Dec 26, 2012

Holiday Jingle Jangle


This time of year, I start rummaging through the center console of my car (aka, the black hole of CDs) looking for any of the holiday CDs I've made in years past. Once I exhaust that search, I usually turn to my iPod playlist entitled "Christmas" (clever, I know), but there are a few songs on there that I'm sick of now.

So when I saw this bracket of the worst Christmas songs ever, I had to agree with most of it.




Christmas Shoes literally makes my ears bleed. The worst is when I'm in a store and don't have the ability to turn it off. Ugh.

I also hate many of the "classics": Jingle Bell Rock, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, and Feliz Navidad.

But before you go and think I'm a grinch, I also love such goodies as Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time, Last Christmas, I Want a Hippopotamus, Chipmunk Song, etc.

Since I celebrate Christmas through the new year, I'll be listening to some of these jams throughout the next week. Yeeaah.

Dec 11, 2012

TV Tuesday: Toga! Toga!

I realize some things are only entertaining if you can relate (devil's advocate: The Hangover will be forever hilarious and I haven't had a crazy night in Vegas like that, yet)

However, I think everyone will be entertained by the (now over) ABC Family show Greek.


Yes, I was in a sorority and so I identify with some parts of the show--rush, the stresses of being an officer, sisters getting a little crazy at a party--but a lot of it is ABC Family classic over-dramatization of things (See also: Secret Life of the American Teenager, oy)

However, thanks to the joys of Netflix, I'm catching back up on Greek, and it's literally like being in my happy place. Episode of Breaking Bad got you down? Go hang out at the Zeta Beta Zeta house for a bit. Need something playing in the background while making Nutella cookies for co-workers' Christmas presents? How 'bout you do that while watching the CRU kiddos get crazy in Myrtle Beach for Spring Break?

Just saying, college only lasted four years, but with Greek you can at least take a trip down Memory Lane.

Dec 10, 2012

"I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes . . ."

I've only met one person who doesn't like Love, Actually (and it's my BF, lucky me . . .). It's pretty much required viewing at this time of year. So I was happy to see a great article in Entertainment Weekly about the lasting power of this crowd-pleaser. Summary below:

--It didn't get great reviews when it first cam out.
--It only grossed $59 million (in other words less than half of what the last Twilight movie made opening weekend)
--Taylor Swift lists it as her favorite movie.
--The "cult of Love, Actually seems doubly remarkable given how bleak so much of it is." So true when you think about it: Liam Neeson is a grieving widower, Keira Knightley's new husband's best friend is obsessed with her, Colin Firth is cheated on with his BROTHER, Snape cheats on Trelawney, and Laura Linney puts her violent, unstable brother above her own wants and needs.
--The director gives all the credit to his casting director and people who gave him advice about casting. Which, when you think about it, is really what makes the movie. That and this:




Also, I will walk down the aisle at my wedding to this:

Nov 16, 2012

Here Comes the Bride(smaid)


I'm sorry, that photo will make me laugh for years to come . . .


But I digress. I don't consider myself an expert on this, but around my office I've become a bit of a source on being on the B team for weddings. While it's been made fun of in various movies, chic lit novels, and Halloween costumes, I have to say being a bridesmaid is a lot of fun and not at all emotionally scarring.


Thanks for making this look like hell, Katherine Heigl

That being said, here are the pros and cons of being a bridesmaid. We'll start with the cons to end on a high note:
--It can be expensive. Throwing showers, buying presents, throwing a bachelorette party, travel expenses, buying a dress etc. Just saying, save up now. And register your credit card with an airline miles program, maybe you can get your ticket to the wedding for free!

--It can drain your schedule. You're looking at least three weekends with some sort of wedding activity.

--It can be tough to put things into perspective: Unless you're married or have thought a lot about your wedding, you probably don't have an opinion (or a clue) about linen quality or the best price for wedding favors. So the wedding chatter can seem a little boring (is there a difference between ecru and off-white colored paper?) and make you seriously consider eloping when your time comes.

--It can make you sad: whether you think your time will never come, or are worried about how your friendship will make this transition, weddings can make you a bit wistful and mopey.


Things that are awesome about being a bridesmaid:
--Um, you're kind of a big deal at the wedding and reception. People will want to talk to you about the happy couple (b/c you're obviously in the know), bartenders will add a little extra kick to your drinks, and the photographer will know you by name.

--Primping like it's prom: Who doesn't want to recreate the getting ready fun times you had in high school and college? You can totally get a Facebook profile pic out of this.

--Quality time: you've been to a wedding where you get five seconds of time with the bride, just long enough to shriek how great she looks and take a pic with six other sorority sisters. But when you're on the B team, you're practically joined at the hip with the bride. Your memories will extend beyond the reading of "Love is patient, love is kind" and dancing to "SHOUT!" at the reception.

--The groomsmen: Ok, so I speak from personal experience on this one, but hey, if you're single, they're single, and you're spending a ton of time together when everyone's in a jovial mood, sparks may fly . . .

--The dress: love it or hate it, that dress will be a great addition to your closet. If it's stylish, it becomes your go-to nice dress. If it's not your style, I'm sure it can be revamped as a costume in the future.

Cheers!

Nov 13, 2012

TV Tuesday: Winter is Coming




Tell me a TV series is Lord of the Rings with a medieval twist, and I can't change the channel fast enough. Throw in regular decapitations, incest, and children in peril, and I pretty much knew I would hate Game of Thrones.

You know how that goes. . . I love it. I watched the entire second season (10 episodes) in less than 48 hrs. From thinking Peter Dinklage is the best thing ever to wanting a direwolf as a pet, I am head over heels obsessed with this show. Unfortunately, season three comes out in March. That's a nine-month delay between visits to Westeros and (ugh) Vaes Dothrak.

Oct 18, 2012

More Questiones

This time stolen from Blair's Head Band, a new blog in my reading list:

If you were forced to spend the rest of your life in a library, a museum, or a zoo, which would you choose and why? The bibliophile in me is screaming not only "library" but also specific branches. Next.


2. What is the best piece of advice you've received from a parent/your parents?
I can't say we're an advice-heavy family, so I'll say the best piece of advice I've heard is "You regret what you didn't do, not what you did," I'd like to add the caveat: for the most part :-)

3. If you could get a guest role on any TV show (NOT reality show), what would it be?
Does this show still have to be on TV? Because right now it would be Friday Night Lights or Gilmore Girls.




4. What are the three things you would grab from your home during an emergency (fire, tornado, other tragic event)?
Geraldine, obvs, my laptop, and my Royal Wedding commemorative plate. (Totally kidding, mostly . . .)

5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy. Which is only sold in B&J stores. Which is a good thing for my waistline.



6. Would you rather get a facial or a massage at a spa?
Having JUST got a facial, where I actually cried (a story for another post, if I can ever talk about it), a massage x 100000000

7. What is the #1 item on your holiday wish list this year?
Just a bunch of giftcards. Lame, I know.

8. Imagine you have your own fashion line - which supermodel would you pick to represent your brand?
Um, is it bad that I don't know any supermodels anymore? If I had to pick someone famous, it'd be Kate Middleton.



9. If you could afford and purchase one famous piece of art, what would it be?
Not to be so cliche, but I really do love Starry Night by Van Gogh.

10. If you could choose any name for yourself other than yours, what would it be?
Alexandra (the nicknames are endless--Alex, Alli, Andi) and some last name ending in a "ington"

11. If you could be on the cover of any magazine, which publication would it be and why?
Real Simple. Which is impractical because they never have people on the cover, but I love that magazine so much that I would freak out if I was on the cover.


Oct 16, 2012

Oh, Six-Year-Old Me


Last week was International Day of the Girl (um, or something like that), trying to raise awareness of the plight of girls who are sold into marriage. Because of that, many high-profile women wrote letters to their younger selves. Since I am obviously high-profile (to my mother at least), I thought of the following advice I'd give to the six-year-old me. Isn't she cute? That was about two years before the first awkwardness set in, and also two years before my school adopted uniforms (coincidence? I think not):

Oh, six-year-old Laurel. You're kind of awesome. Life's pretty great right now. You're at a new school and, guess what, you'll be there for eight years and pretty much love each year. Although you will be very ready to leave when 8th grade ends. But for now, Go Panthers!

Now for the bad news. Glasses. They're coming. In about three years. Start talking up contacts right away. It'll take seven years to get them if you don't. And don't use your glasses as an excuse for things. No one else does.

Also, start to get into volleyball. This whole soccer thing isn't going to stick. But you'll end up being pretty tall and that makes for a great volleyball player. So start to pay attention to that. But because you're so tall, they won't have shorts for you to wear, so start shopping for new ones now.

I know you really want a dog, and, surprise! You're getting one next year. And he will be perfect, so just sit back; he's worth the wait and will become one of the dearest parts of your life.

And I'm glad you love visiting family in Nebraska! The farm is a little slice of heaven, and the family up there can't be beat. But I have one word for you: Runza. Start eating them now, not when you're 13 and Nancy first introduces you to it.

So sit back and enjoy Miss Mueller's class. Your love of reading that just started will stay with you for the rest of your life, so keep it up (though I know you do) and start reading a little series called "The Baby-Sitters Club", trust.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Me.

Oct 9, 2012

TV Tuesday: Cheerio

Most people couldn't believe I wasn't watching Downton Abbey given my intense love of all things British. I have bobbleheads of William and Kate on my desk, I have a decorative plate from their wedding, I swoon at British accents, I would trade my U.S. citizenship for British in a heartbeat.
If you're in need of a quiet weekend in, go ahead and rent the first two seasons of Downton and thank me later. No matter what you're looking for in a show, Downton has it, and it all seems much more refined when you throw in titles and British accents. Then you get to join the elite group of people who are on Team Bates, clapped like giddy schoolchildren at the Christmas special, and knew that Mr. Pamouk would come back to haunt us. "And what is a weekend?"

Oct 8, 2012

A Few Questions, a Few Answers

Saw these on one of my favorite blogs, and I do love answering questions about my mundane habits :-)

Do you sleep with your closet door open or closed?
Funny, now that my closet is in my bathroom, I don't think the door is ever closed completely. I do close it almost all the way when I show, I feel like the steam is going to make my clothes all mildewy.

Do you shower at night or in the morning?
Usually at night, but if I'm working out in the morning, I'll sometimes skip a shower the night before. But taking a shower is such a nice way to decompress and relax before bread.

Do you take the samples from hotels?
Usually the shampoo and conditioner, the lotion if it smells awesome.

Do you eat raw cookie dough?
Heck yes.

Have you ever stolen a street sign before?
Um, no. I think it would be hard to do. But, there's a fairly big street in a suburb close to me with my last name. My aunt has always wanted to steal a sign.

Would your rather be attacked by a bear or a swarm of bees?
Um, these are both really scary options. But I guess bees? Eeek.

Do you ever count steps when you walk?
No. That sounds a little Rainman.

Have you ever peed in the woods?
Yes, on the only night I spent in the woods, and nature was our bathroom.

When was the last time you wrote a note to someone on paper?
A note to a client asking her to put files on the jump drive next to the note.

Can you change the oil in a car?
Yeah, no.

Do you put your make-up on before or after you get dressed?
It's funny, but I don't have a ritual for this. If I haven't fully decided what I'm wearing that day, then no, and that happens more often than not, nowadays.


How tall are you?
5'10''


Do you dance in the car?
Oh I have quite the car choreography for Call Me Maybe :-)

Do you know what you are wearing tomorrow?
Um, I was actually just thinking that I needed to decide on this . . . sigh.

Have you ever eaten a pierogi?
What is this?

Do you ever have that Deja-vu feeling?
Yes, and I actually have to tell this story. I was in NYC for work on 2009, and my co-workers and I went to a restaurant/bar for dinner. And suddenly I remembered that my friends and I went to the same bar the year before on a vacay to NYC. What's weirder is that we sat at the same table and I was wearing the same dress.

What is the last clothing item you bought?
A pair of leggings

Do you wear slippers and a robe?
Slippers in the winter, and a robe year round.

Can you curl your tongue?
No


Oct 6, 2012

My Ultimate Bookshelf


Four Books

I actually take this one seriously (not that the others weren't serious too, I mean, I love cheese). But books have always been my thing--I love to read and became an English minor by accident. So to pick just four books is pretty tough. But here goes:

1. A Tale of Two Cities: This is one of those books you had to read for school and were completely blown away by. I read this first in high school and was struck by how this book had everything: romance, suspense, history, mystery. It's a little tough to get through at first, but then it's so captivating and literally one of the most well-written books I've ever read.

2. Bookends: One of my first forays into chick lit, and nothing has ever held up to it in my opinion. This book actually has substance and heart as it talks about life change, following your dreams, and maintaining friendships along the way. I feel like books like this are what made Emily Giffin start writing.

3. The Art of Racing in the Rain: This comes as no surprise to anyone who has talked to me in the past few years--I recommend this book to everyone. If you've ever had a dog or family pet that has been a member of the family, then this book is for you. But don't expect something as sappy as Marley and Me (which I also love), this attempts to describe what our pets think and feel, and it made me all the more happy that I had a wonderful pup for 17 years.

4. Pride and Prejudice/Anne of the Island: Yes, I cheated and picked an extra one. I identify with the main characters of both so much--Elizabeth Bennett struggling against the easy way out and putting her own happiness first, Anne Shirley taking risk and spreading her wings. I reread both books at least once a year and feel like I'm greeting old friends. Now what does it say about me that I identify with characters from the 1700-1800s?

Oct 5, 2012

Oh, yeah, that thing . . .

So I remembered when I started this:



Which was only supposed to last for ten days. *whistles* *sticks hands in pockets* *looks away*

Anyways, no time like the present to pick something back up! The wait is over!

Five Foods:

--Cheese: let's just go ahead and have this encompass all things that I love about this food group--chips & queso, mac and cheese, Tillamook cheddar, grilled cheese, feta, goat cheese. If I end up being lactose intolerant, I'm going to need to be on antidepresants.

--Poppyseed chicken: I haven't lived in the sorority house for five years. Yet just last week I was asked if I'd had poppyseed chicken lately. This was my favorite meal by far (and so healthy for you . . . yeah, no). I would bring it up every week for menu planning, and even after I graduated, our house mom would e-mail me when it was being served. It reminds me of all the wonderful times I had in the sorority house.

--Pecan pie: hands down, holidays.

--Jambalaya: This pretty much sums up my love for all things New Orleans and cajun

--Peanut Butter: I can't keep a jar in my apartment. Because I will eat the entire thing in less than a week. Add in chocolate and it's game over.

Oct 2, 2012

TV Tuesday: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts . . .

If you finished that sentence for me with "Can't lose!" then you are in the Friday Night Lights Fan Club with me--and where have you been for the past four years when I should have been watching this show.




I can't get enough of this show--whether it's loving the parenting from Smash's mom and the Taylors, thinking that Matt Saracen is cute as a button, or being much more interested in Panther football than real live football, and thinking that Tim Riggins is the most well-developed character I've seen in a long time.


The best thing about this show is how real it all is--the relationships, the conflicts, the dialogue. This should almost be required watching for high schoolers nowadays.

This message was brought to you by Netflix Streaming, my enabler in this relationship.

May 21, 2012

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who still watched Grey's Anatomy. I felt loyalty to the show: it started in my sophomore year of college and I have such wonderful memories associated with it: watching it downstairs in the sorority house (where there was a "no talking, no phone calls" rule during the show); going to one of my first over-21 happy hours and drinking a few too many margaritas and couldn't follow the storyline, resulting in me crying during each commercial break because I was missing my favorite show; having countless bottles of wine and bowls of hummus with college friends as we celebrated engagements, weddings, promotions, all while the doctors at Seattle Grace saved lives and played musical beds. However, something's gotta give. The characters on the show have gone through the following: --one of them was killed in a bus accident --four were shot in one episode (two died) --one happened upon a campus shooting --one DIED for 45 minutes (because people get knocked into the frigid water of Seattle Sound all the time) --one had an inoperable brain tumor --one pulled a bomb from a body At the end of an episode two weeks ago, several of these characters were in a plane crash. Now I understand that ABC may want to reuse some of the pricey LOST props, but REALLY?! At least on ER, the bad luck and turmoil was spread around amongst different characters, but Cristina Yang summed it up best when she screamed she was ditching Seattle Grace because of all the horrible things that have happened to her and her friends there. As a viewer, I can't watch anymore. Shonda Rhimes just can't let her characters be happy for a semi-long amount of time, and that's not any fun for a viewer. So, my DVR will get a little extra wiggle room, and I'll no longer be able to toss out medical terms in normal conversation. but I'll alsways have the soundtrack . . . (I leave your with my favorite song from said soundtrack):

Feb 27, 2012

364 days to go . . .




Of course, I'm referring to the countdown until the next Oscar ceremonny. The big show was last night, and it did not disappoint (I don't think I've gotten an acting prediction wrong since 2008). Below is my random grab bag of thoughts:

Hugo: I saw this the Monday before the Oscars, and while I thought it was good, I did not think it would sweep all the technical awards. Wishing I'd caught on to the Bridesmaids game and added "Scorcese" to my drinking game.

Nice knowing you, Harry: Nothing for Harry's last time at the dance? Apparently this is the most succecssful film franchise to never win an Oscar. I really thought that it would get something (Visual Effects? Come on! Were we watching the same movie?!). I know the movies are much beloved and will not be forgotten (althought there are a few I'd like to forget), I still wish it could add "Academy-Award winning" to the beginning of the series.

Octavia, you go ahead and cry: Two days before the Oscars, I was watching Legally Blonde 2 (it was on while I was cleaning, cut me some slack). At the very beginning, when Elle ends up at the VERSACE lab looking for Bruiser's mom, the security guard caught my attention. It was Octavia Spencer. She's always said she played every bit part you can imagine, but right then I stopped and said "She deserves the Oscar," Not just because she had small roles back in the day, but she owned the part of Minnie, and really stood out to me more than anyone else in that movie (sorry, Viola). Add the fact that she's been BFF with the director for 15 years, and she cried harder when thanking him at the Oscars, I was totally moved.

She even has a Sesame Street character named after her: My party guests can attest to my reaction when Colin Firth (ohhh, tangent, love him, not enough of him in this year's ceremony, so dreamy, swoon. . . .) read out Meryl's name. I think I let out a huge gasp. Don't get me wrong, Meryl is very talented, etc. I'm just so used to her losing. And honestly, haven't heared nearly as much about Iron Lady as I have about her past nominated roles, so I didn't think this was her year. I'm sad for Viola, though, because she doesn't get the roles that Meryl does, and won't have a chance to win one. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Sesame Street character is named "Meryl Sheep". She was a character in the 80s.



Now I get to take some time off of my movie addiction. Another year until you get to hear me talk about this!

Feb 9, 2012

Android Photographer

Sometimes it's easier to just share random photos from my phone than to think of a real post, know what I mean?

After all, a picture's worth a thousand words:

I really love my new leopard-print flats. Do I love that cost 10 times as much as the pair they're replacing (those were on sale at Payless four years ago, sigh), no. But they're fab and I'm a big girl now so I can handle the price tag a little better



Remember when you packed a little bag for school with all your important notebooks and erasers with unicorns? Well life has come full-circle:



Sure, now it has a water bottle, professional notebook, and Splenda for my coffee. But that PB sandwich is still an important component (FYI, that wasn't my lunch, I had a meeting to go to right after work and that was my dinner). And yes, in elementary school I didn't carry an LL Bean monogrammed tote, but still, the thought is still there . . .

Feb 7, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, not the holidays (see my last post regarding my holidays). It's a very important time of year featuring a very important gentleman named Oscar:





Mom and I continued our tradition of watching the nominations on the phone with each other. No real shockers this year, in my opinion. Now I'm trying to frantically see all the nominated films I'm curious about:

Hugo
Moneyball
Beginners


Of the big nominations, I've seen The Descendants, Midnight in Paris, The Help, The Artist, Extremely Loud and Incredible Close (a very unsettling movie, and the closest I've come to walking out of a movie in a long time). I refuse to see War Horse or The Tree of Life. So I think my list is pretty doable.

Next up, the fashion, and my rules for Oscar night :-)