Koka’s Favorite Things

Today I thought I’d do something a little different. In the past year or so, my life has changed drastically. I’ve had a ton of new experiences and exposure to technology and websites that have made my life easier and more fun. So here I share just a few of those favorites that are a big part of my life.

Chicago Pride Parade. This summer was my first time at Pride. I had a blast! The energy in the air said one thing: Over a million people are in this city to celebrate!

HRC and Out & Equal. These organizations are doing good work! I hope one day HRC can shut their doors. As for Out & Equal, they have a lot of work ahead of them to accomplish their mission for LGBT equality in the workplace.

Meetup. When I got divorced, I wasn’t interested in dating. But I knew I needed to get out and be social. So I got active on Meetup and went to as many meetups as I could attend/afford. Now I’m not as active, but I still try to get out and meet people in the real world.

OKCupid. Match.com and eHarmony don’t have anything on OKC. They have slick marketing but not the algorithm that makes OKC great. I haven’t found love yet, but since OKC is free, there’s no rush.

Dan Savage. I listen to the Savage Lovecast podcast regularly. I don’t always agree with his advice, but I love that he’s opinionated yet compassionate when required. He’s got a good heart. Listening to his podcast has also broadened my view of the variety of people out in the world. Be warned: His rant at the top of each podcast can get a bit windy.

WordPress. I only recently discovered WordPress. I’ve never been into reading blogs. Who has time? But I’ve found an outlet for my creativity, and at the same time, I’ve discovered a few other bloggers out there. I like the way WordPress runs things. And I like that I can have a blog with support and training for free.

Groupon and Living Social. Use them for a while and you’ll realize the subtle role each plays with the same idea. What I love most about Groupon and Living Social is that I can discover fun things to do with my son, in my neighborhood, for half the cost.

Honda. I switched to Honda from Toyota in 2008, and I love them. Essentially the cars are the same, but Hondas have  that little extra flair that you can’t find in a Toyota. I now have a CR-V and love just about everything about it–except for the gas tank. Can we have everything in hybrid, please? Excellent customer service and maintenance, too.

Repix and Perfect365. I recently started playing around with Repix. It’s just another photo enhancement app, but it’s lots of fun. And Perfect365 takes Photoshop to the iPhone for free (my favorite word). Take a blah photo of yourself, then add realistic makeup and hair with just a few swipes. You can even make your eyes bigger, your nose more prominent, and your teeth whiter. What’s not to love?

Starbucks. Starbucks has become my favorite since Caribou Coffee left town. There’s a reason people are willing to pay $5 for a cup of coffee. Excellent drinks, customer rewards (every 11th drink is free, no matter what you order), and the right attitude about customer service. Yet for some reason, my local Starbucks never shows up on their store locator.

My DVR. I don’t know how I managed to watch TV before the DVR came along. Oh yeah I do. Schedule TV times in the VCR and hope 1) your show stays on schedule and 2) your tape doesn’t run out. These days, I talk about my favorite shows, and people ask me what network they’re on. Who knows that any more? They’re on my DVR and I binge watch them whenever I have the house to myself.

Forever. Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Elementary. Modern Family. Two new shows and two older ones. First, the newest. Forever is just the right level of interesting and charming. A combination of Sherlock Holmes and Ichabod Crane, Forever feeds my need for mystery. Alex likes the idea, but a few scenes from each episode are a little too graphic for a seven-year-old. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is in its second season. When I heard it would be canceled last season, I was devastated. But never fear, this cop comedy is hilarious, quirky, and endearing. I hope it lasts. Elementary is the modern Sherlock Holmes, only not as faithful as the BBC series Sherlock. Still, who can resist a good mystery? Finally, Modern Family. The best comedy on TV since…Frasier? Seinfeld? It’s intelligent, funny, and contemporary. Great characters, great setup, and always heartwarming.

Flavia de Luce. The best series of mysteries since Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. A precocious 11-year-old amateur detective in 1950s England manages to combine prepubescent innocence  with dark humor and scientific curiosity. These novels are cleverly written and a must-read for the language alone.

Wimp.com. Funny and educational videos have become a bedtime ritual for me and Alex. Start with a compilation of funny cat videos and move to an animated explanation of how the brain works, then finish with a heartwarming story of a dog rescue. Alex and I love scrolling through the daily content to see what’s the latest and greatest from the internet.

Humane Society. I rescued all three of my pets through the Humane Society. I love their mission, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the companionship they’ve provided through my Sadie, Tom Jones, and Siren.

The Hunger Games. First came the books, which I devoured. A dystopian, postapocalyptic future, in young adult form? This trilogy was well-written and deep–heavy, even. As any good book should, these books made me cry. And so, I was excited when the first movie came out, and I wasn’t disappointed. Now I’m awaiting the third (Mockingjay Part 1). Time to watch the first two and brush up.

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