Thursday, August 27, 2015

10 things I'm excited about for #AWBU 2015

sometimes a title says everything your post is, I'll just jump in!
10 things I'm looking forward to at #AWBU2015 #newpost #bridgebuilder #solutionseeker @bigpittstop

  • road trip to Hot Springs  Paige and I are hitting the road and I’m looking forward to the windshield time.  I want to hear stories about being a new mama and hearing about the dreams behind her new venture.  I also value her opinion and I'm looking forward to doing a little brainstorming. My heart is exploding to hear the tales!
  • roommates – I’ve always attended with my pal Rhonda, and I’m secretly mourning that we will not have our quiet room time.  But, I love girl time.  Paige, Britney, and her pal are going to be fun.  But, the thought of being in a room and having some girl time at the end of a long day sounds delightful.  (ironically, I’m friends with lots of introverts so conferences are always a fun little exercise in being kind in the sandbox and not talking til all hours of the night).  Plus, I don’t usually get this kind of unadulterated time with these gals, so I’m looking forward to it
  • hosting Chef Matt Bell – like I’m preparing myself to not have a fan girl moment.  But as a hostess at Foodie Friday, I’m getting to host Chef Matt Bell.  I’m stoked to say the least and I will be nervous asking him to take a picture with me.  But seriously….I love South on Main and I’m secretly hoping for a tip off on the pimento cheese!
  • Evernote session – so, my gal Bethany has been telling us for years about Evernote.  She’s written about it.  She presented on it.  I’ve even endorsed it.  But for some reason, I’m scared.  I’ve got an account and the app on my phone, but I’ve not jumped in.  I think it can change my life.  I’ve even got a stack of recipes on my kitchen counter to jump in with both feet and I just need her to push me off the edge!
  • Supporting my girl Ramona on her first presentation – I love the anxiety of a first, especially when it comes to presenting at a conference.  Its one of life’s great hurdles and greatest feelings of accomplishments.  I can’t wait to hear what she has to share.
  • the goodie bags - I've helped gather some items in #NWArk and if those are anything, then we are bringing home some loot...oh the anxiety of real usable items!
  • the historic Arlington Hotel – so many things I love about this place.  It was the grand adventure when I was in college.  We built some fun memories here when I was in Leadership Arkansas.  I love the nostalgia of the place.  The fact that they still give you an old key.  And all the mystery of Al Capone that wanders the hallways.
  • a pretty weekend away – its supposed to be a pretty night in Hot Springs on Friday and Saturday and I’m ready to take Bathhouse Row with some of my favorite gals!
  • laughing – I love that when I go to AWBU, I kinda wipe out the world.  I live tweet and post pictures the whole time I’m there and I’m fully aware that I probably annoy the fire out of anyone who follows me.  But it is one of the few times I go all in without another care in the world and I am oh so excited.
  • supporting AR – one of the biggest threads of the weekend is supporting AR farmers and AR based businesses.  Even as a native Texan, I’m blown away by this state and the products here.  I’ve loved getting a glimpse into farming in our state by meeting some of the people, the women, who make it so.  I’m grateful to Arkansas Farm Bureau who continues to invest in us and make this a state to be proud of.
  • the margins and the stars – when I take notes, I draw big stars by the things that are action steps; the things I want to tackle first.  Every year when I attend #AWBU, I come back with some quick things I want to do and a renewed interest in writing.  There is something about summer that makes me want to be so present in life that one of the things that usually takes a hit is my blog.  I just don’t have the energy to write.  I think of all kinds of things while I drive about, but I rarely stop and just write them.  The fall is so different and #WBU is one of the things that kick starts that part of life.  So, I’m excited about the one-liners, the ideas I’m going to write in the margins of my notes and the big stars I will draw near the things I want to tackle next.
Oooooo….this is going to be good!  Don’t forget about the packing list I shared Monday.  It’s time to get going ladies!

For my non-blogger peeps, follow #AWBU (Twitter, Instagram and Periscope) this weekend to see what all the craze is about!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

off to school code

Growing up, we would always wait until after school started to do our big back-to-school shopping trip.  Mom would take us shopping and get something for the first day or first days once I was on a block schedule.  It was a really smart idea that I might not have appreciated at the moment.

OFF2SCHOOL shopping code for K Cutie Designs Etsy Shop - valid until 8.31.15 @bigpittstopStop for a moment and think about it, everything in the stores right now is for fall, like sweater and boot weather fall.  It's smart for the stores, but silly to buy sweaters when you live in TX and its still 100 in August!  Plus most of what you see is super trendy and who know what people are actually going to wear to school.  I'll admit I was not the trendsetter.  I am a follower when it comes to style.  I'll watch what other people are doing and figure out what I can pull off.  In middle school and high school I liked to think I was cooler than I was and would make my mom spend money on silly things, but I made it work. (for the record, the Dr. Martens are still in the bottom of my closet)

Its amazing how much more particular you are when its your money and not your mom's you are spending!

So, to honor my mama and the tradition she set for us, I'm running an "OFF2SCHOOL" sale in my Etsy shop.  This is on top of the End of Season sale I have on some of my Little Lulu and Game day Dresses.

K Cutie Designs Etsy Shop

So, take a minute and check out my shop.  And, if you find something you like, then enter the code "OFF2SCHOOL" at check out.  I'll pack it up and drop it in the mail to you!

Happy Shopping

Sunday, August 23, 2015

thoughts on packing for a blogger conference

So, when I get really excited about something, I kinda over plan for it in my mind.  And, I make lists and piles.  In those quiet moments when the lights are turned out and I'm alone with my head on my pillow and my quiet thoughts I make more lists and think through every scenario.  Then the night before I leave I usually spend a couple unplanned hours emailing and texting myself stuff to do the next morning.  So, when I get there I'm already exhausted.  Not this time!

I've resolved to do something different - pack early.  I took advantage of a lazy Saturday and time to think and planned ahead and made some piles.  I thought I'd share my over-planning and make your packing list easy for you!

(of course all of this is my own, very, personal opinion.  You may travel differently with more or less, do it sister!  Just don't forget to leave your grumpy pants at home...)
  1. Electronics - power strip, extension cord, computer, digital camera, multiple devices, charging cords
  2. Business cards- I attended my first conference with out these and it was just hard to tell people how to find my stuff.  Thankfully I use the same handle for my blog and all my social media platforms, but I also like to share info about my etsy store and I want people to know who I am.  Plus everyone has them and I felt like I was behind
    -my first year I just made something on Publisher with my blog header and all my info.  I still love those cards.  Last year I made some on and LOVED them.  I felt so profesh!
  3. Digital camera - I took my DSLR last year and it was helpful for some food blogger sessions I attended to practice, but I found that most of the pictures I took, I took on my phone.  So make sure your phone pictures are cleaned off so you have plenty of memory space.  You might even want to take a video or 2, especially if you are planning to vlog, Periscope, Vine, Beam, etc. while you are there.  Its pretty safe to say that you need lots of memory more ways than one!
  4. I mentioned multiple devices, but I found myself using my laptop, iPad and iPhone at multiple times throughout the weekend.  Plus you will use some serious juice so be prepared to switch at any point.
  5. paper and pen - I'm old school and I have a notebook that I've used at the same conference multiple years in a row.  I like to have my notes all in one place.  And, I like to have back up in case my devices die.  And, how do you doodle while you type?!?!
  6. sharpie - little known fact.  I don't go many places without a permanent marker close by.  So many things!
Things you might not have thought of:
  1. sweater or cardigan - at this point if you go to any conference and don't take a sweater, you are silly.  Its always chilly inside this time of year.  And outside of a good hot flash are going to want to cover up!
  2. tummy medicine - weird foods and nerves never make for a great combination, so just be prepared
  3. Tylenol/Advil/Aspirin/Aleve/ Excedrin - I promise your brain will hurt, your body will ache from a hotel bed and someone is going to get on your nerves...spare us all and just be prepared
  4. Clothes that are comfy, casual, and cute - you will take pictures with people, you will be so excited to see them and meet digital friends in real life that you won't care what you look like...until you get home and want to blog about the trip and you are overly critical of yourself.  Just pack things that make you feel like a rock star and there won't be any issues.
  5. Cute lip gloss - similar to the point above, your lips will need to be poppin' for all the selfies and other randomness that will occur.  I like to take my BBW mentha, tinted gloss - mint, color, gloss all in one
  6. A good sense of humor - this is the first time you will be around some of the people you will meet at the conference.  And the only time in the year you are around others.  Don't take yourself too serious.  Roll with the silly of the weekend and be fully present. 
  7. read the itinerary and see if there is anything extra you need to bring - a dress up night, a costume event, different events will call for different types of clothes or shoes...just read and be prepared. 
  8. If you are attending a conference for the first time - google it, see what other people wear.  If you know someone who has gone before, ask them what you need to know.
  9. Find your unique place in this community, and give all you can!  You will benefit.  It might not be followers or numbers, but it might be a long-lasting, mutually-beneficial, all-encompassing life-long friend! (#greatestgiftinlife)

Things to definitely leave at home:
  • your ego - 'aint no body got time for a powerhouse. Don't play the clique game; be inclusive whenever possible.  You are trying to build a following as much as you are trying to learn.  Be who you are.  We already follow you, we already know what you think, let us get to know YOU! Offline, unbranded YOU!
  • pre-conceived notions - on the flip side, get to know people and get to know the community you are there to connect with.  You will have read and followed many people attending.  You might even have some fan girl moments. That's ok! But don't judge. Just learn.
  • grumpy pants - prepare yourself and do whatever you have to be at the place you are.  You've paid a lot of money to invest in yourself or your business so be fully present.  Don't get mad at silly things or if you don't get your way.  Have conversations with people that you might disagree with just so you can understand them.

As for the gals coming to #AWBU2015, you will find a welcoming group of women who want you to succeed.  They want to share ideas and collaborate.  They want to hear your dreams and goals, not because they want to steal them but because they want to breathe wind in your sails and push you forward!  These women are in your corner and will cheer big cheers for you.  Not just in blogger victories but life – weddings, babies, new jobs, new ventures, start-ups and shut downs.  This is your posse.
I’m pumped about my weekend…it's why I went ahead and started packing a few things…no need to lose sleep before I get there!

If you need a reminder on how to get the best out of a conference, read this article by my pal, Jacqueline Wolven.  #askJackie

If you need a pump up about #AWBU2015 specifically, here's an article by Alison Chino.

And if that's not enough, here an article about attending a conference from my introverted friend at Approaching Joy!

Happy should start now...

Blogger Conference Packing List from @bigpittstop - What to bring, what to leave and the essentials!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What are you passionate about?

I saw a post earlier this week that posted the image below and then asked, “What are you passionate about?” 
What are you passionate about? | Chase life. Love people. Choose joy. A #newpost from @bigpittstop

I didn’t think about it too much and quickly typed out this response.

"'m passionate about using my life experiences to pour in to others, build community and connect people, and finding ways to choose Joy! (yes that includes good restaurants, coffee dates, belly laughing and listening!)”

I’ve been thinking about it all day.  If I were to stop and think about it would I answer any different? 
You know, I don’t think so.  Those are the things I am about.  Not just as @bigpittstop, but me – KP. 

So, why am I writing this and verbally processing with you? 

Because what I’ve more been thinking about is authenticity.  It’s one of the things I strive for most in my life.  I have a terrible poker face, but I’m impeccably consistent in my demeanor.  What you see is what you get.  Usually.  Almost always. 

I hope and believe that the things listed above, are the things I commit to in my every day. 

 I’ve really been spending a lot of time lately figuring out what is fluff and what is the good stuff.  Cutting the fluff and keeping the good stuff.  For me, the good stuff includes people and joy.  So many of the things we continue to commit ourselves to drain us.  I mean really suck the life from us.  Yet, we feel obligated to them and we feel obligated to the relationships.  You are not going to hear me tell you to shun people in your life and cut them out, because I love people.  But you CANNOT pursue relationships that are just not meant to be.  Friends. Co-workers. Business relationships. Volunteer Opportunities.

Instead, chase the good things.  Chase the opportunities that are worth trying.  Chase the people that are going to breathe life in to you.  Chase dreams that push wind in your sails.  Chase adventure, you will be glad you did.  Chase scary things, you just might succeed. I mean chase....

To round things out I finished my same day of Facebook “reading” by seeing this quote by Frederick Buechner, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet."

May it be so!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Oatmeal Blueberry Bread

Bigpittstop Oatmeal Blueberry Bread Coffee Break | @bigpittstop
This has been a super long week. My grandfather passed away last weekend and I spent part of the week in Texas. And when you come home from a week in Texas, you always come home with a cooler of leftovers. I'm ok with leftovers so that's usually a good deal for me!

Because of gracious friends, we had lots to eat and munch on including lots of fruit (note: fruit is such a great idea when families are gathering.  We had plenty of sweet tea and bundt cakes but the fruit made me feel better about munching!).

I noticed last night that the bag of blueberries were getting a little mushy so when I woke up this morning with a sweet tooth, I went on the hunt for something that included blueberries and ingredients I might already have on hand. A quick Pintetest search got me several possibilities and I narrowed it down to the Oatmeal Blueberry Loaf from Betty Crocker.

Oatmeal Blueberry Bread Recipe Card | @bigpittstop

Of course I had to do a few changes because...that's what I do! The milk at my house was a little chunky but thankfully I had one of those little cans of evaporated milk. It was 1 oz. short of the 6 I needed, so I added a little bit of coffee creamer. I know that breakfast breads are usually a "tight dough" so I thought getting all the liquid in there would be helpful. I've heard that tossing your berries in flour keeps them from floating to the bottom so a quick toss and then stirred them in. The recipe offers an option to sprinkle the tops with loose oats and I did that. But I also had a few candied pecans I made left over from a salad so I sprinkled those on top before I put the loaves in the oven.

One constant obstacle at my house is how to make a recipe single girl friendly. Usually that means putting things in portions I can freeze later. So this one fell in suit. Instead of one big loaf, I made 4 mini loaves. I already have a plan for one extra loaf and I'll put the other 2 in the freezer for a "love gift" later. 
I know my Papa would be proud to know that love gift of fruit that was brought to honor him has made its way to a sweet breakfast treat that will bless others. Afterall, he is the one to taught me the trick that people always welcome you when you show up with food in your hand!