Monday, June 30, 2014

a happy weekend

I had a great three day weekend - enough busy-ness so I didn't feel like a sloth but not so much that I was exhausted by the time Sunday night rolled around. Nothing a few bullet points can't sum up:

- Spent my day off Friday with my nieces again just walking around the mall and dollar store and going to lunch. They just needed out of the house. I'm going to miss them!

- Vietnamese food for dinner on Friday - chargrilled pork is a new favorite go-to.

- Started watching Six Feet Under. It's so weird that Dexter Morgan and Adam Braverman are brothers. I don't love it, but I like it so I'll give it more of a try.

- On Saturday there was a BBQ pop-up that Andrew wanted to go to at a bar more "in town." I invited Heidi and her husband and they were able to meet us! The food was okay but the company was great! So happy to have my bloggy BFF back home, even if living in the same city still has us over 50 miles from each other's houses.

The only pic I took except one of the food, which didn't look that great...

- I drank 75% of a beer. I hate beer so this deserves to be documented! It was an Abita Purple Haze and I was really hot and it was cold so that helped but I definitely didn't want another.

- It's kind of weird when you meet a blog friend's husband two-on-two. I kept asking Heidi's husband about things they've done lately and I'm sure he felt weird that I knew so much but hey, between blog posts, emails, gchats, and texts, you really get a glimpse of a person's life.

- The house got cleaned and errands were run. We gave an Indian restaurant in our suburb a second chance and it was great - always a plus.

I'm ready for the short week and long weekend ahead!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

i just need you to eat at taco bell for me

It's Wednesday and I'm back to work after five days of being away. I read lots of blog posts but didn't comment because phone reading was way easier when I wasn't at work. I'm not ready to be back at work but I am ready to get back to blogging and what better way to ease the transition than by linking up with Kathy?

- I confess that since I don't know how to cook, the fact that I made Trader Joe's Kung Pao Chicken (frozen and precooked but I had to "stir fry" it in a skillet to warm it up then add the pre-cut veggies and sauce) made me way more proud than it should have.

- I've never really understood the stay at home wife lifestyle (probably because I suck at domestic things), but the past two days I've prepared dinner (notice how I don't use the word "cook") and we've eaten so much earlier than we're used to and it's lovely. I confess that I'm jealous of everyone who can be done with dinner by 6:30 because that's mostly impossible for us!

- I adore the mute button on twitter more and more each day. If I get sick of retweets, then a-muting I will go!

- I don't like Taco Bell and haven't eaten there in years but something about the quesarito is so damn appealing. Someone please try it so I don't.

- If you follow me on twitter than you know I had jury duty yesterday. I may have gotten dismissed super early and I may have just taken advantage of the rest of the day to hang out with my nieces some more. We may have built a tent, played catch in the house against my mom's wishes, colored, and discussed tattoos. If I have to take a half day of vacation to make up for what I may have done, then it will be well worth it.

- I like to use Confessions posts as my own personal tutorials so I will confess something I don't know in hopes that you do - I've seen other people screenshot their twitter accounts and there's a notification by the "Me" on the bottom right. I use twitter a lot and never get notifications there so I confess that I think I'm missing out on something - care to explain?

- I know I said that I didn't care about the World Cup but then I hopped on the bandwagon and started drinking the kool-aid because Clint Dempsey is from Nacogdoches, Texas, a pretty small town that my grandma's family lives in. I spent a few weeks there each summer as a kid and you know I love me some Texas pride. Plus, I love that I can watch the game at work on Thursday in the name of patriotism, right?

- I have to stop myself from liking food and cat pictures on instagram because I worry what people might think if they see that that's 90% of the things I like.

- I judge myself for the above confession because I shouldn't care but really who wants to be the food and cat lady (oh wait, I kind of do).

That's all I've got for today - lucky me, I'm off Friday so it's only a two day work week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

hanging out with M and V

I'm not one for cutesy nicknames on my blog or in real life, but in the interest of keeping the privacy of lives that are not mine to share, I'm just going to refer to my nieces as M (nearly 14) and V (just turned 6!) for blog purposes. And as much as I would love to show you how pretty M is and V's huge owl eyes, I will refrain as their digital footprint isn't mine.

(Yes, I have said their names and shown their pictures before but that was before I really thought about it).

Anyway, you don't really want to hear about them - you probably really want to hear about how I, a mostly kid-averse person fared with a sleepover, a mall trip, Chuck E. Cheese, and a Mexican dinner with a kid who claimed to hate Mexican food. And I hate to disappoint you, but basically I'm an awesome aunt.

I was 16 when I found out my step-sister was pregnant and I mostly couldn't have cared less. She and I didn't grow up together, so it was more like a distant cousin having a kid who would be another distant cousin. But M was born and I got to hold her in the hospital the day she was born, and it was different. She felt like mine - a kid who I would get to see get older, who I could teach things to, and who I never wanted to feel distant. My mom babysat her during her preschool years, so we got very close. When she was around five, her mom moved to Louisiana and more recently to Oklahoma, but our bond is still there. She once said, as an eight year old walking through Walgreen's to buy markers, and she said again this weekend that I feel like more of a cool older sister than an aunt. And I love her for it. I always want our time to be spent doing something, rather than just watching a movie or sitting in the same room without actually spending time together. And the same goes for V, even though by the time she was born I was ecstatic to be an aunt again and somehow she knows Aunt Lauren will almost always say yes, which is what shaped our time together.

Poor Uncle Andrew was overrun with girls in the house on Thursday night, which was mostly uneventful, save for V's fear of the Blue Dog pictures hanging in the hallway. She said their eyes were creepy. On Friday morning, I upped my cool factor by taking them to get donuts in their PJs. Is this frowned upon by real moms? We got dressed and went to the mall, where I had to subject myself to Hot Topic for half an hour and M tried to convince me that her mom would let her put plugs in her ears (Aunt Lauren definitely said no to that). V and I took a dizzy spin on the carousel in the tea cups and then we were off to Chuck E. Cheese.

My plan of attack with V was to tell her that we had x dollars and when it was gone, we were done. She got that pretty fast. I got 80 tokens and we went to see what the mouse had in store for us. It was pretty early in the day and not that crowded, so besides a few common six year old moments, it was pretty easy. The three of us went through the tokens in a little over an hour and had 200 tickets to show for it... or the equivalent of $2. V couldn't have been happier and chose a spiky blue ball from the prize cabinet and thanked me for her "terrific day." So that made it all worth it.

Pics to prove we were there - V playing the ship game (her favorite, apparently) and M playing basketball.

That evening, my parents wanted to take M out to dinner to give her some one-on-one time, so V got to go to dinner with Andrew and me. She wanted Chick-fil-a, but I wanted real food so we gave her her first taste of queso (she was convinced she hated Mexican food), ordered the chicken fingers on the kids menu to avoid a fight, and took her to a bakery after. What fun is there in being an aunt if you can't ply them with sugar and send them off, right?

Both girls were so sweet and appreciative and I'm so glad we had our day to just hang out. It was more tiring than I thought it would be, but so much more rewarding than I expected. I'm so grateful for our bond and happy to be their aunt and that even though M gave Uncle Andrew all her cool points, she was still willing to hang out with me. I guess what I'm constantly reminded of with these two is that it is what you make it - I could be boring with them, put in an appearance when they're in town, and leave, but instead I choose to put forth the effort. To take my oh-so-valuable vacation days and actually do something. It pays off more than enough. I'm not applying for sainthood for this by any means, but it gives such great perspective - what else could I gain from life if I took the initiative to give up something of value, planned more, and stopped saying no right away? Surely that would be worth at least a few dozen more cool points, if nothing else.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ice cream and free stuff and theories, whoa.

Friday. Five Favorites. Enough alliteration, let's go.

OMG ice cream: I've been wanting to try Jeni's Ice Cream for a while now so I went to get it at Whole Foods and saw it was $10 a pint which is kind of insane. Andrew noticed Steve's Ice Cream on the next shelf and the flavors sounded delightful. I deferred to him to pick (I'm indecisive) and we ended up with Mexican Chili Chocolate - divine. Rich chocolate, a kick of pepper, and a few chunks throughout that are kind of like chocolate covered rice crispies. At $5.50 per pint, it's a little bit of a splurge but divided by the suggested four servings (which we actually stuck to!), it isn't too bad. I want to try the NOLA coffee and donuts next time. (You guys should know by now that this is not sponsored - I just share food when I'm excited about it).

Favorite Theory: Can we talk about 24 for a sec? If you've watched the show, then you might know about the "silent beeps" - basically, after a major character dies or someone sacrifices themselves, the beeps on the clock go silent. On Monday's episode (spoiler alert) someone died selflessly and there were audible beeps... so did he really die? My theory is that Chloe did something to what the bad guys were seeing on the camera and Jack got him out just in time so if that happens, you heard it here first.

Free stuff: I'm in charge of handling reservations for a conference room at work and I prefer to do it on a paper calendar. Not one to waste money on something so basic, I normally print boring templates off the internet for this purpose. I came across these cute calendar pages earlier this week and I fully intend to have an upgraded calendar for 2015. It's Erin Condren pretty without the price tag.

Favorite Funny: I read a list of things that kids born in 2000 wouldn't know about, and since my niece was, I decided to ask her about a few things. I asked her what a pound sign was. She tried to fist bump me and asked if she was right. Oh goodness. Kids today will not be able to work the voice mail at their offices in ten years! I felt so old.

Long Weekend: My nieces are in town this week so I'm taking off today and Monday to hang out with them and just do regular weekend things. Then, I have jury duty on Tuesday, so I won't be back at work until Wednesday and doing stuff will likely diminish my desire to sit in front of a computer so you may see less of me. I'll still be on twitter and instagram, of course. It feels really presumptuous to tell you this but at the same time, I always wonder where people went if they're MIA from their blogs for too long. So pretend like you asked and I'm not just a jerk thinking you'll notice, okay?

Meet At The Barre            photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png  THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

no more selfies for me

It's Wednesday and here are some confession-esque things going on with me.

... I try to talk myself out of confessing on Wednesday but knowing that I might meet new bloggers keeps me doing it every time.

... I often wish there was a link-up this popular every day. Hey, I like exposure as much as the next blogger (as much as I try to remember that numbers don't matter) and I want to trap all you Wednesday-only people so we can hang out every day.

... I've been using snapchat for months and I still don't fully get it. I don't have the T that everyone else has to make the text bigger and what is a story? And I can't swipe for filters, I've tried. (ETA: Thanks Brianne for explaining it. Since I won't let Snapchat have my location, they won't give me features. Jerks.)

... To further prove that I don't belong in the kitchen, I didn't read the instructions on a boxed coffee cake mix very well so I kind of messed that up on Sunday and I cut my thumb trying to make guacamole last night. I'm an awful wife.

... I don't care about the World Cup but go USA, I guess.

... I found posting a selfie of just me on Instagram over the weekend incredibly uncomfortable. I think selfie-ing solo takes a lot of confidence. I'll make sure someone or something is in the pic with me from now on!

... I know soda is bad for me but I can't quit it. High fructose corn syrup, why you gotta taste so good?

It's 2014 now but yeah, you get it.

... I set a workout goal for myself that I have totally abandoned. I should feel guilty but I don't, at least not yet.

... On a related note, I decided to start MyFitnessPal again and didn't even last a whole day. And then I bought dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's and don't intend to start again until the carton is gone.

... I'm taking summer casual at work to a whole new level this year. I'm basically wearing t-shirts and jeans every day and adding a cardigan and earrings when I feel fancy. They say to dress for the job you want, not the one you have, but I just want to be comfy while I have the opportunity.

... I spend a lot of time reading random things on the internet, like stories of people who have been in comas and what they dream about and the Dionne Quintuplets, who were basically made into a sideshow by the Canadian government. Hopefully I make it on to a game show someday and I can put some of this useful info to use.

Now go link up with Kathy and confess some stuff, or at least tell me about the random stuff you read about on the internet so I have something to do today feel less ridiculous.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

when the numbers tell a story

I was looking at my own Instagram account the other day - I often like to do that, or to peruse my blog or recent tweets, to see how other people see me - does anyone else do that? Anyway, I was looking at it and selected a picture of something, it isn't really that important, that felt like it happened not all that long ago. And, thanks to the handy week counter that Instagram uses, I saw that it was a little more than a year before the day I selected. I looked at the number of likes and it was something insignificant, less than five. I looked at the next picture, and the next, and none had very many likes. A number so small that now, quite honestly, I would be sad about. And I started to think about how my numbers, small as they may be and little as I'm supposed to care about them, tell a piece of my story.

You see, last summer was my coming of age and when I feel I hit my stride, in terms of blogging. I started to find my voice and really think about what I wanted to say each day. I look through those posts and see the tiny seedlings of the blog friendships I've formed. I see comments from bloggers who I now know in real life, and others whose posting and commenting presence I miss on the days they aren't around. I take an outsider's approach and see me, getting better as a writer, going beyond the day-to-day and finding more to say, taking stands and thinking more about the world around me, no matter how silly it is. I see the number of comments grow and behind it, the faces and the voices behind them all.

Time moves fast, as it always does, and another summer is upon us. My numbers have increased and relationships have grown. I'd like them to be greater but hey, wouldn't most of us? I often have to take a break and remind myself that the number doesn't matter, but the people behind them do. Before last summer, when I was mostly lonely and writing to and for no one, to this summer, where I know my people who will text me or tweet to me after I say something especially profound or ridiculous (I have a GOMI deal with one blog friend - if we think the other could end up there, we have vowed to share). As the numbers have increased, so has my desire to fill this white box nearly daily with something, my understanding of different parts of the world (it blows my mind that breakfast tacos are a Texas thing and some of y'all wear jackets in July), and my appreciation for lives lived far differently from my own.

I would love to have followers on all the sites in the four digits, sure. I would love for brands to trip over themselves wanting to work with me and to quit my job and spend my days telling stories via blog. But that isn't going to happen. What has happened, and what I hope will keep happening, is that I'll put faces behind each number. I'll know the people who visit here and who know me. I'll build relationships and be someone missed and you'll know my story and I'll know yours, too. Every number is a story and tells a story. After all, isn't that more important than just a simple number on yet another social networking site? What kind of story do your numbers tell?

Monday, June 16, 2014

the best anniversary dinner yet

It was one of those weekends where I did stuff, but nothing at the same time. On Friday night we tried to go to the new taco place in our suburb, but the slow-moving line was out the door so we settled for crappy pizza instead. Since we're going to Austin in a few weeks, I of course need new clothes so I bought this dress and one I can't find online - I wore the second one to dinner on Saturday night so clearly it was a need and not just a want, right?

Andrew watched the show The Wire years ago and it never caught my interest. He has said for years that I needed to give it a try, so this weekend he basically made me watch it. Six episodes in and I'm still not a fan. I'll probably tough out the rest of the season so I can quit it once and for all. I'll let you know if I change my mind. We didn't see my dad for Father's Day, but I did go see my mom and step-dad since my nieces finally got to Houston late Sunday afternoon. The six year old can spell and the almost fourteen year old is into screaming music and rolled her eyes at me, so it was a great visit. I always take them out for their birthdays when they come for the summer and asked the little one what we should do - she said she has never been to Chuck E, Cheese and that I should take her. That kid knows a sucker from a mile away being that I hate to tell her no. So guess where I will likely end up in the next two weeks?

The star of this weekend, though, was our anniversary dinner. We ended up going to Hugo's Mexican Restaurant, which was recently nominated for a James Beard Award (and lost to my beloved Underbelly). We've been for brunch many times, which is always fantastic, and had two dinner experiences there: one great, and one subpar. Luckily, this time was completely amazing.

Andrew had margaritas and I had blackberry mojitos - summery and not too sweet. We started with the goat cheese and corn stuffed squash blossoms and the beef cheek mole (pronounced "mole-ay." It's a popular sauce in traditional Mexican cooking). The beef cheek was tender and the mole was rich and tasted great on blue corn tortillas with onion, cilantro, and tomato. For my main course, I got short ribs with mole, greens, and mole cornbread. Everything was fantastic but the sweet cornbread with the dark, more bitter mole stood out the most. Andrew got cochinita pibil - pork cooked in a banana leaf that came with habanero sauce, black rice, refried black beans, guacamole, and pickled onion. He made me half a taco with everything on it and it was so well-done - sweetness, acidity, crunch, tenderness, heat, and cool - everything you could want in a bite of food. Andrew radiates this certain happiness when he's enjoying a particularly good meal, and I hadn't seen this level of excitement in him in a while. It was great. We had a side of smashed crispy potatoes that were also tasty but unnecessary due to everything else we had. Never ones not to go all out, we ordered the cafe de olla (coffee brewed with sugar and cinnamon) and each got a dessert. Mine, a flourless chocolate cake with a hint of pepper and coffee ice cream, was so good I wish it never ended. Andrew's capirotada, a Mexican bread pudding, had a texture I didn't love, but he was okay with it. It was a great meal, good and mostly casual atmosphere, and great drinks. This is the best anniversary dinner we've had yet!

Needless to say, this week will be spent trying to understand more of The Wire and thinking of something to take a six-year-old to do that's even better than Chuck E. Cheese. Suggestions welcome.

Friday, June 13, 2014

more than a cat picture, I promise

It's Friday and I like linking up so here are five things worthy of favorite status.

Favorite Picture

This just cracks me up every time I look at it. Bauer laid on his back for a full five minutes before I grabbed the sunglasses, the camera, and a little help from Andrew. Clearly he was comfortable.

Favorite Decision

I was gchatting with my friend (and former blogger) Sara and somehow my desire for a mini-vacation came up. I asked what they were doing July 4th weekend, she said nothing, and by the end of the day, we booked two rooms for two nights in Austin for us and our husbands to hang out and eat. I know I've been to Austin a million times but it never gets old and there are so many things there that would be fun with a few friends. I'm excited!

Favorite Thing I Learned

Thanks to a tweet from Kelli, I learned you can now use your own fonts on picmonkey! This is awesome for DIY blog designers like me with no graphics program knowledge - I was using and I had no idea what half of the buttons did simply because it was the only way I knew I could use my own fonts and things took forever. My life will now be easier and I can keep using the fonts I like.

Favorite Compliment

Regarding my anniversary post on Wednesday, a few people commented that they liked that I portrayed my marriage as real. Thank you for saying that - it really does mean a lot! I really like to portray my life as it is while still respecting Andrew's feelings and keeping extremely personal matters off the internet - but in truth, we are pretty boring. There's nothing interesting that I don't blog about, promise.

Least Favorite Thing I Realized

Um, you guys, Father's Day is on Sunday. While I was super proactive and already mailed my father-in-law's card to Delaware (I bought it when I bought his birthday card in May, way to think ahead) I have purchased nothing for my dad or my step-dad, both of whom I will likely see this weekend. Real smart Lauren. Of course I have no grand ideas of what to get, so something simple will have to do!

We're going out for our anniversary dinner tomorrow night and we'll probably see my dad on Sunday. And my nieces will be at my mom's house for two weeks starting Sunday so I am super excited to see them and talk to the big one about high school and see how much the little one learned in Kindergarten. Can't wait to spend time with them!

Meet At The Barre            photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png  THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

marriage confessions

Today Andrew and I celebrate four years of being married! I have already written plenty about him and our marriage and I would hate to miss out on linking up with Kathy for confessions so to commemorate this day, I give you: Marriage Confessions.

1) Our wedding night was one of the least romantic nights, ever. We arrived at our hotel and sat at the window seat rehashing the night for at least an hour and it was perfect. We looked out the window over the city and swore that the day didn't pass in the blink of an eye and we would always remember every detail. When I finally convinced myself to take off my wedding dress, I went into the bathroom, changed, and began the process of removing the 100 bobby pins that had held my hair all day, which took at least twenty minutes... and my groom proceeded to fall asleep fully clothed with one shoe still on, taking up more than half the bed. Never one to turn down a good night's rest, I quickly joined him. Hey, we had the rest of our lives for (ahem) other stuff, right?

2) I insist on keeping the shirts we were wearing when we first met even though mine doesn't fit and his was purchased by his ex girlfriend.

I was not wearing my Smoky the Bear shirt and no make-up, but he was wearing his Jason Mraz shirt from the Waiting for my Rocket to Come tour. We were babies here!

3) We don't subscribe to the "Never go to bed angry" advice. We've gone to bed angry more than once. It happens. Sometimes a new day gives you better perspective, or at the very least, you're well-rested to keep the argument going.

4) I feel judged as a wife by people who aren't my husband. Yes, he cooks. His female coworkers were shocked to learn he does his own laundry (I do mine, he does his, we share the sheets and towels about 70 - 30 with me doing them most often). My lack of domesticity isn't your business so stay out of it!

5) I confess that our biggest debate right now is where to have our anniversary dinner. We decided on a place, but now that my father-in-law has gifted us with a meal at the restaurant of our choosing, Andrew wants to upgrade our dinner plans and go to brunch the next day. It isn't the worst problem to have but I'm trying to eat like a normal human and not like a ravenous wildebeest.

I wanted a selfie at the DMB concert a few weeks ago and he refused so I told him whatever I ended up with would be on the blog. I confess that he isn't always super accommodating to my blog picture needs.

6) I like to joke about his love of football and smoked meat, but I really am the luckiest. He really does take care of me and he does a great job of just doing life with me. I confess that I can't imagine finding my match in anyone else and without him, I wouldn't understand football and would still be eating at chain restaurants regularly. It's safe to say that so far, marriage agrees with me. Here's looking forward to many more!

I'm also linking up with Emily since I'm wishing for many more happy years of marriage... it counts, right?

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On a completely unrelated, hey-look-at-me note, did you check out my new and improved sidebar? I kept wanting to add bloggers and it kept looking messy, so I made a visual blogroll if you will. I like to see people's buttons. Check out my sidebar and click the pretty pic with sixteen of my favorites to go to a page where you can see all of their buttons bigger and click on their buttons to visit their blog. It's one of those weird things that has made me happy to look at since I made it. It's pretty self-explanatory but would any Blogger users be interested in a tutorial? You know I love a post I can write ahead of time...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

my furlough food

I got completely wrapped up in Orange is the New Black and watched both seasons in ten days. I guess a piece of me is still in Litchfield because that's what inspired this post.

Without hopefully giving anything away, there's talk in season two about an inmate getting a furlough, or a 48 hour break from prison (normally to attend a funeral or be at a deathbed, but let's ignore that for now). A character even mentions The Spotted Pig which made me giddy because I've been there. So it got me to thinking - if I were in prison and granted a furlough, what would I eat in my 48 hours in Houston? What are the foods that I would have missed while I was imprisoned that I would need to get me through the rest of my sentence?

Let's assume I get out of prison at 8 a.m. one day and have to return by 8 a.m. two days later. Here's the game plan - specific restaurants are in parenthesis as to not bore you non-Houstonians.

Pizza from Pizaro's | Vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting from Ooh La La | Almond Croissant from Common Bond | Four options from Jus' Mac | A BBQ Plate from Killen's with my favorite sides | Burgers (from Hubcap Grill, even though that isn't my top choice) | Avocado salad from a favorite Mexican place | Donuts actually from The Fractured Prune in DE - I didn't have any Shipley pics of my own!

Day One:

Breakfast - An almond croissant and iced coffee (from Common Bond, since I can't get enough).
Lunch - Tex-Mex  - definitely fajitas with queso and guacamole (from Pappasito's because the garlic butter would be a must if fajitas weren't in my life regularly!)
Snack - Chocolate Ice Cream (specifically creamy dreamy truffle from The Chocolate Bar)
Dinner - I often crave hamburgers and fries, so I'm sure I would have to take care of that. My pick would most likely be a bleu cheese burger with a side of fries, preferably mostly crispy ones. I give the soggy ones to Andrew (from Bernie's Burger Bus, though their fries aren't my favorite).

Day Two:

Breakfast - Brunch buffet with unique salads, traditional Mexican food, Mexican hot chocolate, Mexican coffee, and flan (from Hugo's, my favorite).
Lunch - Pizza. Definitely pizza (though I'm torn between greasy New York style from Brother's or more refined, thin-crust pie from Dolce Vita or Pizaro's)
Snack - A vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting (probably from Ooh La La, yum)
Dinner - Mac and cheese is one of my favorite things, ever. I could pick Jus' Mac, but after trying the delicious mac and cheese from one of the best places in Houston for the second time recently, I may have to go with a barbecue meal - I'll take a three meat plate with brisket, ribs, and turkey along with mac and cheese and creamed corn, please (from Killen's).

Day Three:

Breakfast - There would definitely have to be time before prison check-in to run through the drive-thru at my favorite donut place for an iced cake donut, a plain glazed, and a sausage and cheese kolache (Shipley's because when in Houston, one mustn't prefer anywhere else).

Let's ignore the fact that all of this would leave me physically ill and focus on the fact that it's surprisingly non-fussy (and not-so-surprisingly loaded with cheese). I honestly thought going into this that I would have picks from lots of high dollar places, but when you're imagining the things you would miss most, for me at least, comfort foods came to mind. What are some of your furlough foods?

Monday, June 9, 2014

things I will do this summer (but not a bucket list)

If you've written a summer bucket list, I marked that sucker as read. Like I said last week, I don't like summer. For several reasons. In response to your bucket list I didn't read, here are some things I will guarantee I will do this summer that are not on your bucket list.

1. (Try to) Prevent Bauer from eating a tree roach. They're huge things that come around every summer up your sink drains or wiggling in through a crack. They have nothing to do with filth and everything to do with climate. Bauer likes to tear their heads off in the middle of the night and bring the bodies into our bedroom.

This is a pretty accurate reenactment, but I neither have a pic of Bauer actually playing with a roach nor do I want to make you vomit seeing a real one.

2. Get one hundred mosquito bites. There's something about me (my sweet personality, probably) that draws mosquitoes to me. I can be outside with someone else standing next to them and end up with a ton of bites while they have, like, one. This is not a useful talent.

3. Feel unhappy in a bathing suit. Sorry y'all, but I lack body confidence. I can pretend all I want when I'm wearing real clothes but all I want to do when I wear a bathing suit is wrap up in a towel as soon as possible.

4. Sweat so much I think I had an accident. Okay, not really,  but I was outside wearing a maxi skirt the other day and as I took a step, I think I felt sweat go from my lower back and just fall to the crease behind my knee. It was odd and I did question my control for a fraction of a second.

5. Get irrationally annoyed over car thermometer pictures. We get it, it's hot. I don't need instagram to tell me that when I have a perfectly good iPhone, or better yet, because I'm a conscious human being who can feel the heat from a thousand suns turning my car into an oven.

6. Eat ice cream and drink iced coffee. But who am I kidding? I do this year-round, regardless of the temperature anyway.

Just a small selection of the coffee and ice cream pics on my phone... don't judge, but I didn't include them all...

Any other summertime scrooges out there? Let's commiserate in our air conditioned houses!

Friday, June 6, 2014

five things worth sharing

I haven't posted on a Friday in quite some time because I feel the pressure to recap my week in the form of five favorite things so I can link up everywhere and honestly, that can be hard. But that will stop today and I'll go back to my favorite method - five things worth sharing.

1) I went to happy (three) hour(s) with Miranda this week so we could talk about her upcoming wedding! I'm so excited for her and full of unsolicited advice that she is being so gracious in letting me throw her way. I can't help it - I love weddings! I have been to Benjy's for dinner before but never happy hour, so we did that and got blood orange margaritas, a chicken sausage pizza, pistachio-crusted goat cheese cakes, and some spicy Korean chicken. Good company, good food, and cocktails - I love it.

2) My friend Sarah wanted to check out the farmer's market near my office so we met there for lunch. She was nice enough to wait nearly thirty minutes with me for the crepe I wanted - tabbouli, avocado, and cucumber - and we got to enjoy some awesome Eatsie Boys ice cream (Shipley Donut popsicle for her, Cafe Sua Da for me). I was a sweaty mess so no pictures but I always love catching up with and talking food with her.

3) If you follow me on twitter then you might have seen that my red wine vinegar (purchased in the last month) expired on... December 19, 2009. Andrew was going to use it to make a salad dressing on Wednesday night but decided to throw it away, obviously. Since we were already in comfy clothes, we decided to order Chinese food from a new to us place with excellent reviews. We both liked our dishes, had way too much food, and I was excited to order from them again... until I woke up feeling bad on Thursday. I felt really bad and he felt kind of bad so it was probably my dish that did it. I went to work but left at 10:30. The silver lining? Bauer gave me two hours of uninterrupted snuggles and I decided that Fixer Upper is my new favorite show on HGTV (I love the wife's taste and their marriage is so cute, at least on camera).

Cause and effect

4) I bought this shirt a few weeks ago and I love it. I need to go get more. It's the right length, loose but not frumpy, lightweight, and cheap. If you need some summer basics, then I highly recommend it. I'm wearing it in my pic with the Igloo cooler.

5) I love looking at what search terms bring people to my blog. The best ones I've seen lately are "cute jerk cat" and "my husband is crazy about football." And that, friends, pretty much sums up my life. Any good ones leading to your blog that you want to share?

So far, nothing is really planned for this weekend. I'll probably binge watch Orange is the New Black with the rest of twitter. Let's go.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

confessions lite

Not every Wednesday can be a cathartic release. Some days you just want to admit to some not-so-perfect things you do or think and link up with Kathy anyway. We'll call these Confessions Lite. Spelled incorrectly intentionally.

- Just like I have to refrain from correcting poor grammar online, I have to stop myself from correcting tweets. People - if you start a tweet with @name, then it will only be seen by the person you're tweeting to or people who follow both of you. If you want to start a tweet with the person's name, then just put a period in front of it!

Kind of irrelevant, but sometimes true.

- I went home and cooked dinner the other night, and by cooked I mean I used leftover chicken from Sunday's meal to make the easiest enchiladas ever. I felt like I deserved a medal for my efforts. I don't know how those of you who do other stuff full-time cook, too.

- I wanted to wear sandals and I needed to change my toe polish. Instead of doing it the right way, I just repainted over the existing polish with a fresh coat. Whatever works, right?

- Several times a week, I have to refrain from tweeting a random song lyric a la AIM away messages.

- When I have to click to continue reading in a blog post, I get unnecessarily irritated. Why must you give me an extra step?

- I think I should ask Kerry or Kate to write confessions posts for me as they have been getting triple doses of Lauren honesty lately.

- Things that aren't pretty (like memes) that show up in my instagram feed annoy me. A food account I followed instagrammed a Starbucks cup and some yogurt. To me, instagramming Starbucks is like instagramming toilet paper - we all have it, and it all looks the same, so do you have to show it to me?

- I started writing this post on Tuesday and shortly after a friend IG'd her Starbucks cup. I still love you friend, but my confession stands.

- The words "dat, "dem," and "doe" need to disappear. Regular English please, thanks.

- I don't get Miranda Lambert. I don't listen to country music anymore so that's probably why but everyone is losing their minds over her new music and I'm still mad that I can't get the new Coldplay on Spotify.

- I floss six days a week and I enjoy it. I usually give myself a night off over the weekend if I'm super sleepy and just want to go to bed.

- I don't like summer. I don't like pools or beaches or the sun or summer clothes all that much. I'm already wishing for winter and Christmas decorating and boots with leggings.

Well that was fun... I'm interested to see what you're confessing today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

if we had a lady date...

I've seen a bunch of those "If we met for coffee" posts floating around and I like them. And if you know me, then you know I like to give things my own spin. You and I, we would go on a lady date. Simple coffee or even a glass of wine wouldn't suffice. We would need an entire evening for me to talk your ear off.

If we went on a lady date, let's be honest, I would probably want to pick the place. I have serious trust issues letting people pick restaurants for me until I know their tastes better.

I run on two speeds - weirdly early or a tiny bit late. This is important for you to know on our lady date. I would blame traffic either way - it was weirdly light or SO INSANE I'M SO SORRY.

If we met in person, you would see that I wear my heart on my sleeve and you can usually know what I'm thinking just by looking at me. I don't have a poker face to speak of. I hope I don't accidentally offend you or stick my foot in my mouth, but I probably will. It just happens sometimes.

We would talk about blogging at first, sure. That's always the safest place to start, and then we would get more personal, with the things that aren't safe for the internet. That would mark the beginning of friendship: the sharing of secrets now that we're face to face.

I would ask you if we liked what you ordered and what you would order the next time. I'd offer you some of what I had and probably hope for some of yours, too. We would talk TV and I would be determined to find something we both felt the same way about.

I'd think to something I knew about you - probably something that drew me to you and your blog in the first place. And I would bring it up, but probably as subtly as possible. I wouldn't want you to think I was a crazy stalker and wouldn't want to get into my weirdly selective memory with you.

We would talk about jobs and babies - these two subjects seem to come up with nearly everyone lately. I would talk about my job and listen to you talk about yours and try to really understand how you spend forty hours a week. And probably, if you don't already have a child, we would laugh about how they are so much work and how we aren't ready yet, if ever, and something to be more seriously discussed later, when we're older.

If we had a lady date, I would force myself to keep my phone in my bag and you would earn extra points for doing the same. I would enjoy having this time with no interruptions as actual face time is so hard to come by these days. Of course, I wouldn't tell you that or impose any rules - but if you just knew, then there would surely be more lady dates in the future.

I would ramble on for as long as you'd let me. I always find that leaving is the hardest part of a night like this. I would wonder if your significant other missed you or if there was something else you would rather be doing. I never want to impose, but I would want you to know how much I appreciate our time together. We would walk to our cars with promises to do it again and perhaps a blurry selfie in the dark. And probably a hug. I'm not the biggest hugger out there, but for you, my lady date, I would surely make an exception. And driving home I would be so full and so happy from our simple talk with no distractions, no husbands, and no judgements. And for the millionth time, I would be so grateful for all the friends I've made from this silly little hobby that I can't imagine being without.

Monday, June 2, 2014

working on a Saturday

This weekend was one of the mostly unremarkable kind that hardly warrants a typical recap: pizza and wine at a favorite place on Friday night, work for me Saturday (Andrew went to eat BBQ with a friend - who's surprised? Though the mac and cheese he brought me back was better than I remembered. Amazing!), started watching Orange is the New Black, and a Sunday filled with chores and capped off with a delicious dinner (seriously, if you didn't see that goodness on Instagram then you should follow for that alone). So I could just end the blog post here, but in my typical fashion, if I'm going to start a post, then it has to say something.

Rewind to the working on Saturday part. There are two Saturdays a year where I know I'll have to work (Graduation) and the rest of the time, my weekends are mine. But this Saturday was special. I work for a non-profit law school governed by a Board of Directors, and a man who graduated from my school and served on our Board passed away recently. So, very non-conventionally, the school hosted his Celebration of Life. He survived cancer once, and when it came back, he knew he might not be so lucky, so he laid rules for his post-mortem celebration. No sadness or melancholy - a celebration was in order. When the time came, his family asked if it could be held at the school, so it became "my" event - to host a celebration for a man whom I had never met on a Saturday, when I would rather be doing a million other things.

Just being honest. I've never pretended to be a saint.

I could bore you with how planning something like this is hard - you don't send invitations, so you don't get RSVPs and you don't know if you're feeding 20 or 200 - but I won't. Instead I will tell you how it all came together. How there were tons of smiling photos of the deceased with his family and colleagues on a loop. How his love of Elvis was evident from check-in to dessert as a playful nod to something so important to him. How he gave a speech in 2007 that was recorded and played at the conclusion of the service - his words, telling his wife, children, secretary, and colleagues how they helped him to become the person he was. I hope they all found comfort in hearing from him one last time as they celebrated his life. It was a good reminder to me - pose for the millionth picture that my dad wants to take, take a video every so often, and it can be a good thing to document and record. One day, that might be someone's comfort.

The family was completely lovely and fantastically grateful for what the school had done. The deceased's daughter, only a few years younger than me, wore a fuchsia dress - a color of happiness, not mourning. She told me about how she received a promotion shortly after her father passed away and gave all the credit to him. The family talked and laughed, his grandchildren ran races through the room, and they took their own photos with friends and family they hadn't seen in a while.  They celebrated the life of someone they all seemed to love so wholly. They had so much grace and gratitude, even on a dark day. I find it difficult to show grace and be grateful, even on the best days. What a lesson in how to be.

Working on a Saturday. Not my favorite thing to do, but the lessons in the end made it not so bad.

Linking up for the School of Life - 
The School of Life