Where Did The Time Go?

I write this as I sit at my desk at work on a Friday.  Feeling so restless.  David and I have been in our new place for several days.  We’re still not adjusted. New scenery, new noises, and new neighbors.  However, I can’t wait any longer.  I need to get back into a groove.  I stalled on all my projects for most of June and ALL of July because I wanted to focus on “the move”.  Now that it’s over I just want to get started on “me” again.  I want to get back into a workout routine.  I want to plan things for this blog and the YouTube channel.  I want to write again.  I miss it so much.  I think back to 2016 and how motivated I was to finish my first book.  Then 2017 began a slow decline on my confidence as a writer.  Then 2018 rolled around and I felt like I could jump back on the saddle.  Only for life to constantly put speed bumps in the way.  Speed bumps that I turned into moats wider than the Pacific Ocean.  The first 60 percent of my year (don’t panic but we are in August now people) has been full of starts-to-stops-to…never starting again.  But like the saying goes…”It’s not how you start but how you finish that counts.”

 

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6 Ways to Sleep Better At a Hotel

WAYS TOsleep BETTER IN A HOTEL

I love to travel. However, when I think about trying to get a good night’s rest while while away from home I cringe.  Hundreds of travelers would love to feel well-rested throughout their trip, but most find themselves longing for the comforts of home.  Here are a few tips to help you maximize your sleep while traveling.

people in elevators

  • No elevators, please!

This tip comes from experience.  The elevator is a high traffic area.  If your room is too close to the elevator  you run the risk of hearing people climb onto and off of the elevator.  This may not seem like an issue during the day, but in the evening it can be annoying. There are conversations while people wait for the elevator and people clunking their luggage onto and off the elevator. My fix to avoid being stuck near the elevator: When making your reservation, ask for a room away from the elevator.  It really is that simple.  Every time I have placed this in the “Request” section of my reservation I’ve been booked into a room away from the potentially noisy elevator.

blackout curtains

  • Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains are a life-saver in hotel rooms.  All modern hotels should have them.  They help to block out all light from entering your room and keeping you awake.  Blackout curtains can be utilized during the day as well if you’re crossing time zones.  Also, they can help to keep your room temperature cool which can benefit you while you’re sleeping.

desk fan

  • Personal Fan

I once saw an older gentleman bring an 18-inch stand fan into the hotel.  He was obviously driving and not flying.  But this guy is an experienced traveler and he knows that some hotel rooms simply don’t get cold enough to feel comfortable while sleeping.  This may seem like an odd object to throw in your luggage, but hear me out. If you sleep with a fan blowing on you at home, like myself, then you’re probably going to miss having that cooling sensation flowing over you.  If you have room in your luggage, then you should definitely consider including a small desk fan.

earplug

  • Earplugs

Sometimes you have a noisy neighbor.  You call the front desk and nothing seems to change.  Maybe you even booked a hotel room near a busy street.  Having a set of earplugs with you is very helpful to cancel out the noise.  They are inexpensive and come in varying sizes and colors. Also, earplugs can come in handy while flying.

eye mask

  • Eye mask

An eye mask may seem a little diva-ish. However, if you’re sharing a room with someone an eye mask is nice to have.  You may be ready to call it a night and your roommate may want to stay up a little longer and watch television or Face-time with a loved one from home.  Eye masks, like earplugs, can aide in allowing you to get the restful sleep that you need.

melatonin

  • Medicated Sleep Aide

I am a little reluctant to include this on the list of helpful tips.  Using medications to help with sleep is controversial to some.  I’ve used melatonin in the past to help me fall asleep and stay asleep.  This is only a temporary fix.  If sleep is something you can’t do without while you’re away from home, a sleep aide may help you.  If you’re going to use a sleep aide make sure you do your research and follow the instructions provided on the package.  I would encourage you not to take any type of pharmaceutical sleep aide while traveling alone.

Hopefully, these tips work for you and you get better sleep while you’re away from the comforts of home.

Keshia

 

Fellow Okie – Sarah Bowen

 

tiny things by bowen2

Artists are fair and festival staples.  From paintings-to-wind chimes-to-blown glass sculptures, you can find almost anything at a local festival.  If you’re lucky, you might even find Sarah Bowen and her tiny creations.  Sarah is the artist and owner of Tiny Things by Bowen.  She is also a Fellow Okie!

What’s your name?

Sarah Bowen

What is the name of your company and is it based in Oklahoma?

Tiny Things by Bowen

What city in Oklahoma do you call home?

Tulsa!

What’s your favorite thing about Oklahoma?

I love the friendliness of strangers…I believe they call it Midwestern charm. I also love the number of people interested in supporting the arts, and the conversations I have about our local community and the positive changes taking place to support art and culture.

Compared to other places you’ve traveled, what stands out most about Oklahoma?

The laid back atmosphere! Not quite so far as New Orleans, as we still keep time, but it is a very comfortable and friendly place. I feel a great freedom to express my art and communicate my goals to the community without fear of a negative response. I feel people give themselves the time to enjoy art and culture, especially as it becomes more prominent in our area. And again of course, the friendliness of strangers! I want to live in a place where it’s not weird to say “Hey!” and smile at someone you don’t know, and often receiving the same in return.tiny things by bowenTell me a little bit about your company.

Tiny Things by Bowen started out as my summer job during my off time as a sign language interpreter for Tulsa Public Schools. For four years it was strictly me making and selling my own art made from polymer clay. However, about one year ago, I discovered my love of teaching and sharing the medium with everyone. So Tiny Things has evolved in a natural way that I am so grateful for. It is now my full time job, and I teach and sell art in a variety of places.

I now bring my art to others in community spaces such as libraries, restaurants, and bars; places where people already go, with a goal of bringing creativity to everyday locations and situations. I encourage everyone to find the artists in themselves…you’re not an artist you say? Here, have some clay, see what happens. Nearly 100% of the time people impress themselves and leave with something they can be proud of. I make, and encourage others to make, functional art like magnets and personal accessories so that their creations can serve a purpose and be seen.

I also offer private parties for adults, kids, and companies. Again with the idea of incorporating art into as many spaces as possible.

I still make and sell my own art at local and regional events such as the Blue Dome Arts Festival (my favorite), comic conventions, punk rock flea markets, and site-specific art fairs like Kendall Whittier’s Mercado, and OKC’s LIVE on the Plaza. I travel to Northwest Arkansas fairly regularly, and hope to attend some events in Kansas City and Texas in the future.

What are your goals for the company? 

My goals for Tiny Things include becoming a well known party service around town,  developing my own artistic style in making some larger pieces and exhibiting in local galleries, receiving art grants that would allow me to offer free community workshops in unserved areas, helping to develop diversity and unity within the local art community through Tiny Things’ involvement in 918Makers, and to bring art to as many people as possible.

How can others help you achieve your goals?

Are you a parent? Schedule a birthday party or bring your kiddos to my all-ages workshops!

Are you a teacher? Request Tiny Things through the Artists in the Schools program, I’ll come be a guest artist in your classroom!

Are you an artist? Come to my workshops, join 918Makers, share your resources!

Do you have a fridge? Find me at a local event and purchase some of my whimsical magnets!

Do you use social media? Follow me on Facebook and Instagram @tinythingsbybowen

Do you have friends? Tell them about Tiny Things by Bowen! Bring them to a craft night! Buy them a Tulsa-themed gift from my booth

Want to buy something now? Tiny Things are in the Soul City gift shop and the Made Indie Emporium downtown! I also list unique items on my website shop. Currently listed are cute little paw print magnets that help fund the spaying and neutering of area strays!

How can people contact you?

www.tinythingsbybowen.com
tinythingsbybowen@gmail.com
facebook & instagram @tinythingsbybowen; phone: 918-973-4089

I believe everyone has artistic ability in them. Maybe painting murals, photography, playing an instrument, or drawing aren’t for you. However, sculpting may be the thing that fits.  If you’re interested in Tiny Things by Bowen, reach out and schedule a class.  Or show your support by purchasing an item from her shop. Don’t forget to follow Sarah on social media!

 

 

Fab Five

laugh emoji

Laughter

Laughter is so necessary for my soul.  I think if my spirit had a noise attached to it, it would be a laugh.  There are times when I am feeling low.  Sometimes those low moments are in the middle of being swamped with important tasks.  So what do I do to lift my spirits?  I either think of a funny moment from my past or think of a funny joke.  Have you laughed today?

dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate

I could state all the scientific and nutritional facts associated with consuming dark chocolate. However, dark chocolate’s worthy mention is because it is simply my most craved type of chocolate. As a child I was milk chocolate all the way.  Then my taste buds discovered white chocolate (Hello…Hershey’s Cookies & Cream candy bar).  As I grew older, small nibbles here-and-there resulted in me absolutely loving the marriage of bitterness and sweet that dark chocolate brought.  It’s almost my own version of black coffee, no sugar-no cream.  It’s an instant pick-me up.  O yea…and it’s healthy.

alabama shakes

Alabama Shakes

I can’t remember when I stumbled on blues rock band, the Alabama Shakes. It was some time around their debut album (Boys & Girls) I’m sure. The first time I heard Brittany’s strong, deep, soulful, and at times raspy voice surrounded by funky chords was on the song “You Aint Alone”.  I instantly wondered “who is that?”.  I had to hear more of them. I then heard “Give Me All Your Love” and instantly became a fan.

evolution motivation

Evolution

I love to see people making moves.  Whether it’s a friend returning to school to further their education. Or a co-worker deciding they want an entire career change and deciding to leave their current job to follow their dreams.  I love to see progression.  People are meant to evolve.  Setting goals, working for those goals, and then attaining them is completely awesome to see.  I want to see people not giving up.

dark purple black

Dark Colors

Green is my favorite color.  When I’m not loving all things green I gravitate towards deep purple, dark blue, and black.  Those colors do not make a happy and bright color palette.  But those colors excite me. Like green makes me think of sunny spring days, deep purple (not the band) makes me think of beautiful flowers. Dark blue makes me think of the ocean, above and beneath the horizon. Black makes me think of power.  All three stir an emotion in me.

Where To Eat BBQ in Tulsa, OK

Summer weather and barbecue go hand-and-hand. If you are craving barbecue, but don’t want to go through the hassle of firing up the grill or smoker, stop by one of these locations in the Tulsa area to get your fix.

Elmers

Elmer’s BBQ – 4130 S Peoria Ave, Tulsa, OK 74105

Elmer’s BBQ is such a chill spot. You can tell it’s been around for more than a few decades. It’s in the walls, the music, and of course the food.  Eating at Elmer’s BBQ makes you feel like you’re “home”. They have a wonderful selection of meats and sides on the menu, and all reasonably priced.  My favorite item is the hot link. It has just the right amount of heat to awaken my taste buds but not too much that it overpowers the rest of the meal.  If you’re ever on Brookside in Tulsa, OK you should stop by for some hearty and delicious barbecue.

Oklahoma Joes

Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue & Catering – 6175 E 61st St, Tulsa, OK 74136 and 25 W. 5th St, Tulsa, OK

Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue have great locations if you want to take your family out for some barbecue and catch the latest sporting event on t.v. The barbecued and smoked meats are succulent.  They have everything from ribs to turkey, smoked or barbecued to perfection. I personally enjoy their brisket.  It’s got the right balance of tenderness and chew. Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue has the perfect ambiance if you’re looking to host your family and friends to barbecue in Tulsa.

Burn Co.

Burn Co. Barbecue – 1738 S Boston Ave, Tulsa, OK 74119 and 500 Riverwalk Terrace #135, Jenks, OK 74037

Burn Co. Barbecue is a “supply and demand” type of barbecue place. They serve barbecue until their smokers are empty.  It takes a lot of courage to operate a business using that model. However, Burn Co. Barbecue has been doing exactly that for years.  So you know the food must be impressive.  The restaurants are cafeteria style seating. Which means you never know who you’ll end up sharing a table with. It’s rustic and laid-back.  Which may also describe their barbecue style. My favorite item on their menu is the ribs. They are tender and meaty.  If you get a chance to try Burn Co. Barbecue do it! Before they sell out.

David and I did our very own Tulsa Food Tour: Barbecue Edition! Check it out for a glance out the Tulsa barbecue spots mentioned above!

 

Enjoy!

Keshia

SUMMER FAVES 2018

photo: Colormyfootsteps

photo: Colormyfootsteps

It is summer, summer, summer time! At least here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Of course, I had to share with you some of the things I am into for this summer. I had to include a mini Bath & Body Works haul and give a shout out to my Okie feature! Hop over to the channel to watch the video and see what else you may have missed in my neck of the woods!

 

Keshia

el Navegador

ab

“My hero’s have the heart to live the life I want to live…All I can remember is thinking I want to be like them.” – song: Crazy by: Ceelo Green

Happy, sad, angry, lonely are pretty common emotions. Envy and selfishness, these are common too, though often overlooked. They’re real. As real as the others. Do you wish to have something that doesn’t belong to you? Sure. Do you want something or someone all to yourself? Often. Envy leads to unattainable expectations. Living beyond your means, dating beyond your level (sorry, not sorry). That’s what I know about envy. Selfishness, I know much about. I am a selfish person.  I am selfish with my time and energy. I could be sitting right next to you and be miles away inside my head. I am selfish with the people I love and care about. If the vibe is right, why would we need a crowd?

I once heard someone say that people cry about the death of someone for their own selfish reasons. They cry because they are more concerned with now having to live their lives without that person. True, that does sound selfish. But why would that be a bad thing? If you enjoyed knowing the person, than you should miss them. Grief…that’s an emotion too. And at times it can seem a little selfish.

I knew of Anthony Bourdain the same as most folks did. Through the television screen. Every so often I would hear him on a podcast talk at length about his travels. He seemed to be this cool, mature, stoic, fun-loving, beer drinking, over-indulging man. He captured our attention while he traveled the globe seeing interesting places and meeting interesting people. He talked about customs, traditions, cooking, love, politics, and simply life. Nonchalantly he told you to step outside your bubble. See the world. Try new things. I wouldn’t call him my hero, but he definitely inspired me to broaden my horizons.

I write this post for my own selfish reasons, I guess. It sucks to know he won’t be out there, somewhere, exploring.

Death is always a delicate part of life to navigate. Words don’t always seem to fit.

Take care.

Keshia

Fab 5

trap music

  • I love “secular” music and gospel

This is a tricky subject to navigate. There is that saying that you should be mindful of your thoughts. I do agree. The devil is always busy. However, there’s only so much Mary Mary, Hezekiah Walker, etc. that I can handle before I need Cardi B to save me from the remainder of my long work day. Besides nothing gets me through a run better than Drake telling me he’s proud of me!

“I know things get hard, but girl, you got it

Girl, you got it, there you go

Can’t you tell by how they looking at you everywhere you go?”

 

fitness (vectortoons)

  • Fitness is important

Physical activity is important. It’s just that plain and simple. I feel so sluggish and moody when I haven’t worked out in awhile. The endorphins that flow when I’ve done a good workout are great and help to keep me motivated. The older I get (thank da Lawd) the real-er my health has become. Could I live in the gym 5 days a week? That’s a “No” for me. Supplementing with long walks, quick jogs, zumba, and hitting the weights hard when I can make it to the gym will have to suffice. Exercise is a must.

MEDITATION

  • Self-Care is vital

I’m a loner. I am fully secure in myself as such…sometimes. I can spend an entire day rummaging through the thoughts in my head. From significant moments from childhood-to-awkward moments at the fast food drive through yesterday. The data-processor (AKA my mind) doesn’t seem to take a break. However, I also need those precious moments with people I love and also random interactions with strangers. The moments alone help me reflect and grow. The moments with others enrich my soul and allow me to learn by either listening or simply being present. Self-care for me can’t be about solitude alone. I have to regress into myself briefly. Then it’s time to dive into others and pick their brains. It’s all apart of growth.

 

love language

  • Love and Be Loved

Everyone expresses their love differently. Everyone wants love expressed to them differently. Being married has taught me to think less about what I want and how I want to be loved and to be mindful of what my husband needs. A few of our love languages are the same, but not all. Tuning into him has helped me become a better partner. Figuring out how to show him love the way he connects best with has helped me and above all it has helped us.

genuine

  • I Crave Genuine People

One of my favorite podcasts seems so out of place in my entertainment schedule. I’ve been listening to this podcast for nearly 5 years. There’s cursing, vulgarity, hilarity, and the podcast is hosted by an ex-con turned comedian and his naive co-host. Above all those things, there is honesty and vulnerability.  Social media is full of people “faking the funk”. It is refreshing to hear the perspective of life from someone who isn’t trying to be someone else. To hear from someone who has lived a life and isn’t afraid to talk openly about the good and bad reminds me to stay grounded and to always be myself. I listened to several podcasts that offer that genuine flavor. I also seek it in my interactions with others, although I often end up empty-handed.

Just my Fab 5

Keshia

Skin Care Travel Essentials

So Glam

Maintaining healthy skin while traveling can seem like an impossible task. However, with the proper planning it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a list of items that can help you stay “fresh-faced” while on the go.

pore strips 1

  • Pore Strips

Pore strips are a life saver if you’re susceptible to blackheads like myself. They cling to oily pores and remove deep embedded oil and dirt. They come in several options with varying prices. They are easy to pack. Slip a package of pore strips into your carry-on bag and it should last you the duration of your trip.

face brush2

  • Exfoliator

Whether it’s a battery operated spin brush, a hand facial brush, or face wash with micro-beads, something to exfoliate your face is needed. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin and pesky dirt. It also helps with blood circulation to areas of the face. Exfoliation is the best way to achieve glowing skin while on the road.

Clean & Clear-persa-gel_1

  • Spot Acne Treatment

Pimples are no fun when traveling. The last thing you want when interacting with people is a mountain protruding through your skin. A handy spot acne treatment can help to minimize the look of your pimples and shorten their lifespan. Most spot acne treatments are inexpensive. Regardless of the price, it’s nice to have the insurance of having the product with you if needed.

Witch Hazel

  • Cleaner/Astringent

Obviously one of the main keys to traveling with clear skin is making sure you cleanse your skin. Water, which is inexpensive and easily attainable, will typically suffice. If you feel you need something stronger, consider bringing a cleansing product that doubles as a toner. A good example of this is witch hazel. Witch hazel is a natural astringent that removes bacteria and balances the pH levels of the skin.

Sunscreen1

  • Sunscreen

Sunscreen is an often overlooked element of good skin care. Protecting your skin from the sun is important. That goes for all shades of skin. Some can get away with a lower SPF number than others. Find one that works for you and your travel buddies. If you want to save room in your carry-on bag or luggage, consider purchasing your sunscreen at the hotel or hostel once you arrive at your destination.

oil absorbing sheet

  • Oil Absorbing Sheets

Oil absorbing sheets have been a must-have for me when I travel. They’re so convenient. They are easy to pack and you can use them anywhere. If you have oily or combination skin, then you should consider throwing a pack in your purse, carry-on bag, or luggage.

  • Additional Things To Consider
  1. Drink Water – Avoid sugary drinks and juices. Some are sensitive to sugary, carbonated beverages. The results of too much sugar can show up on your skin.
  2. Loose Fitting Clothing – If you are prone to body acne then remember to wear loose fitting clothing that allows skin to breathe.
  3. Travel Size Bottles – Travel size bottles come in all shapes and colors. Most are TSA approved, so there is less worry about being pulled aside at the airport.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Safe travels!

Keshia

Stay in Your Lane

IMG_3569_edited

photo: Colormyfoosteps

My husband, David, told me some time ago that he noticed I always seem to be pressing forward. I thought about it, and it’s true. I’m always planning, editing the plan, and then planning again. Every once and a blue moon I actually execute the plan. And ever so often that execution leaves me empty-handed when it comes to results. The big “goose-egg”. I can always say that “I tried” but damn it still hurts.

“I guess I’m just not good enough”.

I will admit I have a tendency to count my losses more than my wins. I know, I know, it’s not good to focus on the negative. But I have a routine. I succumb to self-loathing, have my pity party, and then I become frustrated and a little angry. I have to let those failures fuel me.

Then, the process begins again. I don’t know why, but I have to try again.  Back to the drawing board. The disappointment becomes a memory. The heartache becomes a scar. I brush myself off and tip-toe back into incoming traffic.

“How will you know if you never try”?

Some might say that you have to stay in your lane. That would make sense if you want to become a famous singer and have no natural musical ability. I think that if you do have the ability, the heart, and a sprinkle of talent to do something, then you should go for it. Think of all the inventions we have today. If it were not for those inspired minds we would not have the modern conveniences we have today. Think about how life would be different if those inventors had given up and not continued. We would still be illuminating our homes by candlelight and riding horse and buggy to work. Now by no means am I a life changing inventor. It would be cool if I was, but I’m not. However, I am someone with aspirations for my life and what I want to contribute to society.

This blog post, for example, has taken me months to write. Admitting failures can be daunting in itself. When my first book made no waves last year, I wanted to curl up into a ball, throw my blankets over my head, and not resurface. I was reluctant to talk to anyone about it, and that includes David. Attempts to continue writing began but always came to a sudden halt. A part of me just couldn’t muster up the nerve to start writing again. Not to mention any form of writers block would send me into a downward spiral. However, like I mentioned I had to go through my process (even though my pity party lasted way too long). I can’t quit. I’ve already come too far. Being creative is my lane.

Maybe you’re like me. Your loss column is clearly tipping the scale. There is a “WTF” moment that happens within all of us at some point. I encourage you to keep going. Learn from your mistakes, make a plan, and begin again. Even though I hate cliché statements I have to leave you with one.

“If at first you don’t succeed try again.”

-Keshia