Friday, April 28, 2017

currently {april 2017}

I felt like I just did a Currently post. Like, that it was not too long ago and so maybe I shouldn't do it again but then I searched my archives and the last one was a year ago next week. I feel like 51 weeks is a pretty fair amount of time in between.


Watching: Felicity on the ABC app! I've never watched it before and the 1998 fashion is awesome. Felicity is kind of the worst, though. Better Call Saul is back, and so very different from Breaking Bad but still so well done. Considering the thought behind each shot, line, and choice on Vince Gilligan's shows makes me appreciate TV even more. I also started Rectify which I had never heard of (it aired on Sundance and is on Netflix) and it's got an interesting premise.

Trying: To find more balance. To get away from my desk and move around my house more, to find time to decompress (which used to be my drive time), to be happy and proactive, and to not be controlled by how I feel in this moment. Things change quickly so chances are, it won't always be this way.

Reading: I finally found a book that's holding my attention (Damage Done - it's YA but compared to Gone Girl)! My slump has been in effect since late January so this is exciting. I also read this article about what bullets do to bodies and found it fascinating. It talks about how the people who survive gunshot wounds are the story we aren't talking about and how trauma surgeons have gotten so good at their jobs that there are many gunshot wound survivors so they don't seem like as big of a deal anymore, but they are.

Enjoying: Champagne on a Thursday. Not wearing my contacts most days. Cool mornings. My vet refilling Bauer's steroid prescription without an office visit (huge win - he's terrified of the car). Leftover Cadbury mini eggs.

Noticing: That somewhere along the line, I forgot how to think critically. I spent six years (professionally) knowing that if one person was happy with my work, then I was seen as doing a good job. As long as I did what was asked of me, my job stayed easy. When I questioned or asked why, it didn't matter since pretty much everything was beyond my control. Now I'm in a role where I need to ask questions and think everything through. No details are too small and I'm surrounded by people who don't understand my role, so I have to explain it to them and do great things with my own job. It isn't bad, it's just different. But through it, I realized that I forgot to ask why. I got in a habit of following orders, I stopped thinking creatively, and now I need to get that back. It's a weird lesson, but I don't hate it. I just wish it were easier.

Buying: A shower gift for my new niece or nephew. New luggage. A pedicure on Saturday. And probably more since a woman in my neighborhood turned a room in her house into a really cute boutique and she's doing an open shop today. I won a gift card at one of her previous events, so I think I need to update my spring wardrobe.

Thinking About: Travel. I'm going to NYC for work this week, New Orleans later in May, Austin for mine and Andrew's anniversary/the ATX TV Fest in June, and then Las Vegas for a conference the week after that. I like to be busy, and it will be fun, but it seems daunting. Plus, the NYC event is a benefit dinner with fancy rich people and I have nothing to wear. The story of my life, you guys. If you have any recs where I can find a fairly inexpensive professional dress today or tomorrow, let me know. I got one dress from Amazon and hated it and another that my husband said made me look Amish so I need help.

I'll be reading on the plane, instagram story-ing where ever I go, snapping pics of the Fearless Girl (my company's NY office is right behind it), and searching for the best spots to spend my per diem. Gotta find those silver linings.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

add it to my list: april 2017

I haven't done much lately, but I still feel like I've been busy. I haven't taken the time to try many new things and I'm still in a reading slump. BUT! The link-up should still go on. So glad Bre and I do this together because I need the accountability.

(But true story, I saw her on Saturday and we were both in shock that another month had passed and it was time to do this again).

So to remind you, add it to my list is a place for you to share the things you already recommend to people in real life. Anything goes and all we ask is that you leave comments in a few different places and bonus points for doing so with us. That's it.

grab button for Eat, Drink, and Be Lauren
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You can grab the button here if you want.

Add It To Your Shopping List

Lash Princess Mascara. Steph got it and posted about it last month because Stephanie posted about it and when it was compared to the Too Faced Better than Sex mascara (which I'm tempted to try but I'm just cheap!), I had to go find it. I went to two Ultas and both were sold out of the False Lash Effect but one had a two pack of that one plus the Volume mascara. It was $8 for both so no huge financial gamble. The volume works well for me during the day and the false lash effect is nice at night or for dressing up. I can't speak to how it compares to more expensive brands, but I like it.

Add It To Your Dinner List

These Mediterranean Chicken Bowls. This is a recipe that I feel comfortable cooking that actually tastes good. You can prepare things ahead of time, which I appreciate, and it's plenty for us to have leftovers. It's a lot of garlic, though, so I normally use half of what's suggested. Otherwise, it's perfect.

Add It To Your Houston List

My husband and his business partner dreamed up chicken enchilada sausage - chicken, enchilada sauce, onions, peppers, and corn tortillas IN a sausage - and it's delicious. I was looking forward to having some over the weekend, but they sold out of food in a little over two hours and I was working so I was late to the event. So sad. I wish making sausage was easier because we would have it every week, at least.

And you know what? That's it from me. Sometimes you're just tapped out of recommendations. I'll work harder to try new things in May. Here's hoping I get some good things to try from you.

Friday, April 14, 2017

fun facts

I always like reading fun facts about other people. Here are ten about me.

I barely touch my eyebrows. I see brow powder and sticks and microblading and it all scares me because I never know if it's "in" to have thick brows or thin ones. I don't do anything to mine unless they wildly misbehave but the internet leads me to believe that this is strange.

I hate the beach. The sand, the sun, and the water are my enemies. I love your photos from there, but I just can't get into it myself. More space for you.

I went to my husband's high school graduation but I didn't know him then. Andrew and I are four grades apart. We went to the same high school at different times. He's actually the same age as my cousin and step-sister, went to school with both of them, and graduated with my cousin. So we were in the same space at the same time long before we ever met. Small world.

Sometimes when I run, my legs get ridiculously itchy. If that isn't a reason to watch TV on the couch, I don't know what is. They get red and splotchy and I can't think of anything else. Usually a shower helps. It doesn't always happen and I wish I knew what triggered it.

With few exceptions, I have always had a cat in my house. I got my first cat when I was two. The first year and a half Andrew and I lived together, we had no cat. Other than that, I've had a cat in my house for my whole life and I always plan to. They're jerks but so much easier than dogs.

I can barely ride a bike. I didn't learn how to ride one until I was 12 and haven't practiced much since. Last time I got on a bike was probably five years ago and I ran into a little girl on the sidewalk since I'm not good at maneuvering. My niece still reminds me about that and laughs.

I love cheese. I mean I love chocolate, too, but lately cheese has been my real love. I check any fancy cheese shop to see if they have my favorite Mt. Tam triple cream brie. Queso, babybels, in any form, really. If I go to the grocery store and decide to "figure out" dinner while I'm there, it's probably going to be meats, cheeses, hummus, and crackers.

I have the worst memory. I don't know why. I barely retain anything I read or watch for very long. If I binge a show, I won't remember much about it a month later. If I watch a show in real time and have to go months between seasons, I usually can't remember what happened last. It's really frustrating, but can be nice since nearly everything feels new to me. I can also be a story repeater. I need people to call me out on that.

I have lots of freckles. This seems very self-explanatory, but I have had many people who have known me for a while and one day look at me and say "I never realized you had freckles." So, since we are likely online friends and great things like instagram filters might hide that from you, I thought I would let you know. As a kid, I hated them. As an adult, I'm pretty indifferent but do use their darkness to gauge if I need to up my sun protection.

I'm a terrible shopper. I talk myself out of everything. I convince myself I don't need it. I'm cheap. It takes me forever to make a decision. As such, I always hate my entire closet of clothes because they're not cute anymore. However, if I'm shopping with you, I'm a total enabler and I want you to buy everything.

There it is. Ten things. Tell me something about you.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

in which my slump takes over

I don't know if it's the lure of social media or what, but I can't get into reading a book lately. I spent about 30 minutes this weekend looking for something new to read; nothing sounded interesting. It's like when you're hungry but nothing in your fridge full of food sounds appealing. That's me and books right now. I'm hoping that, like it has in the past, linking up with Steph and Jana will give me a renewed desire to read. Let's see.

The Good
You Can't Touch My Hair (and other things I still have to explain): This was a memoir told in short stories, as most books I enjoy lately are. Jessica Robinson is a comedian who hosts two podcasts and loves pop culture. She's black, and her book talks about how being black affects how she sees herself and how she's treated. It sounds serious, but it's FULL of funny references to keep things a little light while still dealing with some serious ideas. It made me laugh out loud.

The Less-Good
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: I fully expected to love this book. It started off fine; you should care less about what other people think of you with a brief overview of how that can affect your life. Great. But the more I stuck with the book, the more repetitive it seemed. Either you're the kind of person who doesn't care what people think of you, or you're the kind of person who does. I don't think reading a book will flip you. Perhaps it will give you a new perspective and you can realize that other people's opinions don't matter, but this book seemed so absolute that I got tired of its message pretty fast. "Clearing out my mental barn" or whatever just isn't something I was on board with.

The Awful
The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter: This was an Amazon freebie that sounded interesting, so I saved it to my Kindle. I was stuck on a plane with a dying iPad and no internet connection and I had this, so I was grateful to have something. That also explains why I finished this disorganized mess. Let me first say that it was translated from another language (Swedish or Norwegian) so perhaps that's why it felt so strange and disjointed. It started as chick-lit with an overworked mom of three trying to juggle too much and who impulse-bought a house she can't afford. It then became a workplace drama where she isn't doing enough at work and her coworkers notice. Then, it takes a strange turn where the woman takes a business trip, kisses another man, thinks she's involved with an art theft, and develops a bit of a cough syrup dependency for a few days. It was all over the place and made no sense. It was terrible, but I kept reading because I had nothing else and I really wanted to know if things would tie together (they didn't). If you too downloaded this for free, please don't waste your time...

And that's it! It's not good. I checked something out last night and have already forgotten the title, so perhaps something I come across today will get me out of my slump. Let me know if you have a surefire, amazing book that I have to read in the comments - I need help!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

if we met for coffee

If we met for coffee, it would likely be iced because the warm weather is coming to Houston. Summer is around the corner which means it gets too hot to move. April and October are Houston's best months so hopefully we would be somewhere with a patio.

If we met for coffee, I would try to think about what I've been doing lately. I've been really lucky to get to spend time with friends, and it's been nice that Andrew and I have couple friends to hang out with. We've gone to Corkscrew BBQ with the Westbrooks and Baby C, have friends who live nearby that we can meet at our shared favorite bar for a drink, and got to see one of our couple friends twice this month. They taught us to play Parcheesi which was surprisingly hard but also unexpectedly fun. We learned a lot about Columbian soccer, food, and dancing.

If we met for coffee, I would inevitably ask you what you're watching. I love to talk TV. Andrew and I binge-watched The Americans over the past month and are now caught up to watch it in real time. It's so well done and intriguing but also a little scary in today's climate. I'm sure you're watching Big Little Lies and if you read the book, I especially want to know what you thought of it. I read it, and I thought the show was a great adaptation and I stayed interested, even though I knew the ending. We might talk about Jane the Virgin and how I think it's fun and light but also serious and well thought out. I would tell you that I'm over The Walking Dead but pumped for Better Call Saul and I would hope that you can recommend something new for me.

If we met for coffee, I might ask you what you do for lunch every day. I find lunch to be a necessary evil; I need to eat and I like taking a break, but finding something healthy, satisfying, and quick that I don't get tired of is a challenge. I would tell you how my life was made because I thought I could make avocado toast but I was (and still am) out of red pepper, which is essential. We could then compare first world problems. My current favorite thing to complain about it my robot vacuum.

If we met for coffee, I would have to ask you if you listened to S-Town and if you did, what you thought. I binged it right away. I thought it was great storytelling - really, listen to some non-NPR podcasts and you will appreciate their production so much more - but maybe not a story I needed to hear. I was kind of disappointed at the end that I spent seven hours with very little payoff, but at the same time, it was passive time so nothing was lost. I would want to know what you got from John B's story.

If we met for coffee, I would want to talk about goals. I'm not good at them, but I feel like I need something concrete to work toward. I would tell you about how I started Couch 2 5K last week and I pretty much hate it. I'm only running 90 seconds at a time; next week's three minutes at a time might as well be three hours. I also want to set some travel goals so I want to talk about where you've been and what's next on your travel wish list. Oh, and I would tell you that I have a goal to get back into blogging more regularly and have post ideas for every Tuesday and Thursday this month. Maybe talking about it will make it happen.

If we met for coffee, it would likely veer into a serious or political discussion. Depending on you. I'm trying to inform myself and feel confident in my assertions. I wouldn't want you to feel attacked but I don't want to stay in my echo chamber. I've been thinking lately about privilege and what it means to me as a person who looks white but has a Latino last name (both married and maiden, if you didn't know) and who never fully identified as white or Latino but selecting two boxes in the race section wasn't always an answer. I think about how I have mostly been lucky in my experiences, but I have definitely been treated differently because I am a woman. I would want to talk about where you get your news and opinions and what you care about in such a noisy, political landscape.

If we met for coffee, I would worry that I wasn't interesting or too negative or not enough. My insecurities seem louder lately and I try to ignore them and be content with who I am and where I am.  I have to think about the actions that speak louder; that the gift of your time shows that I am enough, that our friendship is worth the effort it took to sit in traffic and get to this place, and whether we share deep thoughts or observations on the weather, it was time well spent.

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch for what's new with you.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

never gonna be instagram famous

I'm torn between not giving a damn that my blog and instagram aren't "big" and wondering why they aren't growing because I've been at this for four (!!!) years now and I feel like some people started posting yesterday and they have 10K followers (or more). Sometimes I want to do better but most of the time,  I like the fact that I might be an acquired taste and if I did some of the things that the big accounts do, then I wouldn't really be me anymore...

Things like:

Wear the right clothes. I can't tell you how many big bloggers wear clothes that I would never want to wear in real life. Off-shoulder tops may be great for you, but strapless bras are not great for me. I look like a poorly-dressed window when I wear large ruffles. And those huge bell sleeves that girls are wearing this spring? I mean great if it works for you, but I go out to eat way too much and reach across far too many tables to ever keep those looking clean, never mind Instagram-worthy. And don't get me started on shoes. Heels are my nightmare, those lace-up sandals look way too difficult, and shoes bought to perfectly match one outfit just seem... expensive? I'm just too cheap to follow the trends. Where's the not-so IG-worthy group of women in their t-shirts and jeans?

Be a creative photographer. A lot of bloggers have an eye for highlighting beautiful parts of life around us. I like following them. I'm just bad at that. Other bloggers get... er, creative... in how they present their lives. You guys, I'm never going to hold my arms over my head to take a photo of my legs and my laptop from above. I would feel like a fool, my husband would laugh at me, and I would inevitably get an unflattering angle featuring my stomach that I would analyze for days to come. I can't stage a flat lay to save my life, either. If I try to pile some cute-yet-disparate items together and photograph them, it just ends up looking like I bumped into my table and a bunch of random stuff fell over. If you can pull it off, then let me know what I'm missing.

Liking color too much. True story, I'm terrible at decorating. When Andrew and I first moved in together, the color scheme I settled on was blue and brown. Everything was blue or brown because I didn't know how to add in anything else (Also? It was 2007. Don't judge). When it came time to redecorate a few years ago, I decided I wanted our house to be all the colors. Almost anything goes and I want to make anything work if I love it enough. My house is cozy, but it's never going to be a place someone else is dying to copy. There is nothing white, or marbled, or subway tiled. And that's okay. My cat would eat one of those sheepskin rugs, anyway.

#liketoknowit. I'll admit, I've never signed up for Like To Know It. This isn't about you not being able to make money from your blog. You do you. This is about me not wanting yet another email in my inbox because I liked your t-shirt once. But like we've already talked about, the clothes I feel best in are rarely featured on instagram anyway, so I don't think I'm missing out on much. I would also be terrible at using the service since most of my clothes are a) from Target b) concert or food t-shirts c) hand-me-downs from my previous coworkers (they had good taste, never tried things on, and were generous with things that didn't work for them!) - I don't think those are options you can tag.

I could go on. I'm a terrible hashtagger, inconsistent with posting, and my captions are a little long. But, I always like to show something that I think is real and worth sharing and interesting to me. And if only (let me see...) 312 people are into that, then that should be enough for me.

After all, as far as I'm concerned, there are few things in life that are heels and strapless bra worthy. Instagram isn't one of them.