Tuesday, January 31, 2017

add it to my list: january 2017

Yay, today is the day where I get to talk about things I love all in the name of sharing great things with my friends. Thanks for joining Bre and me. I know the U.S. is a bit of a mess right now (understatement of the year) so it almost feels strange to talk about leggings, but maybe you need a break or a reason to treat yourself so you don't go insane over some idiot on Facebook. At least, I do sometimes.

If you're linking up and want to grab the button, check out this post.

Add it to your podcast list:
Terrible, Thanks for Asking: Bre actually talked about this in her post that helped us get this linkup together and it's a gooooood rec. If you like sad stories and empathizing and hearing more about terrible situations you haven't been in (or maybe you have and it sucks and you need to relate), then check this out. You might cry, or want to cry, or leave with more perspective on your own life. Also I love Nora's sense of humor and want to read her book now.

How I Built This: An NPR podcast so the host has a nice, soothing voice and is a great interviewer, which is always a plus. It's always one interviewer talking to an entrepreneur who you've heard of, or whose product you know. I love seeing how these people started with an idea and are now millionaires. My favorites are the ones about Spanx and Drybar. If you need some inspiration to start a business or an idea, give it a try.

Add it to your twitter feed:
@RealDonaldCntxt: The Washington Post created a twitter account that retweets the real Donald's tweets alongside a graphic explaining what he missed. You can keep up with what the guy is saying without following him and while remaining more in-the-know about, you know, actual facts.

Add it to your shopping list:
Felina Leggings: My friend Sarah at Pretty Providence recommended these and said they were really comfortable and they're on sale right now for $12 for two pairs so I had to check them out. They definitely can't be worn as pants, but if you have a shirt long enough to cover you (both front and back) or like to wear leggings around the house, then buy them. They're super soft and have a little compression to feel extra warm.

Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Balm: I'm normally of the opinion that all make-up should be able to be purchased at Target and I can't understand pricey stuff. But, Steph recommended Fresh Sugar lip balm forever ago so I added it to my Amazon list and forgot about it, thinking that maybe someone else would get it for me. Someone else did for Christmas and I totally get it. I'm in love. A little color, a lot of moisture, and I'm totally suckered in.

Add it to the list of useless things that will make you laugh:
Ditty on Alexa: If you have an Amazon Echo, enable the Ditty skill and then think of a phrase to make Ditty sing about. It's so dumb but so funny to hear mundane phrases sung like an opera. Or, maybe it's only funny to me since I regularly sing ridiculous songs when I wash dishes.

See, I really do add things to my list that my friends recommend! If you want to link up with Bre and me, that would be great. Visits to both of our blogs are the polite thing to do, but not required because I don't have time to be the link-up police. I'll likely be slower to respond than usual because this week is crazy (more on that tomorrow, maybe) but I am SO looking forward to adding things to all of my lists!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

add it to my list: a linkup

So my friend Bre and I have an email relationship. I think it's because we started out as blog friends, back when one comment would lead to a long chain of emails. It just seems natural. I mean I see her in real life and I CAN text her, but I'm much more likely to save what I have to say to her for an email.

We tend to share our current favorite things with one another: the new podcast we need to obsess with someone over, whatever we're bingeing on Netflix, what the other NEEDS to buy from Amazon, etc. It's so nice to read a personal recommendation for something rather than a review or an article, you know? As we email, I always find myself saying "Thanks for the rec - I'm gonna add that to my list" whether it's my Netflix queue, Amazon wishlist, podcast subscription - you get the point. And we both always want to share these things more widely, and twitter isn't enough, and I need motivation to blog, and thus: a linkup was born.

Join Bre and me for the Add it to My List linkup on the last Tuesday of every month. We want to hear about the things you're already recommending to your friends in real life from a Costco bargain to a great recipe to your current favorite twitter account and everything in between. Focus on one thing, or make it a list: just talk about things you've already done and tried and are really worth other people's time and money. Show Us Your Books friends, I encourage you to save your book recs for that link-up, but if you aren't a regular participant (you should be!) or if you want to focus on a favorite book for any other reason, then there's no such thing as too much book talk. There are really no other rules but as always, it's nice if you visit with your hosts and other bloggers. I hope you'll play along next Tuesday, January 31!

grab button for Eat, Drink, and Be Lauren
<div class="eat-drink-and-be-lauren-button" style="width: 650px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="http://www.eatdrinkandbelauren.com" rel="nofollow"> <img src="http://imghst.co/67/my_list.jpg" alt="Eat, Drink, and Be Lauren" width="650" height="431" /> </a> </div>

Button by Bre. And I didn't know that a blog hop and a link-up were two different things. Does anyone want to have a blog hop anymore? They seem so.... big. For now at least, this is a link-up. I'm off to go narrow down the best stuff to share...

Monday, January 23, 2017

the women's march 2017

I woke up on Saturday without much of a plan. I had to be on the other side of Houston later in the afternoon to celebrate my grandma's birthday and there were a few errands I needed to run and that was it. Andrew had BBQ stuff to do, and I knew we would be meeting his sister and her daughter later that evening. It was just a regular Saturday.

I rearranged my closet and cleaned the bathroom - nothing special. I knew that this march was happening, and I saw one of my friends say that she planned to attend the one in Houston. I kept checking twitter for mentions of the one happening in DC, and I didn't see many specifics. A TV critic that I follow, of all people, said that C-Span was the only channel covering the march in DC; he was right. CNN was playing a religious service that president was attending.

I flipped on C-Span and continued with my day. I texted my friend to see if she was still attending the march in Houston, and she said probably, but it had just started to thunder so that might change her plans. I was thinking the same thing. I halfway listened to Michael Moore speak, and then I heard him get interrupted by Ashley Judd, who read a poem written by a 19-year-old who is more wise than I will ever be. Those words, the cheers from the crowd, the delivery, and the very reasons so many women gathered on a cold day in the nation's capital made me hurry to get ready and text my friend that I was on my way.

Laziness and lack of planning prevented me from truly taking place in the march itself. I was behind schedule and didn't know if I could get to the march's start site in time. I decided to park downtown and walk to City Hall, which was the rally point. I heard cheers and felt the buzz in the atmosphere from more than a block away. Since I was alone, I was able to get through the crowd easily and stand right at the edge of the women entering the rally area, like watching the most unique parade I've ever seen. I'm not one to cry over things like this, but I was grateful to be wearing sunglasses because I had to blink away tears. So many women of all ages were supporting one another. So many dads with little girls on their shoulders, literally raising them up. Funny signs, crude signs, and signs that were merely stating facts to remind people of what there is to lose were everywhere.

I never ended up finding my friend, but I didn't feel alone, either. In that moment, I felt part of something. Are my direct rights currently under fire? Is the president going to take away my job, or my citizenship, or my home? No. But can I see people in my daily life who are under attack? Yes. Do I think that a man who appears to view women as objects deserves the privilege of being president? No. Am I upset that the electoral college still exists and that the majority lost in this election? Absolutely.

I felt energized to care more about local elections and that part of life is just showing up. I really reflected on the National Anthem as it was first sung by a five year old girl and then by an opera singer. I listened as a trans woman plainly told the crowd that she went into the restroom for the same reason as anyone else, so politicians didn't need to worry about her. I heard the Mayor of my city wonder why we are fighting such a similar battle to those fought in the 60s and before - marginalizing a group due to their race or religion needs to stop.

Why did I go to the march? To show my support and say that these changes the new administration wants to make are not okay with me. If I were a part of a group being marginalized, I would hope for others to stand with me. I want to say that it isn't okay for the government to tell us who we can marry, or prohibit both abortions AND access to affordable birth control (I mean either one is really bad... both is completely unacceptable), and I want Republican Texas lawmakers to know that things have changed and they no longer represent the majority of their constituency.

I had someone I don't know try to argue with me on Instagram and ask how women's rights are currently being taken away. They aren't outright yet, sure, but when a man holding the highest office in the U.S. is allowed to talk about grabbing a woman the way he did and normalizing so-called "locker room banter," (vomit) when most of us would in the very least be chastised by our employers simply for uttering that word, I feel like proactive is the way to be. I've had people tell me this weekend that since Trump's kids have been on the right side of the law so his "family seems nice" and that he "wants to end the massacre of gays" that I should give him a chance. If you ask me, that is setting the bar incredibly low. I went to the march so that our lawmakers can know that we demand better.

I posted a picture from the march on instagram and facebook. I don't use facebook much, and never post anything political. I come from a conservative family who I knew full well I was going to see later that day, but I'm tired of being silent (at least, on facebook. I am far from silent on twitter!). I tried to be as respectful as possible in my post. My grandma pulled me aside and told me that she disagreed with me but respected my rights and of course loved me. I mean... baby steps. If I can show anyone in any generation or from any background that those on the left are just normal people with different ideas and not a group to be vilified, then maybe that's a step in the right direction.

So  my regular Saturday ended up going in a completely different direction. I'm not saying anything here you haven't read before, but as this was my first time taking part in some social action, I needed to document it. I am so proud of all of my friends who attended marches, posted their own stories, and motivated me and others to take more action. I hope this feeling lasts and we aren't left with apathy that grants us four more years of the status quo in 2020.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

thinking about the year

As usual, I'm late to the party. No really, if you know me in real life, then I do tend to run late, unless my husband is invited and then I'll be early. But it comes as no surprise that it's taken me this long to really reflect on the past year and the future.

For me personally, 2016 was... just a year. We made our house more adult and then moved in 2014. I got promoted and we adjusted to our new home in 2015. And then in 2016... well, it was just a year. I mean it was the year that my husband started Doubleback BBQ but that's for him to reflect on, not me.

I started to feel kind of bummed about 2016. 365 days and so little to show for it. Thank goodness for my friend Bre and her post about how Elizabeth Gilbert said that people are not like corporations. She says that we're humans and we don't have to improve over last year. Sometimes we try things that don't work and sometimes, we don't produce anything new at all and that's just how life works. And I started to feel some contentment. 2016 was my year to be supportive and to try to learn to cook and to care more about politics and the world. It was the year of making goals and realizing I still don't like them, of trying to be a more thoughtful friend, and of finally feeling like maturity is a thing that can be learned, or at the very least noted when we start to realize we're getting some measure of it.

But, that said, I don't want 2017 to pass me by. My newfound maturity is making me realize that these are some of my best years; old enough to know better, but not old enough to feel stuck. I'm not into a word of the year and we've established that a list of goals doesn't fulfill me, but an idea to stick to and to measure my progress against sounds wholly appealing.

I just want to work to do things that Future Lauren will be happy about.

I admit, it's one of those weird things you see on pinterest that often pertains to fitness. But I'm thinking of me as a person. Is Future Lauren ever going to care about Buzzfeed lists, who in Hollywood is dating whom, or endless selfies of someone I knew in high school? Not likely. So I should spend less time scrolling through those things on my phone. Future Lauren will thank me for doing the dishes tonight even though I want to sit on the couch. She'll thank me for taking thirty seconds to clean up a mess instead of letting it pile up, or having an easy meal in the freezer to heat up when no one wants to cook. Future Lauren will be glad she read those books and listened to those podcasts so she has ideas and opinions and things to discuss outside of her sliver of the world. She will love reading blog posts she wrote to document the mundane because time really does fly by and who can remember all of the details that make up a life? So I'm going to try hard to make my future self happy. Do a few squats while I brush my teeth, take a second to text a friend so that those relationships last, save a few bucks where I can, and try to consciously act in a way that will make me proud to be me. I have a tendency to get caught up in moments, both good and bad, and react so full of adrenaline that I can't fully remember what I said or did. I want to work harder to really be in each moment and not already mentally on to the next thing. I think my future self will appreciate the memories.

I feel like talking about 2017 without talking about the U.S. in 2017 is ignoring the huge elephant in the room. The state of our government has me all kinds of uncomfortable and I'm worried. I want to know things, but not be so inundated by it that I have to bury my head in the sand. I want to have informed opinions for myself if nothing else and stop enclosing myself in a space where everyone agrees with me simply because it's more comfortable. I still want to be wrong about the President-Elect, but two months later, things aren't looking so good.

So - cheers to the new year, twelve days in. I'm off to make good on my promise and put the electronics down in favor of a book. Future Lauren promises to tell you all about it.

Linking up with Kristin and Joey for Stuff and Things.

Monday, January 2, 2017

whatcha been doing?

I was responding to blog comments from last week's Show Us Your Books and wanted to send the same message to nearly everyone who I missed, who I normally talk to via blog at least few times a week but haven't "talked" to in weeks or more because I've been a slacker. Because work was busy and reading on my phone was the only option, because forming a coherent thought seemed like a lot of effort, and because as is my every-so-often custom, I felt that leaving a comment was unnecessary and whatever I had to say wouldn't be missed (note to self, you have been at this blogging thing for a long time and you have only thought that a comment was ridiculously unnecessary like twice, and those were spam, so shut up). But responding to comments takes long enough so I kept it to book talk but really, here is what I wanted to say.

Hi! How are you? I miss you/your blog/checking in with you. Did you have a good fall and Christmas? Mine were both busy. Andrew's family came to town and we hosted Thanksgiving. It was the best menu ever, since we planned it and it was all things we wanted to eat - not a canned cranberry in sight! - but I was left washing sheets and dishes for days after. It isn't something I want to do annually, but every few years would be great. I always have lofty goals of finishing my Christmas shopping by December 1st and it never happens. I'm always stressed out at the last minute, I always worry that I didn't do enough, and I wait until the last minute to wrap everything. That on top of it being my busiest season at work (graduation, donor dinner, employee party, etc.), a last minute Doubleback BBQ pop-up, and just life in general left me feeling out of breath at nearly every turn. Once again, I wasn't really able to enjoy the Christmas season. I say every year will be different. Maybe it will really happen in 2017.

One really fun thing was that we were in town for Christmas and hosted my mom, step-dad, step-sister, and nieces. I don't think we have ever had Christmas together since they normally travel to see my step-family in Louisiana on Christmas day. My youngest niece is eight and no longer believes in Santa, but her opening up her Furby and raising it above her head like a wrestler winning one of those hideous belts almost made up for losing that bit of magic. We decorated ugly sweater Christmas cookies and watched Home Alone. There's nothing like kids to make you realize how fast time flies.

I was very spoiled at Christmas this year and got a coffee maker (bye bye, French press dependency) and the robot vacuum that Stephanie recommended. We aren't BFFs yet - I think my house has too much stuff - but I'm working on a way to make it (I named it Rosie, after the maid on The Jetsons) work for me. I got some fun stuff, too, like lots of necklaces and an Amazon Echo so it wasn't all adulty. We stayed home voluntarily on New Year's Eve and treating it like any other day and adding fancy champagne made it seem less lame. Did you get any gifts I need to know about? How did you spend new year's eve?

Hmmm, what else? I went to a bar that was almost a club for the first time in years for a friend's birthday and decided to dominate karaoke when Ashlee Simpson came on (why?), started and stopped yoga (still undecided on it...), and attended my first trampoline fitness class. I didn't make any new year's resolutions, but my fall goals all still need to be at the top of my mind; I didn't do very well on any of them. What are some of yours?

My house is happy that the Giants are in the playoffs. I'm dreading taking down all of my Christmas decorating and I'll miss the coziness that the lights add every year. I started watching American Crime and The Man in the High Castle and both seem fine but not amazing - I need a show! My reading mojo is coming back. The time I get off from work at the holidays went way too fast, as it always does. How is it 2017?

Bauer and the tree | One of our Thanksgiving tables | Our Christmas card pic taken in Charleston (I sent cards to people whose addresses I had at the time and made better notes for next year...) | the whole collection of ugly sweater cookies | Cat Bauer as the Grinch. There will never be a more accurate costume for him.

Okay so maybe my notes to everyone wouldn't have been quiiiite that focused on me, but I definitely want to ask all of those questions of you. Blogging is getting harder for me the more I overthink it (are you sensing a pattern here?) so I tend to grab the laptop, log in to Blogger, stare at the screen, and decide no one cares. A lot of this is on twitter or instagram already, but not everyone checks all the things so sorry not sorry for repeats. I want to get back in the swing of the oversharing and talking about everything and nothing on the internet. So, here's a step in that direction.