Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Be Prepaired for Hurricanes!

August has been bearable here in H-town, oddly enough.  Probably due to the rain we have been getting on the regular.  You won't hear me complaining!  But it is raining because of hurricanish activity out in the oceans, so it is better to be on the prepared side of cautious. 

Thanks to Jesus and God that I have never been in a bad place after a hurricane.  The worst of it was when Ike happened in 2008.  My apartment lost power for like half a day, and there was trees and power lines fallen in areas I usually drive.  Due to the mass evacuations of Houston residents, there was no way I could go to Dallas for my friend's wedding to, so that really stunk.  The scariest thing that happened was that I was driving back and forth to Katy and a bunch of gas stations were closed, so I barely found a place to wait in line to fill up (like half an hour!) and my gas light had been on for like 100 miles.  #stress.  Some of my friends and co-workers had their power out for two weeks though, so I need to hush.  Then again, I'd go without power for a month over losing lives and homes like some have. 

But yes, here are some tips to be prepared for hurricanes.

1.  Keep your gas tank full.  This was a lesson learned the almost hard way by me, but after a storm strikes, you don't know what is going to be available, so you want to be able to get around.  Usually this time of year I fill up once my tank gets to about half.  We have pretty good weather tracking technology these days, so you should have a good 24-48 hours of warning before danger is coming your way, but by then the prices are usually up. #frugaltip

2.  Stock up on your non-perishables.  People are panicked after a storm.  After Ike paid us a visit, the ONE convenience store that was open only let 2 people in at a time because some jerks were looting the store (while it was open?!) when 10+ people were in there.  Stood in line getting eaten alive by mosquitoes for 45 mins so I could buy a $7 12 pack of Dr. Pepper.  #sodaaddictionisreal #pricegauging  You don't need to go all doomsday preppers for the situation, so just consider the amount of space you want to be occupied by stuff you most likely wont need.  They say about 3-7 days is fine.  Now a days I like to keep a pack of bottled water, peanut butter, tuna, granola bars, and various crackers and cookies/junk food.  That stuff has years of shelf life.  If you want to get really fancy you can get one of those little camping stoves and heat up some canned soup of other fancy things I haven't even thought of. 

3.  Candles and Flashlights.  In my situation, I have both these things, I just don't know where exactly they are right now.  That would be a problem if I needed to find them quickly.  (putting that on the to-do list).  Have some candles, matches, flashlights and batteries in an easy to find place.  While you are at it, gather the books you have been meaning to read and the board games you like.  The boredom will kill you first!

4.  Cell Phone.  Try to keep it charged - turn off your wifi functionality so it wont drain your battery.  Maybe have one of those backup battery chargers, like this one.

5.  Know where to go to be safe.  Away from doors and windows, probably a first floor centrally located place in your home.  We have a nice little closet that I doubt the two of us can fit in, but the bathroom is also a good locale. 

Now for expert tips: for the super serious live in fear of hurricanes person

6.  Ice.  Fill your freezer with extra ice.  Freeze water bottles, fill baggies with so your ice bin can make even more.  This will help save your cold food if the power goes out for a decent amount of time.  If possible though, just eat this food first before you dip into your emergency stash.  #cheesefordinner #winning !!

7.  Emergency Numbers.  This probably isn't a pro-tip, but you might want to jot down some important phone numbers because the internet might not be there to help you.  Power Company, Gas Company, Police/Fire/City Services.

8.  News source.  Battery or hand crank radio to hear what the situation is around town.  Check it.  We don't have one, but maybe Aaron will get one for Christmas so we will.  lol. 

9.  Home stuff.  I know nothing about boarding up windows or sand bagging areas.  You are going to have to google it, we are renters. 

I hope I didn't forget anything, if I did - let me know in the comments!

**Stop by tomorrow for the August Group Giveaway!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Miley. And trying to reconcile my feelings about slut shaming.

So those VMA's were something, huh?  I generally only watch MTV for Catfish and shows about Teenage Mothers, so I surprised myself when I kept watching after Lady Gaga performed.  She was all I really cared to see due to the over the top nature of her performances. 
In all honestly, the only things I have ever known about Miley Cyrus are what I have seen on SNL

I was too old for Hannah Montana, and only within the last few year have I really embraced my love for certain pop music.  I am a music snob from way back.  Vanessa Bayer is super funny as Miley though...

So from what I have read as of late, Miley is trying really hard to shed her Disney image and let people know that she is an adult, and doing adulty things.  I mean, we saw this happen with Britney, and X-tina - we aren't re-inventing the wheel here.  It is funny too, just days before the VMAs happened, Aaron and I were discussing how Miley probably does the best job of 'being wild' without totally wrecking her life (ahem, Amanda Bynes, Lindsey Lohan, etc.). 

So anyway, Miley got wild at the VMA's for sure.  My initial reaction was that my jaw was on the floor.  To me, she didn't look over the age of 17-18, and I thought, did her Dad/Momager okay this?  But then I looked her up and she is 20.  And then I had to let what I just saw marinate in my brain for a day to figure out what I thought about it.

I thought it was gross, and just too much.  Robin Thicke is like twice her age almost and she is all grinding on him and touching herself with this foam finger wearing next to nothing made to look like even less.  If you are trying to show us that you are grown, #youaredoingitwrong. 

Then I thought about slut shaming, and how I am generally against it.  If only for the double standard women are held to.  If it is wrong for her to be doing her thing, then it should be just as wrong when he does it. 

However it is my personal belief that there isn't enough shame in the world.  Not that it is everyone's job to go around shaming people for things, but that people don't feel personally ashamed for things they should.  People of Wal-Mart exists for this reason.  If you won't feel enough shame to put shoes on to go into a store, the internet will try to coerce you (and laugh at you in the process).  Yet reality TV, one of the loves of my life, is all about shaming others.  We watch real housewives to laugh at how dumb and frivolous rich ladies are, we watch the Duggars to judge them at how dumb it was to have so many kids, we watch Honey Boo Boo to laugh at how poor and fat they are.  I feel like media (and in turn, society) is making us this way - ie: terrible people. 

But I thought about that performance and how different my reaction would have been if it were Lady Gaga.  I guarantee I would have tried to find the message behind it - what was she trying to express?  Ending with, oh, that is just Lady Gaga being Lady Gaga.  Then again, she was never in the public eye as a child. 

I think the main problem with Miley being Miley is that we knew her when she was young and innocent.  I think it is difficult for that transition to happen with anyone you know.  It was like when I saw my little cousin grow up and get a bunch of tattoos and openly discuss smoking weed.  It is a tough pill to swallow.  He is always a little kid to me. 

My (#oldlady) problem was just that MTV is supposed to be geared towards young people and this performance was just borderline pornographic.  Kids ought not get such messages, in my opinion...

So yeah, I can't totally fault Miley for the things she does, but I don't think I'd let any kids of mine watch MTV until they can go to a rated R movie. 
Per Aaron, really the only people who should be offended are Robin Thicke's wife, and bears.  lol.
What do you think?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday

No, this isn't a link up or anything, I just enjoy alliteration sometimes.  Today, instead of thoughts of future plans, endless to-do lists and general life stress will go by the wayside.  I am going to calm my mind and focus on things I have been thankful for recently.

I am thankful for the Internet.  Not in a joking way (for once).  Information is free and easy and fast.  It gives me a platform to express myself and connect with others.  It brings my loved ones right into my screen at a moments notice.  Sure, it is terrible sometimes, but it is a small price to pay for all the good if you ask me.

I am thankful to live in an area of the world that isn't under the threat of war and chaos.  I couldn't even imagine living one day in the shoes of these people.  I really try sometimes, but it just never seems like real life.  Could we be so lucky?

I am thankful for my education.  My grandmother used to say that education is the only thing that could never be taken away from you.  She was a wise lady.  An old statistic, but in 2010 only 6.7% of the world had a college degree, and I was a part of that.  I don't mean to imply that college is necessary to have a successful life or anything of the sort.  I am just acknowledging that I was given a rare opportunity, all things considered, and for that I am thankful.  

I am thankful for challenges.  Each and every one has taught me a lesson, and in turn I have grown as a person.  Every challenge I am able to overcome furthers my optimism in that nothing can stand between me and a goal.  

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to Pretend You Are at the Beach Instead of Work

It's Tuesday.  A lot of us are at work.  We'd rather be at the beach, right?

Fool your brain into thinking you are!

1.  Computer background.  Something tropical.

2. Tropical Mouse pad too while you are at it
3. Put your beach trip artifacts on display

4.  Wear some beachy waves

5.  Play some beach tunes

6. Put an umbrella in your drink and get to work on those TPS reports!
so what if it is in a cup of coffee?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Aaron's Dissertation is Kinda Done!!!

Well, first draft.

Back in November of 2007, Aaron took and passed his comprehensive exam, thus began the long and grueling task of writing his dissertation.  From approximately 2008-2012 he goofed off a lot, wrote some, and discarded plenty.  Once 2012 came he got serious and at long last the first draft is complete!

Now he has sent it off for reviews and revisions, so it isn't done done, but this is quite a milestone for Aaron, and a huge sigh relief for his wife.  That man has been a college student for 14 years now.  We I am ready for the next phase of life to get started!

I am just really proud of Aaron and his perseverance.  I joke about how I write just about every day for fun, and I bet I could have had 3 dissertations done by now, but I know writing a scholarly book about philosophy can't be all that easy.  Either way, I am feeling very proud of him, and soon we will be seeing him all dolled up like this:

I mean, is that a sweet hat, or what??

Friday, August 16, 2013

5 Things for Friday

Happy Friday!!!  I was tagged by Alexandra over at A Gregarious Mess for this fun little 5 themed get to know you survey doodad.  yay! 

5 Things I have a passion for:
*The people I love
*Improvement (Life, Systems, World, et al.)
*Joking, I have minimal passion for Latin.  I'd say humor for sure though.
*Cheese and Food in General #honesty
*Hashtags.  Okay, enough.

5 6 Things I'd like to do before I die:
*Have a family
*Be a healthy weight
*Have a building named after me
*Become fluent in another language
*Travel everywhere I've never been
*Give a TED talk

5 Reads I love:
Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel
To Kill a Mocking Bird
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health
The Bell Jar

5 6 Favorite Movies:
Eagle vs. Shark
Donnie Darko (10th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (The Criterion Collection)
Waiting for Guffman
Love Actually [Blu-ray]

5 Places I want to Travel:
-Montreal/Quebec City
-A Dude Ranch, probably in Montana
5 friends I tag:
Ashleyrose @ A Nelson's Nest
Bekah @ Re*Solve
Amanda @ Chicky Stitches
Megan @ Elliott Wife, Elliott Life
Alyssa @ Impractical Composition
Have a great weekend, everyone!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting to Know You TX Blogger Link Up

This month’s questions:

 1. What part of Texas do you call home?  Houston! 

2. How long have you been blogging? On this blog, about a year, in general years upon years (does livejournal count?)

3. Why did you start blogging? I love to write, and I love to share

4. When we visit your blog, what can we expect to discover? Whatever was on my mind that day

5. How did you come up with your Blog Title and what is its meaning? At Home with the Hinkleys was named sort of as a play on the 'Down Home with the Neelys' cooking show.  I totally love them.

6. What do you love about being part of Texas Women Bloggers?  Everyone is so nice and supportive!

7. Who inspires you to blog? Everyone who reads it.  If I can give you a chuckle, or present a viewpoint that makes you ponder, helps in some way, or sharing something that makes you smile it makes all the time spent totally worthwhile.

8. If you could pick a favorite blog post from this past year, what would it be?   Per my analytics: How to win a Giveaway  was the most popular non-giveaway post, oddly enough lol. 

Getting to Know You Link Party with the Texas Women Bloggers

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Pinterest Baby Shower

A weird phenomenon is happening with my friends.  They have a baby shower scheduled and boom, something happens and the shower is no more.  My friend April had her baby early, on the day of her shower.  My friend Lindsey, who is having TWINS (yay!), was in the hospital with a kidney stone (could you even imagine?!)  Then there is Anne who lives on the other side of the US from me, and my bloggy friend Sarah K who have little girls on the way.  (and bloggy friend Laura who is going to be surprised with the boy or girl news when the baby comes!)  This collection of things I may have used if I were hosting your baby shower. :)

For the little boys: Austin, Twin 1 & 2



This shower is mainly focused around cake.  lol.
And for the little girls....

I'd have to go with the bird theme, love it!
Thanks for coming!  Love you gals! :)
*all images linked to source via google image search, or from my pinterest page.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rookie Mistake: Home Edition

Happy Monday, everyone!  I already started the day by paper cutting my finger to the point of needing a band aid, so that is fun.  No place to go but up, yes? :)

Today I am sharing my rookie mistake, re: house hunting.

All the number crunching considered, Aaron and I will be qualified to get a little mortgage in the October-November neighborhood.  So that will be the time when we get a pre-approval, and THEN should be when we start looking for something.
Well I am just excited and an eager beaver, so I am searching the Houston real estate website right now.  It started as a 'lets just see what's out there for what our price range is going to be' searching, but it got out of hand pretty quickly. 

You see, I fell in very deep like with this house right here.  It a REO (real estate owned) foreclosure property.  The houses surrounding this one are a good 30K more so it was a steal of a deal. 

When I looked at the pictures of the property it looked like it needed major cosmetic updating, and new floors throughout.  So of course I go pricing all the things, and figure our budget and a timeline of when we could get things replaced that weren't emergency things.  Why?  Because I am insane, and thought this was a great use of half my Saturday, duh.  
So Sunday rolls around, I am still obsessing about the house and d├ęcor ideas and researching different flooring options, it hits me.  There has got to be a catch.  It has been on the market for nearly a month, which is long in Houston summer when houses in this price range turn around in a week.  I decided to take a trip down to this house just to check out the neighborhood.  I figured it must be sketchy or run down, or half the roof was missing or SOMETHING.
So I go do a drive-by, and I totally am in love with the neighborhood.  It is older and full of giant trees and every house on the block looks very well maintained and nice.  The 2 other homes for sale in the neighborhood are out of our price range, so I am even more sold that I was before.  I only had to pray it would stay on the market for another month or so.
I was in the neighborhood so I popped by my trusted advisor's (my Mom) house to show her the listing online, see what she thought.  I think I got her on board a little bit, but I decided to take her back out to the house to show her the area and see what she thought.
We pull into the driveway and so far so good.  The house is mustard yellow and brown, so we make note that the outdoor paint could use a change.  We peek in the window into the kitchen and it is so large and spacious.  The tile is in good looking condition.  We laugh about the crazy wallpaper in there that would come down immediately.  The cabinets look better than the pictured indicated.  We continue around the front and see the porch light fixture is hanging by a thread and a bird had taken residence in there.  No biggie, we can clean that out. 
We peek into the front door, and my heart sinks.  The ceiling in the entire den is coming down in sheets.  There is water damage over the kitchen nook.  Check around the side of the house and the A/C unit looks like it had been ripped to shreds by vandals.  All in all, our guesstimate to getting the house to a livable condition was around $40K.  And that was only what we could see with our two eyes, no telling what catastrophe was hiding in there for us to find.
A little bit beyond our skill level and our bank account.
I am still depressed, it is a really great house with a great layout in a great location.  I keep trying to re-crunch numbers to see if we could somehow afford to renovate it if they would lower the price a good $20K.  If I were using my brain and not my heart, I'd laugh it off and never look back.  But as we stand now, I am still holding out hope that I will figure something out.  I know though, a few months down the road I will find a new house to love, it just sucks.  Why did I have such high expectations about this place??  Ugh. 
As for now, I will tend to my wounds of forlorn house lust.  Moral of this story: I decided I need to stay away from the real estate listings until we are locked and loaded and ready to make offers. 

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