Hey, there, Summer! The first official day of summer was earlier this week, and I am here for it! As a heat-loving girl, I’m all about homemade popsicles, cool evening walks, and lazy Saturday afternoons in the pool. (Or, if you’re Bob, zipping around the pool on your Father’s Day gift! 🤣)
Remember to stay sun safe this summer, my friends! At our house, that means lots of UPF clothing. (Bob cleaned up at the BIG Columbia Sportswear sale this week!) It also means the giant 18 oz. pump bottle of PLAY sunscreen, which is our very favorite! (That said, when I ran out of Play sunscreen at the beach last week — because someone kept stealing mine — I did discover a new brand right at Walmart that I’m sharing in this month’s SO in the KNOW! (Keep reading to check it out!)
As always, click any pink text link or image (including the collages) for more information. All styles fit TTS unless indicated.
What I’m Learning in my Empty Nest
An Upgrade for HDTV
Remember when HDTV first came out, and we all marveled at the clarity. It sent all the news anchors scrambling for a special HD foundation that would blur and cover all the imperfections! (I love that foundation too and wear it whenever I have to be on camera.)
Well, get ready for the Next Generation in TV clarity! It’s called (drumroll, please!) NextGen TV! The new broadcast standard will bring 4K video and clearer Dolby audio to your TVs. It will also deliver television to your phone, tablet, or car! Designed for interactivity, you’ll be able to do things like tap a button on your remote for a map of where a news event is happening or access additional interviews on a topic.
To access NextGen TV, you’ll either need a new set (if you’re shopping, look for the NextGen TV logo on the box) or connect a NextGen TV tuner to an older TV. To learn more about NextGenTV, click HERE.
Free Movie Streaming
Speaking of TV, have you cut the cord and quit cable TV? Lots of people did, switching to ad-free streamers like Netflix. But now, with rising prices, many people are cutting back on the number of streaming services they subscribe to. Looking for alternatives? Did you know that there are actually multiple FREE, mostly ad-based services that you can use as alternatives? These services are catching on with views! In fact, an estimated 18% of US households used a FREE, ad-based TV service last winter, more than doubling the number from the previous year! Interested? Here are a few to try:
- Kanopy – To use this service, you have to be a member of a participating local library. You get a certain number of credits each month, and each movie or TV episode you watch requires one credit.
- Hoopla – This service also offers ebooks and audiobooks! Similar to Kanopy, content is free with a library card. YOu “borrow” titles for three days, and some can even be downloaded offline via the Hoopla mobile app!
- Amazon Freevee – Formerly known as IMBD TV, Freevee is hosted right on Amazon’s site, alongside paid Amazon Prime Video content. If you already have an Amazon Prime membership, click the “Free to Me” tab, which combines Prime Vidoe and Freevee offerings. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime HERE.
- Tubi – Owned by Fox Corp., you can access Tubi on a variety of devices, from the web to Apple TV. You’ll find a large selection of recognizable titles. Expect movies to have three commercial breaks an hour (ranging from 25 seconds – 2 minutes).
- Roku – Also known as the maker of popular streaming devices, Roku also has its own free content hub. You can access it from the web, a mobile app, Roku device, or a compatible smart TV. You can watch a mix of live TV from network news channels and on-demand movies and shows. Expect eight ad breaks (30 seconds long) during a one-hour show.
- Pluto TV – Owned by Paramount and formerly known as ViacomCBS, Pluto TV offers content from the parent company’s networks. There are also live TV channels with alternative programming from those on the broadcast channels of the same name. (Example: CNN on Pluto TV shows the latest headlines but doesn’t offer the same programming as cable. Expect five ad breaks (2 minutes long) during a one-hour show.
- Peacock – NBC’s Peacock offers channels and on-demand content on its web browser and mobile app. Alongside FREE content, you’ll see titles marked with a purple feather. Those require a $5/month subscription.
- Check Your Cell Plan – Many cellular providers include streaming services as part of their plans! Check yours to see if you’re already paying for a subscription! AT&T customers with unlimited data plans can get access to HBO Max, for example.
What I’m Loving in my Empty Nest
1. Square Neck Puff Sleeve Midi Dress – This square neck dress incorporates all of the hot trends of the season — gingham fabric, puff sleeves, a smocked bodice, and the slimming midi length. If you’re worried about it looking too young, stay away from the pink and lavender gingham, and opt for a neutral tan gingham or black and white gingham option instead. (Be sure to check the coupon box to make this dress under $30!)
2. Retinol Eye Stick – Okay, so you know retinol is a powerful weapon in your anti-aging arsenal. But you also know that it can be irritating — especially around your eyes! A friend introduced me to this best-selling CLEAN BEAUTY serum-balm retinol stick designed especially for the eye area! It’s excellent for fine lines, and I’ve seen a huge difference in the texture in that area — which means my concealer goes on so much better! Buh-bye crepey undereye! (I like it so much that I just ordered the Retinol Face Stick from the same brand. It’s so convenient for travel!)
3. Classic Kate Spade Satchel on Major Sale – I’m constantly on the lookout for major deals that will save you money! This classic designer satchel measures 8.7″h x 10.4″w x 4.75″d and is a ladylike handbag that will last you for years. Grab it in black for next season, or opt for one of four other wear-now colors. Use code EXTRA30 for 30% off.
4. Clip Earring Converters – My sweet mother-in-law never got her ears pierced, and at 80-something years old, she’s not about to do it now! Finding cute clip-on earrings for her has always been challenging, but now the problem is solved! These converters allow you to convert pierced earrings to clip-on earrings! Each package contains a pair of goldtone and a pair of silvertone converters, and the converters have padded clips for added comfort. (Also, BTW, Chico’s has a number of chic clip-on earring styles this season. I own THIS beautiful pair of Resin Shell clip-on earrings. They’re on sale for under $20 right now!)
5. Tory Burch Miller Cloud Sandal on Major Sale – Also, in the bargain-hunter department, I found these ultra-popular Miller Cloud Sandals at a terrific price! They feature the Tory Burch logo on top and a contoured footbed for comfort, and they come in multiple color/style options. They have over 2.2K amazing reviews, and they’re at Nordstrom, so you’ve got free shipping/returns. Click HERE to see the options at up to 33% off regular price.
6. Turquoise Hoop Earrings – In case you haven’t noticed, turquoise is making a BIG comeback this season! I snagged these not-too-big-and-not-too-small gold and turquoise hoops (to pair with THESE fun raffia and turquoise shell slides), and I always get compliments on them.
7. Eucerin Hydration SPF 50 Sunscreen – When someone absconded with ALL of my beloved Supergoop PLAY sunscreen last week at the beach, it necessitated a quick Walmart run to grab an alternative. This one caught my eye immediately because full spectrum UVA/UVB protectant, it’s from a brand I trust (Eucerin), and it’s formulated with Hyaluronic Acid and antioxidants, which attract and replenish skin’s natural moisture. If your skin tends to be dry (like so many women over 50), this is a great, moisturizing sunscreen option! Buy it at Walmart, Target, or Amazon.
8. Bottle Drainer Sink Caddy – Whelp, the global supply chain crisis has caught up with me at Empty Nest Blessed! It can be hard to get your water bottle dry after washing! I loved this clever water bottle drying rack (mostly because of the compact design and problem-solving concept!). Unfortunately, when I went to link it for you, it was no longer in stock! No worries! I found one I like even better! It’s collapsible and even cheaper than this one! You can check it out HERE.
9. Affordable Flip Flops in Loads of Colors – I own two of these darling flip flops – in bright pink and bright green (both under $15)!! They have cushy footbeds for comfort and are the perfect fun sandals to pair with all of your colorful summer looks! You won’t believe the prices! Shop some colors HERE, other colors HERE, and a darling blue & white gingham pair HERE.
10. Bob’s Favorite Affordable Men’s Linen Shirts – When we’re on vacation somewhere tropical, Bob always wears THESE linen shirts! (He owns a bunch of colors/patterns, and they fit TTS.) They look great untucked for a casual island vibe! I linked them in regular size, but you can find them in Slim-Fit HERE.
11. Travel Pill Caddy – This space-saving travel pill caddy is the one I use! I like the fact that the lid latches securely in place, so the pressure change in an airplane won’t pop the top and leave you digging through your bag for your pills. (True story! 🙄😂) They have an inner and outer container for even more security and portability.
12. Planting Miracles: Daily Encouragement for Parents by Lori D. Fischer – This conversational book is a series of short, chatty essays on parenting designed to encourage and inspire parents. Great gift idea.
13. MAC Matte Lipstick – This lipstick was voted the best overall long-lasting lipstick in a recent beauty editor poll, beating out 21 top brands on color, coverage, and staying power! It’s moisturizing and fade-free, and it goes on like buttah! I didn’t find a need for a separate lip liner, thanks to the clean edges.
14. Cute $13 Summer Doormat – This happy and colorful $13 coir doormat is so cute; I snatched it up the moment I saw it! It’s tough to find a good quality, colorful, 100% coir doormat for under $25, and this one ships right to your door.
I hope you’re feeling SO in the KNOW! What’s going on in your empty nest? Learn something new or got an awesome product on your radar? Please share it with our little community in the comments below!
To check out past month’s SO in the KNOW posts, click HERE.