Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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Dover Travel Video…and Bloopers

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I have begun making travel videos for our adventures abroad.  I love these videos and wrote about my basic plan for them last week.

Our trip to Dover last weekend was so fun.  After I made the initial ‘pretty’ travel video,  I decided to make a blooper reel as well.  In the videos I show you serene scenes of landscapes and buildings set to lovely music,  but in reality my husband and I are two dorks and our commentary is so contradictory to the lovely scenes you see.  Have a look!  And check out my YouTube channel for more #TexansAbroad funny and lovely videos!

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Smelling the Tulips | Writing 101: Day Two

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‘They’re my favorite flower,’ I hear my grandmother say, as I gaze over the vast field of never-ending violet. Ripples of color sway lazily with the breeze and, breathing deeply, I’m transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen. The soft smell of tulips sitting on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot as Elvis Presley sings hymns softly in the background. She liked listening to that CD in the morning. I make my way through the field taking photos I can’t wait to post, excitement I can’t wait to share.

The things that connect us. The purple tulips in May, on her birthday. The slightly burnt coffee every morning strictly at 7 am. The voice of Elvis Presley in the morning. Things that connect all of us. The entire family. I don’t have to explain my nostalgia for Betty Boop, because they have the same nostalgia. I don’t have to wait for the laugh track when I mention my appreciation of salt and pepper shaker collections because they appreciate them too. They get it.

mamawThis woman who lived a full life, filled with everything from a childhood in the country to one of glitz and glamour. She lived. Her feisty, talkative personality filled her house with laughter. Her love of collecting filled her home, literally. But it was beautiful. It was all beautiful. Specifically I’m not talking about her milk glass collection or china teacup sets. Or her extensive, beautiful gold and diamond jewelry, mostly rings. She treasured those rings and wore them, all at once, on special occasions. No, I mean sneaking in her wardrobe as a child and playing dress up in her 1970’s polyester nightgown-and-robe sets. I mean waiting until she went to the kitchen to slip into her storage room to gaze wide-eyed at her giant collection of Betty Boop coffee cups and dolls and shirts. Once I gave her an old life-sized cutout of Betty Boop. She displayed it in her living room for years.

Finished Painting of Baker Homestead

We were never incredibly close. Or, perhaps, we were. To be close to Mamaw, was to savor the small moments. To be present and willing to listen; to be patient and willing to wait. I wasn’t a good roommate. I wasn’t. After college, I was just grateful for a room in her home at all. I came home exhausted from work and shut myself in my room to decompress for hours. I couldn’t stand watching The Bachelorette with her–even ironically–so I left that to my cousin. I would snap back with an attitude after 30-too-many-times her telling me to not wash my dishes/clothes/self while she was watching her evening shows. She couldn’t hear them, otherwise. I was patient, but I still think about the times I was not. Of course, she had an attitude as well. The kind of attitude that comes with the privilege of aging and not caring at all if what she said offended. To be close to Mamaw was to not care if she did offend, because you knew she was just trying to tell her funny story for a good laugh. Or she was just trying to make sure her precious Betty Boop valuables weren’t broken by the hands of a curious child.

I drift in and out of these memories of my grandmother. Visiting the fields of tulips is like an amplified megaphone; each petal, each smell shouting a memory directly at me. The beauty of those flowers, stretched miles and miles and miles, is overwhelming and awe-inspiring. These fields connect me to my grandmother, they connect us all. They affect me like they affect my family. There is a beautiful trust in that. Even thousands of miles apart, I know I am not alone. Through a simple song by Elvis Presley, we can share a memory, a story, a laugh. Through a single tulip, we can ensure our family history will be remembered in the most beautiful way.

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This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

I’d love to visit Amsterdam during their tulip season for my grandmother! It’s on my Bucketlist, even. This spring I at least hope to visit one of England’s beautiful gardens.


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April Fool’s Day! | Office Pranks

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April Fool’s day has ALWAYS been my favorite day of the year. All the way back to elementary school, I was fascinated with the day. Being so clever as to prank someone? Gold.

My ‘best’ (*cough dumbest? silliest?*) prank ever dates back to Junior High. Cue pre-teen angst swirled together with a slew of boy-related rejections and a dollop of ‘still finding myself’ and you get the basic inspiration for this scheme. With a little planning (very little) and some basic acting skills, I successfully fed several boys diarrhea-inducing chocolate bars. (Pathetic, right?) My friends and I had such fun ‘luring’ boys to eat this chocolate despite the prank having ZERO GRATIFICATION TO US. It’s not like we asked them the following day if they had any “issues.”  I guess it’s the journey that matters, not the destination?

Sometimes the stars align so perfectly that you just know something was meant for you. I recently found out that one of the first mentions of April Fools’ Day  was written in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Oh Canterbury, I was meant to live here. In The Nun’s Priest Tale the character is tricked by a fox on “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two…”  —March 32nd—or…April 1st. pranks

Last year, I had the best day at work full of pranks and laughter. It was my last day of working in that particular office, and at the end of the day I literally packed away my computer and belongings and moved to a different office building in a different city. It was really special to make my last day full of fun. A coworker, with a penchant for pranking, and I schemed and prepped a long time to come up with as many pranks as possible. You can see them listed below. (I know I posted this video a few posts ago, but really, I couldn’t leave it out)

This year, I’m living in the UK, but I just couldn’t let the spirit of pranking be cast aside! (Although rumor has it that my coworker partner-in-crime has some pranks up her sleeve…can’t wait to find out!) I decided to keep it really simple and civil this time with a care package from Britain, filled with snacks. I thought they’d get a kick out of the novelty of the different name brands.

The ‘prank’ is just a small letter included in the package. The sentences are completely non-sensical using many British phrases. Considering that I created these sentences myself with only the help of my experience and some Google searching, I doubt many of these sentences even make sense to local Britains! (Especially because many phrases are from different regions of England, as well as different time periods.) I included ‘clues’ on tiny slips of paper that ‘translate’ the words into American English. They’ll have to do some digging and rearranging to figure out what I wrote!

If anyone has any pranks to share, I’d love to see! I hope everyone has a fun day and that none of you get fooled by any of the media’s inevitable pranks!

Unfortunately their package hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ll update this post with the letter and decipher once they receive it!


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April Fool’s Day | Etsy Finds

My favorite day is coming up soon! I love pranking! Taylor and I are always trying to trick each other. When we first married he would prank me so much, that I’m conditioned to it now. His scares don’t get me anymore! (Public shaming)

I thought I’d peruse Etsy for some fun pre-made pranks to share here!

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Dentures Soap | Mail a Glitter Bomb | Outlet Sticker |  Prank Poster | Mac & Cheese Soap | Spilled Coffee

(The power outlet sticker was featured on George Takei’s Facebook this week.


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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I had the most fun making these little punny valentines cards! I wanted them cheesy, colorful, and to match a personality, interest or job description! Each card took about 5 minutes to make (not including the tiresome job of searching for puns!) I mailed these out a couple weeks ago and I hope everyone thought they were as great as I did!

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Valentine’s Things
Valentine Puns
Coworker Valentine

 


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My Favorite British Shows & Unblocking Netflix!

I have discovered a super easy way to switch from UK to US Netflix! Why would I want to do that? Because so many US things are blocked! I can now watch The Walking Dead, Parks and Rec, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Frasier…I mean all the shows I did or didn’t know I missed, I now have easy access to! I thought I’d share the link for Chrome users to anyone interested in unblocking sites for themselves. It can be used to unblock shows from many countries so my next step is to attempt to learn French by watching French children’s cartoons. But, I thought I’d share some of my favorite (mainly) British Netflix shows! Of course, Sherlock and Doctor Who are obvious favorites, so I thought I’d try making a more obscure list.

Unblock shows by adding this: Chrome Extension

+ Sitcom
The IT Crowd – Rating 12 years+ US & UK Netflix
This silly sitcom is based in a London IT department. It’s full of easy laughs and incredibly cheesy/geeky humor. There was supposed to be a U.S. version, but it was cancelled. The U.S. pilot can be watched here.

Little Britain – Rating 17+ UK Netflix

Little Britain is quite crass, but there are some hilarious moments. It follows a few English ‘stereotypes’ and pokes fun of itself quite often. It’s ridiculous at times, but the show sucks you in! HBO has created Little Britain USA, which is even more crass and less funny, but the same characters are on there so the general humor is the same.

+ Humor/Life

Extras – Rating 15+ UK Netflix
This show, like many British shows I seem to be drawn to, has a quiet, subdued humor. Extras is produced by Ricky Gervais, and each episode features a celebrity who essentially make a fool of themselves. Such actors include Kate Winslet, Sir Ian Mckellan (Yes, he does say ‘You shall not pass!) and Daniel Radcliffe.

Outnumbered – Rating 13+ UK Netflix

Outnumbered portrays the everyday life of a British family. The show is about nothing, essentially,and is even semi-unscripted, but is funny and sweet. The parents on the show are a mess of everyday contradictions and their children are hilarious albeit a bit too smart and sinister for their ages. My favorite character is the little girl who always has something shocking (yet totally rational) to say.

The Royle Family -Rating 15+ UK Netflix

This is probably the most ‘everyday living’ show on this list. It’s about a family whose main priority is watching TV. Many of the opening scenes start out the same with the mom asking various people if they’ve ‘had their tea’ (dinner). There are some funny and sweet moments, but it’s really hard to pinpoint what really keeps me watching. If any show can teach me some quintessential British phrases, this one is at the top of the list. With their thick cockney (and Scottish) accents, it takes a bit for this Texan to muddle through their conversations.

Derek – Rating 13+ US Netflix

Yes, Ricky Gervais is on this list a lot. This show is US only, but it’s so great. It holds the same tone as many of Gervais’ shows, with a quiet, everyday life feel to it. Ricky plays ‘Derek’ who is a sweet, caring and funny man who works at a nursing home. This show will have you in tears! It’s still funny, but it also has a deeper meaning about life and people.

+ Documentaries

An Idiot Abroad – Rating 15+ – US Netflix
An Idiot Abroad is a documentary about a man (Karl Pilkington) who hates travelling. His friends, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant send him to several places around the world and has him experience different cultures. The show is based around Karl’s complaints and grumpy attitude, which puts a funny spin on travelling documentaries.

+ Movies/Documentaries

The Dark Matter of Love – Rating 13+ US & UK Netflix
This documentary is a compelling story of a family who adopts three children from Russia. It focuses on the trials of adopting orphans and the emotional stunting/regrowth of  parent and child relationships. I thought this documentary was very interesting as it dives into the psychological subconscious of trust and emotion as well shows a family learning to grow together.