Wednesday, January 25, 2012

and that's all i have to say about that

Do you know what's a little bit weird?  Going back to your college campus after you graduated.

Do you know what's even weirder (more weird?) than that?  Going back to your college campus for a work conference.

And do you what is weirdest of all?  Going back to your college campus, Penn State, for a work conference the week after Joe Paterno, the most famous coach in college football, died.  

I grew up in a Penn State household, and loving Joe Paterno came with the territory.  When I became a Penn State student in 2006, my love and admiration for the old man only increased.

At this point, after all that has come out with the Penn State scandal, my feelings about Joe Paterno are admittedly a wee bit conflicted.  As a proud PSU alum and fan, I feel one way.  As a girl who hopes she would do the right thing in a tough situation, I feel another.  And finally, as someone who works in child welfare and all too often sees the heartbreaking results of people who "should have done more," I feel another way.

Still, I took a trip over to the statue of Joe Paterno after my conference today, and it was certainly a sight to see.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

just when you think you've seen it all

A few weeks before I moved into my new apartment my mom and I went to the store to look at vacuums.  It was very exciting for me because do you know who buys vacuums?  Grown ups.  We looked at a whole bunch and I finally settled on a lovely Bissel.  I was sold on the EXCLUSIVE HELIX ACTION SYSTEM.

I was so proud of that vacuum that I put it together and tried it out as soon as I got home.  I even announced that it was so pretty that I was considering artfully placing it in a corner and using it as a decorative piece in my new living room.

Because let's be honest.  That's one beautiful Bissel.

And that's when my mom said, "Hey! You should get one of those vacuum dresses!"

Hold. The. Phone. Vacuum dresses?

It turns out that there is an entire market for people who like to dress their vacuums up as ladies and livestock and even a seasonal Santa Claus.  I had never heard of a vacuum in costume, but after spending some time on this website, I was intrigued.

But then I moved and decided that a Bissel in the corner, even one with an EXCLUSIVE helix action system, might take away from the sophisticated look that Michelle and I were going for in the decor department.  So I rolled the Bissel into the closet and didn't think another thought about vacuum displays.

Until this past weekend.  My parents and sister spent the weekend visiting my great-aunt and late on Saturday night Emily texted me and said, "It's dark in my room but I'm pretty sure I see one of those vacuum covers.  I'll look in the morning when it's light and let you know."

Well, her eyes, they had not deceived her.  And in the morning my aunt generously sent her vacuum cover home to live with me.  Which explains why Michelle and I now have a four foot rabbit residing in our apartment...
And it's not just any old rabbit.  It's a rabbit wearing an apron AND a bonnet.  She is one classy cottontail.

I still don't think I understand how disguising your vacuum as a large woodland critter or well-dressed woman necessarily makes its presence in your living room less obvious.  

However, it certainly makes it a lot more fun.

And provides a permanent conversation piece.

I think we're going to get along just fine with our new roomie.  I better go buy some carrots.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

another day, another culinary mishap

Well, I really planned to write about my weekend on Monday night, but since I pretty much talked non-stop from Friday afternoon until Monday evening, I was out. of. words. by the time I sat down to write this post.  And then last night I spent the evening wandering around Nieman Marcus with Michelle and pretending I had several hundred dollars to blow on a new cashmere cardigan. 

Back to this weekend.  My college roommate Heather came to visit!  She arrived on Saturday afternoon and after some nourishment in the form of Chick Fil A, we hit the mall.  I am on the hunt for a new purse, and I found this one marked down from $100 to just $30.  

I almost bought it, but in the end decided not to because I thought it was a little too much like "HELLO, MY PINK PURSE AND I HAVE ARRIVED."

Now, these boots?

 Totally understated and mature.

We spent several hours at the mall browsing and talking and talking and talking and talking.  On the way home we stopped at the food store and got some Celeste pizzas for dinner because I like to impress my guests with gourmet meals.

Actually, Sunday night I actually did prepare a delicious crock pot chicken meal for us to enjoy.  It was ready around 6:00 and all I had to do was make some instant mashed potatoes to go with it because listen, sometimes a girl needs an easy side dish.  I boiled the water and dumped the potatoes in just like the directions said, but began to sense a bit of a problem when they didn't start to thicken as the directions claimed they would.  It looked more like a pot of murky water than steaming hot potatoes, and as I tried to figure out where things went wrong Heather came over and said, "The directions call for two CUPS of water.  You used two QUARTS."


Never let it be said that I don't know how to show my guests a good meal. 

I had the day off on Monday and I spent it visiting my mom and Emily, having lunch with a friend, and going for a walk with Matt.  The grand finale of the weekend was the Bachelor, which is arguably one of the most intellectually stimulating shows on tv.  You just can't hear someone say, "On a scale of one to ten...I feel like I'm going to throw up" on any old show.  

In a nutshell, this weekend was a good one.  I got to relax, shop, and see a whole bunch of my favorite people.

And also, I was able to make potato water.  I bet not many people can say they did that this weekend.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

at least it provides me with entertainment as i wait for the elevator

This sign hangs in the parking garage next to the elevator I take every day.

I don't know which is worse...the fact that someone actually printed a sign that said "EQUIPTMENT," or the super smooth cover up strategy of simply coloring the extraneous "T" with brown marker.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Well, I got my hair cut last night.

I imagine that there are people out there who can get their hair cut without hours, and perhaps even days of research and deliberation and sometimes even a list of pros and cons.  I admire those people, but I am not one of them.  I started thinking about a haircut over the weekend, and planned to dedicate a solid chunk of Monday evening to researching potential styles.  But then Matt texted me around dinnertime and we had the following conversation:

Matt: "I just wanted to remind you that your favorite show is on tonight."


Matt: "Your other favorite show.  First Week In.  That new show about prisoners and their first week in jail."

I'd like to just take a moment here and explain that my new-found love for television shows that focus on prisoners, police activity, and secret felonious whiskey making surprises even me.  However, I cannot get enough.  I suppose I am just fascinated by the whole criminal process - the arrest and the prison sentence and even the strategy of people who secretly make whiskey in the woods.

And so I did not get any hair research done on Monday night because I was too busy watching people being booked for various charges and outfitted in color coded jumpsuits while trying to convince the guards for some phone time so they could call their bail bondsman.  

On Tuesday night I was able to talk hair with Emily, and she provided the strong, sisterly support that I needed in my moment of follicular weakness.  After about forty five minutes of hair talk, I told her that "right now it kind of looks like GIRLFRIEND NEED A HAIRBRUSH AND PERHAPS A 360 DEGREE MIRROR." 


She's right.  Girlfriend needed some PERSPECTIVE.

That bring us to Wednesday morning.  Wednesday was a depressing, doozy of a morning at work.

A deproozy, if you will.

That deproozy led me to the courthouse to get something signed at about 10:00 on Wednesday, and as I walked through security the older gentleman manning the metal detector cheerfully greeted me with, "Morning, kiddo!"



As I sat on the bench outside the courtroom, I was trying to get my mind off of the sad reason that I was there and focus my thoughts on something positive.  So I called my hairdresser and made an appointment for last night, and then looked up pictures of my hair idol, Kristin Cavallari, so I could tell the hairdresser EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED.

And when I sat down in the salon chair at 6:00 sharp I simply said, "I need help."

All that.  They days of thought.  The research.  The pictures.  The technical terminology like "choppy layers"
 and "sharp angles."

Luckily the hairdresser read my mind because she gave me a new hairstyle that is exactly what I was imagining.

And the best part is that while no one called me Kristin Cavallari today, no one called me kiddo either.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the silver lining is that at least we know the smoke alarms work

The other night I decided to cook myself some dinner.   Having recently moved out on my own, I am learning that contrary to popular belief, woman cannot survive on tuna sandwiches alone.  And so, on Sunday evening I summoned my culinary courage and entered the kitchen with a plan to cook myself some chicken.  I turned the oven to 400 degrees, and I decided to wash some dishes while I waited for it to preheat.  

Well, I was elbow deep in soapy water when I heard the smoke alarm in the hallway go off.  Luckily my natural fire prevention instincts kicked in immediately.  Which means I grabbed the red towel off the counter, ran to the hallway, and started waving wildly beneath the smoke alarm.

Problem solved.

For two minutes.

Five (literal) false alarms later, I dragged the kitchen chair to the smoke detector and disconnected that sucker.  Relieved, I went back to the kitchen and put the chicken in the oven.  

And then I heard another smoke alarm.  This time, it was the one in my bedroom. I decided it was time to step up my game in the towel waving department because I was becoming slightly concerned that a neighbor might call 911 thinking that some sort of fire was surely burning in my apartment.  OH NO, LAURA'S JUST MAKING DINNER.

Here is a photo of the smoke alarm in question.  Please note the LAUGH sign on the door frame and it's close proximity to the smoke alarm.
I will admit that placing that laugh sign on top of the door frame and then neglecting to secure it with any sort of 3M product was a poor decision on my part.  However, it is covered in glitter and the decorating scheme for my new room did not include sparkle.  I just couldn't let go of that sign though, and decided above the door would be the perfect home for it.

That is until I waved my red towel underneath it like a wild woman, hit it, and it came crashing off the door frame.  Right onto my head.

I feel a bit dramatic saying this, but the impact was so hard that I actually had to sit down on the floor.  Underneath the blaring smoke alarm.  Holding my red towel.

Right then I wished that I had been waving a white towel.  OF SURRENDER. 

I am happy to report that I was eventually able to pick myself up and disconnect the second smoke alarm.  And the result was peace and quiet, a delicious chicken dinner, and a decision that next time, I might just make tuna.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

who knows...this just might be the year of the pigtails

On New Year's Eve Matt and I headed into the city to see the midnight fireworks show.  You could say we started the new year off with a bang.

Oh, the puns.  They have followed me into 2012.

And, because we are people of class and sophistication, we arrived downtown in style.  And by style, I mean in a stretch Range Rover.

Oh, I kid.  We actually took the train, which is admittedly far less glamorous, but just as eventful.  When we saw the fireworks last New Year's Eve, we drove downtown.  However, this year Matt has a new job, an office in the city, and  RAILPASS.  And you better believe that he jumps at every opportunity to use that bad boy.  

In fact, he is such a serious railpass user that he brought his December AND January passes to the city, since we would be riding down on December 31st and coming home on January 1st.  What a rule follower.

We got the 9:50 train so that we would be in the city in plenty of time for festivities.  The train sped along from station to station, until about 4 stops from our destination, when the train came to a dead stop.  And did not start up again.  After about ten minutes the conductor walked from car to car and announced that we had a "stop signal" and we would have to wait until the signal maintainer could come out rescue us.


As you might imagine, that news did not exactly thrill the passengers on the packed train, most of whom had already consumed one or twelve celebratory beverages and, understandably, didn't want to ring in the new year on a crowded, hot commuter train.

As we were waiting for Mr. Signal Maintainer to make his way out to our stranded train, I decided to show Matt the photos on my phone.   I scrolled through several photos of my Christmas tree and nail polish and several pictures of dinner plates piled with food.  Looking back I can't recall why I thought it was necessary to take pictures of my dinner nearly every night, but luckily I now have several images of rice and chicken saved FOREVER.  

About seven pictures in, I scrolled once more.  And oh, it was a fatal scroll.  Let's just say the combination of unexpectedly getting out of work early, a new hairbrush, and a whole lot of hair product led to some fantastic pigtails.  That I photographed.  

And then texted the picture to Emily because sometimes I like to brighten her day with a little humor.

Kind of like the time I sent her this picture, with the message, "HELLO FROM THE SUPPLY CLOSET!"

Anyway, since Matt was staring right at my phone, he unfortunately saw the Pigtail Picture before I even realized what was happening.  I tried to scroll to the next picture and act like NOTHING HAPPENED, PLEASE PRETEND THAT WAS JUST ANOTHER PICTURE OF RICE AND CHICKEN, but he said, "Whoa.  What was that?"


After a brief explanation I changed the subject and Pigtail Picture Incident '11 was but a memory.  And finally, about forty five minutes later, Mr. Signal Maintainer fixed our train and we were back on track.

The puns.  I can't stop.

We made it to the city and walked around and watched the fireworks and welcomed 2012 in a big way. 

After the show was over, the streets were packed with people.

As we turned to leave the riverfront, Matt looked at me and said, "Okay, hold my hand and don't let go.  We are about to do some STRANGE things."

Hmm.  Now there's a statement that needs further clarification.

It turns out that what Matt meant by "strange things" was simply that we were going to power walk back to the train station to avoid missing our return train, and he didn't want us to get separated.

And so, we hurried back to the train station, pausing just long enough for Matt to give the guards at the Liberty Bell a special Happy New Year shout-out, and for me to gaze longingly at the stretch Range Rover.

The ride home on the train was uneventful, but I bet riding home in that Range Rover sure would have been nice.

Although, I don't know if they let girls who have an affinity for pigtails ride in Range Rovers.

Happy 2012!

Monday, January 2, 2012

perhaps a hair care line isn't a bad idea

Well, we are now two days into 2012.  I was planning to write about my weekend and our New Year's Eve festivities, but at this moment I am inexplicably unable to form any sort of coherent story line about how we rang in 2012.
Instead I am thinking about all sorts of things, including but not limited to my goals for the new year.  I've never really made resolutions before, but this year I decided to jump on the bandwagon and create three goals for myself.  

First, I am going to have all of my work clothes for the week ironed and picked out by Sunday night.  I've pretty much been operating on the "open the closet twenty minutes before I have to leave and pray to the heavens above that there is something clean/ironed/appropriate in there" method.

That method is not working for me and leads to great frustration on the mornings when all I can come up with is a pair of semi-wrinkled brown pants and an assortment of black sweaters.

Resolution #2 is to actually get up when my alarm goes off in the morning.  This may seem like standard practice for some people, but I tend to lay in bed for AT LEAST thirty minutes after my alarm goes off EVERY, SINGLE MORNING and think about THE INJUSTICE OF HAVING TO GET UP SO EARLY.

I don't know why I am always so surprised when the alarm goes off.  It's not like 6:30 doesn't come around EACH AND EVERY MORNING.

My third goal was to stop eating snacks right before I go to sleep.  I say "was" because it's 11:00 and, true to form, I just made myself a pot of angel hair pasta and tomato sauce with sausage and peppers.  So maybe that resolution can wait until 2013.

Yesterday I went to the mall because recently I have been walking a rough makeup road.  A few years ago I tried Bare Minerals makeup.  AND OH HOW I LOVED IT.  What I did not love was the price tag, so after I finished it, I started using Maybelline's mineral makeup, hopeful that it would be comparable to Bare Minerals. 

It didn't even come close. 

And ever since then I have been back and forth with Bare Minerals.  I decided that yesterday was the day to reunite with Bare Minerals, and plus it felt easier to blow fifty bucks on makeup if I could do it under the guise of buying myself a celebratory new year's day gift.

It's been so long since I've used it that I had forgotten what color to buy.  I went into the Bare Minerals store and asked one of the employees if she could match my color for me.  Her name was Cara and as I sat in the chair she tried to sucker me into buying the super starter kit because it came with three brushes!  And bronzer! And shampoo!

I'll be honest, I was actually an easy sell because there is nothing I love more than experimenting with a new, chemical free shampoo.  And I told Cara as much.

"Oh wow, shampoo!  I didn't even know you guys had a shampoo line!!"

Nothing.  No reaction.  I figured that Cara was just stunned by how fantastic I looked in Light #2, Matte, and was contemplating asking me if I would like to be a model for Bare Minerals and that's why she didn't response to my shampoo statement.

I left the mall with my bag o' goodies and when I got home, I immediately went to the bathroom to introduce my products to their new home.  I zipped the powders and brushes in my makeup bag and as I went to put the shampoo in the shower, I took a look at it.
Brush conditioning shampoo.

No wonder I didn't even know Bare Minerals had a shampoo line.  THEY DON'T.  It wasn't shampoo for people, it was shampoo for MAKEUP BRUSHES.

And so, I had my first faux pas of the New Year.  It was bound to happen, I suppose.  

At least I will have clean makeup brushes for the new year.