Thursday, November 27, 2014

Winter Wonderland

Through BrandBacker and De Nouveau Review, I had the chance to receive and test a set of Old Factory candles.  I thought I'd share the review with you here, as well, so you have the chance to enter the giveaway.

These candles come in a variety of themed sets, including Happy HolidaysNew Born BabyCoffee ShopFifty ShadesFresh and CleanHigh as a KiteSpa DayMan CaveVacation, and Romance

On the day I was asked to choose which set I wanted to sample Omaha had its first snow, so it seemed like a no-brainer to choose the Winter Wonderland set.  It arrived a few days later and that night I burned the Hot Cocoa candle while I packed.  That might have been a mistake, because it set the bar so high for the others.  I've never really thought about using chocolate as a scent in my apartment, but I love it.  I particularly love that the scent lingers after the candle stops burning.  
On one of the product pages I read these candles are great for small rooms or, if used in a larger rooms, you should use two of the candles as the scents included in the kit are intended to be complementary.  In my studio apartment, one candle does the job wonderfully.  The scent is present without being overpowering. 

The First Snow candle is a fresh, clean scent that is nothing special but certainly isn't bothersome.  Roasted Chestnut is the perfect addition to the scent, bridging the gap between the nearly edible Hot Cocoa and the more sterile Fresh Snow.

The candles are on sale now on Amazon.  Especially with the holidays approaching, I think these sets would make wonderful gifts.  You can treat yourself by entering to win a free set below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway Even though I received this product complimentary, these opinions are entirely my own.   

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Moving and Other Musings

In a month I will officially be living in Utah again, and I have mixed feelings.  I'll be happy to be around family and no longer have to miss big events in my nieces and nephews' lives.  I'll be happy to once again have girls' nights with my sisters and stay way too late at their houses.  I'll be happy to have David back as a movie buddy.  I'll be happy to live with my parents for awhile, saving money to begin repairing the last three years of financial disaster.

At the same time, moving back to Utah feels like a reversion.  That's indicated in the way I say "moving back."  I'm worried about giving up on the growth I've worked for since moving away from Utah.  I love my family, but I don't always like who I am around them.  I like independent Omaha Wendy far better than I like fourth child obnoxious Wendy.  Simply put, I have some reservations about moving home.

Nevertheless, the time of my departure is quickly approaching.  I've been slowly selling off items I don't want to pack up and shipping off items I've already packed.  (If you have unneeded boxes lying around, I'll take them off your hands!)  Last week I formally gave notice to my firm of my November departure date, which made reality set in.

When I'm not working or packing, I really do very little else with my time these days.  I watch a lot of tv and I don't even feel bad about it.  I've had a charmed couple of months where my stress generally stays at the office.  I don't miss the constant nagging feeling I had during law school and bar study--that feeling that always surfaced any time I tried to relax, telling me I should be using the time to study and learn.  Of course I never want to stop learning and improving, but I'm giving myself a pass for now.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Good Life

Photo: The Life I Need
Every so often life just seems good.  The superstitious side of me wants to knock on wood after typing that, but all other sides of me want to bask in the moment and just tell you why I'm happy.

To begin with, it's fall.  That alone is enough to get the corners of my mouth turning up.  Nebraska weather has been uncharacteristically fantastic lately.  Our summer was mild, and the last week has fluctuated between window-down and sweater weathera perfect range if you ask me.  With fall comes one of life's greatest joys: college football.  Again, I don't want to jinx things, but so far this season really has been a thing of beauty.  Exhibit A: Taysom Hill.  Exhibit B: Penn State's post-season sanctions being lifted.  Exhibit C: 3-0.  Exhibit D: Taysom Hill.  I'm not naive enough to think going undefeated (for either team) is a probability, but you can bet I'm going to enjoy watching these teams this season.  That's guaranteed.

Something else that's been keeping a smile on my face lately is the abundance of BABIES.  It's like everyone I know got together and decided to have a baby this summer.  And good for them!  Because seriously.  So.  Many.  Babies.  As you all know, I absolutely adore being an aunt.  After last week I'm up to 11 "real" nieces and nephews and am quickly accumulating honorary nieces and nephews throughout the country.  It's such a blessing to see so many people I love embrace their roles as parents, and I'm grateful they let me be a part of their babes' lives.

It's been hard to be away from family and friends for all of the excitement, but I'm really grateful for the friendships I've been able to strengthen as a result of staying in Nebraska a bit longer.  After graduation, a lot of my closest friends moved back to their respective homes.  It's weird to be left in the Midwest without them, but I've grown a lot closer to some of my other friends, particularly a couple of girls in my ward.  I've really appreciated making memories that involve chasing the Northern Lights and becoming utterly obsessed with new tv shows.
As a nice little cherry on top of all this happiness, David comes to visit later this week.  This will be the fourth straight year he makes a trip out to Nebraska in the fall.  I'm always so grateful for his willingness to take the time and money to come see me.  Makes me feel like a spoiled little sister!

I hope your life has been equally joyful and rewarding these last few months, but if not, just remember: "Whatever your circumstances, this can be your season of strength."  (Barbara B. Smith, "A Season for Strength," October 1983 General Conference).  I hope you all find joy in the journey.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Anniversary

Despite its title, this post is not aimed at congratulating my sister and brother-in-law on seven years of marriage (though I will quickly say, Happy Anniversary Jess!).  Instead, I'm taking this time to reflect on another important anniversary: the day I moved to Omaha.  This morning I launched Timehop and read with fondness the tweets chronicling my arrival in the city.

I've been saying this a lot lately, but I'm going to miss this place.  Of course I'll be happy to be closer to my family come the end of the year, but the Midwest will always occupy a place in my heart.  The people here are friendly without being intrusive.  The lightning storms are breathtaking.  There are more restaurants than I could have possibly tried in my three years here.  And while I think the Husker fanaticism is the byproduct of some ethanol-based brainwashing, this place loves football, which I can appreciate.

I've enjoyed my independence here.  I like having a place that's all mine (which I think stems from being one of six children).  I brag about this as if it's a personal victory.  I'm excited to spend these next three school-and-bar-free months enjoying parts of Omaha I didn't have time to see before.

I'll miss Beauty Brands and Wheatfields.  I'll miss the rain and the trees.  I'll miss Gigi's Cupcakes and my job.  This has been an incredible time in my life.  And while I'm anxious to read the rest of my book, I'll be sad to finish this chapter.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Teen Wolf in Your Late Twenties?

Since I'm awake I should either be studying for the bar or getting work done. Instead, I'm finishing yet another season of Teen Wolf. Yeah, you read that correctly. Teen Wolf. I don't even remember why I started watching it. I think it was just on one of the scrolling banners on Amazon Instant Video or something. But that's really beside the point.

I like the show because it's smart and complicated and lighthearted all at once. Some of the wolves are downright beautiful (and the actors are in their 20s, so it's not too creepy to say that--or so I try and convince myself). But there's another reason I've really fallen in love with this show. And it's this kid:
Stiles, played by actor Dylan O'Brien. This character might be my favorite television character of all time. He's smart and loyal and good. I really enjoy my teen dramas and young adult novels, but they all come with one major frustration: immensely flawed and selfish lead characters. It often makes it hard to root for the one who should be the good guy. But that's not so with Stiles. Don't get me wrong, he's not perfect. But gosh he's admirable.

Hopefully this isn't too much of a spoiler for anyone (and maybe this will cease to be true when I make it further in the series), but Teen Wolf has a lot of fantasy in it...mythical creatures and such. And Stiles is just this awesome human kid whose best friend is a werewolf. And he's always right by his best friend's side, whether Scott is trying to kill him or needs help solving a murder.

I think there are a lot of analogies one could elicit from Stiles. He says a lot about what "normal" people can accomplish. He's a great example of loyalty and acceptance, regardless of others' faults. He uses his God-given talents to solve problems and bless the lives of those around him.

I just really like this kid.

On paper, you'd think he's unremarkable. But in my mind, he's the reason the show works. That's probably true of a lot of people close to you, right? People who view themselves as ordinary. People who think they don't measure up to their friends. Do you have a Stiles in your life? If so, go tell them how great they really are.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Dark Side of 'Friends'

So I had a week off school. It was Easter Break and I had big plans to work extra hours and write the bulk of my final papers. Instead, I fell head-first into three books: the Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan.
If you follow me on Goodreads, you might have seen that I didn't give these books particularly high ratings. Last night as I was making dinner and missing Evan (the main male character in the books), I started wondering why that's so. I don't really have an answer other than that I got really bugged by the narrator, Emma, in every book. But aside from my personal annoyances, taking this series as a whole, I have to admit that they are masterfully written. You really saw Emma grow up through the three books. You felt her depression. You felt her fall in love. Rebecca Donovan really did an incredible job. I don't know whether I recommend these books or not; they left me mopey and moody all weekend, but I kind of love that.

But that's not actually what I meant to write about.

You see, after I finished the third book I restarted Friends.  I've watched the series countless times, but I couldn't remember what episode I had last watched. So I started over again with the Pilot. Suddenly it hit me: Rachel. Rachel had a daughter named Emma. Emma's mom's name is Rachel. If you've read the Breathing series, you know where I'm going. If you haven't read the series and you think you might want to, stop reading this post now. I'm not going to hold back on the spoilers...

The Breathing books are all about Emma, a girl who was abandoned four years earlier by her mother, Rachel. OH. MY. GOSH. The Breathing series is a story of the sad life of Ross and Rachel's child!!! Of course Rebecca Donovan renamed the other characters! Otherwise it would have been even MORE obvious.

We've always wanted to know what happened to the Friends after the finale. And now I know! So, based on the books, we know Ross and Rachel never got married. We also know that Ross died when Emma was little, and after that, Rachel went off the deep end (well, no surprise there). Rachel becomes an alchie, and she ends up leaving Emma with Emma's uncle...but wait. Ross doesn't have a brother. Of course he doesn't! To protect identities, Rebecca Donovan also changed genders. Emma didn't go live with her father's BROTHER. But instead with his only sibling, his SISTER, MONICA and her husband, Chandler. Jack and Leyla are, obviously, the twins we met at the finale of Season 10.

Now, Friends fans, this part is going to hurt. With the switching genders, I'm not sure if Monica is Carol or if Monica is George. Either way, either Monica or Chandler is super abusive and tries to kill Emma while she lives with them. Whoa.

Then, of course, in the second book, Rachel comes back to us. She's still super hot despite being a little older. Of course, we always knew that would be the case. I mean, look at Jen now.
Of course beautiful, young Jonathan would want to hook up with her. And here's some kind of good news for Rachel: she's still friends with Phoebe (she's just named Shannon in the book). Yeah, you know, Shannon who takes care of Rachel when she's drunk. Shannon that took care of Emma when Rachel was in the hospital. Of course Shannon is Phoebe. (Or maybe her name was Sharon...I don't know. I don't retain details like names when I'm reading.)

So the question on everyone's mind at this point is: where's Joey? I'll tell you. He's still just being Joey. He only makes a brief appearance in these books, and I can't even remember his pretend name. But he shows up at Rachel's poker party and starts hitting on Emma, and that's how I knew it was him.

So...anyway. Did I just spend too much time writing a pointless blog post? Yes. Should that time have been spent on schoolwork? Yes. Do I regret it? Not at all.

Monday, April 14, 2014

7,000 Miles

This semester I've traveled over 7,000 miles. (Somewhat surprisingly, not a single one of those miles has been heading to Utah. This is my first semester not going home.) While I've loved the many adventures, this weekend marked my first full weekend home in as long as I can remember, and it was nice to just breathe. I went to the dog park with Zipsie, met a friend for cupcakes, and read three books. It was brilliant.

However, I would be remiss if I didn't let you in on all the fun I've had this semester.

Since the last time I blogged...

I went down to Colorado Springs to spend Valentine's Day with Jess and her family

I attended the Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Madison, Wisconsin

I travelled down to Dallas for Spring Break with Jamie

I watched Matt take Fifth at NCAAs in Oklahoma City

I competed in the TYLA National Trial Team Competition in Austin, Texas (which might be my current favorite city in the United States)

I made it to the final round of the National Voir Dire Competition in Kansas City

It's been a whirlwind, to say the least. Now I get to focus on more relaxing things--like finals and graduating!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Trial Team Regionals

This weekend I participated in my tenth law school competition! It shouldn't surprise you that extra-curricular activities have been the most enjoyable aspects of my law school experience, but this weekend was particularly great.

We drove up to Minneapolis for our regional TYLA competition. Just outside the city, we saw flashing lights behind us. After one of the cops opened up the van door to talk to some of us in the back (and not so subtly look around) we finished up the drive with a lively discussion about whether or not our Fourth Amendment rights had just been violated.
Thursday was our first preliminary round, and we were set to present our Plaintiff case, which is the side I'm not on. So I enjoyed rocking jeans and providing emotional encouragement and silent cheerleading.

The second team from Creighton competed in the second flight that night, so our team enjoyed dinner with just the three of us.

Friday night was my turn to compete in the preliminaries. 
Here we are brainstorming possible theme changes just hours before our round
After competition, we went out to a late dinner. We were sitting here when we got word that our team advanced to the semifinals.
Perhaps the greatest part of the weekend was not learning that we advanced but having my mom and dad walk into the room before the semi-final round started. They happened to be in Minneapolis for the weekend because Penn State was wrestling there on Sunday.
Even more wonderful, I was sitting with my mom and dad when we found out we won the semifinals as well as the finals!
We hit the road, champions. We stopped in The Middle of Nowhere, Minnesota for a celebratory dinner that, of course, included dessert!




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Still a little bit Country

My first concert was Suzy Bogguss at the Utah State Fair. My first arena concert was Brooks & Dunn, with Blackhawk and Little Texas opening. I stood front row at a Tim McGraw concert and touched Billy Ray's hand when I finally saw him live in 2002. Despite these and many more wonderful memories, the concerts I go to lately are more of the indie rock variety. 

So I was psyched when my friend, Jen, text and asked if I'd go see Charlie Worsham with her. She explained he's a country singer she had discovered from an episode of Bones. I didn't even need to listen to him before saying yes. I was thrilled at the idea of going to a country show. 

To make things even better, I quickly found out that I love his music. 

Sadly, Omaha is apparently kind of a lame scene for concerts. Exhibit A:



Despite the fact that people were chatting (yes, carrying on conversations) during the set, Charlie was really incredible. 












You'll notice in this video that Charlie points right at me. Jen swears it was at her, but come on. I was the only person singing along, he saw me, and he acknowledged me. Total connection.
video
Omaha music fans get a D- for this concert, but Charlie Worsham? A+! His tour comes back through in March and he'll play in Lincoln. I kind of want to go...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Breaking Up

It's no secret that I've been posting on my blog less and less. I never really know what to write about, but I feel bad when friends mention the fact that they don't know what's going on with me because I haven't written recently. 

On the other hand, I always have a lot of opinions, and I like to share them. When I'm asked to write a blog post about the products I receive from places like Influenster, I have a lot of fun. Once I Instagrammed about some eyeshadow I was loving, and Adiel commented about me starting a beauty blog. 
I started thinking about it and decided it might be fun to devote my blog to that. But then, on the bottom of my friend's Christmas newsletter, she commented about needing updates from me other than about makeup. 
I decided that, at least while I'm still at school, I should do better to use this blog to post about my life and what I'm up to. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to focus solely on beauty reviews and tutorials.

So, I started denouveaureview.com. After this post, I'll keep the two blogs completely separate. I'll talk about me and my life here and I'll talk about more entertaining things like eyeshadow there :) I launched the blog yesterday, and so far it hasn't seen much traffic. I'm trying not to get discouraged about the small number of entries for my giveaway and instead to stay excited about this new adventure. (translation: go enter and make me feel better!)

If you rely on Twitter or Facebook to find out about my new blog posts, you might want to subscribe to this blog. From now on, I'll be using those social media sites for De Nouveau Review posts rather than Life in Limbo updates. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Last One

I've been watching too much Friends lately, as is evidenced by my compulsion to title this post after the last episode of the series.

I've been enjoying Friends relatively guilt-free for the last month and a half, and I'm not anxious to give that up on Thursday. That's right, the day after tomorrow I'll head back to school for the last time. While I know this semester will be fun, I simply have no desire to get that fun under way. I enjoy being a student and, unlike many of my classmates, I'm not dying to graduate. Additionally, I feel like my job as a clerk is significantly less stressful than my job as a student. I'd prefer to continue on, working limited hours, watching t.v. each night, and reading a few books a week.

With all of that said, I do have to admit that it's pretty cool I'm looking at my last semester of law school. Who knew this time would actually come? You've all heard the story. You know I talked about being a lawyer on and off my whole life. But it's kind of crazy to think I'm only six months away from that being a reality.

My law school experience has been an absolute joy. Before I started school, I heard a lot of horror stories. I can honestly say that none of those cautionary tales ended up being true for me. I won't say that law school has been easy, but I also can't say I haven't enjoyed it all. I love the law, and I'm repeatedly reminded that there's nothing else I could be doing with my life that would make me feel as satisfied.

Something I haven't yet publicly announced (maybe because the reality of it still hasn't set in) is that I have a job lined up for after graduation. I entered law school when the legal job market was horribly over-saturated. While that's far from being completely remedied, I feel very fortunate that I found a job before graduation, before the stress and doubt of needing to find a job really set in. My job will be in Utah, and I'm excited to stop missing out on so much of my family's experiences.

I'll leave you with a slideshow of some of my favorite moments from over my final Christmas Break:


video