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.


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!

Back to School with Whole Foods Fayetteville

I’m excited to once again team up with one of my local favorites, Whole Foods Market Fayetteville – just in time for Iris’ first year of elementary school! Between the tears about my baby growing up, and the cheers about the disappearing preschool tuition, it hadn’t even occurred to me that I needed to figure out what to pack for lunch or for after school snacks. Enter: Whole Foods! They swooped in just in time and took the lunch-packing pressure off.

Being a mom to a kid starting “real” school for the first time, I found myself worrying about lunch – will she get lost on the way to the cafeteria? Who will she sit with? Will she have time to eat her food? Why in the world is lunch at 10:45 in the MORNING? Does that mean she’ll be starving again before school is even out?

At some point I just have to let go, know that she is not alone, and that she’ll be okay. Concentrating on the one thing I could control, I put all my nervous energy into making sure she had a delish, yet healthy lunch to look forward to. If you know Iris at all, you know that she lives for snacks. I often get embarrassed because when we visit a friend’s house she’s instantly like, “I’m hunnnngry.” It sounds like we never feed her, but in reality she just really likes scoping out other folks’ snack selection.

Thanks to Whole Foods, the only problem I had was limiting the goodness that I put in Iris’ lunch box. Making a sandwich (she prefers ham and cheese, no crust), I like giving her a selection of small, but healthy sides that I’m able to mix and match throughout the week. Annie’s fruit snacks, Pirate’s Booty, clementines, raisins, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, yogurt, string cheese, baby carrots, cheery tomatoes, and more have already made appearances in Iris’ cute little lunch tote. And of course with that early lunch time, Iris is instantly ready for a special snack when she gets home. In particular, Iris’ top picks are the individually packaged 365 Everyday Value Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites and their fruit strips. Now that Iris often plays with neighbor friends after school, I’ve started keeping a bowl of mom-approved snacks on the counter so they can help themselves. By the way, did you know that Whole Foods has no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives in their stores?

Another thing I recently learned was that Whole Foods also has a concierge shopping service. I’ve always seen the parking spot labeled for personal shoppers, but didn’t realize how it worked. Turns out, it’s super simple and anyone can use the service. All you do is email your grocery list to swfayconcerigeorders@wholefoods.com. The in-store concierge will shop your list, offer suggestions, and even work with you on delivery options. Each shop fee is only $5 on top of the cost of groceries, and for first-timers, the fee is waived!

And that leads me to… a giveaway! For those of you in the Northwest Arkansas area, I’ll soon be hosting a giveaway that includes two grocery bags full of Annie’s snacks (valued at $75) AND one year of Concierge Shops (the $5 shopping fee waived for a YEAR!). See below for more details – with the giveaway coming to Instagram soon!

– Offer is only good at Whole Foods Market Fayetteville store location.
– Limit 1 shop per week.
– Personal shop fee is waived (guest still pays for groceries).
– Delivery available (for an additional fee).
– The one year term begins the day that the first shop is initiated. Must begin redemption
starting in calendar year 2017 to complete in 2018.
– Offer is non-transferable.
– Giveaway is hosted here on my Instagram and will be open until 9 pm Central on Thursday, September 8, 2017. Also, be sure to visit Whole Foods Market’s website or the Apple Store to download their shop app for sales, digital coupons and savings!

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market Fayetteville, but all opinions are my own.

I Still Love You New York

Ever since I was a kid, I always dreamed of growing up and moving to New York City. I’ve probably been at least eight or so times, with my first ever visit as a child on a family vacation. All I remember about that trip, which was in the mid-1980s, was that there was a ton of garbage on the streets but I attribute that to being small and closer to the ground. My next trip was with school in the sixth grade – by bus all the way from Memphis, Tennessee. While that sounds like misery to me now, back then it was the biggest, most exciting adventure. Once we actually arrived, we stayed in a crappy hotel in New Jersey and then were bussed in during the day to do a little sightseeing and so that our teachers could do a lot of shopping. So my first couple of visits weren’t that great, but as I got older, I ended up with better experiences and more appreciation for the city.

I just got back from a four-night stay for work and I’m able to report that my love for New York is still the same. The smells (for better or worse), the people watching, the parks, the food, the hustle and bustle. I love it all. I still wouldn’t mind living there, but now my requirements include having millions of dollars, as I want to live the heart of it all. Until then, I’ll appreciate our home in Arkansas, which now looks even bigger and the grass looks even greener than before I left.

I wanted to share not only a few photos from my trip, but also the places I ended up eating. I received a ton of great suggestions on Instagram and was able to hit up a few of them. Here’s where I ate that I loved: Quality Meats, Jack’s Wife Freda, Rock Center Cafe, & Trattoria Dell’Arte. Now on the the photos!

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.