97 entries categorized "My Life"

Would Obviously Do It All Over Again

This past weekend, Kelly and I were walking out of the mall after a very successful shopping trip ("successful" as in Kelly bought a dress that looks like it's from 1984, and I bought a shirt that looks like it's from 1994) when we passed a giant booth labeled "Hurricane Simulator." After doubletaking, we turned around to check the thing out. 


 There wasn't much (or any) explanatory information posted, just a credit card swiper where you could pay $2 to activate the machine. In what has to have been the easiest decision in my life thus far, I pulled out my credit card and opened the door to the simulator. "Get in," I told Kelly. She did exactly that, because who wouldn't? Hurricane Simulator scholarships don't just get handed out to everyone.

Once Kelly was securely in the simulator, I swiped my card. Almost immediately, a loud horn sounded. Note Kelly's reaction:


After that, some air jets inside the booth activated and started blowing.


And blowing.


And blowing.


For like a minute. And that was it. Now, I might be a stickler, but I'm pretty sure hurricanes involve things other than wind--like rain. Therefore, for accuracy's sake, I'm pretty sure that this contraption should be marketed as something other than a Hurricane Simulator. Like:
Or even:
That being said, I highly endorse this product.

Where Have I Been?

Costa Rica!

Just got back from an awesome week in CR. I have been wanting to go back since my first visit in 2008, and the return trip didn't disappoint. I'm going through my hundreds (and hundreds) of photos right now, and this one of my travel buds Megan and Emily jumped out at me:


The scenery in this photo is pretty par for the course, as far as the past seven days have gone. Costa Rica is an insanely beautiful place--coming home to an unmowed lawn in the Maryland summer didn't exactly have me reaching for the DSLR. But it's good to be home, and not just because I'm happy to see a certain little brown dog who happens to have a birthday coming up in the next couple days. More about that (and the trip) later, of course; now, it's time to sleeeeeep!

(Also--it's too bad Megan and Emily aren't getting married to each other, beause that would be an awesome engagement photo.)

A Tina Fey Story

I'm a pretty big Tina Fey fan, so when I heard she was going to be in DC to do a reading/signing for her new book Bossypants, I snatched a ticket up on the ASAP. Tragically, though, the day of the signing ended up colliding with a huge work meeting that I couldn't miss. (Meeting topic: "Business Business Businessy Things That Are Sure As Hell Not Tina Fey.")

Emily and I had bought tickets together, so I asked her to give mine to someone else and still get a book signed for me. I also told her to ask Tina to write "Dear Lauren: Sorry you'll never be the funniest person born on May 18. Love, Tina Fey" in my book, because Tina and I have the same birthday.

A bit later, Emily texted me from the event and broke the news that sadly, the organizers were telling people that Tina would not be personalizing books as she signed them. Oh, well. So much for that, right? No! Because Emily is a champ. As Tina was signing the books Emily handed her, Em mentioned that one was going to someone who had the same birthday as her. And that is how I got the only book that was personalized at the entire signing:

 May 18th, indeed.

(Thanks, Em)

Year of the Brunch Update: Brunch No. 2


(Note: If you don't know what Year of the Brunch is, see here. Or don't. Basically, I made a New Year's resolution to eat more brunch.)

For brunch #2, I visited Firefly with my dear pals Megan and Emily. Because I did not get a pic of us together at brunch, here is one of the three of us on New Year's wearing overly matching outfits:


I am still just getting started with this resolution, but here is some advice I can already confidently impart: if you want to pick a resolution your friends will be willing to help you with, pick brunch. Nobody wants to help you get organized. Nobody wants to help you lose weight. EVERYONE wants to help you eat brunch.

While we're at it, here are a couple of other early brunch tips and realizations:

  1. Mimosas are great (and just $1 each on Sundays at Firefly, FYI).
  2. It never gets easier to choose between sweet and savory.
  3. Make sure at least one person orders something that comes with potatoes.

For this particular brunch, we had the following:

IMG_1456French toast with apples and raisins (mine)

IMG_1457French dip (Megan's)

IMG_1457Eggs a la I Forget What They're Called (Emily's)

. . . And a side of potatoes I neglected to photograph. The French Toast was Stellar McCartney, and my tastes of M&E's stuff were also yum. I was very pleased that we ordered such a balanced set of meals--two "br" and one "unch." And would you just look at how they bring you the check:


In a firefly jar!

With another brunch under my belt, I do believe it's time to update the Brunch-o-Meter:


January's two brunches have put me on a good pace; I have 11 months to complete the remaining 13. Perhaps you will join me for one?

One Down, 14 to Go

Longtime readers (hi, Mom) may be familiar with my occasional use of this site as a place to publicly state my goals/and or resolutions and hold myself accountable to them (lip gloss audits, anyone?). Now that the new year has arrived, I would like to formally (I am wearing a ball gown as I type this) announce my Official 2011 Resolution:

EatmorebrunchThis is perhaps the most ambitious New Year's Resolution I have taken on in years--and yes, I realize what it means about me as a person that I am patting myself on the back for having the "ambition" to eat more waffles and omelets. However, let me just remind you that my resolution not too many years ago was to always have gum in my purse. This is huge by comparison.

Before I go into details about my First Brunch of 2011, here are a few parameters I've set for this resolution:

  1. I will go on a minimum of 15 brunches in 2011. (This number seemed low to some people I discussed my resolution with, and high to others. I chose it because it seemed manageable without being overwhelming. If I exceed 15, all the better.)
  2. I will track these brunches using an official Brunch-o-Meter, similar to the Ham-ometer.
  3. I will also describe my brunches on my blog as a way of keeping myself accountable to this hallowed resolution.

Now, I already have my first Brunch Quarter loosely planned, with MUCH thanks to my brunchy godmother Andrea. But my first brunch of 2011 actually ended up coming about without any planning on my part at all, as my friend Amanda had a birthday brunch this weekend at CommonWealth Gastropub. I decided it was definitely eligible to count for resolution purposes, so here is my official first brunchcap of 2011.

 Brunch #1: CommonWealth Gastropub

For some background on CommonWealth, here's a review courtesy of my aforementioned brunchy godmother. I'm still not sure what angle my own brunch recaps will take, as I'm not much of a food writer. Oh, well--this one will be brief anyway, since I'm exhausted from explaining the parameters of this whole resolution. 

The brunch menu at CommonWealth has a lot of good options, and we had trouble deciding. Here are Kelly and Doug pondering their choices:

I was having, like, an emotional crisis deciding if I wanted a sweet or savory entree, so in the end I decided to get an omelet AND a popover.

Everything was gooooooood--especially the popover, which got passed around the table and was enjoyed by all. And yes, that is a mimosa, and it was yum. Mimosas were free with brunch purchase, which is great, but be warned: champagne corks were poppin' every two minutes in that joint. If you are easily startled (which I am), you will be constantly jumping out of your seat on free mimosa day.

I forget what Doug had, but when he was done, only its pinkish-purply sauce remained. I was trying to decide what it looked like (Muppet guts?) and eventually determined that it appeared as though Doug had slaughtered and eaten Birdo. Doug then posed for this picture and the table instructed me to Photoshop Birdo in:


Successful brunch. There is only one thing left to do: UPDATE THE BRUNCH-O-METER!

BrunchometerThere's lots more brunching to be done. Any suggestions/recommendations?


I have a lot of routines set up for myself, some conscious and some unconscious. For example, at some point last year I got in the habit of eating specific lunches on specific days. On Tuesdays, for example, I go to Cosi and get a TBM. It sounds kind of crazy and OCD, which, to be fair, it maybe is, but it's not something I observe like a religion. It's just that I've found, at least for me, that settling into a few general rhythms helps offset some of the difficulties that come with being extremely absent-minded and oblivious.

I also tend to rotate through the same outfits at work on a fairly regular basis. This is more or less because I only see a small number of people in a given day and because it saves time in the morning to already kind of know a specific combination of clothes to go for. Anyway, at some point, I things kind of evolved into me wearing the same things on certain days of the week. I didn't put this all together, though, until I had a conversation with my Cosi cashier one Tuesday as she rang my sandwich up.

"You work at the salon next door, right?" she asked.

"What? No," I answered, wondering why she would think that. (I hypothesized that maybe my hair was looking particularly excellent that day.)

"Oh," she said, kind of confused. "Sorry--I just assumed, because, well--" she looked at my black shirt and grey skirt. "You come here often, and you have the same uniform as them. So I just assumed."

At this point, I came to the dreadful realization that I had probably come to this Cosi every Tuesday for the past several weeks wearing the exact same outfit. I had never made the connection before and I reeeallly didn't want to tell the cashier, "Oh no, I'm just a crazy person, and this is my Tuesday outfit, you see!" But I had to save the situation somehow, or else future trips to this shop would be too awkward and I'd need a new Tuesday lunch option.

"Oh! That is so funny," I said. "Yeah, I guess my job has sort of the same uniform." This seemed like a solid enough save. I handed her my check card.

"So where do you work?" she asked. Damn. This was like playing chess, and I was not planning my moves far enough in advance.

"Uh . . . nearby." Please let this transaction end. Please let this transaction end.

"OK, cool! Here's your number. See you next time!" Whew.

I decided that things hadn't gone too badly, and I could still come back to that Cosi in the future. But as I walked out the door, I realized that I would have to make sure I would be wearing that exact same outfit every time. I am now charged with the responsibility of keeping the uniform myth alive.

This Is Why It Is Important to Save Every Piece of Paper You Have Ever Touched

We had a fun suprise at our Thanksgiving table yesterday; my mom had reached into some magical vault and found placecards we'd all made for Thanksgiving many years ago. We estimated them to be from about 1991-1992.

Here's mine, featuring a turkey, a pilgrim, and what appears to be a flaming witch's cauldron. I apparently had some confusion going on about holiday imagery.

My older sister Kelly's was indeed very minimalist and Kelly-like. I am assuming there was a corresponding piece of green pasta glued to the bottom-left corner that has since fallen off.

Kate's features a turkey enjoying a lovely stroll under some clouds. We were arguing yesterday about whose turkey was better--mine or hers. Feel free to comment and confirm that mine is.

And then there's my brother's, which has no artistic value whatsoever. Just like my brother. (Zinggg.)

There were also placecards for my parents, although we couldn't remember which kid made which.

My forensic analysis upon closer examination is that the handrwriting on Mom's matches Kelly's and the legs on Dad's turkey very closely resemble those on Kate's, so those are the likely artistes.

I'm guessing Real Simple magazine will not be suggesting holiday placecards made by eight-year-olds in the '90s as a decorating idea anytime soon, but these really made our day. Good job, Mom!