Friday, December 31, 2010

will you say twenty eleven or two thousand eleven?

Well, 2010 is over.  It was a good year for me, and there were tons of great moments.  This was probably the best one though...

Here's hoping for just as many great moments in 2011!  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

some trivial information and A GIVEAWAY!!!

CSN Stores has offered to give away a $35.00 gift certificate to someone who comments on this post!  Did you receive a trip for Christmas, and need some new suitcases to take along?  Visit their luggage stores!  Or maybe you didn't receive everything on your list, and would like to do a little more shopping for yourself!  You're in luck!  You can find pretty much anything you could ever want at CSN!

To enter, just leave up to three comments on this post.  Each comment will be counted as an entry.  Tell me your favorite beauty product.  Your favorite song.  What color socks you're wearing.  Your favorite Christmas gift.  Anything!

I'll start. 

1- Do yourself a favor and google "cold pressed castor oil."  After you read about it and the multitude of benefits that come along with it, try to stop yourself from hightailing it to the skincare aisle of the nearest Whole Foods and buying their entire stock.  Seriously.  Your life, your skin, and your beauty routine will never be the same again.  It's a miracle in an eight ounce plastic bottle.

2- I have a habit of picking two or three songs that I enjoy and then playing them over and over and over again for weeks (okay-sometimes months) until I have completely worn them out.  Currently my three song rotation is made up of Felt Good on My Lips by Tim McGraw, Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg, and Bottoms Up by Trey Songz.  I believe that's what you would call "all across the board," and I can only imagine how Mr. McGraw and Mr. Fogelberg would feel about being grouped together with Mr. Songz.  I offer them my sincerest apologies.

Okay, this giveaway will be open until Saturday night at 11:59 pm.  I hesitate to say "midnight on Saturday" because does that mean Friday into Saturday or Saturday into Sunday?  OH THE CONFUSION.

Alright, go!  And good luck!

*CSN Stores only ships to Canada and the US, and there may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses!  So keep that in mind!

**Bonus points if you comment and let me know that I am not alone in my love of Mr. Songz and his fine musical stylings.

***Just kidding about **.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

now would be a great time to practice a safe following distance

The other day Stacy and I were Christmas shopping, and she had to pick up a grill for her dad at Sear's.  While I waited in the parking, I saw this...
Call me crazy, but for some reason an eighteen inch piece of duct tape keeping this trunk closed just doesn't scream TOTALLY SAFE AND RELIABLE to me.  Especially since this picture was taken in the parking lot of the Sear's appliance department. 

And a washing machine had just been loaded in the back.

Monday, December 27, 2010

she's closer to thirty than she's ever been before

Today is Emily's 15th birthday!  I cannot believe she is fifteen years old.  It seems like just yesterday I put on my favorite outfit, which at the time happened to be a white turtleneck shirt, snazzy blue sweater, and black stretch pants WITH STIRRUPS, and went to hospital to meet Emily for the first time. 

From the second I saw her, I loved having a little sister.  Although this morning she spent a solid amount of time down on the deck hurling snowballs up at my bedroom window with a force I was unaware she even possessed, and I have to say "love" wasn't really an emotion I was feeling at that particular moment.
But, overall, it's been a blast.

In honor of Emily's fifteenth birthday, I have composed a poem for her.  It's sure to be an award winner in no time.

I just can't believe you're already fifteen years old.
I hope you like your present...millions of dollars worth of gold.
Actually the gold is really just a joke.
I can't afford that, I'm almost broke.

It seems so fitting that on your birthday this year we had a big snowstorm.
There was one the year you were born too, maybe it's the norm.
Although the one in 1996 was actually a blizzard.
How appropriate that was because you like wizards.

"You and Emily will be best friends someday," is what Mom always told me.
And as you are getting older, I can tell that's what we'll be.
You were fun when you were younger, and we played together a lot,
but these last few years have been my favorite, now we laugh and talk and shop.

I hope you enjoy your birthday as you turn the big one five.
This time next year you will be learning how to drive!
I hope you have a wondeful year and that it's full of love and fun,
you are the greatest little sister under the big, bright sun!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

very merry

I tend to keep things pretty lighthearted over here at Oh Laura Darling, because let's face it, it's just more fun that way.  But here's a secret.  I worry.  A lot, actually.  About all sorts of things.  Just like everyone else.  I worry about my job, moving out, money, and accidentally missing a great sale on lip gloss.

But today?  Today those things that I worry about didn't seem to matter so much.  You know what did matter?  

This very long, twenty person table...
 and the people I love sitting around it.
I am so lucky.  And so thankful. 

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas.

P.S.-Just in case anyone is wondering how the Las Vegas tree fared this Christmas, here she is, still on the dryer, in all her pre-lit, lime green glory.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

it was an evening of holly and some jolly

Our office closed a little bit early today, which gave me an unexpected hour and half of free time.  I had on good authority that prices on flats at Burlington Coat Factory had hit rock bottom.  Since I am not one to miss out on a fashionable, low priced shoe-and I was giddy with the freedom-I swung by the house and picked up my sister, and we headed out to get ourselves some new kicks.

It just so happened that Emily turned out to be very pleasant company because she was in the best mood EVER.  She talked nonstop the entire way to the store about Christmas break and her friends and how much she is loving high school and the pink hat her favorite nun gave her for Christmas today and a new cake dessert she enjoys and LOOK AT THE SKY, LAURA, IT REALLY LOOKS SO BEAUTIFUL!!  And just when I thought she could not possibly be any more cheerful, we walked into the store and got on the escalator and she exclaimed, "OH I JUST LOVE ESCALATORS!!!"

The happiness continued into the evening, when we put the ornaments on our tree.  After the decorating was complete, I thought it would be a great idea to take a few pictures next to our hard work.  My current favorite picture pose is "popping," and I was sure we could get some winning photographs of Philip, Emily, and I "popping" out of the tree.  I introduced the "popping" pose last year on my 21st birthday, and while my family was hesitant at first, the result is one of my favorite pictures ever...
Since Phil and Em are good sports, they agreed to "pop" out of the tree with me.  In fact, Phil really got into it.   When I heard him say, completely seriously, "Emily, you come on my side, that way we can alternate sides and pop in descending height order," I just about lost it.  We were hysterical.

This was our first try.  Not great.  We can surely do better.
 Nice face, Phil.
 And finally, the winner!!!
Try a "popping" photo at your Christmas celebrations this weekend.  I can pretty much guarantee it will be a hit with your family and friends.  Of course, if you don't impress them with your wacky photo posing skills, you could always take them to the mall to ride the escalators.  I hear some people JUST LOVE them!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a post with a lot of words but a weak narrative structure

On Friday night I went to the mall with Matt so he could finish his Christmas shopping.  He was a man on a mission, as evidenced by the fact that not only did he come armed with a list, but that we went to Sears (twice), Macy’s (also twice), the watch store, Hallmark, and the bookstore in a span of about thirty minutes.  It was a trip that defied all laws of science and shopping. 

At one point, as we traveled from Macy's to Hallmark at a speedy rate of about 45 miles per hour, I convinced Matt to stop for a few minutes so we could watch the kids sit on Santa's lap.  Then I told him about how Stacy and I make bets about which kids will cry.  Matt and I only ended up watching for about 45 seconds because he failed to see the entertainment value or Christmas spirit in the activity, and plus, TIME-IT WAS A WASTIN'.  We didn't even get to see any criers.  

Our final stop was Books a Million.  I stood beside Matt as he paid for his purchase, and suddenly a stack of bright blue flyers on the other side of the counter caught my eye.  I was able to spot the unmistakable scrawl of the Chick-fil-a logo, and I thought I saw dotted lines in the shape of a square at the bottom, which everyone knows means COUPON.  It was like Christmas had come early and in the form of discounted fried chicken. 

I got carried away with fast food enthusiasm, and reached all the way across Matt and half of the counter so I could get my hands on that coupon jackpot.  In doing so, I experienced a true moment of dainty, ladylike grace.  At the very moment that I lunged for the Chick-fil-a coupon, the rather large button on the bottom of my coat decided that it had finally had enough.  And it burst right off in an angry, dramatic fashion. 

I took it as a sign that perhaps I didn’t need to be making any stops for a deluxe chicken sandwich or half a pound of waffle fries, coupon or not.

Matt and I decided to spend the rest of the night making a gingerbread house, because nothing says relaxing quite like assembling a structure with some giant cookies and frosting with questionable adhesive capabilites. 
All the while, Rosie stayed close by and experienced quite the roller coaster of emotions.

The icing was very drippy (that's a techincal gingerbread term), which gives the house a hobo sort of feel.  But I think it looks charming, and good enough to eat.
I won't be eating much of it though.  After all, I can't afford to lose the two buttons I have left on my coat.

Monday, December 20, 2010

that's a wrap. and a giveaway!

I wrapped all of my presents tonight.
 I was so proud of how they looked that I took pictures of them.
I think they might be my prettiest presents ever.
 Plain and festive all at the same time.
 There is a secret behind these presents though.  Literally.
 The back of nearly every single one looks like this.

There was a lot of inaccurate wrapping paper measuring going on tonight.

If you're wrapping gifts this week, just remember...when in doubt, cut more.


Also, check back here later this week!  I will be hosting a giveaway!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

oh how the mighty have fallen

We got our Christmas tree!  Phil strung the lights after church today, and then we put up a whoppping three ornaments, because it's all about pacing yourself.  And this time of year, I'm always saying...three ornaments a day keeps the tree decorating stress away. 

Oh, I kid.  I don't really say that.  And truth be told, there was a lot of sneezing and coughing and cleaning and last minute shopping going on around here today, so Tuesday night will be Christmas Tree Decorating Night 2010.

Location? The family room. 

When I was seven years old, we moved into the house we live in now.  It was an upgrade from a tiny house with just a family room, to a bigger one with a family room and a living room.  And, so began the "where shall we put the Christmas tree?" discussion.  My dad's vote was for the family room.  The fireplace is in the family room, so Santa could just slide down the chimney and conveniently emerge right in front of the tree, ready to distribute mountains of gifts to the best behaved children in all the land.  Plus, that's where we spent most of our time.  Unfortunately, my mom's vote was for the living room.  It's in the front of the house, and while we hardly ever spent time in the living room, my mom thought the tree would look so pretty in the big front windows.  Whenever we vote for things around here, my mom always says her vote counts twice.  And so, the tree went in the living room. 

The first year it was in the living room, my brother and I were so worried that when Santa slid down the chimney, he wouldn't be able to find the tree, and then where oh where would he deposit that mountain of gifts for the best children in all the land?!  Because of our great concern, we left Santa a little note explaining the location change.  And, if I remember correctly, Phil even drew a map for the jolly old man.  And would you believe that Santa found that tree?  It was a Christmas miracle.

We displayed the tree in the living room for a long time, but two or three years ago, my dad put his yuletide foot down, and since then, we have been putting the tree in the family room.   Still, my mom just wasn't okay with the idea of not having any sort of Christmasy foliage in the living room, so a few years ago she went out and bought this little guy.
The first time my dad saw it, he laughed and laughed and exclaimed, "Looks like Christmas in Las Vegas!"  So now we refer to it at the Last Vegas tree.  And it fits.

It is very green.   
 But this little tree and all its glitter and green had a very prominent place on the sewing table in the fancy living room for that entire Christmas season. 

Last year, the Las Vegas tree was booted from it's premium real estate in the living room.  If I remember correctly, it sat on a corner table in the dining room. 

And this year?  Oh how far it has fallen.  This year, the Las Vegas tree is sitting festively atop the...







If the Las Vegas tree makes the cut for next Christmas, I'm confident it will be placed in a better location.  Because let's face it, there's really nowhere to go but up.

Monday, December 13, 2010

i laughed a lot on saturday

I love words.  I love that words can make you laugh and cry and think and dream and forgive and understand.  However, once in a while, words just are not adequate.  And this is one of those times. 

My parents went away a few weeks ago and went to an antique store/flea market, and my mom came home with a beautiful mink fur cape.  They wanted to take my sister and me back to look at the other fur coats, and to see this flea market.  When they tried to describe it to us, words escaped them.  And after our visit there on Saturday, I can understand why.
Now this is what I call one stop shopping!  You can buy a fancy headstone, and just a few steps later, purchase a neon tye dye tshirt!  Talk about convenience!
I hate to dash someone's dreams, but if there is anyone out there still holding on to hope that someday their Beanie Baby collection will be worth some serious money, it may be time to retire that dream.
I have never seen so many Pez dispensers in my life.
And speaking of things I have never seen in my entire life, this lamp, with its deer leg base and very elegant curling ribbon detail, falls right into that category.
The nineties called...
they want their sneaker phones back.
Finally, we made it to the fur stand.  Emily and I each picked out pretty, short fur capes, but the owners just kept handing us fancy coats and hats to try on!  Imagine what my friends at Wal Mart would say if I waltzed in one night with this getup!  Quite a turnaround from the "pajamas" I usually wear!
After we had seen enough old fabric, bags of plastic tomatoes and other assorted artificial food items, and old bullets to last us the rest of our lives, we doused ourselves in hand sanitizer and moved on to our second cultural experience of the day.

Our annual Christmas trip to Cabela's.  World's Foremost Outiftter.  Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Macy's anymore.
A strange thing happened as soon as we crossed the Cabela's threshold.  Whenever my mom and I go shopping, we can't wait to come home and tell my dad how much we saved!  It doesn't matter how much we spent because listen to how much we didn't spend!!  Well, we were lounging beside this indoor lake and very large moose...
when my dad announced, "Gotta spend it to save it!"  As the owner of a Cabela's card and many, many hardbound catalogs reserved for Cabela's most loyal customers, my dad embraces the "gotta spend it to save it" philosophy.  I just knew I came by it honestly. 

After we made our purchases, we continued the all american day with dinner at Cracker Barrel, where I had biscuits and corn muffins, and two kinds of potatoes, and was in carbohydrate heaven.  And then we played Twenty Questions all the way home, which was a lot of fun despite a few disagreements, including but not limited to one about the versatility of buttons.

But just for the record, they totally have more uses than just clothing fasteners.

Finally, we watched one of our annual Christmas staples, It's a Wonderful Life. 

The end.

Okay, not really.  We also watched part of Wild America, because what else do you watch while you wear your new, authentic fur capes and detox from a day filled with mounted animals and fishing gear and stores with firearm check in stations?  Wild America, that's what.

The end.

For real.

Or, should I say "fur" real?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

maybe they just disappeared

Today we went to an antique/junk/collectible store, and I still don't have the words to describe it.  We saw this walker there though, and what I'm wondering is where did the owner go?  And more importantly, how did they get there?!

not exactly what i was hoping for

I am taking classes at night to become a paralegal.  I had class the other night, and when I got there, I saw a little piece of white paper all folded up on top of my desk.  It looked like a fortune from a fortune cookie, and I just couldn't wait to open it to find some words of wisdown or an impressive prediction. 

This is what it said.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

my alternate plan is to just drive behind a snowplow

It is cold here. 


It was so cold last night that when I got in the car after work and started my drive to school, I was afraid that my car singing might suffer due to the low temperature.  Luckily Old Blue has a very enthusiastic heating and cooling system, and the heat kicked in just as Tim McGraw came on the radio and I was able to perform a pretty impressive rendition of Indian Outlaw.  I followed that up with Step Into Christmas, because, 'tis the season.

On the way home from school a few hours later, it started to snow.  Even though I have had my license for five years, I have only driven in the snow once, and that was way back when I had my learner’s permit and my dad took me to the (empty) parking lot at the mall and had me perform all sorts of crazy car maneuvers amidst the snow and ice.   

Actually I don’t think there was any ice, but it sounded more dramatic with ice in there, so I’m running with it.  The goal of the outing was for me to become comfortable driving the car in snowy conditions, and so I could learn what to do if anything ever did go wrong.

One of dad's exercises required me to press the gas pedal until I was going at a pretty good speed, and then slam on the brakes while keeping the car under control.  Let me back up and say that I was not much of a fan of the gas pedal when I first had my permit.  The first time my dad took me out driving, he drove to an empty parking lot, put the car in park, and came around to the passenger side so I could get in the driver’s seat.  After he showed me how to adjust the mirrors and check out the RPM and other such technicalities, it was time to get the show on the road.  Literally.  I took a deep breath, put my foot on the gas pedal, and floored it. 


Only problem was, the car was still in park.  That engine revved so loudly and I think my dad almost had a heart attack.  After he recovered from the shock of ALL THE REVVING, he calmly explained that it's beneficial to put the car in drive before enthusiastically slamming the gas pedal.

Lesson learned.

After my little mishap I was slightly gun shy about the whole gas pedal thing, so I spent the rest of the session just rolling from parking lot to parking lot, topping out at a whopping ten miles per hour.  I rolled around so slowly and for so long that at one point, a security officer stopped us and asked what exactly we were doing.  My dad explained that I was learning to drive, but apparently the security guard thought we were plotting to case the joint.  I can’t say that I blame him because it’s not often you see a red sports car rolling slowly and suspiciously around an office park early on a Sunday morning. 

After that first driving lesson ended, I’m sure my dad couldn’t believe his good fortune because he still had forty nine hours of rolling ahead of him!  Lucky for him, I got the hang of the gas pedal somewhere around hour three or four, and blossomed into the talented, skilled driver that I am today.  Five years later and I am ticket free!  And, if you don’t count the small setback I had involving some poorly timed steering and the garage door, I am accident free as well!

I seem to have gone a bit far afield.  My point is that since I have been away at school for the last four winters, I haven’t had another opportunity to drive in the snow since that afternoon in the mall parking lot.  That is, until last night. Although last night’s snow was so wimpy that it didn’t even stick to the ground.  It really just blew around fifteen feet above the road, so I was technically driving under it, not in it. 

But as soon as I saw the first few flakes last night, I tried to think of everything my dad taught me in that snowy driving lesson.  Chances are I will have to drive in some real snow this winter, and I will have to be ready.  And if I'm not, look for me pulled over on the shoulder of the highway, singing Indian Outlaw and waiting for spring to come around.

Friday, December 3, 2010

an addendum

I couldn't go on without pointing out this quote from my girl Cher on the picture in my last post...

"Back in the day, I used to get thrown off MTV for wearing things like that, which seem so tame now."
There are many words I can think of to describe that get up.

Tame is most certainly not one of them.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

isn't it IRONic?

I really hate to say this, but I am suffering from a severe case of writer’s block.  And I doubt anyone wants to read about how I spent more time than even I care to admit this afternoon researching the origin of the word "okay" and whether or not it started out as "okay" or just "ok." Or about how I ironed a pair of dress pants for work the other night and I think I have finally mastered the art of getting a perfect crease all the way down the center of each pant leg.

Speaking of ironing, I was in the semi-professional ironing business this summer while I searched for some sort of post-college employment that didn’t require wearing sneakers to work.  My main client base was my family, and I charged one dollar per item.

My brother was the only one who ever hired me. 

And he only hired me once. 

I made about $8.00. 

And that $8.00 translated to about $2.00 an hour because I am the world's slower ironer.

Thus, my career in the cuthroat world of semi-professional ironing was short lived.

Much like the life of my cell phone.  (How’s that for a smooth transition?!)  I’m afraid it has seen better days, and is currently hanging on by a thread.  Or hanging on by what’s left of the draining battery, as the case may be.

So tonight when it started beeping and buzzing and warning me that I had LOW MEMORY, VERY LOW MEMORY, I decided I better look into things right away.  It seems that the problem had something to do with the 145 pictures I have stored on there.  I will admit that 145 is a little excessive, especially because 125 of them were of the sky.  Apparently you can never have enough cell phone quality pictures of clouds.

As for the other 20 pictures?  Well, they are true Kodak moments, and I am just thrilled that they have been captured forever.

Ah, Cher.  Michelle and I have a well-documented love for the goddess of pop and her fine musical stylings.  I often wish that our morals, values, and beliefs were more in sync, because if they were I think we could be great friends! 

This is a necklace.  Although, if you’re a very light person and plan to be spending time outside on a windy day, I’m thinking you won’t stand a chance of blowing away if you wear this baby.

My dad cleaned out the basement one night, and when I went outside in the morning, I saw this classy greenery in the trash pile.  I’m proud to say that this plastic foliage added quite the elegant touch to our apartment junior year.  It looked just beautiful next to a cinderblock wall and sitting atop our lovely royal blue carpet.  Very HGTV.

This license plate says WHALE.  No matter how bad your day is, take comfort in the fact that you’re not driving around in a car that has WHALE emblazoned on the license plate.

Here is a picture of our mall on the Friday night that Santa arrived.  The line to sit on his lap went all the way up to the second floor.  Stacy and I stood at the railing on the other side of the second floor for a very long time and made bets on which kids would cry when they sat on Santa’s lap.  We were just the picture of Christmas cheer that night.

And then we made our way to home appliances.  Since both of us still live at home, we are not in the market for dishwashers or refrigerators.  But somehow we ended up here, on a Friday night, in the home appliance department of Sears.  It seems that every last one of Stacy’s friends from college is doing a year of service somewhere, and she keeps up with all of their blogs about what they’re doing.  I can only imagine how she feels when she clicks from them over here to OhLauraDarling, where she can read about toothpaste filled oreos and what I got the last time I went to Wal Mart.  Just keepin’ it real over here.

And what better way to end than with another picture of Cher?  I can only hope that if she truly could turn back time, she would rethink some of her scandalous relationships and perhaps all that mesh clothing.
If we ever do become friends, I will encourage some nice, opaque clothing items.  I would even be willing to iron them for her.  It may take me all day, but I am a whiz at the center of the pant leg crease.