Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Sweeping To Win: IN MIND 4 U SIGN

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Summer Sweeping to Win Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network.

   Summer is coming to a close, but it's still HOT, HOT, HOT outside. Each blogger in this Event has a giveaway worth at least $25 to help you stay cool and keep Summer Sweeping with this fun Giveaway Hop - so be sure to hop around to them all below!
   I am featuring one of my favorites from Etsy - In Mind 4 U. Owner Stacy Murphy in Ohio creates oh-so-wonderful signs to grace the walls of your home. And the sign she has chosen to donate is perfect for your bedroom or as a gift for either a wedding or anniversary. This particular sign, "All of Me Loves All of You", is very popular right now and has a value of $48.
   To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below. The winner will be chosen via and contacted via email. Experience A Life is not responsible for delivery of the prize. After you enter my giveaway, be sure to hop to all of the other fabulous bloggers and enter theirs! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Summer Sweeping participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Geeked Out!

Ah! Star Wars! Zombie apocalypse! Game of Thrones! Dungeons & Dragons! I have embraced my inner dork proudly and when I saw a Tulsa Comic Expo was going on, Mandy and I made plans to take it in.
   For those who don't know, a comic expo is a gathering place for dorks, geeks, fanboys and fangirls of all types. The king of the comic expos would be Comic Con, which is held in a variety of metro areas throughout the year. Not only are the subjects, such as what I first mentioned, covered, but also board games, video games, science fiction and fantasy books and comic books (of course).
   When we pulled up to the Expo, we saw a Ghostbusters car
parked out front, which prompted my first geek-out of the day. Inside was a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (also Ghostbusters). And a giant Hulk.
   Now, I was not all gung-ho to attend at first, but when I saw who one of the celebrity guests was, I was all for it! That celebrity guest was Billy Dee Williams aka Lando Calrissian from Star Wars. As a huge Star Wars fangirl, I jump at the chance to meet any member of the original cast. How many have I met? Well, after the Comic Expo - one! And let me say, the experience was . . . I could have gone without it. I guess it really is true - actors are not the characters they play. He was standoffish, quiet and looked like he couldn't wait for Mandy and I to leave his table. We said our good-byes and proceeded to look at yet another table full of fake zombie parts. I'm sure maybe he was just tired. He had been at the Expo all weekend and we went in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday.
   But, one celebrity who made a huge impression on us was Theodus Crane aka Big Tiny from The Walking Dead. And let me tell you about BIG! When he stood up from the table to take a picture with us, I had to look up and I am not a short
Mandy with Theodus Crane. They switched glasses for the photo.
Rather fetching, if you ask me.
female. My husband is 6'2" and Crane made my husband look tiny. Crane stood at 6'8" and was like a giant teddy bear. He was funny. He acted like he enjoyed talking with us. He asked us questions and he answered ours. It was awesome to meet him!


Me taking on The Hulk . . . and WINNING!
I totally kicked his butt!
We toured the facility, watched some boffer wars (play weapons), nabbed some free comics, looked at some awesome merchandise and it's a good thing I had no money to begin with, because I would have been broke when I left. I also met a self-published author who gave me some tips on selling my own books (Ethereal Influence: The Inquisition and Ethereal Influence: The Birth - on Amazon). And we encountered several ghost hunting groups who were more than happy to talk to us about ghost hunting and maybe taking us along on one of their excursions.    Whether or not you are a dork, seriously check one of these conventions out. You will pay money to get in, but you see some awesome stuff (I could have bought presents for almost everyone on my Christmas list.) and you have an opportunity to meet some amazing people.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Experience You Don't Need: Bridezilla

Go out and live a life and have new experiences. I'm all for that. But, there are some experiences that do not have a place in your life. Experiencing a life is not just about making
memories, but it's also about making those memories good ones. Now, tell me where a bridezilla fits into that picture?
   I have been watching the show. I find it fascinating. And I figured out why it's so fascinating. Bridezillas are like serial killers, who I also find fascinating. These people (both types) treat others so horribly and I do not understand it. I want to figure out why they act that way and how in the world they got the idea in their head that it was okay to treat people the way they do. Serial killers kill the physical lives of their victims and bridezillas kill the friendships they had with their victims.
   I have not been involved in a bridezilla wedding. I came close a couple times, but was thankfully spared. So far, the weddings that I have been in have all been laid-back. Which, kudos to me for picking out awesome friends! I was not a bridezilla either. My maid-of-honor, on the day of my wedding, as we were getting our hair done, made a comment that I need to bring out my inner bridezilla. I do not even remember what made her say that. Obviously, something was not going according to plan and I was just rolling with it. She was saying it had to be done this way and she marched out the door saying she was going to be the bridezilla for me. I let her go her way.
   Perhaps the only moment I had that could be construed as a bridezilla moment occurred during my reception. There was a fire near the town my family's ranch is located near (well, 10 miles near). My wedding was taking place in a town 30 miles away from the ranch. And my dad wanted to leave and go fight the fire. That caused me to break down in tears and run to the ladies room. A number of people rushed in to see if I was okay. Which I was and I didn't really want them to witness my emotional breakdown. I got over it after everyone assured me my dad was not going to leave. And then I apologized to my dad for breaking down.
   But, back to the subject matter at hand. The abuse that I have seen on that show is repulsive! I do not get it! How did these brides get to be that way? How is that behavior justified? I know it is "her day" but it is just one day. The relationships that bride has with her family, husband and friends last longer than just one day and they are all in jeopardy afterward. I, for one, would not put up with that behavior. And I don't understand how some people would just take that abuse. YOU ARE WORTH MORE! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PUT UP WITH IT. And if you do, you are an ENABLER! That is right, you are enabling that behavior and you invite more of that abuse into your life by doing so.
   You do not have to experience that. So, do yourself a favor. If you are involved in a bridezilla wedding, bid her good-bye. If she is really your friend, she will understand that she cannot act that way and will seek to be in your life with a positive, respectful manner. If she does not, then maybe she was never your friend to begin with and you can spend your energy on other friends who are worthy of you!
   We all only have one life to live. It is far too short to waste on bridezillas. Experience a life, not abuse. Leave the bridal party, take your bridesmaids dress and use it to dress up for an evening of bar hopping!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Different Things To Do In Oklahoma

This post kicks off a series of 10 different things to do in each state. I started with Oklahoma, because well, that's where I am. And I am curious about different things to do in my current state. Some of the things will cost money, and hopefully, some of them will not. But, each item will be different. For example, I am not going to list a whole bunch of state parks. That's just boring.

1) Museum of Osteology - What to learn about bones? Here is an excellent place to start right in Oklahoma City. This museum showcases more than 300 skeletons on display. That's a lot of bones. Take your kids there. Go get some education yourself or just go there for shits and giggles! I can think of plenty of hilarious pictures to take at a museum full of skeletons. Children are $6. Adults cost $7.

2) Route 66. Yes, this historic route goes right through Oklahoma and right through Tulsa! Jump in your car and drive across the state. I'm sure you will see plenty of points of interest, as they seem to be scattered all over Route 66 (around Tulsa they are anyway).

3) Braum's Family Farm. This dairy farm is located near Tuttle and you can take a tour of the facility. To top if off, you get a sample of Braum's ice cream. I never experienced Braum's ice cream until moving to Tulsa and it is marvelous! Ben & Jerry's have NOTHING on these guys! I am a fan of the butter pecan, but my husband adores the chocolate covered cupcake. And this experience is free!

4) Body Harmony Day Spa. Experiencing life does not have to be exciting. It can be sinfully relaxing as well. Escape from the stresses of every day with a memory foam mattress, a Dead Sea salt scrub and a massage. I have been a spa once in my life in Texas and that was for a full body wrap that was supposed to shave inches off of you. Did it work? A little bit, but I would go back just for the peace and harmony.

5) Hickory Ridge Ranch. Grab your rifle! And get your dinner! Or just a trophy for your wall. Growing up, I went on a few hunting excursions with my dad - mainly pheasant (which is SOOOOO good!). My job was to control the dogs. I have never shot an animal, but I would for the experience. Hickory Ride Ridge Ranch in Lamar provides deer, elk and turkey. Go to the website to find rates (because they are hefty). It's much cheaper to get a license from the state and find a rancher who will allow you to hunt on his or her land. But, if you are a newcomer to the game of hunting, the Hickory Ridge Ranch might be the place for you.

6) Girls Gone Wine. Hooray for alcohol! The liquid courage that helps you lose your inhibitions! Get some of your friends together to sample some wine in Broken Bow. Not only can you sample, but you can create your own wine. How much does it cost? Well, prices vary depending on what type of wine you make.

7) Old Pink Truck. Ever gone antiquing? If not, start here in Tulsa with this store. I just love the name of it. I have found a few treasures while antiquing. The last one was a set of metal cocktail picks that look like miniature swords. Made in Spain, it was a perfect addition to our growing in-house bar. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had a set of these when he was growing up, so finding it also served as a bit of nostalgia.

8) Arbuckle Trail Rides. Riding a horse for the first time is a wonderful experience. I grew up on a ranch and rode horse quite a bit. The majority of my riding occurred during the summer during the AI season, in which I would use my horse (either appaloosa Casper or quarter-horse Tex) to separate cows in heat from the rest of the herd and then drive them into the barn. If you have never ridden, a trail ride would be a good place to start. You can become familiar with the saddle and how a horse moves. You can become familiar with how to properly sit in the saddle and how to grip with your legs.

This is the Kentucky Daisy Suite at the Stone Lion Inn (and the prices are listed!)
9) Stone Lion Inn. Get in touch with the supernatural part of life. The Stone Lion Inn in Guthrie is considered one of the most haunted locations in Oklahoma. Spend the night, go to a murder mystery theater. Take your camera and video recorder with you! And if you capture anything, share it with me!

10) Skydive Airtight. This is one thing that I will never touch. I will never jump out of a plane. I am absolutely terrified of heights! But, that does not mean you should not. I give props to anyone who has the courage to do so!

Now, get up and get out! Go live a life!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's Wednesday. What Are Your Plans?

It's Wednesday. HUMP DAY! YAY! For those of us who have jobs, it being Wednesday can be a cause for celebration. It's
half-way through the week. For those of us who stay at home, it's just another day, as the days of the week bleed together. Weekends do not mean much to those who stay at home - unless you have spouses who are off on the weekends or it's during the school year and your kids are home for two days straight.
   It does not have to be another dull day at home. Get out and do something. Or, do something at home that breaks the monotony of life. It does not have to be big and brilliant. Just something different. Here are some suggestions on what you can do:

1) Paint a room. I just finished painting my daughter's bedroom. She has spent the past month in South Dakota and I thought her room could use a touch-up. Her walls went from white (with plenty of washable wall paint residue) to a Disney pink. Not only did I do her walls, but I bought her some curtains, a clock, a table lamp and some wall decals. Most of the stuff I bought at a nearby consignment store called Round the House. All in all, the entire redecorating of her room cost me $100. Not bad for a total revamp. And it's kind of exciting when you see the finished product.

2) Take up cross-stitch. My grandmother would always cross-stitch and I developed an interest in it at a young age. I go through spurts of cross-stitching enjoyment. I love staring at the blank piece of fabric and knowing that soon it will be covered in detailed stitches.

3) Mix it up. I spent some time as a bartender in Rapid City, SD. I love creating different drinks for my friends to try. So far, my Tequila Sours have been a big hit. My Cucumber Mint Fizzes were well received, but not as much. I even infused cloves in a bottle of vodka to experiment with. So, run to your local liquor store, buy some spirits and some mixers and experiment with different recipes (or create something all your own). There is nothing that says you can't have a few stiff drinks in the middle of the afternoon (or morning for that matter).  

4) Take a class. It does not matter what class, as long as it piques your interest. There are pottery classes, ventriloquism classes, dance classes, cooking classes. Go online and see what classes are available in your area. If there are none, find someone nearby who does something you find fascinating. Ask them if they would be willing to teach you. For example, in Timber Lake, SD, a gentleman used to make Damascus knives. Beautiful, stunning pieces of work. He has taught a few people the trade.

5)  Photograph. Break out your camera and head outside. Try your hand at some awesome nature shots. Do not get discouraged when not every shot is an Ansel Adams. Just keep shooting until you have captured what you believe is an awesome photo. And then have it framed.

6) Dance. It doesn't matter what style or what music. Crank up the tunes and dance like no one is watching. Not only will it give you an emotional life, but it's also great exercise.

7) Is it raining? Quick! Run outside and jump in a puddle!

8) Go to your nearby playground and swing. Who doesn't love to swing?

9) Pamper yourself. Go to a local salon and get your nails done. Get your eyebrows waxed. Get a facial. Get a new hairstyle.

10) Write something - with a pen. Have you ever sat down and written a poem or a short story in long-hand? The creativity just pours out of you and onto the page! It can be exhilarating! Especially when you allow the story or poem to write itself.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Get Some Beauty In Your Life

Growing up, there were no art museums in my area. The closest one was the Terry Redlin Art Center in Watertown, and if you get a chance to visit it, I highly recommend it. I
particularly enjoyed his "America the Beautiful" series. And while the Terry Redlin Art Center was wonderful at the age of 18, I wanted something more. I wanted to see a museum that had different exhibitions moving in and out. I wanted to see history through art. I particularly wanted to see some Renaissance paintings.
   When I moved to Tulsa and discovered the Philbrook Museum of Art, I knew that I would have my chance. Monet? Heck yes! Renaissance? I was so there!
   My father and his girlfriend came to Tulsa to visit and that was the first thing we did - visit the Philbrook. Some history -
the Philbrook was built as an Italian Renaissance house for oil magnate Waite Phillips (the guy who founded Phillips 66). He gifted his house and its 23 acres of land to the city of Tulsa as an art center in 1938. And it is an expansive, glorious 72-room mansion. The beauty and detail that are present are stunning. The fountains are gorgeous. And the gardens? Might as well be walking into Eden.
   Unlike the teeny museums in my area of South Dakota, this one charged $9 admission. A small price to pay, but I have to admit I balked at it (even though my father's girlfriend picked up the tab) because I never paid admission to a museum before.
   We made our way through, going from room to room, but I lingered in the rooms with the Renaissance artwork. Never had I seen such beauty. The details and the colors brought the paintings to life! There was no Rembrandt. There was no da Vinci, but the works were still stunning. And I fantasized about having some Renaissance art hanging on the walls of my home.
   When I went into a room with sculptures, I paused at what I initially saw - a bust of John the Baptist - his head on a
platter. It was morbid, but not grotesque. It had a cold beauty to it and that image is what stuck with me - out of all of the artwork present. My father seemed a bit bored and he hurried toward and lingered in the Native American section. Of which some works by Oscar Howe were present. (The link is to the Scherr-Howe Arena in Mobridge - just put that in there as a plug for my hometown.) But, my dad is not exactly a lover of modern art and there were many of those in that section.
    If you have an opportunity to go to an art museum, especially one with revolving exhibitions from different eras, I suggest you take it. If there are no such museums in your area, wait until you get to a larger metropolitan town. Is it exciting? Absolutely not. But, it is peaceful, beautiful and a way to get some more culture into your life. Your adventures in life do not always have to be exciting. Sometimes they just have to be beautiful.