Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Laura Loves {May 2011}

Its that time again! Here are some of the items, links, and other things I’ve loved during the month of May!

Tervis Tumblers
A few years ago, my friend, Patti, got me a cup decorated with a turtle because she knew I loved turtles. The cool thing about this cup was that due to its double lining and an air barrier (where the turtle patch was applied) the cup resists condensation. Turns out that works really well! Awesome right?

It gets better! Earlier this month…I started making more of an effort to eat breakfast…well in some form. I decided to make myself Carnation Instant Breakfast each morning to drink on the way to work. The trouble is carrying the drink…because I wasn’t necessarily ready for it immediately in the morning.

I tried a travel coffee mug. However, complex lid + milk based drink = hard to clean = YUCKY!

Then one day I was at Bed Bath & Beyond and I saw a ton of cups matching my turtle cup with different designs inside. I realized they were called Tervis Tumblers…AND they actually made lids for them! These lids are really basic = really easy to clean. I bought one more cup with the letter “L” and 2 lids (one for each of my tumblers). These cups work great for my instant breakfast in the morning! The lid keeps them contained…and the technology keeps condensation out of my purse if I need to hide it on metro!

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JPMetz Advice the Hell Podcast
I don’t really listen to Podcasts. I tried to a while ago…but I never get around to keeping up with them and putting them on my iPod.

All of that changed recently. Over the past few years, some of my peers from high school have become pretty popular on YouTube. If you are into subscriptions on YouTube they are all pretty funny. RustyDaRockStar has some funny characters and works on a collaborative channel. He also collaborates with SoundlyAwake whose character skits are pretty darn awesome (if I do say so myself)! JPMetz has a mock tutorial/review channel where she is pretty critical and doesn’t find too many positive things to say (in a funny way!).

However, recently JPMetz decided to start a call-in advice podcast she calls Advice the Hell. She takes questions from teens and young adults who need advice and tries to answer their questions the best she can, often drawing upon her own personal experience. While the show is geared toward teens and young adults, I find that the honest and caring advice she gives can really give me some perspective relating to my own problems or problems I remember from my teen years. Even if it’s a problem I can’t relate to, I think the advice she is giving listeners is pretty awesome. I think she speaks to her viewers in such a way that their questions seem valid, and that someone is listening and genuinely cares about helping them with their problem. In the teen world...that can seem pretty hard to come by. I can’t help but think of all the people she is helping who look up to her, even those who don’t call in can probably relate to the questions she answers. All in all, I listen to her podcast…regularly…it’s the only one I’ve kept up with in a long time.



If you know any teen who might benefit or enjoy listening to an advice show or hear other things other teens across the country are going through, you might want to recommend her podcast. I think they would really like it! I really think its awesome! She recently decided to do the podcast twice per week and puts them out on Tuesdays and Fridays. I really hope she keeps it up because I think she can do a lot of good!!

Lady Gaga
Earlier this week, Lady Gaga released her sophomore album, Born This Way. I listened to a few previews on iTunes and was pretty convinced that I wouldn’t care too much for the album as a whole. However, when Amazon decided to sell the album, one day only, for $0.99…I decided to try it…what the heck right? I’d pay more than that for only 1 song on iTunes ($1.29). Turns out, I liked the album WAY more than I thought I would. Now, I’m not saying its my favorite album ever, but as a whole…I really have been enjoying the album…and its been a great album to work out to!



However…I decided to make Lady Gaga a feature in Laura Loves because I’ve really liked 2 videos I’ve found recently from her. The first one, many people have probably already seen…but I really enjoy the Google Chrome commercial featuring Lady Gaga and her song Edge of Glory.


The second video I’ve really enjoyed has been her acapella version of Born This Way done for an HBO special. I think she sounds great and I like the different sound of the song sung a bit slower…


Anyway…I don’t know that I would call her my “mother monster” quite yet…but this month I am loving Lady Gaga.

Amazon Cloud Player
Recently, Amazon came out with something called a Cloud Drive where you can store documents, music, photos, etc. This goes along with their new Cloud Player which can play music stored on your Cloud Drive.

Now…I use Google Docs so I really don’t need the full out Cloud Drive…but I was curious about the Cloud Player. At first I was a bit skeptical…but after purchasing the Lady Gaga CD for $0.99 and having it downloaded to my Cloud Drive…I fell in love!

Not only could I listen to the album at work right away using the Cloud Player, but later that day I was also able to listen on my phone using the Amazon MP3 Player App during my commute home! When I got home, I used the Cloud Downloader to put the CD I purchased onto my computer. The album went straight into my iTunes library without doing anything weird or special! One step! It was so simple! The music stayed on the Cloud as well so that I can still listen on my phone or at work…and I can upload music to the Cloud Drive to listen there as well. The best part is that I’ve been able to make a workout playlist to listen to on my phone as I also get coaching from RunKeeper while I do my interval runs!

Milo Loves - National’s Pups at the Park
I’ve already posted a bit about this, but this month Milo really loved Pups In The Park put on at National’s Stadium! There were so many dogs there that he got to meet and he loved getting to go somewhere new! The staff at the stadium handled the event really well. We got a bunch of free samples of food and treats as well as a new tote bag! They had plenty of water stations and even a relief station of some sod for the dogs to use! They had picnic tables within the fenced in area as well so that it was easier for pup owners to eat some lunch.
 
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A great time was had by all! And all of the pups were on their best behavior! Best of all…the pup ticket proceeds went to the Humane Society! There are two more Pups In The Park events scheduled for this season at National’s Stadium. I’m hoping to get Milo to at least one more!

Well…that’s all I have for this month!Check back in June for another edition of Laura Loves!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An Interesting Sunday

My Sunday was…interesting…to say the least. All I had planed for this past Sunday was a manicure/pedicure at Revo Nail Salon up on the north side of DC. Not just any mani/pedi…I had a LivingSocial deal for a paraffin (wax dip) mani/pedi for only $25!! Now I don’t get pedicures that often…so I was super excited! Since it was going to be a nice relaxing day…I took the opportunity to sleep in that morning.

Around 10am I awoke to the sound of my Gmail IM…my sister was messaging me to tell me that my account was sending out spam! As I was processing her message I noticed that my inbox was FULL of messages to emails that were undeliverable…all spam. They kept coming in! And I noticed my sent box full of successful emails to friends, family, old friends, old possible roommate contacts, old teachers and bosses…and they kept going out! Someone or something was IN my account doing this! They weren’t even all the same message…it was changing the message and subject to each person! So freaky!!

I immediately changed my password and started trying to send out apology emails to the first ones on the sent list…but they still seemed to be going out! Well after about 10 minutes…my email automatically logged me out and had me word validate when I was logging back in…that seemed to get the other thing out of my email…and the bleeding stopped…phew! I sent a few more apology emails but there were literally HUNDREDS to send…and my sister mentioned that it was pretty obvious spam and that people would probably assume what had happened. So here is my large apology…if you got a weird email from me…I’m sorry!

I was a bit bummed by the email problem but it was BEAUTIFUL out…so I took the dog to the park before I had to leave for my relaxing mani/pedi. We had a great time at the park, we came home, and I got on the metro to head up the red line to the salon.

I got there just in time for my 2pm appointment. I walked in, mentioned that I had an appointment…and they told me they had no record of it. Upon checking my call history…I realize I had accidentally called the OTHER location…which was not up on the red line…but the green line! Instant return of the non-relaxing Sunday! I quickly called them to see if I could change my appointment to later that day (the location I was at was all booked up!). Luckily they let me move it back 1 hour…so I started to walk back to the metro…this is what I thought I would have to do:

Metro Itinerary
metro map
The trip I thought I’d have to take in itinerary form…and on the map (highlighted in light blue).

But then…it hit me! I took out my phone and used the GPS to figure out that really the two salons were a walkable 1.5 miles apart! And then…it hit me again! Capitol Bikeshare! I turned around again and realized that half a block down there was a bike station…and then looking at the map I realized there was a stop one and a half blocks from the other salon!

I had my phone navigate me first to find the salon…then the bike station. The entire trip took me exactly 29 minutes and 40 seconds….which means (besides my subscription to Capitol Bikeshare) getting to the salon cost me $0.00 :-). I would have done it faster if I didn’t stop so often to double check my map….and then took a bit of time to walk up a steep hill.

Of course to keep the day interesting…it started to rain during my ride of course…but luckily it was just a short shower! It passed really quickly.

I know that biking isn’t exactly what you would call relaxing…especially with how hot DC has become in the late spring. But I was just so excited to get to use Capitol Bikeshare to save time, money, and miles!
It would have cost me $1.60, 12-15 min of walking plus 24 minutes of metro riding, and riding all the way into and then back out of the center of the city. Instead I spent $0.00, 29-33 minutes biking/walking, and only went about 1.5 miles! :-).

Honestly…I have really enjoyed my Capitol Bikeshare membership so far…but I think that trip really made my day! And I think it was the most helpful trip since I’ve been a member. Being able to casually hop on a bike to quickly get between spots in the city…to remedy an appointment mistake! I loved it!

My manicure afterward was pretty relaxing in the end…and then I got to take the dog to his other favorite park that evening which is always fun! So while it did have its ups and downs…I think Sunday turned out pretty good…

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mom, Me, and Milo!!!

This past weekend my mom came down to visit Milo and I for a three day weekend! We had quite the eventful weekend starting on Saturday when we attended National’s Pups in the Park! We had an absolute BLAST! There were tons of dogs at the park and they had a whole 2-3 sections blocked off for fans with mutts! We saw little dogs with Nat’s hats on sitting diligently watching the game…we also saw a HUGE Bloodhound/Mastiff mix! The stadium had a whole part of the stadium blocked off with water bowls, a “relief station” made of sod, sample tables, and picnic tables so you could eat with more freedom away from your seats with the mutts!

Milo had a blast as well! He met so many dogs and was really well behaved. First…he sat in front of his seat and watched the game.

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But then he really wanting to meet all the dogs walking by us in the aisle! He figured out he could lie down by my feet and watch and smell as they all walked by…he was being so sweet!

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Unfortunately it wasn’t the most exciting game…the Nat’s lost 1-0 and the only run was a solo homer. But I think Milo and I will try to attend more Pups in the Park games this year!

The next day Mom & I went to Eastern Market. She got a pretty sunhat and we had hot dog pretzels for lunch! Then she took a Capitol Bikeshare bike for a joyride back to my place while I briskly walked the dog home…

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That night we had a really yummy tapas dinner at Zaytinya! Every single thing we ordered was delicious…especially the lamb chops! For me the surprize of the dinner was liking the asparagus dish we ordered. But I’m not sure it beats out one of my favorite of their dishes, the fried eggplant! Tapas are so much fun as you get to just order a bunch of stuff to taste and try a bunch of different plates! But I think we will have to go back again because there were definitely items we didn’t get to try and wanted to! Of course we topped dinner off with some of our favorite cupcakes from Red Velvet! :-)

That night, since we were both not working the next day, we went to a late showing of Bridesmaids!

Bridesmaids Poster
I personally enjoyed the movie...for the most part…there were a few scenes that went just a bit over the top for me (and I'm sure for my Mom)...but overall I think it was good, entertaining, and I enjoyed the story line. I happen to like Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph and I thought they were both really good. And I really felt for Kristen's character. Overall it was fun and funny and I’d proabably give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, we both had taken off of work, but we mostly relaxed, caught up on Modern Family, and went to one of our favorite places, Costco! Unfortunately, after shopping it was time for Mom to hop on her train back home :-/.

But we had an awesome weekend and I can’t wait to do it again!! Thanks for coming Mom!! :-)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Celebrating Dr. Cubita!

One of my best friends, Paul, graduated from UNC School of Pharmacy and got his Doctor of Pharmacy degree today! I went down to Chapel Hill to watch him get hooded and take his “Oath of a Pharmacist.” I was so happy and proud of him and I can’t believe he can now be called Dr. Cubita!!!

Paul has been the President of his class during their entire four years and so he made a wonderful reflective speech during the ceremony. After his remarks, everyone was hooded!!!

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Pictures before and after the ceremony!!Smile

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I think these are some of my favorite family photos that I got…

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Congratulations Dr. Cubita! I’m so very proud of you!