Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Laura Loves {August 2011}

Is August really over already?!?! The months just keep going faster and faster! Well with the end of August…it is time for another edition of Laura Loves! To see things I’ve loved in past months, go {here}!

Taxi Magic App
The other weekend a few friends and I attended the Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival at the National Harbor. Since my new apartment was closest to the festival (and we all planned on partaking in the beer tasting) my friends parked here and it was my job to call a cab to drive us to the festival! As I was looking up which cab companies served my area I came across a cab company that encouraged the use of the Taxi Magic App.

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I downloaded the free app to my Android phone…put in my zip code…and the app showed me all of the taxi companies that served my area. In the list, it had a button to quickly call any of those companies right away. That sounds really simple, but it gets even better! There was one company totally registered with Taxi Magic…and for that company I could make the reservation straight from the app! You know you can do this because it says “book” next to the listing instead of a phone button (see screenshot below). I could ask for the cab right away or make an appointment for the future! It asked me if I want to save my address so that I could quickly call a cab in the future as well!


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But wait…it gets even BETTER! Once it calls you a cab, it shows you via GPS exactly where your called cab is on its way! So its really easy to see when its about to arrive! We saw that the cab was downstairs and sure enough there it was waiting for us…and we hopped right in! Better yet…this cab took credit cards! Makes paying SOOO much easier!


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This app made making plans that day super easy and painless. In the past (to me at least) I have always felt like looking up and calling a cab company has either taken forever or has been unreliable…particularly in the city where anyone can just grab your cab. I love how you can actually see where your cab is and that it is on its way!

This app will work in any city to quickly link you to local cab numbers, but in order for the GPS thing to work the cab company has to be registered with Taxi Magic so there might not be a service that is in your area yet. I still think its pretty great if you travel to a new city and need cab numbers! You have them all in one place and can call each with one button! Great app…and free on android…I definitely recommend it!

Man Think Tank
Recently I found this video which describes what might go through the mind of your average guy on a first date. You may recognize Matthew Rhys if you watched the ABC show Brothers & Sisters…but he is great in this video…along with the special effects.

I was going to embed the video right here on the blog…but there are a few bad words and since it’s the male mind on a first date a few taboo subjects as well…I just wanted to warn everyone before they just clicked “play”…it might not be super safe for work (ie…headphones) just due to some language and topics…but I still think its pretty funny and wanted to share! Enjoy {here}!

CorningWare Bowl/Mug
I’ll admit that this item is sort of half cheating. I have loved this item for longer than just this past month…but I have been using it A LOT lately. I’m talking about this CorningWare 20oz mug with lid.

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My mom gave me this bowl a little while back and I LOVE it! It is perfect for warming up soup in the microwave. It will fit a standard Progresso can perfectly and the lid is really tight. In the morning I open a can of soup, pour it all in the mug and seal it. I trust the lid to even just toss the full mug in my purse! When I’m ready for lunch I just open the blue tab on the top to vent…and stick the whole thing in the microwave! If I don’t want to finish the whole two cups…I just reseal the lid and put the whole thing in the fridge! It heats evenly…vents well…and the mug handle makes it easy to carry downstairs to lunch! I actually probably need to buy another one or two…my ONE gets a LOT of use…it could probably use a break!

Rummikub on Facebook
Anyone who knows my family well knows that we LOVE the game Rummikub. I have played this game for as long as I can remember! It’s a family favorite! Recently…they made this game available on Facebook…and I have not been able to stop playing! As one of my all time favorite games, I love that I can play Rummikub with anyone anytime!

The game can be a bit confusing at first but its based on the card game Rummi. You have to make groups of tiles that are runs (1-2-3-4-etc) in the same color or groups (the same number) in different colors. The melds have to be at least 3 tiles long…and once they are out of peoples hands you can move the tiles around to try to get the rest of your tiles out. The first person to get rid of all their tiles wins!

I’d love it if anyone wants to come play online with me! I love that you can find your friends and play with them! It’s a fun game and I’d be happy to tutor anyone in it online…or in person!! You have to trade in “credits” to play…but they give you a daily bonus of credits around 7pm each day…so you can stock up if you just log in each day….you also don’t give up credits for games that you win…and you can earn more credits by playing with friends! So log in and join me! Smile

Milo Loves ~ Our New Porch
Milo has really loved our new apartment…but this definitely his new favorite area…

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We have both been LOVING the new apartment as well…but we are still working on putting it all together…I will share more as we get more settled (and hopefully I’ll be blogging more too!).

That’s all I have for this month! Laura Loves will be back at the end of September!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crabs! Crabs! Crabs!

This past weekend my friends Sarah, Avi, and I headed over to National Harbor to check out the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival!! We each had a Groupon that got us a discount on the “unlimited beer and wine tasting.” Since the crabfest was on Saturday around noon, we took advantage of my new apartment’s proximity to the harbor and free parking, met at my place, and took a cab over to the fest.

We were a bit worried when we first got to the event because there was a huge line to get in. But the line moved fast and it didn’t take long to get inside. Before we knew it we had our souvenir glasses full.

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After trying various brews (along with a few selections of wine, cider, and hard ice tea/lemonade/cola)…we were ready to eat. Avi grabbed a half dozen crabs while Sarah and I opted for the crab cakes.

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We had some great lunch conversation…

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And Avi showed us the proper way to eat crabs!!!

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Ok ok ok…that’s NOT the proper way…but he did show us how…and I tried some crab. I’ve still decided that cracking open a crab is not for me…but the crabcake was really good! Here is Avi’s aftermath…

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After getting a few more refills, we grabbed some yummy fried goodies for dessert. We tried both the fried Twinkies and fried Snickers bar! They were pretty good…I think the Twinkie wins since the Snickers was so heavy. But I have to say that fried Reese's is my all time favorite (even though those are a bit heavy themselves)…Twinkie on the left…Snickers on the right….

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We had a great time at the festival! We were worried about it being crowded, and it was definitely busy, but it never took too long to get a beer and there was definitely enough room to move around. There were even some cool vendors. I got Milo a “Happy Meal” of gourmet dog treats shaped as french fries, a burger, a hot dog and a, and a cannoli! It was so cute!

After the fest we headed back to my place…had some fun conversation. Avi had to head out to meet up with friends but Sam joined Sarah and I and we had a great rest of the day hanging out and swimming at the pool! Keep an eye out for the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival next year! I would definitely go again!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reunion Week! {Monday Memories}

Welcome to Monday Memories! I really love seeing old photos or home videos of friends and getting to see what people looked like when they were young or hearing about the fun memories that go along with great photos. Sometimes home videos or personal photos are just plain funny! On Mondays I share old photos or videos that go along with a personal memories! Click {here} to see past Monday Memories! You can also see past photos (and bonus photos) from Monday Memories {here}.

This past week was an exciting week of reunions! It all started two weeks ago when my friend from grad school, Yuling, contacted me telling me she would be stopping in DC on her drive back down from her internship in PA to start school in South Carolina! She let me know she was going to be in town a few nights and would really like to meet up with Sam and I for dinner! Yuling, Sam, and I had close desks our first year of grad school and then shared an office our second year!

Our first year of graduate school, Yuling would always chat with us and while she was working on her English…she’d show us some Chinese too…on top of introducing us to plenty of Chinese customs and food! :-) She was always so nice and probably one of my favorite people that I met in grad school.

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When Yuling called we were excited for our reunion the following week…but we knew we’d be waiting until the next Tuesday or Wednesday. However we got a surprise reunion THAT Friday! Our friend Cody called Friday morning saying she made last minute plans with a friend to drive up to NYC and was going to be coming through DC!! Cody and I couldn’t meet up for lunch (the downfall of not really working IN the city) but she decided to hang around until the evening to meet up for dinner!

Cody was one of my best friends in grad school. Cody is from Romania but had been in the US teaching high school math for 3 years before coming to USC for grad school. Her, Sam and I were pretty fast friends and the three of us were close for the rest of graduate school…so we were really excited to get to have dinner with her on Friday night!

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So on Friday night…Cody surprised Sam at his place while I was at work and then when I got home she was one of the first friends to see my new apartment! Then we went out for dinner and margharitas before her and her friend made their way up to NYC. The visit was waaaay too quick but it was really wonderful to see her!

The next week we were able to meet up with Yuling on BOTH Tuesday night AND Wednesday night! Tuesday we met at my place and then went to La Tasca in Alexandria. We shared a tasting menu of tapas and a paella and it was sooooo good! I have really been loving tapas…especially with a group! You get sort of a family meal feel from it since you can share all your small plates and you get to have a bunch of different things. The food was great and of course we had great conversation. It was so great to catch up that Yuling wanted to continue our reunion Wednesday night! We decided to meet at Sam’s apartment and try a Thai place down the street. The Thai place had pretty good food…but the waiter was…in a word…intense. But we had a great time chatting about life and all the good times in the past.

It was so fun to catch up with friends from grad school…it makes you realize how fast the past two years have flown by!! I hope we all get to catch up again soon!!! :-).

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In true stat nerd fashion…they are wearing our Stat Club T-Shirt from 2009 which states:

P(AWESOME) = 1

For all you non-statistics people out there that translates to “Probability of Awesome Equals 1”…aka…basically a 100% chance of being awesome…and I would agree with that!! Thanks for checking in with us ladies! I can’t tell you how great it was to see you both!!

Monday Memories might be taking a break next week….to allow me to focus a bit on new blog features Winking smile….exciting right!?!?!….But the memories will be back up soon so stay tuned!!

UPDATE: Yuling sent some pictures from our reunion! (Unfortunately our visit with Cody was so quick we forgot to take some pictures :-/)

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Monday, August 15, 2011

It’s Birthday Season! {Monday Memories}

Welcome to Monday Memories! I really love seeing old photos or home videos of friends and getting to see what people looked like when they were young or hearing about the fun memories that go along with great photos. Sometimes home videos or personal photos are just plain funny! Each Monday I will share a old photo or video that goes along with a personal memory! Click {here} to see past Monday Memories! You can also see past photos (and bonus photos) from Monday Memories {here}.

This past few weeks have been crazy hectic with moving and while I’m not fully recovered…I did get my internet all set up and that means Monday Memories are back! The beginning of August has brought back a similar memory for me for the past few years! Let me preface this by saying that my group of college roommates (who you may recognize from earlier this summer!) all have birthdays in the same half of the year (between August & December)!. The first birthday of every school year (although school hadn’t started yet) was Jacqueline on August 2nd. It was like her birthday started off “birthday season.”

One year the group of us got together in Wildwood to celebrate Jac’s birthday down the shore! Her family had a condo down there and the group of us all met to enjoy a long birthday weekend! We had a blast! Two of my favorite roomie pictures of all time came from that weekend.

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Unfortunately, while it is one of my favorite photos, our one roomie Jennifer hadn’t arrived yet at this point. She was coming up from Maryland and were were anxiously awaiting her arrival! We had a blast that weekend spending days on the beach and evenings celebrating Jac’s birthday! This is my other favorite picture (which includes Jenn! YAY!)

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Now, contrary to what it looks like in the photo above, we celebrated Jac’s birthday in other ways as well! Another great moment of the weekend was the awesome ice cream sundaes we had! (Jenn was I think on her way this night…but Jac’s friend Annika was there to celebrate too!)

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Please note Laura’s HUGE banana split (on the right) in the next photo…

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Yup….she finished it all! She was a beast!!! It was crazy!

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(If you’re wondering how she ate that thing and has such a great figure…the secret is Division I Swimming! hahaha)

That weekend we had tons of fun playing miniature golf, enjoying the beach, shopping, encountering “interesting” people, and I personally got over some personal fears of mine!! Oh and I believe I also taught the roomies a few simple household tasks that may or may not have involved a plunger…I believe that is when they decided I was “the handy one” hahaha.

Anyway, Jacqueline, I hope you had a wonderful birthday this year as well!! But I know we will always look back at this birthday down the shore as the ultimate kickoff to “birthday season!!”

Check back next week for more Monday Memories!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mia's Memory {Monday Memories}

Welcome to Monday Memories! I really love seeing old photos or home videos of friends and getting to see what people looked like when they were young or hearing about the fun memories that go along with great photos. Sometimes home videos or personal photos are just plain funny! Each Monday I will share a old photo or video that goes along with a personal memory! Click {here} to see past Monday Memories!

This weekend my sister Linda and I attended the Celebrity Soccer Challenge which was a charity soccer event. Mia and her husband Nomar (Garciapara) hosted the event and competed on opposite teams of different celebrities to promote and raise money for The Mia Hamm Foundation which supports patients in need of bone marrow transplants and their families and the Children's Medical Center.

I plan on writing more about the event in another post very soon...but for Monday Memories I had to post this awesome video I found. Before attending the event I was looking at Mia's Facebook page and saw this video posted about her favorite Women's World Cup memory...does it sound familiar?? (Well...after the ad).



As I watched this video I couldn't believe what I was hearing! I totally expected her to say something like the record setting crowd for the final match that year, maybe a goal that really brought the team together, something another player from another country said to her...or even another Women's World Cup ENTIRELY!

But one of her favorite memories...was seeing all the families tailgating at the stadium...there to watch them play the opening match of the 1999 Women's World Cup in New Jersey. I think its is sooooo unbelievably cool that in a way my family is part of one of her favorite World Cup Memories. I couldn't help but share!

Monday Memories will be taking next week off due to a busy busy busy week/weekend of moving! But I will post about the Celebrity Soccer Challenge soon! We had a great time...along with more Mia excitement!! :-)