Day Trip Through History

June 25, 2015

Contributed by OKWB member, Mari Farthing

Before school ended for the year, my daughter’s class went on one final field trip, to the Mabee-Gerrer Museum in Shawnee. If you’ve never been, here are 10 reasons why you should go.

  1. Mummies. Along with a collection of other ancient Egyptian artifacts, you can see the mummy of “Tutu,” and get up close and personal, and the only one you can find in Oklahoma.
  2. Ancient artifacts. Items from ancient Central American cultures (such as the Olmecs and Aztecs), and items from ancient Rome, Greece and China show early culture from around the world.
  3. Paintings. So many paintings, from medieval works to contemporary works, the museum hosts paintings from all eras.
  4. Knowledgeable staff. Tour the museum with a guide if you can—the staff are very knowledgeable about the artworks and artifacts in the museum. Docent guided tours are free for groups of 10 or more and should be booked 2 weeks in advance. It’s worth it.
  5. Gift shop. Seriously, the museum has an awesome gift shop with the usual suspects you find plus really cool jewelry and one-of-a-kind things that would make great gifts.
  6. Hands-on learning. So, like I said, I went with a field trip so this might be specific to a field trip group, but the on-site classrooms provide a great opportunity for hands-on learning for the kids. And yes fine, the adults who like the crafty things. Even if you don’t have a school group, there are family activity ideas on the website (http://www.mgmoa.org/family-activities) to get you started.
  7. Ambience. The grounds of St. Gregory’s University play host to the museum and the lawns are gorgeous. The day we visited, the trees were blowing in the ubiquitous Oklahoma breeze.
  8. St. Gregory’s Abbey. There is a working Benedictine Monastery on the grounds of the museum, just across the lovely green expanse of tree-dotted lawn. The Gothic Cathedral features flying buttresses and stained glass and church services.
  9. Location. Seriously. It’s 40 minutes from the heart of the city.
  10. Because you haven’t been there before.

Version 2

2 ASIAN ART

3 ROMAN COIN

4 ITALIAN TRIPTYCH

5 AMERICAN INDIAN

6 AFRICAN MASK

7 BUILDING EXTERIOR

8 CHURCH WINDOWS

Learn more about the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art at http://www.mgmoa.org

IMG_7704Mari Farthing is a writer and editor in the Oklahoma City area. She blogs about all the things at MariFarthing.com and likes to spend her free time creating things, enjoying things and traveling with her husband & two kids.

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Why I quit blogging

June 23, 2015

quit

Contributed by Marisa Mohi, OKWB Factotum Extraordinaire

So, I quit blogging. Packed it all in, deleted old posts that were functionally crap, and called it a day. My blog had become a place where it was evident that I was trying to be the most marketable me. And if you’re trying to be everything to everyone, then who even are you to yourself?

If that paragraph isn’t evidence enough that I haven’t blogged in a hot minute, then I don’t know what is.

My blog–on a website that shares my name–was no longer me. I tried so hard to be cool. I signed up for multiple blogging e-courses and took advice from people who made inexcusable portmanteaus of entrepreneur and some other word. (The definitions of these portmanteaus functionally meant entrepreneur. Maybe I’m alone in this, but if we could stop with all the solopreneur, femtrepreneur, momtrepreneur, and the like, I think the world would be a better place.) I took part in blogathons to increase viewership, which meant I blogged about crap I didn’t care about. I was reading the blogs of people I didn’t like or respect simply because they had daily pageviews in the hundreds of thousands. And I wanted to be like them so bad, even though I DIDN’T EVEN LIKE THEM.

I’m a competitive person deep down. Whoever says Gen Y kids only do things for the participation ribbon is wrong. I’m straight up cutthroat. I graduated high school in the top 2% of my class, finished undergrad in 3 years, and had two master’s degrees by my 27th birthday. For me, just showing up and trying hard DOES NOT CUT IT. I’ve been accused of white knuckling my way through life and I know I do. Contentment: I struggle with it. So for me, just having an online diary that maybe got a few pageviews here and there was an abject failure.

So I deleted everything. I turned my site into a static page with some biographical info, contact information, and some links to things I’ve had published. I quit blogging. (Okay, not really. I quit blogging on my own site, but I’ve been posting 4 days a week over at The Lost Ogle since time immemorial.) That was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. In the 3 months since, I’ve been able to concentrate on short fiction instead of SEO keywords. I’ve spent more time with my boyfriend (Note: I need a better word for a longterm relationship with a man, but common law husband sounds weird too) and dog than I have in ages. I’ve started working out again–like the getting up and swimming laps and going to yoga and kickboxing type of working out.

Basically, my life has dramatically improved since I stopped blogging. And it will probably shock you to know that I plan to take it up again.

Am I a glutton for punishment? Maybe. Do I need to fill every square inch of my day with some sort of activity? Probably. Do I miss it? Yeah. Am I insane? Certifiably.

I wish I could say that I’m going to approach it from a healthier angle, that I won’t be so competitive and obsess about the numbers. But I know that’s not the case. These past 3 months of no blogging haven’t somehow centered me. (Though, my yoga instructor says I have a very centered pelvis!) But I think I’ve finally figured out who Marisa is in the blogging world. And hey, weirdly enough, it’s the same Marisa that I am in the real world. (This is kind of like that moment in the story when the hero realizes she had the power to defeat the villain all along.)

So maybe I didn’t quit. Maybe I took some time off to reinvent myself. Into myself. I don’t know. Identity is a really complicated thing.

Reinvention

So what does being myself on my blog mean? Well, get ready for posts about teaching, because I do that now. Get ready for posts about writing in general, because I write so much fiction that my hard drive is full to bursting. Get ready for posts chock-full of pictures, because occasionally I take the ol’ DSLR out for a spin and then months later, remember to put the pictures on my computer. Oh, and there will totally be posts about my dog. I love her. She’s a mess.

But you know what there won’t be? Any content that is not me. SUCK IT BLOGATHONS AND SPONSORED POSTS BECAUSE YOU AIN’T TOUCHING MY BLOG NO MORE.

Marisa Mohi

Marisa Mohi teaches Business Writing at the University of Oklahoma and is one half of the editing team at Dominion House. She’ll probably start blogging again really soon over at MarisaMohi.com, but she’s kind of busy tweeting way too much to get any real work done.

 

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Contributed by June Blogger of the Month, Kylee Gwartney

kylee gwatney

I thought about writing a post about the reasons why I blog, but the list I came up with was pretty short. It boils down to the simple fact that blogging is fun. It’s like having an online diary only with way less “I saw a cute boy today” and more “here’s what I learned when I dated the wrong person and how you can avoid it.”

My first introduction to blogging was in 2010 in my Intro to Professional Writing class in college. I did a travel blog since I had just studied abroad in France earlier that year. We only had to post once a week, but it was by far my favorite activity our professor had us do. I didn’t pick up blogging again until 2013 when I started K, Byeee. It was a year after college graduation and I absolutely hated my first job. Blogging helped me keep my sanity! Here are a few of the main things I’ve learned over the past 2 years.

  1. Invest in a camera – How I wish I had taken this advice sooner! I was using my phone to take outfit pictures in the mirror when I first started out and it was kind of embarrassing. I didn’t realize how juvenile they looked at the time, but investing in a quality DSLR camera was totally worth the money. Save up and do it if you haven’t already! QVC has great deals around the holidays, which is how I was able to afford to get my Canon Rebel T3. It’s so easy to use and takes great pictures! My views for outfit posts have definitely increased since getting a new camera.
  1. Take advantage of free stuff – Got to love the Internet, am I right? There are so many free resources out there that bloggers can use. Since I blog about fashion and beauty a lot, I’m a huge fan of Polyvore. You can make fashion, beauty, and home décor collages using their online library of items. They have pretty much anything you could need on there. I also love ShopStyle Collective (formerly ShopSense). It’s a rewards program (that you don’t have to apply for!) where you can make embedded links and slideshows of products you like. They pay per click instead of just if someone buys something, which is nice. Another tool that is great for all bloggers, regardless of niche, is the online photo editor PicMonkey! I actually had never heard of it until April, but I’ve used it so much ever since. I do inspirational quotes on there, make my cover photos for Facebook and Twitter, and even made my own blog logo – all just using the free options on there.
  1. Don’t be afraid to branch out – There is somewhat of a fear in the blogging world when it comes to what topics you should cover on your blog. There’s this idea that if you’re a fashion blogger, you should only blog about clothes and if you’re a fitness blogger, you should only blog about healthy recipes and your workout routine, etc. That’s just silly! While you don’t want to cover so many topics that readers are confused by what you’re doing, I think it’s okay to have a few core subjects you write about instead of just one. Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging about clothes…but there is so much more to life than just clothes. I blog about relationships pretty frequently too and those posts always get a ton of views, a lot of times even more than my outfit posts. Moral of the story: don’t be afraid to share your personal experiences with your reader (just remember to make it relevant to them). They like feeling connected to you.

Fellow Okies, it’s been a great month! I’ve had so much fun blogging for you. Leave a comment below and share your favorite blogging tips – I’d love to hear about them!

Kylee GwartnyKylee Gwartney is the author of teen novel, Catching the Fever, and the creator of kbyeee.com where she posts about style, beauty, and inspiration. She lives in Mustang with her boyfriend and their furry cat children, Rachel McKattams and Noah Cathoun. When she’s not online shopping or eating queso, you can probably find her at a local restaurant drinking mimosas well after brunch time and pretending to be Blair Waldorf.

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Sunday Potluck

June 21, 2015

It’s Sunday and you know what that means for OKWB members…Sunday Potluck. Time to link up your blog posts from this week and let the community know what you have been up to. This Sunday is also very special since it is also Father’s Day. Special Sundays like these bring out the feelings and sentimental […]

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Travel Outfit Inspiration

June 15, 2015

Contributed by June Blogger of the Month, Kylee Gwartney What’s almost as fun as getting to go on vacation? Deciding what outfits to take with you, of course! While packing is never fun, it can help when you know you have cute things to wear. Here are a few outfits I love to help inspire […]

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Resources to Make Your Life’s Journey Simpler

June 8, 2015

Contributed by June Blogger of the Month, Kylee Gwartney Journey: what comes to mind when you hear it aside from, of course, the lyrics to Don’t Stop Believing? For me, I’m reminded of how important it is to not only follow your dreams, but to take care of yourself and learn as much as you […]

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Local Summer Getaways That Won’t Break The Bank

June 1, 2015

Contributed by June Blogger of the Month, Kylee Gwartney Can you believe it’s already June? 2015 is flying by faster than ever and summer has finally arrived! Even though most of us aren’t in school anymore, the summer months always bring the renewed urge to journey as far away from our desks as humanly possible […]

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June Blogger of the Month and Link Up

May 31, 2015

It’s time to say goodbye to another Blogger of the Month. Chloe Shelby shared with us her thoughts on generosity, what keeps her motivated to work out, getting your arms toned and wedding season ready and why she blogs. It’s so much fun getting to know what makes our bloggers tick. Now it’s time to […]

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Blogger of the Month – Chloe Shelby: Why I Blog

May 26, 2015

Contributed by OKWB May Blogger of the Month, Chloe Shelby Ever feel like you have so much to say and so much passion and want to shout it all out? Me too. Blogging has been such an amazing journey and I have immensely enjoyed and continue to love writing A Latte Lipstick! Each week, I […]

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Sunday Potluck Link Up

May 24, 2015

photo courtesy of Mari Farthing from Mari, Quite Contrary Batten down the hatches, the weather isn’t done with us yet. While the rain continues to water the earth, and the roads, and our basements, and our creeks, and our sanity…just think about the drought we were in last summer. It wasn’t that long ago that […]

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