Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kitchen Cravings (Sponsored Post)

Frisket is probably the cutest puppy in the world. Not probably. He is. All of my friends think so, random strangers think so, he's just the best. Quite the little love, too. When Lauren visited, he did his normal "Intruder Alert" bark before realizing who it was, and then he was all, "My friend is here! My friend is here!"

He's going to be celebrating his fourteenth birthday this summer, but being a tiny dog, he'll always be a little baby to me. A cuddly little Ewok when his hair gets too long, with the sweetest eyes in the world.

Yeah. I love my pup, which is why it's important to give him quality food.

A few years back, when I lost my first dog, Charmie to gastric torsion, I read up on how to prevent it in the future, and diet is a big part of it. Smaller dogs like Frisket don't necessarily have to worry about it, but nutrition is always important.

I really do love Blue Buffalo treats. They're real meat and real ingredients, which makes it easier for dogs to digest. There's no corn, wheat, or soy, and no artificial anything.

The Kitchen Cravings Homestyle Dog Treats specifically make for good training rewards. When we were training another dog a few years ago, I took what we learned, and worked with Frisket at home, and he caught on pretty well.

He likes the taste, as well, which is always important. He got some fancy treats for Christmas that unfortunately he doesn't seem to like. People who say dogs will eat anything have obviously never owned a dog.

He's a pretty docile dog most of the time, but sometimes he just needs a little more motivation. These help us rewards him for doing what we ask. Who says you can't teach a dog new tricks?

  • What treats do you like to train your dog?
This post has been sponsored by Chewy.com. They provided the product in return for my honest review. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Fun

To say I was excited for this weekend would be an understatement. Don't get me wrong, last weekend, my best friend came to town, and we had a ball, but this past weekend was getting my schedule more or less back to normal, and as most people know, getting back to normal is very calming, but energizing at the same time.

I did have some big plans to go to the gym on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and then today, but it won't be happening. Friday and Saturday, I was too tired to do much of anything, and sitting at the beginnings of a cold. Never fun. Sunday, it got worse. I had a fever, I was tired and achy. The works. Thankfully, I'm feeling a wee bit better today.

But I don't want to talk about sickness. I want to talk about my first ballet experience in almost twenty years. Yes, you read that right. TWENTY YEARS.

If you recall one of my previous posts, The Moscow Festival Ballet was coming to Omaha to perform The Sleeping Beauty for us. On Saturday night, despite unbelievable exhaustion on my part, Kiri and I made our way out into the cold night for a spectacular sister date.

I was amazed at our seats. We were in the orchestra middle. I haven't had theater seats that good since I saw the Santa Fe Opera back in 2010!

My season seats to the opera aren't this good (though they are still great).

I mentioned in my previous blog that I was a big fan of the music, since Disney used it in their version, and it's been stuck with me ever since. What was different was how it was used in two different mediums. Different scenes, etc.

During intermission, Kiri got a picture with a member of the chorus. It was great that the dancers mingled with the guests. I've always enjoyed meeting performers, and even meeting the audience when I WAS a performer.

The dancers were stunning, the story beautiful. It's true what they say, I'm sure. Ballet dancers do it because they love it. They have to have incredible control over their bodies, which is so difficult, but the results are obvious.

Thanks again, Omaha Performing Arts, for the opportunity to see such an amazing show!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tea Time for Cats (Sponsored Post)

We all know how I love my cats, right? I'm pretty sure that if Jane would let me, I'd get about ten more. As it is, she hates Henry and only sometimes tolerates Tris. But, they're all my loves and I adore them.

When we moved into a smaller house a year and a half ago, we had to figure out where to put their cat boxes, since our house is so small. We decided one downstairs, which my mom takes care of, and then there's one in my bedroom, which is always open for them to get to. 

Having a cat box in my bedroom is actually like going back to my senior year of college when I had Henry and Jane in my dorm, and to hear my neighbors talk when they came to my room, you wouldn't know two cats lived in the space to smell it. 

We've been using a conventional clumping litter since we moved in, and when Chewy.com reached out to me to try some products for my cats, I got pretty excited when I saw WeRuVa Hinoki Wood and Green Tea cat litter

I've never heard of Hinoki wood, but apparently, it's used in Japanese architecture because of its ability to stand up to humidity. The green tea contains compounds with antibacterial properties that prevent odors.


So far, I like it. It's been two days, and there's still no cat odor in my room. The bag, itself, was really lightweight, which is great when carrying it upstairs. When I poured it out, there was no dust. The old stuff I used covered everything with dust. There wasn't any dust with this, which was great. 


The cats do seem to track this a bit more, but that might be because the pieces are bigger than the sand of what we're used to.

I use sifting liners, and these don't really sift which was disappointing, as the bag said it was clumping. If I switched to this permanently, I'd have to get a scoop. 

What do Jane, Henry, and Tris think?

Jane and Tris are quite the troopers. Tris was an outdoor cat when my sister brought her home, so she's pretty content with what she's given (though she's quite the Queen if you look at her). Jane is like me, and she'll probably use whatever lady's room is available to her. Jane hopped right into the box, did her thing, and left.

"Mom, I'm really not sure about this..."
Henry, on the other hand, has been acting like I have committed the ultimate betrayal against him. He's quite spoiled, having only lived with me or my parents his entire life. I think he could get used to it if he had to.
  • Do your cats like the litter you buy?
  • Have you tried WeRuVa?
This post was sponsored by Chewy.com. The litter was provided for my honest opinion, which are my own. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

$200 Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway!!!!

Just to catch everyone up, we all know I'm a coffee fiend, right? Like, I LOVE coffee. Sadly, I can't drink it as much as I used to, so I'm forced to stop before noon unless I want decaf. It's almost a rule that writers need to love either coffee or tea. I'm a coffee person until noon, and then it's all tea, otherwise, I won't be able to get to sleep at night. 

That said, I'm really excited today to bring you a giveaway! Who wouldn't love a $200 Starbucks gift card, right? There's so much you can do with it, and I'm sure it would make your early morning commute just a touch easier (I know it'd make MINE more fun!).

See below to have a shot at winning this amazing prize!

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I’ve teamed up with some blogger friends to give you the chance to win a prize you’re going to love -- a $200 Starbucks Gift Card!
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to join the VIP Email List for details on how to be included in the next giveaway opportunity!
Prize: $200 Starbucks Gift Card
Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email becky@ohmygoshbeck.com with any questions.)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 2/1 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 8, 2016

Once Upon a Dream: Sleeping Beauty by the Moscow Festival Ballet (Sponsored Post)

This post has been sponsored by Omaha Performing Arts. I received tickets for the ballet in return for helping them advertise.

When my sister and I were little, her favorite movie was Sleeping Beauty. I couldn't tell you why, but she was enamored of this thing. She would come home from preschool or kindergarten, we'd watch it, we'd go up to our room to act it out (guess who was always Aurora? I'll give you a hint. It was never me. *grumbles*).

Did you know that Disney used the same music originally composed by Tchaikovsky for Sleeping Beauty as a ballet? I think it's the only time they've ever done this (Fantasia doesn't count), and it really makes the movie, if you ask me. That's why I was so excited to find that the Moscow Ballet is going to be in Omaha this month to perform Sleeping Beauty at the Orpheum Theater! And we know how much I love the Orpheum Theatre.

A cherished ballet featuring fairytale princesses and malevolent witches in a storybook kingdom will be performed one-night-only at the Orpheum Theater. Omaha Performing Arts presents The Sleeping Beauty featuring the Moscow Festival Ballet on Saturday, January 23 at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The performance is sponsored by Bank of the West.

The Sleeping Beauty is part of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s glorious repertoire of storybook ballets, which includes The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. The Sleeping Beauty is a cherished ballet that transports audiences to a kingdom of fairytale princesses, malevolent witches, and a true love’s kiss. One of the most renowned ballets in the classical repertoire, the Moscow Festival Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty is enjoyable for all ages.

Founded in 1989 by legendary principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, Sergei Radchenko, the company brings together elements of the great Bolshoi and Kirov ballet companies. Russian dancers under Radchenko’s direction have staged new productions of timeless classics including Giselle, Don Quixote, Paquita andCarmen, as well as commissioned new works. Their last performance in Omaha was Swan Lake in April 2014. 

Tickets start at $20 and are available through Ticket Omaha* at 402.345.0606, TicketOmaha.com or the Ticket Omaha office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center at 13th and Douglas streets.

I'm beyond excited to see this performance. I haven't been to a real ballet since I was ten and performed at The Rose Theatre in their first dance program. I took jazz and tap and performed in Broadway Town. Afterward, the ballet school performed A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was my first Shakespeare. 

It's so great that Omaha is this bustling hub of artistic expression. When I went to college, I had to go to St. Louis or Kansas City for this level of performance. 
I was provided tickets from my friends at Omaha Performing Arts in exchange for this blog

  • Do you have a favorite ballet?
  • What's your favorite Fairy Tale?

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year, New...Something?

To say I haven't felt like posting lately has been an understatement. The last post I did was a book review in November. I've been working a lot, trying to keep things above water with Christmas and whatnot (don't worry. Nothing bad has been happening. Just a lot of stuff), but I've also been working on my next couple books, using Scrivener. I'm really enjoying using Scrivener. It's a great tool for writers.

In the coming months, I hope to be able to use this blog not only to build my own freelance writing portfolio, but also to help other writers, whether they want to freelance, or they want to write fiction or screenplays. I'm reading a lot on characterization, writing scenes, making compelling stories, and eventually, I hope to be able to pass on what I've learned to everyone else.

The past few months have been eye-opening for me in regards to where I want to be in my life. I want to write. That's the short answer. For awhile, I thought I could be happy learning to design websites, and I'm sure I still could learn and be successful, but it's not where my passion is. Writing is my passion, and in the new year, I'm going to aim to post at least once a week, if not twice. I'm also going to be looking for more opportunities to write on other websites with pop culture stories, food related articles, and maybe music. I've recently joined forces with Omaha Performing Arts, and over the next few months, I'll be sharing a lot of the great things they have coming up (look for the first of many blogs about OPA later this week!).

Usually, I try to be somewhat resolution-minded, but I'm getting tired of resolutions that don't really pan out. It's frustrating and probably sets a person up for failure. As a blogger, I'm going to start treating this blog, and Built By Beks as part of my job.

  • What is your passion?
  • What do you want to accomplish in 2016?