HELLO
Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.

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Category : Life

LIFE LATELY: September 2017

I wanted to pop in and give you a little life update. Nothing major to report, but we have been pretty busy over here. When I’m not busy at the office, I’ve been busy at home working on a lot of sponsorhips lately for the blog and Instagram. I basically consider it my part-time job at this point, but am having fun with it while I can. Like my eBay career, I know this will not last forever but it sure is fun to navigate and make some extra money (and experiences!) on the side. In fact, next weekend we’re headed to Oklahoma City to stay at the 21c Hotel there. Iris and I recently spent the night at the one in Bentonville and loved it, so I’m anxious to check out another one (and see OKC for the first time)!

Other than that, Todd has been riding his bike a lot (he even won first place in a state championship race last weekend). As for Iris, she is LOVING kindergarten. It’s hard to get many details about her day, but from what I gather, she loves her teacher and seems to be making new friends. One of the awesome things (for me) is that parents are welcome to eat lunch with them. I’ve only been once so far, but it’s the cutest thing to watch her go through the lunch line and talk to her friends. I really need to start planning her birthday party soon too – I can’t believe she’ll be SIX in one month! As of right now I think she has settled on a “unicorn and candy” themed birthday party. That should at least be fun (and easy) to plan.

If you’ll remember, we are surprising Iris with a trip to Disney World for her birthday. In one week I have to make our fast-pass selections, so I really need to dive back in and finish planning the trip. I also need to carefully figure out how to surprise her because we won’t be going right away. And as for this weekend, it’s one of our last calm ones before the fall season gets super hectic. In fact, it’s nearly 9 am and Iris is STILL SLEEPING. It’s a weekend miracle!

Before I go, here are a few quick more things we’ve been up to:

– Iris recently did a little shoot for Riffraff. How cute are these shots (and game day shirts)?!

– We took a quick trip to Tulsa to visit the zoo, eat at Prairie Brewpub, and spend the night at a hotel with pals from Fayetteville.

– Tailgated at the first home game with Baby Frankee.

– Ran into Mike Anderson, coach of the Razorback basketball team, when we were out to eat. His wife thought it was Iris’ birthday because of how she was dressed… Nope. Just a regular Tuesday.

– After like a year of research, I finally pulled the trigger and purchased new bedding. I went with Brooklinen. I’ll let ya know how I end up liking it.

The Preacher’s Son restaurant, who just recently started serving lunch, treated Todd and I to dinner, so we had our first real date night in forever.

– Last but not least, Todd and I are completely invested in Big Brother this season. Well, we are every season, but this has been a good one. Can’t wait for the finale next week – or the new celebrity version they just announced for winter!

At Home with CertaPro

With summer winding down, we often find ourselves outside soaking up the last bits of warm weather before we coast into autumn. Earlier this spring I partnered with CertaPro to take the plunge and paint the exterior brick of our home. Since then, it’s provided the backdrop for everything from first day of school photos, to sidewalk chalk creations, to lazy evenings on the porch after supper with the fam. It was such a huge decision to paint the brick, but now I can’t imagine our home any other way.

Thanks to Sherwin-Williams we chose a color combo that suited our home, and us, perfectly. If you missed the before and after photos, with all the details of the process, here. In the meantime, you can find us outside making more memories. Special thanks to my pals at CertaPro of Northwest Arkansas for making my home feel even more like home.

This post is in partnership with CertaPro.

#CoxSmartHome Tour!

I recently partnered with with Cox Communications to visit their touring smart home right here in Northwest Arkansas. I had no idea what to expect going in, but I must admit I was intrigued. Over 50 smart devices throughout one home? Yes, please! As a busy working mom, I’m interested in anything that makes the day go a little smoother… and a little more fun too. Of course one thing was for sure – you absolutely need high-speed internet to make sure everything works seamlessly, so the entire house was outfitted with Cox Cox Panoramic Wi-Fi .

Well, I was instantly impressed when I was welcomed virtually at the front door of the Buffington Homes house (also totally drool worthy).

My first stop on the tour was one of my favorites – the kitchen! I met fellow blogger, Whitney Bond of WhitneyBond.com, who personally showed me her favorite smart devices to use in the kitchen. The two devices that stood out for me were the Behmor Brewer coffee system and the Crock Pot that you control with an app. How am I not already taking advantage of starting my coffee from bed and cooking dinner while I’m at the office?!

From there, I got the full scoop on Cox Homelife, which is an easy to use security system that you can control from anywhere (and watch from anywhere thanks to the HD video). Todd and I have been seriously considering taking the plunge on Smart Door Locks, so I was happy to see how they worked with Cox’s full security system. I also got the rundown on Cox Contour, which is a television option I’m now seriously considering for our own home.

Making my way up to the second floor I found someone I never would have guessed – Madonna’s violinist, Jason Yang! He’s much more than just the Material Girl’s musician though. As a violinist, composer, and YouTuber, I found him at his station where he gives virtual lessons to students all over the world via Skype. I even got my own private mini-concert!

While upstairs, I explored the other bedrooms where I witnessed 3D printing for the first time by NWA 3D. In the children’s bedroom, I received a demonstration from Trifecta Communications, which uses augmented reality to make the pages of books come to life with publisher, Calm in Your Palm. There was also a piggy bank (excuse me, Porkfolio Bank) that not only counts the money as you deposit it, but also alerts you if someone tries to move it! Iris would be all about that. Crystal Bridges was even on hand showing how they’ve created online courses for kids, which give credits for things such as curating your own virtual art gallery. Last school year, more than 1,000 students participated in the online learning classes and this year the goal is 10,000.

Speaking of Iris, there were so many things that you typically wouldn’t think about as needing to be “smart.” For instance, from a mom perspective, I loved the toothbrush that reminds kids to spend a little more time brushing those back teeth and that you can track their progress on an app! I was also intrigued by the mirror that adjusts based on the lighting you’ll be in for most of your day. For example, if you know you’ll be in florescent lighting, you just let it know and it will adjust the glow for the best make-up application. How fancy is that?

Beyond the bathroom, I learned about other health advantages on the tour. Trapollo, partnering with Mercy Virtual, gave real-time demonstrations of video conferencing with their hospital for a virtual consult. This is instead of having to make a trip in to the doctor for every little thing. If you are dealing with health issues, I’m sure being monitored from the comfort of your own home is not only reassuring, but of course it can ultimately can safe time and money as well.

The tour included a well-rounded mix of fun as well. I watched a demonstration by Ozark Cycling Adventures about their Cycling Performance Lab on the back porch (Todd’s recent cycling obsession made me pay special attention to this one). And then even got to try augmented and virtual reality thanks to Tesseract – another exciting first for me!

Overall, I consider myself pretty connected when it comes to being “plugged-in.” But after this tour, I realized there are so many more possibilities out there – and of course those will just keep expanding. As the number of smart devices in my home grows, it’s clear that my internet will need to support them. From house plants that water themselves, to robot dogs, I was sincerely impressed with Cox Communications and Buffington Homes and left wanting everything (along with that panoramic wi-fi).

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Cox Communications, but all opinions are my own.

First Day of Kindergarten

Within three days we went from celebrating 10 years of being married, to the first day of kindergarten. Talk about a cause for celebration (and a lot of preparation getting ready for Iris’ big day).

On Thursday, Iris stayed with my mom while Todd and I went to the parent kindergarten orientation. Realizing this was the only time we would have together to celebrate our decade of marriage, we stopped randomly at Herman’s near our house. Treating ourselves to a rack of ribs, drinks, and actual adult conversation, we were stunned to find out that a kind person paid our full bill! The waitress wouldn’t tell us who it was, but whoever bought our meal had no idea that we were celebrating our anniversary and the fact that now, ten years later, we have a little kindergarten. Pretty crazy how the universe works sometimes.

This morning we dropped Iris off on her first day, my eyes periodically filling with tears while hers were as wide as can be, taking it all in. She was all smiles as she waved goodbye, which was her polite way of shooing us out of the classroom. We made our way to the school cafeteria, where the PTO hosted a “Boo Hoo Breakfast” for all the kindergarten parents. After drowning my emotions in a cinnamon roll and orange juice, we made our way to the car and off to work.

All day I kept wondering what she was doing. At 10:45 on the dot, I knew she must be heading to the cafeteria for (a very early) lunch. At 10:51 I logged in and noted that her lunch account had its first purchase, making me relieved that she figured out the lunch system on her first day. I took off a little early from work so that I could pick her up shortly after dismissal. I wasn’t sure what kind of girl I would get, but assumed that she would either be very ready for me to be there or mad that I came so early. I am happy to report that I got the latter (I made it up to her with a trip to CVS). I told her she was in luck because every day after this on, I’ll be getting her at our normal time.

I tried not to ask a million questions when we got home, but I was able to piece together the following facts about her first day: her class followed clues from Pete the Cat to tour the school, she only ate a little bit of spaghetti but loved the cheese sticks, was amazed that she gets CHOCOLATE milk at lunch, made a few new friends but can’t remember their names, and has proclaimed her teacher to be the BEST teacher ever. She can’t wait for day two of kindergarten and I can’t wait for a few new details about her day.

TEN YEARS

Ten years ago today, Todd and I were married in the hot August heat. With a $100 wedding dress and a rented margarita machine, we celebrated with our best friends and family in the backyard of the Clinton House Museum. I was blogging even way back then, so you can see those posts here and here. Who would have thought that a guy asking a girl in a coffee shop to borrow a Justin Timberlake CD would lead to where we are now? Looking back over the years, I think what stands out the most is that we support each other every step of the way, even when the ideas we have are crazy. That has led to a pretty wonderful life for our little family and I am just so grateful.

Anticipating this big 10-year mark, I wanted to plan some sort of anniversary trip, but when you select wedding dates you typically don’t think about things that may be happening years from then. Tonight we’re celebrating by taking Iris to meet her Kindergarten teacher and to see her classroom for the first time. When we realized that would mean we wouldn’t be going anywhere for our anniversary, Todd’s response was perfect: We will instead celebrate with the fact we’ve created an awesome human being together. I’ll cheers to that… but I still want to go on that trip. :)