if you ask me. I've definitely done up this room on a budget so it's not exactly how I would have styled things if I were starting from scratch (I'm looking at you, rug) and we've still got very bare walls and windows going on over here, but it works and will hopefully be a very comfy room for a long weekend (so long as you don't try to sit on the chair).

I'm calling that mission accomplished-well-enough-for-now on operation Guest Room Makeover. Until next time, have a great week!