Tom + Chee: America’s Freshest Franchise – win FREE food!

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Ok, so when Tom + Chee announced it was opening in Omaha, I was excited. I mean grilled cheese and soup, how can you go wrong? Plus apparently there was a lot of hype because everyone and their mom (except me) saw the company founders on Shark Tank. But there was so much didn’t know that made it 10 times more amazing:

  • Everything is fresh – no blenders, no freezers – everything down to the salad dressings and meat rubs are made from scratch Same category but deserves its own nod – made from scratch, made to order MAC and CHEESE (my fave food if you couldn’t tell)
  • HEALTHY options – yep, surprise!
  • Gluten free and vegan options
  • TONS of vegetarian options
  • NO sugar added to the soups
  • TONS of options, including build your own
  • Crazy, amazing doughnuts that are NOT fried
  • Off the menu, daily special options you can find in their Facebook updates
  • The sandwiches are super filling, which I just didn’t expect, as are the awesome entrée salads

It’s off 145th and Maple, so personally for me, that a long drive but WORTH it. We got to try TONS of stuff, so get ready for some food porn! IMG_3668[1]IMG_3673[1]IMG_3667[1]IMG_3681[1] IMG_3674[1] IMG_3682[1]Now it’s your a turn for a shot at enjoying the goodness – take a friend or go twice by yourself! The winner will receive soup, grilled cheese and deluxe dessert doughnuts (trust me whatever you’re expecting, they’re even better)! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Omaha Beer and Nebraska(ish) Wine

I love it when I learn new things just by hitting up the grocery store. One lovely Friday after work, I visited the Applewood Hy-Vee, full well knowing they give out alkie samples on Fridays. Plus their liquor store is in my Omaha top two for finding just about anything (Beertopia is the other). Little did I know it would result in a chance to drink local, my own personal version of supporting small business. Seriously though, if I can find good stuff made in Nebraska, why give my money to Colorado, California or anywhere else?

Brickway Pils (formerly Borgata Pils)
When I met Zac Triemert and he told me he brewed this fantastic pilsner I was trying, I thought he was kidding. He just said it so humbly and nonchalantly. But nope, he’s the brewing genius behind Brickway Brewery and Distillery downtown. I didn’t try the whiskey because I’m not much of a whiskey gal, but I’ve been told it’s also very good. Fun fact, the brewery is down the street from my work and his girlfriend works in my building!

LPOBeauty.com review

Brickway Pils

Sea of Red Zinfandel
So this wine is in the $17-20 price point, a little above my everyday wine. But it was fantastic. I had to have it. I also tried their red blend, which I wasn’t as crazy about, but it was still good. So the grapes come from Sonoma (because, seriously, Nebraska is not ultimate grape growing weather – we’ve had both 80 degrees and 30 degrees in the last month), but the backers are Husker fans. The red labels have a 62 on them, the year that begin consecutive Husker sellouts for the last God knows how many years.

LPOBeauty.com review

Sea of Red Zinfandel

So I encourage you to give some local love – I was given no compensation or free product, but when I stumble on a little hometown pride, it’s time to blast it out there!

Healthier Hair: 6 Products to Get You There

healthier hair

I’m pretty mean to my hair. I LOVE bleach and I love being blonde. I’m continually on a mission for healthier hair, especially when I’m growing it out from my latest chop (which happens a LOT). So I thought I’d share my latest picks for achieving healthier hair.

healthier hair1. Daily Repair

First of all don’t shampoo your hair every day and try to go sulfate free. The chemicals strip your already damaged hair. Also focus on shampooing the roots. I only shampoo 1-2 times a week, but it depends on the weather, how processed my hair is, etc. If you have naturally oily hair, shoot for every other day.

Matrix Biolage Fiberstrong – I’m super lucky to have a stylist who I’ve known all but five years of my life, who can say to me you’re hair’s damaged, you gotta do something about it. She suggested this new line, which starts repairing your hair in one use. It felt great and smelled great. Bonus – the green cap on the shampoo – I constantly mix up shampoo/conditioner sets which is an issue because I use WAY more conditioner than shampoo.

Tifi S Factor Diamond Dreams Conditioner – So this products is not new, but I really didn’t know it was worth the price. Finally I saw it on a sweet liter sale at Beauty Brands, and it was a great opportunity to give it a try. I’m really not sure what the diamonds, cashmere and pearls in this conditioner do. I’m not a scientist. But it felt luxurious and left my hair silky and smooth. Plus is sulfate free (thus the name S Factor) – bonus!

2. Extra Kapow

If your hair’s really damaged, regular daily conditioning is not going to be enough to bring about healthier hair. I highly suggest a daily leave-in conditioner and deep conditioning once a week.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Product – This is hands down the best leave-in conditioner I’ve ever tried. The one with keratin is even better. They also have a light version for those who may have oilier hair. If you feel your hair is too oily for leave-in conditioner, other options are just spraying the ends and only using it every other day.

L’Oreal Oleotherapy Deep Recovery Mask – I was pretty shocked at how well this mask works for a less expensive, drugstore product. It’s a combo of flower oils and it’s sulfate free. Loved it!

3. Cut the Heat

Another major way to healthier hair is avoiding further damage. If you have wavy hair like me, you can do that by embracing your natural texture and letting it air dry. However, it takes the right products to make sure that texture holds, or you get some funky in between result when you wake up the next day or later in the day after it dries.

mark. Body Building Mousse and That’s Beachy Texturing Surf Spray – Scrunch your hair with the mousse first, then the beach spray and you’ll air dry some awesome waves.

I was not compensated in any way by any of the companies/products suggested. These are simply products that have worked well for me, and that I would suggest to anyone close to me.

I Love My Old Dog

Anya, 4 and Chloe, 12

What would you do if you felt a member of your family was past their prime? Would you drop them off at a shelter, hoping someone would take them in, and that they wouldn’t end up dead? Neither would I. That’s why I was infuriated when an area humane society (the one where I got two of my three dogs, incidentally), posted the following on Facebook. I know not everyone agrees with me, but pets are family.

ChewyAre you kidding me? Chewey is just 8, in good health and so freaking adorable. Luckily, he was adopted. But you just give him away because you think he’s too old? I would NEVER. I understand if the owner or the pet has major health conditions and good care is not possible. Situations happen, life happens. But this is just ridiculous.

My dogs are 4,11, and 12. I’ve had the two older dogs for 10 years, and they’ve only grown sweeter and more endearing over time. They are not going to win any dog shows and the white and gray hairs have been filling in. But adopting a pet is not a whim or a part-time gig. It’s a commitment to take care of that pet throughout their life. Anyone who adopts a pet within any other intention is simply being selfish.

Here’s a great example. I found my third dog, Anya, on Craigslist. Her owner had a baby a few months earlier, the baby had been sick and she felt she didn’t have time for this sweet puppy. Anya was just six months old at this point. So WHY would you adopt a puppy when you are pregnant, thinking oh if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just get rid of her? It’s sickening.

Anya, 4 and Chloe, 12

Anya, 4 and Chloe, 12

I could go on and on about the ways my pups have improved my life, been there for me, and brighten my days. But truly, even if you’re not a dog person, it comes down to decency. Be  a person of your word and don’t take on commitments you can’t see through.

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Dart, 11

Thank you to the Nebraska Humane Society and amazing rescue groups in our country for taking care or our four-legged friends and bringing issues like this to light.

A Unique Dining Experience: Heritage Omaha

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I was provided a complimentary experience at Heritage Food and Wine for my honest review of the restaurant. I was provided with free food and drink, but all opinions are my own.

I love trying all kinds of food, ok let’s be honest all non-meat kinds of food. So when I was invited to the soft opening of Heritage Food and Wine, I was excited to learn that it was family style. The only family style restaurant I had been to previously was a large chain that left Omaha years ago. The portions were huge, and it was more about the cheesy experience.

Heritage was completely different. They explained to us that the concept revolves around abandoning specific courses and experiencing all kinds of food at the same time. The  food was excellent – fresh ingredients, awesome preparation, and top notch touches like homemade sweet ricotta on the cheese plate. Plates were shareable, but not obnoxious in size.

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Location and Ambiance

Heritage is located in downtown Omaha, so of course parking can be tricky but it’s worth it because you’re literally close to everything is you want to do something else afterward. (I did just learn though, that they have valet parking through the hotel entrance, which is sweet). I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really liked it. The staff was friendly, not pretentious. With a little more upscale food, I was afraid it would be stuffy, but it wasn’t at all. The place was humming with excitement, which I love because I am loud person and super quiet places kind of bug me.

Everything was clean and cohesive, down the logos in the fun lamps on the ceiling.

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 Drinks
It was fun to experience Heritage’s unique cocktails. I don’t ever use this word, but I really would call their bartenders mixologists. I asked for “something fruity with rum” and it was magical. They used bitters and other fun ingredients I’d never even heard of, let alone tried. They even made some amazing virgin concoctions for a member of our group who is expecting.

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Veggies
As a vegetarian, there were a lot of options for me. And, if like me you’re pursuing a healthier diet, there are lots of good options as well. However, the biscuits and sweet potatoes with white chocolate were amaaaaazing.

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Who knew pickled veggies could be so amazing?

Ok and I’m embarrassed to admit this one – I’d never tried parsnips before. Turns out I love them!IMG_3203[1]Meat
And for my carnivorous friends, I was told the meat was fantastic too (duck and fried chicken pictured below).

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