Thursday, May 28, 2015

May, Pit & Peak


This month has flown by...it's been filled with never ending rain, a few tornadoes, spring cleaning, traveling for work, art festivals, reading new books, discovering my love for zucchini (more on that in another post) and many, many dinners with friends and family. All in all, not too bad.

Here are a few pit & peaks of the month:

Pit:

-Living in a 100 year-old house is finally catching up with me. I have so many electrical problems happening, it's not even funny. Currently, 3 outlets & 1 light fixture (in my closet) are out. Picking out clothes in the dark is no bueno...also, I had a water leak in my bedroom wall. Apparently the wood around my window has rotted. The beautiful trees in my front yard have compromised my plumbing system (their roots are wreaking havoc on my drains). I hired a plumber "friend of a friend" to come out and fix the problem, only to be scammed out of $90...And to top it all off? I found a decomposing animal (it is so badly decomposed, I can't make out what it was...a squirrel? or skunk?) on the side of my house. Ahhhhhh!

Peak:

-Things are really great at work right now. I was recognized as an employee spotlight, received an award for a big project I spent two years working on and have been given several opportunities to shine. It's been a great month for my career!

Pit:

-The severe storms. I hate storms. I hate lightening. I hate tornadoes. I am a big scaredy-cat! I was caught in two tornadic storms (one while driving) this month. I wish I was one of those calm and collected people in a crisis, but this month taught me that when things get scary -I will run for the hills (or an underground shelter). I was a volunteer at a festival and the sirens went off. Instead of politely helping patrons to the shelter, I took off (running) in a panic and yelled at the top of my lungs "everybody! get underground!" It wasn't my finest moment...my co-workers are still laughing about it!

Peak:

-I became a Skimmbassador! By now most of you should know how much I love theSkimm (because I can't stop talking about it)...I get nothing for sharing theSkimm with you (well they might send me a reusable bag or some other promotional item... nothing life changing haha!). It's just something I believe in and am excited to share with my friends! Before Skimm, I was so misinformed on current events. I never really understood or cared about politics (or world news for that matter). I can't tell you how empowering it is to be "in the know." This may sound silly, but it's on the list of things that make me feel like a "grown up" -I was reading about the Patriot Act and thought to myself: "Hey look at me! I'm finally starting to understand this stuff!" Anyway, sign up here if this sounds like something you might enjoy :-)

Pit:

-I don't know when this one will stop "hurting" but every year, at the end of May, when all my teacher/college friends get off for summer break...I may or may not partake in a little pity party. I really really wish I still had a summer break. Being stuck inside on a beautiful day is the biggest bummer. Of course, it has rained every weekend so I haven't enjoyed nice weather since I-don't-know-when.

Peak:

-Summer is here! I may be stuck at work during the week but I have several fun weekends planned! It's time spent at the lake, weekend BBQ's, fresh watermelon, trips to the farmers market, home-grown tomatoes and a highly anticipated trip to the beach! Bring it on!

one last peak:

Here are a few of my favorite things on the internet this week:

-I love a good fixer-upper, this home makeover is unreal!!
 -Country Living

-This video is adorable...I wish I knew that guy in real life. He seems really cool! Also, I need someone to make one for me! "Love is all we need, share the love"
-Daily Liked

-"This guy sat in a cafe all day after being promised $300 and it turned into something amazing."
-Buzzfeed

-Mixed gender wedding parties. This is something I'd never considered & I love it. The people standing next to you should be those you love the most...who cares what gender they are!
 -Buzzfeed

-Momfirmations. The whole parenting thing really freaks me out...but then I read something so beautiful and hilarious, all at the same time. I think to myself  "man, I pray God gives me the gift of motherhood because I have to experience it...even if it is crazy and scary." 
-The Day Book Blog

-These graduation hats are awesome! (Also, it's good to see so many Harry Potter fans!)
-Buzzfeed

For kicks & giggles, here's my cap:


I can't believe that was 4 years ago! Oh my how time flies!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Year Without Cable

This morning I was reading theSkimm and of course, saw the article about Time Warner Cable's merger with Charter, a top US telecom company...blah blah blah. (Basically cable companies are scrambling to recover from cord cutters (like myself) who pledged their loyalties to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc).

Anyway, it reminded me that I've been meaning to tell you about my experience as a cord cutter, and hopefully persuade you into taking the scary leap into the land of no cable!



For the past year I've been living without cable (gasp! the horror!) and you know what? I don't miss it! 

Last summer I got really mad at my cable company for dropping several of my favorite channels from their lineup (of course their ridiculous prices continued to increase) and I decided it was time to part ways. Up until that point, I'd strongly considered cutting the cord but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger.

There are few things I love more than snuggling up on the couch after a long day at work with my favorite shows...I wish I didn't love TV as much as I do, but I'm keeping it real: I can't live (alone) without it.

Image source

Also, I was worried about losing local news. Oklahoma weather (as most of you know) is extreme. One minute it's sunny, the next we're under a tornado warning (or flood warning). I knew that cutting cable would mean losing my local weather resource. 

So what has it been like without cable? 

Image source
Better than you could ever imagine.

The first thing I did was go out and buy an Apple TV. I originally tried a chromecast but decided I liked Apple TV better. It's nice having my iTunes account all in one place, not to mention you can use your iPhone as a remote with Apple TV. If you are interested in learning more about Apple TV click here. Like all Apple products, it's small & sleek. You can buy it at Walmart for $69 and it's easy to set up. 

(please note, you will need internet to use any of these services, I pay around $60 a month for internet)

I already had a Netflix account before cutting the cord...all I needed to do was subscribe to Hulu. Hulu is $8 a month and has all of my favorite shows available within 24 hours of their air time. Pretty cheap! 

In April I added HBO NOW to my subscriptions. They offer the first month free so I decided to give it a try. I just paid for the second month ($15) this week. This app offers the complete series of every HBO show! I've been watching Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and I finished The Jinx! -Love it! 

I ended up purchasing a HD antenna like this one from my local radio shack for access to local news/weather -the reception is really great! I watch the Today Show every morning as I'm getting ready for work. My only complaint: it's not very pretty and there are a lot of cords...however, it's a small price to pay for access to weather coverage in Oklahoma during the month of May! Can I get an amen?!

Are there any other cord cutters out there? Do you have any tips or resources that I haven't mentioned? If you are considering "cutting the cord" and have any questions, feel free to ask!

Oh! And to my fellow Game of Thrones fans...

SPOILERS!!!!!

*I really wanted Sansa to stab Ramsay with the wine opener! Ugh! Maybe next week...

***Update***I was asked about cost breakdown, here it is: I pay less now! I was paying $110 for basic cable (no HBO & no movie channels -not to mention the decline in channels being offered by the cable company do to "feuds" with the networks)...

Today, I pay around $91 a month! ($60 internet, $8 Netflix, $8 Hulu, $15 HBO) Also, Apple TV has several free apps like PBS (hello Downton Abbey fans!), world news and sports channels too!  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week in Review

A baby shower for one of my precious cousins. They are expecting a baby girl -she will be the first great-grandchild for my poppa.


I love the women in this photo so much. I forget how much fun we have when we're together, hopefully we will be reunited soon!

My favorite boutique asked me (me?) to model a few of their summer arrivals.


I follow several fashion bloggers and never really appreciated how much work goes into taking outfit photos...It's not as easy as it looks! I'm a little (a lot) self conscious in front of the camera. I worry about what my thighs look like, what my chin looks like, should I smile? Should I pretend to laugh? (so awkward), my legs are so chalky, I should have put on lotion. blah, blah, blah -why are we (women) so hard on ourselves? It's the endless cycle of self doubt. Does it ever go away?

With that being said, all of my insecurities vanished when I saw the photos. I love how they turned out. Follow @serendipity_ada on instagram or like them on facebook to see more pics from the shoot!

Other things: 

Last weekend was the weekend of birthdays. Friday night was spent "out" celebrating a friend's birthday (read: sangria swirls, chips & salsa, patio conversations). Perfect.


Saturday was spent "in" celebrating another friend's birthday. This one was planned by yours truly (read: up all night talking, watching classic chick flicks, gorging on so. much. junk food, drinking real Dr. Pepper). Perfect.

Reading:

How women undermine themselves with words -must read ladies! -Goop

The best way to keep flowers fresh, good to know! -Apartment Therapy

For my fellow Project Runway fans: How Tim Gunn spends his Saturday. Speaking about his evening cocktail: "I’ve been drinking Manhattans since Sept. 11, 2001. I thought, “Celebrate the city. Have a Manhattan. Never forget.” -The New York Times

theSkimm guide to Yemen. "You haven’t heard about Yemen since Chandler Bing moved there. But lately, a growing civil war has put the country at the center of a much larger power struggle in the Mideast." If you're interested in being more informed on whats going on in the world (and hate reading long articles/watching the news) then you'll love thSkimm. Sign up here. 

I just finished "Leave your mark" by Aliza Licht. Oh how I loved this book. I am working on a book review, hopefully it will be up this week!

I'm starting "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins. -this book and I keep bumping into each other. I'm hearing about it everywhere. If the hype is true, it's going to be a good one!

The week ahead: 

This week is going to be busy at work. I'm attending an awards reception in the city, getting ready for the Annual Artesian Arts Festival -if your local you neeeeeed to check it out. We've got over 70 artists confirmed and many many food vendors, nom nom. What else...I'm running a 5K in two weeks so hopefully the weather won't be too terribly bad and I will get to run at the park this week.

Have a good Monday!
-Britt

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Currently


New flowers at the dollhouse make me so happy. I usually plant red geraniums but this year I opted for pink. They are so feminine and add such a welcoming presence on my front porch!

In other news, have you seen all of the Met Gala coverage? ...did you happen to notice the "Asian" inspired looks?






Images source: Vogue

Guests were asked to dress in the costume institute's theme China: through the looking glass. I have to admit, I gave myself a big ol' pat on the back for being so "on trend" (of course, I'm referring to my Asian inspired dinner party last week).

Speaking of the Met Gala, my favorite place on the internet, Humans of New York, photographed the event. Check out Katy Perry's photo & caption. Brandon (the HONY photographer) has an amazing talent for bringing out the vulnerability and tenderness of his subjects. I love how "normal" Katy Perry looks in this photo. She is human, same as you and I, sometimes that's easy to forget when we're looking at celebs from afar.

Currently reading:

-Skimm, Skimm, Skimm! -this week I was named "Skimm'bassador" by my favorite news outlet, theSkimm. Ya'll.,..I haven't been this excited about something since Birchbox! What is theSkimm? Well..theSkimm makes it easier to be smarter. It's a daily email newsletter -my secret weapon in meetings, on dates or even at dinner with friends. It breaks down all you need to stay "in the know" and jump into conversations -it's smart, witty & quick. They read, you Skimm. Sign up here.

-Sheryl Sandberg's tribute to her late husband (which I came across thanks to theSkimm). Last year I read her book, "Lean in." (read my review here) her husband (and their marriage) was mentioned several times in the book, she described their relationship as a true partnership.  I thought her letter was beautifully written and honest.

-Global fashion communications executive (read: Donna Karan social media maven and my new girl crush), Aliza Licht's new book "Leave your Mark." The tagline sucked me in: "Land your dream job. Kill it in your career. Rock social media." Yep, I can't wait so sink my teeth into this one! 

-Anna Kendrick killing it over at MTV news, #Girlpower. 

-These brutally honest cards for cancer patients. I can relate to that feeling of "I don't know what to say..." & these cards are perfect. I particularly loved the 4th card. 

-I also loved these honest Mother's Day cards. Hahaha "Hey mom thanks for having me!"

Have a wonderful day! 

-Britt 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Asian Dinner Party

Last night I hosted my monthly book club. Each month we meet for a potluck-style dinner and discuss whatever book we've chosen to read. A few months ago we celebrated our third anniversary.

When we first began book club I didn't really know anyone in the group. I was new to Ada (well I had been living here for 6 months) and was invited to eat dinner after our town's annual Christmas parade. At dinner we began to discuss different books we were reading, I had just finished the Pioneer Woman's book & a few of the other girls had read it as well. (side note, I loved that book & highly recommend it to you hopeless romantics)... As the dinner was winding down, someone mentioned "we should do this again!" and alas, book club was born. I think there were 5 or 6 of us at the dinner that night. We each called a friend or two to invite to join in the book club. Today we have 13 girls. I can't tell you how much fun we've had over the last three years.

It is so hard to make friends (and keep friends) as an adult. We are all so busy and when we aren't busy we're tired...but having a monthly date, a day that no matter how crazy life is we all get together for good food and fellowship...well that's everything.

I know book club seems a little cheesy or nerdy, but it's not really about the books. It's about the friendships. We've been there for babies, weddings & some bad times too... -if you have a group of friends you don't see often enough...consider making a monthly club. Wine club?  Dessert club? Podcast club? Also, have each friend invite someone new to join in. That way you make new friends! I promise you will begin to grow closer to these people and eventually you will look around and see them eating takeout in your living room floor, tears in your eyes from all the laughter and you will thank God for these amazing women who bring so much joy into your life.

Okay I'm off my soapbox. Back to the party!

We don't usually decorate for book club, but you know me! I can't resist a good theme. I decided to go with the Asian theme because of my love for Asian food. *The book we read had nothing to do with the theme, I just really wanted to eat Chinese :-)

(We read Mindy Kaling's book: "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without me" -it was just okay. I enjoyed Amy Poehler's book so much more). 

I ordered the fans & chopsticks from Oriental Trading, everything else was picked up at Walmart or borrowed from a friend. We ate dinner on my coffee table (that way we could sit in the floor).







The "candy sushi" was so easy to make and was a big hit with the girls! It is just a rice crispy treat (cut in half, hot dog style), a fruit-by-the-foot fruit roll up & Swedish fish!  Easy peasy!



To my RDR girls: I love you all. Last night was so much fun, I can't wait for next month! xoxo! 
-Britt