Life Without Cable- It’s Not Too Shabby!

Have you ever woken up one day and realized you are paying over $200 for cable and come to find out rates are going to increase by 15% in 60 days? Well, that is exactly what happened to Bub and me! I will add a couple caveats so you can get a hold of the whole picture here. Our cable bill did include our internet service and it did include five, yes five, DVR boxes. It did not include any movie or premium channels.

Let us explore this for a second. When we moved into our house, we transferred our then cable provider’s service from the rental. And we were fine for a while and then Bub’s alma mater went to the National Championship game and our cable kept going on the fritz during the game. It was a sight for sore eyes to see a grown man literally running circles around the outside of the house, like the friction of his jeans was going to put enough electricity in the air to get the cable to come back on. He could hear the neighbors yelling and he would run faster- it really was a sight.

It was the very next week that we got that service turned off and the next service turned on. See, they reel you in with those first year promos and then the second year, the promos end and you pay full price and you’re locked in with a contract. Well, I started reviewing the bills and checking to see where I might could trim some fat. That $200 cable bill with a 15% increase on the horizon became my target.

I knew we could not live without internet- no way Jose. But, could we live without cable? Life without ESPN is not a possibility for Bub, so figuring out how to get ESPN was the first hurdle. We accomplished that through the use of Watch ESPN app. The second was researching and figuring out Apple TV verses Roku. A simple definition of these 2 devices is that they are a platform through which Netflix, Hulu and You Tube, among other streaming services, can be utilized on our TVs.

We had five DVR boxes because we had one in the den, the living room and 3 bedrooms. I could wax and wane about why we had them in the 2 bedrooms upstairs that are strictly guest rooms. What it boils down to is that Bub and I not only enjoy watching TV in bed, but we sleep with the TV on- and, so we both agreed that having a TV with cable in the guest rooms was important and a nice touch for our guests- hence, five DVR boxes.

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I put a query out on Facebook asking for a comparison of Apple TV and Roku. I gained a great perspective about the two. But, in that process, a friend offered to sell me his, slightly used, Apple TV for half price. At that point, it became a no brainer. We did come to the final conclusion that the Roku would ultimately be the platform we would like to purchase but was not necessary until further notice. The TV in the den is a smart tv and therefore we were only in in need of immediate action for the TV in the bedroom. At this point, we are intending to do some comparison shopping between the Roku and Amazon Fire TV before we make any further purchases.

Not that the Apple TV does not do the job it is supposed to do, but- the channels and apps available on the Roku look more plentiful and awesome. The smart tv… as a streaming platform… in comparison to the Apple TV leaves much to be desired. We also got digital antennas for both the den and our bedroom TVs so that we can get local channels. They work pretty good— we got the base model from Wal-Mart and Bub keeps saying we need to upgrade those too. Ultimately, the plan is to move these digital antennas to the bedrooms upstairs as well as the Apple TV and then put Rokus or maybe Amazon Fire TVs in the den and our bedroom.

We also subscribed to Netflix and Hulu Plus. And I have to say, I have been really pleased with both and we use both daily. We probably use Netflix more but, mainly because it has such a wonderful selection of cartoons. Baby Bub’s latest obsession is trains— my Moma has even let him watch the Thomas the Train Christmas movie! But, Baby Bub will never run out of cartoon options because all the major players, at least it seems, are available on Netfix.

weedsThis is the first time I have ever had a Netflix subscription and I realize how awesome it is! I was able to finish Weeds. I own the first 6 seasons, but never got around to finishing the last two seasons until we turned off our cable. If you have never watched Weeds or started it and never finished it, I recommend you go back to it. To describe it in one sentence- a suburban mom turns drug dealer and all her exploits. The story line, is at times cray-zee, but- it’s a great show and absolutely entertaining.

Parenthood2goodThe second show that has captured my attention is Parenthood. I don’t know how long it has been on air or anything. I did see some snippet of the current season and was shocked at what seemed to be the plot line- I guess I will get there soon enough. However, I really like this show. It’s about four adult siblings and their lives and how their lives and drama continue to be intertwined. Yes, it’s drama packed, at times awkward and I am totally enthralled.

orangeAnother show that Bub and I have embraced is Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original. This show, created and produced by the same folks who did Weeds- is CRAY-ZEE! Granted, we are just making our way through the very first season- but, each episode leaves me wanting more! Hold onto to yourself with this one because— I mean, it’s awesome. I am fascinated with this show in a way because it adds a story to a culture, an inmate culture, that is somewhat out of the realm of everyday thought… the premise of the show- a girl did something illegal and just before the statue of limitations is passed, she gets called and sentenced to prison time. And the show is all about how she navigates prison life. Yep. It’s fascinating.

hoj2And those that know me, know I love reality TV and dear reader, not having cable did not stop me from finding a great new to me reality TV series- House of Joy. I have never heard of Joy or her husband but apparently, he is a very successful music producer. His wife, is so charismatic and his children adorable. Not to mention, all her family lives in the house with them— they have birthday parties, they vacation to Hawaii and she takes dance lessons from P.Diddy’s choreographer- what’s her name, the bitch? So- anyway, another great show I would have never found had we not canceled cable.

To recap. Life without cable- is not too shabby. It has taken some getting used to but, the $20 cable bill as opposed to the $160 had helped us get through the adjustment phase. ($230-$70= $160) And, it has some perks too- like getting to finish shows I started 8 years ago as well as start shows that are 5 seasons down the road. Plus, Hulu Plus helps us keep up with the prime time shows that we enjoy like Modern Family, the Middle and the Neighbors. I can safely say that Bub and I would both recommend anyone at least review their options as far as cable goes. Saving money is def fun!

Are there any other bills that you have managed to trim to save some money. We are always open to the possibilities of saving money!

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Personalized, Embroidered Wall-Medallions

So, this is kind of funny. I’m writing the admin intro for my own guest post. A few months ago, Coralie signed us up to guest post on another blog during their “Crafting for Baby” series. We did. It was a hit! They requested that we wait a few weeks before re-publishing the post on our own blog… so, we did. But, here it is! It’s near and dear to my heart so I wanted to share it with FTTDWYW, too. Here it is in its entirety.

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Hi, Everybody! It’s Leigh here from Fun Things To Do While You’re Waiting! I’m the one on the left! Fun Things To Do While You’re Waiting is lifestyle blog run by my way-back-highschool-bestie Coralie and me. We somedayprofiletalk about a little bit of everything on our blog: clean recipes, think-pieces, and DIY Lifehacks… to name a few. We also talk a lot about crafts. We are both lovers and artisans of an assortment of crafting mediums- from Appliques to Zippers… and everything in between. When Coralie signed us up to Guest Post for Someday Crafts “Crafting for Baby” series, we put our heads together about what craft we could share with y’all. The submission request was for an original/never-before published idea for a baby craft. A lot of previous baby crafts I had made (like the Star Trek: TNG Captain’s Onesie) were variations on already published themes. But for the Someday Crafts audience, we wanted to do something really special. So, without further adieu, may I present a FTTDWYW original craft: Personalized Wall Medallions.

Personalized Wall Medallions

 

As Coralie was/is one of my closest friends, when she told me she was pregnant with her son, I knew I wanted to create something special for her and her baby. I wanted to do something of heirloom quality that could be used more than just once. As I had learned my lesson about never making hand-crafted baby clothes again, I searched the internet and Pinterest for ideas. I wanted something versatile that would grow with the baby. I had recently finished apillowfrontfinalfinal scrap-busting, decorative pillowcase project for our couch made by connecting yo-yos. If you aren’t familiar with them, yo-yo’s started as a popular quilting technique in the 1920′s. There is a great tutorial for making yo-yo’s here at prudentbaby.com. Although most quilters make uniformed-sized yo-yos, I found that I really liked the look of varying the size of the circular templates. Do you see how some of mine are larger in the photo above? Not only that, but I was also inspired by the blank canvas that was the BACK of the yo-yo that was disappearing from view when assembled traditionally.

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See? Look at all that room on the back of that yo-yo! As I had recently taught myself the art of hand-embroidery by closely following Jenny Hart’s amazing book Sublime Stitching- Embroidered Effects: Projects and Patterns to Inspire Your Stitching, the idea of merging the two crafts struck me as a super idea.

My original concept was to make a baby quilt made of both plain and embroidered yo-yos. I went to my local fabric store and picked out several different fabrics that I thought would be versatile, fun, and perfect for a boy’s room. I also used some left over fabric from dress shirts and khakis my boyfriend had outgrown because I love re-using things… almost to a compulsive level.  Something I had learned from the above pillow project was that certain fabrics, although beautiful, do not make good yo-yos. So, choose your patterns thoughtfully. I played with various circle template sizes, enlisting everything from a 7-11 Big Gulp cup to a large salad bowl. For the embroidered pieces, I knew I wanted personalized information both about the baby and his parents. I researched fonts and animal patterns and hand-drew patterns with an water erasable fabric marking pen onto pieces of yo-yo fabric that had not been cut into circular templates yet. Once I had hooped, embroidered, and then unhooped the piece, I would then center the template over the embroidery pattern, cut, and then stitch into a yo-yo.

Over the process of weeks, I stitched ALL OF THE YO-YOs and vowed I would never do another yo-yo project. As I began laying out the embroidered yo-yos to see how I wanted my quilt to shape up, I noticed that I actually really liked the organic way the yo-yos were forming around the embroidered pieces. I began hand stitching the yo-yo’s together by inserting a threaded, knotted needle inside of the hole of the completed yo-yo exiting the yo-yo on the circle’s rim. Using a hidden stitch, I began attaching yo-yo’s around all of the embroidered medallions. As the pieces began to grow, I kind of grew to love the look of them on their own, not muddled together in a quilt. And since fabric, nursery wall art is a thing, my quilt became wall art and I couldn’t be happier with stepping outside the crafting box. After connecting the yo-yos in the pattern to my liking, I stitched loops on the back of the pieces to make them easier to hang.

For sake of anonymity, we have blurred out some of the personal information in the below pictures, but we think you can get the idea. What makes this project so versatile is that it can be made to suit any child. You can change the colors or the embroidery to what ever your heart desires. The options are limitless.

Personalized Wall Medallions

 

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 The above was the centerpiece of the collection. I embroidered the baby’s name and birthday on the center yo-yo, and made two additional embroidered pieces: one of the state of Alabama, with a heart over Gulf Shores (where they reside), and another with the parents names, birthdays and wedding date “carved” into a tree. Mom and Dad

For the other “medallions” as I began calling them, I stitched a cute, woodland fox, the Alabama state flag, and an alphabet sampler.

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I mailed them to Coralie for Christmas (two months after the baby had been born, and loved what she did with them. In fact, she is the one who took most of these pictures! Despite me living in Southern California, and her living in Southern Alabama, our blog is marvelously collaborative!

Thanks for reading! And please come visit us as Fun Things To Do While You’re Waiting!

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*Originally published here on Someday Crafts.

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Repurposed River Rock Back Porch Mat

Okay. So, I found this pin on Pinterest a while ago that caught my eye about how to make a River Rock mat. I know you are shocked I found this on Pinterest. But. I even bought River Rocks months ago with the intention of knocking this project out. Somehow they got shoved in a drawer and the project forgotten. But, I was digging through that chest recently and found them! So, they made it back on the radar.

It was about the time that I refound the river rocks that I noticed our back door mat was in need of replacing. Do you see where this is going? I did not even bother to go back and look at the pin. The pinner had glued the rocks to drawer liner- which, I am using a different base. I also knew that I needed some heavy-duty glue. So, I have heard my both my Moma and Daddy, separately, talk about the wonders of Gorilla glue. Both swear the stuff will bind anything to anything for forever. Check. Check. Check.

startersI got busy gluing. I read the instructions on the Gorilla glue and it said that one surface needed to be wet. Well, the doormat had been outside during the last downpour before last, so I figured I was good.

progressIt took me about two and half hours of gluing to get the entire surface covered. And I am not going to lie- I loved it! I was a little concerned that Bub would not like it so much or have some technical issues with it- like it having a rocky surface. Yes, seriously. But! He went for it! the final Check!

Repurposed River Rock MatDon’t you agree? It’s pretty awesome. Baby Bub was a little hesitant to step on it. But then he got over that- quickly.

The weather has been so awesome lately. We have been spending a ton of time outside messing with plants. Baby Bub loves running around the yard. Childlike wonder is really something to behold. The whole while Bub and I do our thing while Baby Bub runs amuck.

So, this is what happened… Baby Bub got loose with a gardening spade and used it in a hammer like fashion on my freshly completed River Rock back porch mat. Yep. He sure did. When he was doing it I wasn’t overly concerned because I had total faith in Gorilla glue. I still have faith in Gorilla glue but, I now have a keen understanding in my failed interpretation of the instructions on the glue!

uhhhhSo… as awesome as the River Rock mat was- it was not crafted with enough durability to withstand an 18 month old with a gardening spade. Wah. Wah. Wah.

Have you crafted something that you adored but that didn’t stand the test of time? Let us know.

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On Writing: A Blog Hop

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One of my sweetest friends on the planet Erica (you may remember her from here and here) invited me to participate in something called a Blog Hop. What is a blog hop, you may ask? Not only is it an excuse for me to post an adorable picture of a bun, but it is also kind of like an internet chain-letter. But not in the creepy, Nigerian money-scheme type way. A friend invites you to talk about writing on your blog and then you in turn invite YOUR friends. Fun all around! Writing about my writing is kind of trippy, so I appreciate your indulgence in advance. :) Here ‘goes…

What am I working on? Living in the Hollywood area means that you actually CAN’T talk too much about what you are ACTUALLY working on. Proprietary stuff and all. I will say that I am working on a couple of things. Also, producing consistent, perpetual content for FTTDWYW has proven to be super time-consuming. I’m also working on my tan? Just kidding… skin cancer stinks.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? I am a firm believer in everyone having their own unique voice. There is just nothing you can do about it. You are a product of your unique past and experiences and all the people (and their people before them) who got you to where you are. I fancy myself funny, but that could just be a lie I’ve been telling myself for years. I come from a long-line of charismatic people/story tellers and I hope I got a smidge of that… and hopefully a dash of old-south genteelness? And my work probably differs the most from other writers in my genre in that my grammar and punctuation are most likely atrocious.

Why do I write what I do? I am fortunate enough in that I only really write about things that interest me. I have a large range of interests, though. I also write as a type of therapy. Words have much power. It is amazing what a few key/penstrokes can do- both good and bad- for the writer and the reader.

How does my writing process work? It often starts with much procrastination. It (generally) starts with an idea (sometimes a picture). The idea inspires research, if necessary. Sometimes the words come easily and it is hard for my fingers to keep up. Sometimes, I just write out thoughts and jokes and then carefully rearrange them into something resembling a  paragraph. Although I do a lot of photo-editing while the television is on, writing is impossible for me under those circumstances. Similarly, writing with music is something I love… but it generally can’t be anything with lyrics. Chopin’s Nocturnes were my writing jam there for awhile. Most of my writing takes place after 10:00 p.m., but that could just be a symptom of circumstances. Oh yeah, and p.j. pants. P.j. pants are key.

Well… that was fun! For next week, I’m going to pass the baton on to Derek Adams from spell-sword.com and Shayla Epps on her blog at Angelskirts.com.

Anybody got any good work music recs?

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Some Fun Fotos for Your Friday!

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Time for another Fun Foto Friday round-up. Since last we chatted (about fun fotos), I’ve been doing a lot of driving/traveling; specifically east of Burbank. I’ve visited Vegas, Claremont, and Palm Springs… twice… so, this particular strip of road has become quickly familiar. Since it’s Friday, lets start off the series by popping the largest cold brews ever seen by yours truly spotted on the CA-210.

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Unfortunately, quantity doesn’t often mean quality. But, then neither does Miller Beer… so, there’s that. Speaking of Miller:

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I don’t care WHAT your politics, I think a zombie, big-band leader is EXACTLY what we need right now in the California state senate, right now. He’s always In The Mood for equality… AND BRAINZ!

When my parents were in town (Palm Desert) there was a sign for The Rock Church immediately off the exit for their hotel on the I-10. Although they have no affiliation to Dwayne Johnson, I can’t help but wonder what the litany would be at The Rock Church. Can you smell what the Lord is cookin’?

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But, lest you think all my fun fotos are from various trip through the high desert, there are also some funnies from around my neighborhood. This license plate, for example:

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What I love the most about this (other than the fact that license plate reads <3ASCRX2) is that it implies that at one point in time there was an <3ASCRX1. I am also not surprised that it was purchased at a dealer in Calabasas (which is where the Kardashians reside). I tried to run several scenarios in which having “heart ass cracks 2″ would be a good thing (a tax write-off even for an anal waxing salon, maybe) but stopped before I hurt my brain. Oww, my brain.

Kids, let me tell you about a time long, long ago. A time before your phone had a better computer than the original lunar module. “Phone booths,” as we used to call them, were on every corner. They required you to not only have monetary change, but also to KNOW the number you were dialing. We used to be warned about not sticking our fingers in the change return for fear of hypodermic needles! Crazy junkies! There is a great coffee joint in my hood (where the pretension is made up for by the quality and taste) that has this great reminder of a bygone era.

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Speaking of my hood… looks like the weather is going to be beautiful… for the end times. I’m sure this has something to do with an eclipse, or something…. but eeesssh.

As you know, I find some of my great laughs at the grocery store. This feud between same-brand cleaning products cracked me up.

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Uggh. Nobody wants any of that bleach harshness… except for those that do.

And, I’m not quite sure what Liquid Plumbr is trying to do here:

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For one: is Liquid Plumr trying to be like Tumblr now? Where did the “B” and “E” go. Secondly, I have NEVER seen a plum(be)r this hot. I actually would love to see what that Plumr could do. *insert joke about letting him destroy my clog anytime here*. And you can watch him come to life, apparently… though data rates may apply. What kind of operation are you running Liquid Plumr?!

matt-smith-dishes-460x370Attn: If you love dish washing and BBC television shows like I do than this next photo may be NSFW. To the rest of you, then this is just a photo of a guy doing dishes. The guy on the left is Matt Smith who played The Doctor on BBC’s Doctor Who. He was doing the dishes after making his mom dinner. *swoon*.

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So, there it is… another installment of Fun Foto Fridays! And remember: Don’t drink and drive! Can you imagine how scary this would be if you weren’t sober?! “This here be circus liquor…” *shudder*

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Thursdays are Made for Throw Backs!

Dear Reader, thank you for your patience from Monday. A full 48 hours after the onset of what I will call felt like getting hit by a Mack truck, I felt like a human again. It is amazing how awesome feeling normal feels after you have been sick. I am feeling proud to feel normal again! I will say this too about Monday’s scheduled post (scheduled as in on the calendar I keep of upcoming posts) that it now has a footnote that I will explain when it turns up in rotation- so, like, next week, maybe.

I have been looking forward to doing this throwback for a month and that is why I decided to keep on keeping on with it. Rather than limit myself with this throw back certain chapters of my life, I just let the memory in the photo move me. No more dilly dallying- let’s get on with this throw back!a bevy of GranniesLook at this one! That is my Moma holding me with my grandmother circa late 1979 or early 1980- a bevy of Grannies! Well, no memory of this day but a great photo regardless.

European PancakeLook at these babies in this photo! This was taken the summer of 1995. We were somewhere in Europe. I think, France because we couldn’t read the menu and the server couldn’t speak English. From left to right, Connor Martin, Claire McKinley Drummond, yours truly, Jessica Sawyer Rigby (my cousin), Laura Frye and Daniel Van Fleet. What is on that plate was labeled a pancake except it had savory toppings on it… um, to my 15 year old brain palette, I could not go there. My adventurous palette did not fully manifest for another 10 years or so. I believe the rest of the story to this savory pancake was that since it was a bust, we would just eat ice cream.

a clubbingThis is my ladies and me tearing the War Eagle Super Club up! If you are ever in Auburn, Alabama- you need to add a visit to your itinerary. It’s kinda an institution in Auburn. I have lots of great memories there. Janet Peters, Elizabeth Woodall Shannon and Bridgette Peters can tell you about a few stories about how we used to tear the Club up!

a house partyThis photo. I almost got whiplash getting thrown back! This was at a house party at our boss slash restaurant owner’s house. L-R: Kim Reeder aka Weezah, Claire Brown, Janell McNally, Mendi Simmons and for the life of me, I can’t remember the girl on the far right! And I should! It’s moments like this that make me think I am getting old!

a NYEThis is a New Years Eve in Atlanta going to see Widespread Panic- Brooke Butler, TJ Payne and myself. Yes, they were totally dressed up and my costume consisted of holding a spinning light wand- innovative for sure.

a roommateThis is one of my dearest friends from the Auburn era of my life, Dana Smildsin Grimes. This photo is very, very reflective of our relationship- just fun and good.

I hope you have enjoyed this installment of Throwback Thursday. It is always fun going back through old photos and strolling down memory lane. It makes me very appreciative of the fact that I have kept a camera handy for over 20 years.

When was the last time you went through your old photos? When was the last time you went through the photos on your phone? I totally encourage you to take more pictures. They really are awesome to have.

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