Our Favorite Places to bRUNch in Omaha

 

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If you’re looking for a good brunch after a long run (or maybe a long snooze?), members of the 2017 bRUNch5k Committee have you covered with their top recommendations of places to brunch in Omaha. Here are our favorites:

Pig & Finch is a great, central location in Omaha at One Pacific Place. You can’t beat their $5.00 Bloody Mary’s.” –Colby, bRUNch5k co-vice chair

“For a traditional breakfast, I like The Diner in the Old Market. The breakfast isn’t fancy, but the food is good and the staff is hilarious and makes your morning better!”– Lisa, bRUNch5k co-chair

Dario’s is a favorite for all meals, but their brunch stands out. You can not go wrong with anything on their menu—I highly recommend the Eggs Florentine.”– Britt, communications coordinator – bRUNch5k

“We go to Krug Park in Benson and order brunch takeout from Lot 2 next door to avoid the wait for a table. An added bonus is drinking a Krug Bloody Mary while we wait—there are over 10 kinds to chose from.” – Tanin, bRUNch5k treasurer

Mantra is my favorite brunch restaurant- great location and modern atmosphere.”           – Catherine, Development & Donor Relations development specialist – bRUNch5k

“The lemon ricotta pancakes at Railcar are amazing! Railcar also has a unique drinks menu if you’re looking for something a little different than your typical brunch beverages.”         –Emily, bRUNch5k co-chair

“I love Dixie Quicks in Council Bluffs for their fun atmosphere!” –Heidi, bRUNch5k prize & raffle coordinator

“The patio at Pitch West is a great place to brunch on the weekends. The breakfast meals are delicious and they offer ½ price bottles of wine on Sunday.” –Haley, bRUNch5k runner recruitment

Duggar’s Café in Dundee offers non-greasy diner food, has great lunch options and very good desserts.” –Alex, bRUNch5k prize & raffle coordinator

Of course, the unanimous committee favorite goes to Crave Restaurant in Midtown Crossing, who not only offers a delicious, huge Sunday brunch menu, but is hosting the brunch following this year’s bRUNch5k.

Join us on April 29, 2017 for brunch, mimosas, and raffles at Crave after crossing the finish line of the 5k. Not a runner? Brunch-only tickets are available as well.

 

Color, Pattern, Fun and Fashion-Forward Designs all Spotlighted at Kids Rule Fashion Show

Kids will take over the Omaha Design Center for the first-ever Kids Rule Fashion Show in Omaha this weekend on February 17 and 18, which benefits Junior League of Omaha. Kids will have the chance to strut the runway in fashion-forward designs by local designers, including Aubrey Sookram of Markoos Modern Designs, Kids Rule (by Omaha Fashion Week staff) and Wes and Willy by Les Kimmel and Bill Mullen. As an added bonus, all kids in the show get to take home what they wore on the runway!

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Fashion-show goers are in for a treat! Each designer brings something different to the show, their own flair, if you will. Wes and Willy is known for designing fashionable, good-looking boys clothing that has a classic lived-in feel. In an Omaha World-Herald article, Kids Rule designs were described as fun, comfortable and fashion-forward, while Aubrey says her inspiration comes from color and pattern.

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“I like to take a color, a specific pattern, or a really fabulous fabric and build a collection around that. Due to the large variance in sizes needed in this show, I kept this collection just a bit more neutral, as I needed to design for both young and older children,” Aubrey said.

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Aubrey says her love of pattern and color is why she focuses on kid’s designs, as her ability to combine the two may not be appropriate or embraced by an older crowd like it is with kids.

Another bonus for the child models: confidence-building opportunities.

“There is nothing quite like stepping out on a big stage in front of a large crowd,” said Aubrey. “This will be a wonderful confidence builder for all of these children. Every child is different. Some thrive playing sports or in academics, and some find their place on the stage.”

Want to be part of the fun and be runway-side at this event? Buy tickets now and support Junior League of Omaha for this new, exciting event.

Kids Rule Fashion Show

What: a new kids fashion show by Omaha Fashion Week and Junior League of Omaha

When: Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Where: Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St.

Tickets: start at $40; a portion of the event’s profits go to Junior League of Omaha. 

 

What To Wear To Big Red Block Party 2016

Back-packs, bell sleeves and booties! Fall fashions are upon us, and we’re taking a look at some of the fun ways you can wear the latest trends for this year’s “blackout” themed Big Red Block Party on November 5th!

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Now that you’ve online shopped your way to a killer new outfit (or two), you need a place to wear it! Buy your ticket for Big Red Block Party today!

Cooking for a Crowd

Cooking for 20 can be tricky, but every month Junior League of Omaha Board of Directors take on the challenge of providing dinner for a monthly Board meeting. When it came time for New Member Chair Bethany Banister and Communications Chair Melissa Carlberg to take their turn, they were confident the Junior League’s Toast to Omaha cookbook would be the perfect resource – and would build excitement for the upcoming release of the League’s new cookbook, to be released in conjunction with our 100th anniversary in 2019.

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“We thought soup would be a crowd-pleaser, and also figured it’d be fairly easy to transport and keep warm,” says Melissa. “Bethany and I got together, picked out some recipes that looked delicious and started planning a couple weeks before the meeting.”

Melissa made the following soup recipes:

  • Curried Pumpkin Soup, page 49
  • Upsteam Brewing Company’s Smoked Gouda Beer Soup, page 59
  • Italian Vegetable soup, page 55

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For a side, Bethany chose Ron’s Wheatfield Cornbread, page 182, and for dessert, gave Very Rich Everything Bars, page 214, a try.

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“The cornbread was super easy,” says Bethany. “I do have a suggestion for the dessert, though. Use creamy peanut butter instead of crunchy for both the base and the fudge topping. I also used salted nuts, even though the recipe called for unsalted. It seemed to cut down the richness a little!”

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Final consensus? Everything was a hit! The sausage soup was nearly gone and the beer cheese soup reheated wonderfully.  

“The Italian vegetable soup was a fairly quick, easy recipe and you can even save some time by eliminating the chopping and buying frozen spinach and carrots,” says Melissa. “I’d definitely make it again. In fact, I’d make them all again. I especially liked the Upstream beer cheese soup. I used a cheddar to supplement the Gouda, simply because it was a bit more economical for a double batch.”

Both Bethany and Melissa agree that the dinner was a success; board members all tasted several Toast to Omaha recipes for the first time and everyone seemed excited to make them again! Hopefully, it got members thinking about what they can submit for the next Junior League of Omaha cookbook!

The Cookbook Committee is currently planning for the upcoming edition, A Century of Serving, and looks forward to hosting tasting parties beginning this summer to choose the entries for the anniversary cookbook. Be on the lookout for recipes you’d be interested in submitting – and if you’d like one of the special edition Junior League of Omaha aprons, orders will be available soon at jlomaha.org.

Tip the Fundraising Scale with TAGG by Guest Blogger Katy Spratte

The Junior League of Omaha supports this vibrant community through countless volunteer hours, amazing fundraisers, and women and child-focused projects and scholarships. As a first year active in the League, I am thrilled to be able to present a great new fundraising option for our membership. That opportunity is through a local start up, called Together A Greater Good (TAGG). TAGG is an app that empowers users to support local nonprofits just by visiting participating businesses. That’s right, visit a participating business, TAGG a purchase, and the business will donate 5 percent of your purchase to the cause of your choice.

During the first month of being live on TAGG, the Junior League of Omaha has already raised $16.79. Six active league members have TAGGed so far, and I’m really excited to see what our whole group can accomplish. Those who have TAGGed have done so at Blue Sushi, Plank Seafood & Provisions, Beansmith Coffee Roasters, Railcar Modern American Kitchen, Bliss Boutique, Newman’s Pasta Cafe, Everbloom Floral & Gift, and Smoothie King. There are about 130 local businesses that are participating partners in TAGG, and will donate to causes of your choice. Additionally, the first $1,000 raised each month through the app is automatically matched by the 88 Restaurant Group, so that 5 percent donation is actually 10 percent at the beginning go the month.

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 It’s easy to see how simply frequenting TAGG businesses, that many of us already visit, can really add up to major funds for a worthwhile organization. Please consider downloading “Together A Greater Good” app today, and choosing to support the Junior League of Omaha without spending an extra dime. TAGGing a purchase takes about 30 seconds, watch this video tutorial. Start TAGGing today!
–Katy Spratte

Ladies Who bRUNch

The Junior League of Omaha is hosting a new fundraiser this year and planning committee members are passionate. This April, the League will host a 5K fun run that combines two events that League members just love: running and brunching. The concept is pretty simple, really: run 3.1 miles, eat brunch, support the League’s child-minded community projects. And everyone’s invited. We asked the committee members what keeps them running.

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Lisa Tronchetti will tell you she is an indoor runner. She remembers doing a 5K before, but lately she hasn’t made it past the one mile mark. Even though her distance has shortened, she keeps plugging away, because she has motivation. “I run to stay healthy and prevent Type II Diabetes,” she says. “Type II Diabetes is common for women in my family as they grow older and my hope is that by living a healthy lifestyle NOW with a healthy diet and a regular exercise schedule that includes a little running, I will greatly delay or prevent any onset of Type II Diabetes in my own health,” Lisa says. When the Junior League of Omaha announced a 5K run this spring, Lisa saw an opportunity to volunteer and get back on a training regimen. “I’m in my favorite Athleta pants and listening to the second season of Serial while I train,” she says. 

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It took Stacey Sellers a little time to warm up to the idea of loving a run. “I started running in middle school when I started cheer and dance, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I actually started to enjoy it,” she says. “Living in Charleston, SC at the time, the scenery and weather were perfect; and running outside was a must!” Stacey runs for enjoyment, opting out of a music playlist, no formal training program and no set distances. There is one thing she does commit to, a lacrosse ball she uses to massage her muscles after good run. 

Colby Jensen prefers to run with a crew. “When I run with friends, we talk about our days, what’s new in our lives, etc. so no music is needed,” she says. Her friends and the training program she found with a quick Google search keep her focused when training for half marathons. “I train with friends to hold myself accountable and make the longer runs seem easier,” she says. But when no one is around, she’ll crank up a good Pandora station Jock Jams, Pop & Hip Hop Power Workout, 2000s Hip Hop – to name a few. Her Nike+ training app keeps her motivated when she runs on her own.

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Pictured League Members: Lauren Hellman, bRUNch 5k committee, Allie Bruening, and Colby Jensen, bRUNch 5k committee.

 

Lauren Hellman might just go crazy if she doesn’t hit the pavement. She takes all her frustrations and stress of the day out on the wide open road. Often she will bring her dog along for company. She uses this time to catch up on her favorite podcasts. When weather forces Lauren to run on a treadmill, she might deviate slightly from the podcasts and opt for some Taylor Swift. “My favorite item to have on a run with me is a great pair for shoes,” she says. Typically she gets her shoes from Altra Running. But she recently picked up a pair from Skora Running. “They may become my new favorite,” Lauren says. 

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Pictured League Members: Lauren Hellman, bRUNch 5k committee, Allie Bruening, and Colby Jensen, bRUNch 5k committee.

No matter what your running style- or even if you’re not a runner- Lauren, Colby, Stacy and Lisa agree that there’s a place for you at the April 16 bRUNch 5K. Families are welcome to bring their kids for a 1K fun walk around Turner Park and if you’re not up for racing, you can purchase a ticket to the after-run brunch. Registration information is now available on jlomaha.org. We can’t wait to see you there!

 

Growing Up American Girl – Piper’s Story

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Piper Zatechka (daughter of League Sustaining Member Jennifer Zatechka) has fond memories of being in the Junior League of Omaha American Girl Fashion Show. For five years, Piper’s family has watched her walk the runway in genuine American Girl clothing while carrying a matching doll from the American Girl collection. In her own words, Piper talks about how much fun she has and how the show helped her build confidence.

 

“American Girl celebrates a girl’s inner star, encouraging her to stand tall, reach high and dream big,” says committee co-chair Alysia Radicia. “During each of eight shows, attendees enjoy learning how clothing for young women has changed over the years to reflect history, culture and girls’ individual styles.”

The show, now in its 24th year, supports the Junior League of Omaha’s child-minded community projects and celebrates the experience of being a girl, yesterday and today, through a colorful presentation of historical and contemporary fashions. Model registration for the 2016 shows is available now through February 1.
Registering online is easy.

Available Shows
Friday, March 4:  7 p.m.
Saturday, March 5:  10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 6:  10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Each show runs two hours.

Venue
Field Club of Omaha
3615 Woolworth Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska

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Junior League of Omaha Members Out and About Enjoying Autumn Events

Vivid colored leaves still hang from trees in Omaha. The ones that have made their way to the ground, crunch and crackle under step. It is autumn, or fall, in the heartland and there is one thing on which we can all agree…

Autumn leaves are most beautiful when being raked by someone else.

There was a steady cool breeze in the air this weekend and many Junior League of Omaha members reached for their tall boots and vests officially marking the start of Han Solo Season.

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The cool air inspires many League members to fire up the oven or the slow cooker and whip up something delicious. Tracy Cartwright baked a batch of Mini Pumpkin Poppers.

Tracy Weis made a batch of yummy taco soup and cornbread. (Make something similar with this recipe.) And now that the slow cooker is working overtime, make sure it stays squeaky clean.

Melissa Carlberg and her husband Zach hosted a fall-theme dinner party for friends featuring recipes that gave a nod to the season including: roasted walnuts, apple parsnip soup and baked apple roses.

Other League members ventured out and about this weekend.

Many members attended the Women’s Center for Advancement TGIF event. Angela Cutler was one of three co-chairs for the western-themed event and Veronica Wortman served on the silent auction committee. Many league members put together silent auction items and attended the event that raised money to help women in the Omaha area out of domestic crisis.

Junior League of Omaha members attended the 2015 Women's Center for Advancement's TGIF event include: Angela Kros Cutler, Veronica Wortman, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, Kate Hansen, Jen Olson Alloway (sustainer), Meghan Hope, Shelly Marsh, Tina Nelson, Chaley Smith Chandler, Mary Jane Tritsch, Lindsey Snyder, Alysia Radica and Liz Akert (not pictured)
Junior League of Omaha members attended the 2015 Women’s Center for Advancement’s TGIF event include: Angela Cutler, Veronica Wortman, Melissa Carlberg, Kate Hansen,  Jen Alloway (sustainer), Lindsey Buchanan, Meghan Hope, Shelly Marsh, Tina Nelson, Chaley Chandler, Mary Jane Tritsch, Lindsey Snyder, Alysia Radica and Liz Akert (not pictured)

League sustainer Catherine McAllister and her friend served as co-chairs for Omaha’s Great Pumpkin event this weekend. The event supports Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska‘s adoption and foster care awareness. Catherine has been involved in supporting the organization for five years.

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Done in a Day project organized volunteers to assist with the Omaha Symphony Spooktacular. League members helped decorate the lobby of the Holland Performing Arts Center, set up trick-or-treat stations, run pre-concert activities including instrument petting zoo, costume contest, and a Halloween-themed craft. Thank you to Kristen Bladt, Kelly Brooks, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, Beverly Gorman, Kimberly Johnston, Racheal McMahon, Meghan Bothe, Caroline Drumm, Erin Fairchild, Megan Gerwick, Katie Lange Allebone, Terri Sharpe, Leigh Shea, Sarah Smith, and Ashlee Young for participating.

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Other League members were in the Halloween spirit. Megan Riebe and friends went to the Ranch of Terror at the Bellevue Berry Farm.

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Heather Vanourney ran the Bones 5K this weekend. The Omaha Running Club sponsored the run through the moonlit trails of Standing Bear Lake. Runners’ hearts raced in fear of all things that go bump in the night, according to the event page.

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Katie Triplett and Veronica Wortman spent an afternoon decorating Halloween and fall cookies to share with friends and colleagues.

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Before heading out to Trick-or-Treat with the kiddos, the Omaha Fire Department suggests several safety tips, such as adding a strip of reflective tape to trick-or-treat bags or clothing and costumes for greater visibility.

Going to a costume party? Revisit recent pop culture phenomenon for inspiration in creating a costume. Kelly Giese and her husband Matt, created this Double Rainbow costume.
(It was soo beautiful.)

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The party doesn’t stop when we put Halloween 2015 in the books. Tickets to the 3rd annual Barn Bash are available now through the Junior League of Omaha website. The event features a chili cook-off, BINGO, cash bar, pumpkin pie martinis, bonfire and s’mores. Members, significant others and friends welcome at the event.

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Runza Restaurants Break Fundraising Record with Junior League of Omaha Project

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Recently Runza® Restaurants conducted the 13th annual Great Books for Great Kids fundraiser. This year the funds raised benefited the Junior League of Omaha’s A Book of My Own community project. The League’s Board of Directors and project committee members staffed each location to provide members of the community more information about the Great Books for Great Kids event as well as general information about the league.

Blake (daughter of League President-Elect, Chaley Chandler) and Soren (son of League member Lexie Fraham enjoyed their frozen treats from Runza. A portion of sales from the day supported the League's community project.
Blake (daughter of League President-Elect, Chaley Chandler) and Soren (son of League member Lexie Fraham enjoyed their frozen treats from Runza. A portion of sales from the day supported the League’s community project.

Fourteen Omaha area Runza® Restaurants each pledged 15 percent of sales that day to the project. A record-breaking $8,162.07 was raised that day. Runza® has been a longtime supporter of reading. “Reading is vital to lifelong success and provides an excellent opportunity for families to spend time together,” stated Becky Perrett, director of marketing for Runza® National. “Donating funds for books and promoting literacy is an important endeavor for children and the community.”

League member and A Book of My Own community project Co-Chair, Cindy Guenzel and her children supported the event that raised over $6,0000.
League member and A Book of My Own community project Co-Chair, Cindy Guenzel and her children supported the event that raised over $8,100.

A Book of My Own has distributed close to 70,000 books to children in the Omaha area since the community project began in 2011. Visit the Junior League of Omaha’s Facebook Runza Great Books for Great Kids photo album to see more of this successful event. Special thank you to the A Book of My Own committee members who make this project successful: Britt Dudzinski, Cindy Guenzel, Katie Anderson, Becca Bode, Lyndsey Canning, Leigh Garvin, Gina Murante, Liz Akert, Maria Michaelis, Erin Glidden, Becky Heckman, Katie Martens, Sara Hemley, Laura Snyder, Chinh Doan, Emily Flom, Meghan Bothe, Sarah Carse, Amy Niederee, Melissa O’Neill, Megan Guenther, Nicole Seckman Jilek and Steffanie Luteran.

League member and Communications Chair, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg along with her several of her Nebraska Medicine colleagues supported the event by lunching at Runza that day.
League member and Communications Chair, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, along with her several of her Nebraska Medicine colleagues, supported the event by lunching at Runza that day.

Shine On: 2015 Omaha Color Run a Little Bit Brighter

A dedicated volunteer group made up of Junior League Omaha members and community volunteers were up before dawn to staff the 2015 Omaha Color Run. One group in particular had signed up to volunteer months prior to the event, at the very first suggestion that there would be a glitter station at the end of the race. “The only three words I heard of the announcement were “glitter” and “Color Run,” so I picked up my phone and text the chair of the event. locking in my participation,” says Veronica Wortman, League member and station captain. “I think I sent the text before the chair was even done making the announcement.”

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The Color Run is a traveling fun 5K run with a community purpose. In each city, a designated nonprofit organization receives recognition and financial contribution for supporting the volunteer staffing of the event. Known as the happiest 5K on the planet, the Color Run plasters runners with colored corn starch mixture as they run. The event ends with a short rave-like party where the gathered crowd is blasted with more color. The Color Run announced a new theme this year on their website. “The Shine Tour is designed to uplift and inspire runners to stand out from the crowd, sweat sparkles, and continue to live their lives in a happy and healthy way.”

Within a week all of the “Shine Station” volunteer slots were filled. Over the course of the five hour volunteer shift, 16 women tossed 500 pounds of shimmery silver cornstarch compound over runners as they crossed the finish line. Covered in shine, and resembling the Wizard of Oz Tin Man, the women recall memories created that day.

“I had a great time with the fellow Shine Station ladies.  I loved meeting some fairly new League members and catching up with some women I haven’t seen in a while.  I personally loved being covered in shine!  It reminded me of junior high when we’d slather ourselves with drugstore shimmer powder and jam to *NSync.” says Katie Triplett, League member and Shine Station volunteer.

“I would recommend bringing a SARS mask, hat and sunglasses. You’ll look ridiculous, but definitely worth it because really, it is about spending time with friends and making a difference to other in the community,” says Alysia Radicia, League member and Shine Station volunteer.  She also laughed when admitting that by the end of the event she had so much shine in her hair that she had a good idea of how she would look when she aged. “I know that I can pull off the silver-grey hair look, which is a life goal of mine.”

League member and Shine Station volunteer, Claire Stevens recalls, “We had an awesome crew and this was a wonderful way to fulfill a fundraising shift requirement for the League with a fun group of girls.” Following the Color Run rules of tossing color at runner’s torsos rather than faces, Claire realized quickly she had limited aim and ended up getting more silver shine on herself. “That’s okay, I have always wanted to look like a twilight vampire- dream fulfilled.”

Color Run Shine Station volunteers, before and after.
2015 Omaha Color Run Shine Station volunteers, before and after.

The Shine Station was staffed by Junior League of Omaha members and community volunteers. League members: Claire Stevens, Meghan Hope, Veronica Wortman, Jennifer Anderson, Katie Triplett, Teresa Riesberg, Sarah Hanify, Kristen Robert Buell, Kayla Petersen, Lauren Taylor Anderson, Ashley Wampler-Gloystein and Kati Jurgens Davis. Community Volunteers: Amy Morris, Caitlin Morris

The 2015 Omaha Color Run was an overall success. Check out the quick facts about the race in the below infographic.

Omaha, Neb. 2015 Color Run, Shine Tour infographic
Omaha, Neb. 2015 Color Run, Shine Tour infographic