Monday, October 31, 2011

Laura Loves {October 2011}

While I haven’t been the best blogger this month I have found a LOT of things to love…so much that this will be quite an exercise in editing for me! So let’s see how I do!

Stove Top Stuffing Everyday
I was in need of a small amount of stuffing for a recipe I was trying (a post about which I plan on sharing soon). I was planning on buying a box of stuffing and debating if I was going to portion it out to only make the bit I need or just go the easy route and make the whole box when I cam across this little gem!


Now, like I said before, I know that I could just measure a portion of the box and add the right portion of other ingredients…but let me tell you, it felt good that Stove Top was thinking the single people/small families out there. So I guess the marketing worked on me. But really the packaging makes only making a bit of stuffing a whole lot easier. The lid seals much easier than a plastic bag in a box would, the cylinder makes it easy to scoop out the right amount of mix. And of course the box splits the ingredients for you so you don’t have to do kitchen math. As a person who usually has to do this to avoid having a ton of leftovers, I appreciate the break. So thanks Stove Top for thinking of us single-tons out there! You get some love from me!

How to Never Lose Your Camera
This guy has a great plan for if he ever loses his camera! I love it! I haven’t done it myself but it is a funny idea! Let me know if you try it out for yourself (or have other funny ideas).

The other day I was watching one of my favorite TV shows and heard an unfamiliar song that I really liked. However there are two annoying things about discovering music on TV. You only get a snip-bit of the song (which may not even be that useful of a snip-bit), and you have no idea what the title or who the artist is. Since this song sounded fun I decided to do a bit of Google-ing and came across TuneFind where you can search for music by TV show. It will even take you down to the episode, and then list the songs along with the scenes in which they were featured! If the song isn’t there or you don’t recognize the scene description, you can also ask a question to see if anyone knows the song. Needless to say I found the song I was looking for in a matter of minutes! So if you ever hear a great song on TV and want to know what it is…check out TuneFind!

Emotional Baggage Check
Speaking of discovering new music, I came across this interesting website recently. On first glance it appears to be a place to either vent or give advice…but really it’s a way for discovering new music! If you are feeling really good lately, you can “take on some baggage” where you will get some emotional baggage from an anonymous person. Once you read it, you offer them a bit of advice along with a song that you’d enjoy or connect with in that situation.

On the other hand, if you are feeling a bit down…you can drop off your baggage and in a few minutes you will receive a few emails from anonymous people who have picked up your baggage and recommend a song (and sometimes even offer some kind words)! I thought the idea was really cool. No one ever sees who you are or your email (the song recommendations get sent through the site) and you get some good song recommendations for exactly how you are feeling…and a little love from some people out there.

Wonder Years on Netflix & No more Qwikster
Earlier this month Netflix announced that they are bailing on their “brilliant” plan to separate their DVD mail service from their online streaming to a service called Qwikster. I did NOT love this idea…quite the opposite actually…but I DO love that they bailed on it! That’s all I have to say about that…

But Netflix did another thing this month that I love! They finally (after hinting at it forever ago) put all seasons of The Wonder Years (which was never released on DVD) onto instant streaming!! I used to love watching The Wonder Years with my dad and sisters, but since it hasn’t been on repeats in a long time and was never released on DVD it has been SO LONG since I have seen it. Watching it now not only brings back memories but I also pick up on some things that I didn’t get when I was younger. I love watching it again!

Trying New Nail Trends
A few weeks ago I came across this {post} on Cupcakes & Cashmere (a blog my friend Liz recommended!). I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE doing fun things with my nails when I was younger. Today I still like to experiment with trends and colors but I have to be a BIT more adult about it. But I really loved this idea of putting glitter on your ring finger as an accent! I actually had ordered some nail glitter (to do some experimenting) before I even saw this post so I was really excited to try it out! Here are some of my fun glitter attempts…(#1 - dark purple with purple glitter  #2 - maroon with gold glitter)…


My third attempt I just did some burnt orange (which looks more brown) with just a French tip of silver glitter on my ring fingers Smile. I’m really loving the glitter trend!

Sooo there were a few more items in this month’s Laura Loves…but you should have seen how many things that got the cut! I will probably include some of them in November! So be sure to check back at the end of the month for more Laura Loves!

PS - Happy Halloween!!!! (Here are some pumpkins that friends and I carved this weekend!)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Music That Moves Me {Cosmic Love & Shake It Out}

I know I have been seriously MIA in October! To be honest I’m not certain why. I haven’t been overly busy…but I think work has been a bit hectic and so I didn’t exactly want to sit down and write up a blog post when I got home in the evenings…

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been preparing posts! In fact I have tons of pictures saved of things I want to write about! Those posts will be going up soon! To get my motivation back I wanted to start a new feature that I’ve been thinking about which seemed appropriate! Welcome to Music That Moves Me!

I’m not quite sure how to describe my taste in music. All I really know is that sometimes I really connect with a song (or artist) and it really moves me; sometimes physically with a good beat, sometimes emotionally with touching or relatable lyrics, sometimes nostalgically by bringing back old memories. Some songs will never fail to make me laugh or smile while others are just perfect for motivation (at work, with chores, or working out).

Recently I have been discovering music by Florence + The Machine. Her song Cosmic Love  from her first album Lungs came onto my Pandora channel and I fell in love. It was the kind of song that really moved me both physically and emotionally. I felt like the music was so full and I loved how I felt like it surrounded me. It really hit me when I was listening to it flying home from a trip last month looking out the window at the beautiful shapes of the clouds from above…something about that view and that song…ugh…I couldn’t take my finger off repeat!

After doing a bit of YouTube-ing I discovered Shake It Out, Florence’s first single from her new album Ceremonials due out in November. This song is another one that moves me in multiple ways. It’s beat makes me want to dance like crazy (confession: I have danced around my room to this song on various occasions). The lyrics really remind me to let go of any negative thoughts and feelings. It also just keeps me motivated for some reason. I have been playing this song at work non-stop. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album!

Finally, after further investigation…I realized a radio station out in Seattle had Florence record some of her songs live! It was just herself, a guitar, and a harp. I had previously felt like a lot of her songs (especially Cosmic Love) moved me due to the strong drums. But I have to say I LOVE the song with no drums too! It isn’t as “full” to me but it becomes so delicate and beautiful! I had to share that version as well.

If you like what you hear I’d recommend looking for more on YouTube, especially Drumming Song (both the studio and live versions) as well as her cover of Addicted to Love. Ok ok ok this post is done with video links….

What do you think of Florence? Any songs or artists move you lately? In what way? Please share! I love discovering new music!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taste of DC!

This weekend I got to experience the Taste of DC! I’d say it’s a little chalky and crunchy…ya know…with all the old stone buildings and monuments…..bah da CHING!……….no?……Anyway…

Obviously I didn’t literally taste DC…but this weekend I attended the event Taste of DC with my friend Megan! While I met Megan in college…she isn’t TECHNICALLY a “college friend”…she is the twin of my college roommate Laura. I got to know Megan throughout college because she would visit us and I’d hang a bit with her when hanging out with Laura at home!

Megan recently moved to the area for a new job so we met up for Taste of DC! Basically a bunch of DC restaurants set up shop downtown along 5 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue. Then people buy a set of tickets and trade a certain amount of tickets at various booths for either a taste of something or a maybe a few more tickets for an entrée. They also sell alcohol tickets and have a beer and wine tasting area. I LOVE trying different DC restaurants so this event was right up my alley!

When Megan and I got there we quickly realized how popular this event was. Even though it goes on for hours and over 3 days…the place was PACKED! It took us a little while to get our food and drink tickets but then we set out to find some food!

We also learned pretty quickly that our plans of getting a beer and then wandering around the evnet to figure out what to eat wasn’t going to work…the alcohol was limited to a fenced area…in which there was no food being sold…soooo next time we will first grab food to maybe bring into the beer area!

Once we tasted a few beers, we found the tent for Mai Thai and their menu sounded great. Megan got Thai BBQ Chicken and I got the Panang Curry Chicken…then we had a bit of each. I have to say both of these entrées were sooooo good! Her chicken was amazingly moist and flavorful. My entrée had a great curry sauce that made both the chicken and rice delicious.


Then I spotted people walking around with tots…and I couldn’t resist! I found the tent that was selling them and of course I can’t remember the name…I think it was called Smothered Tots. I tried the tots with chilli and cheese….and they were pretty darn good. I have to say I think the tots from Sticky Rice are still my favorite…but these held their own. I’d be interested to see what other options for tot toppings this place has on their menu.

As I got my tots, Megan grabbed some yummy Jamaican and then we headed back to try some more beer. After another beer in the beer tent…we headed to the other side of the festival. We spotted a tent for Wicked Waffle. This place was so cool! They were making a grilled cheese sandwich by making half a waffle and melting cheese and tomato in the middle…its hard to describe but maybe this picture will help…


In the above picture, the waffle with cheese and tomato (and I think bacon?) would be taken out of the maker and folded in half (Basically they would make the waffle “bread” without ever closing the waffle maker). This place also had the biggest jars of Nutella I have ever seen on their table…which could only mean one thing…Nutella waffles!!


Megan…being in LOVE with Nutella…ordered and enjoyed a Nutella waffle! I also had a bite and I have to say…the Nutella tasted really REALLY good on the light, crispy, and warm waffle. It was yummy!!

We walked around a little more and passed the tent for Co Co Sala. I really wanted to try their mac and cheese that was topped with chocolate covered bacon! But unfortunately they were all out :-/. I settled for a taste another place’s basic mac and cheese (and again I don’t remember the name)…Megan got a small lobster roll from the same place…both items were good but I’d say they were probably just as memorable as the name of the place Winking smile.

On our way for dessert we found the Geico tent and played a game similar to Plinko! (We were thinking of you Laura!!!)…Megan won they mystery prize (a reusable shopping bag) and I won a Geico water bottle!


We then headed over to grab dessert (as if we weren’t stuffed enough already) of Nutella crapes (we both thought the Nutella waffle was better) and a mini red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles!

We had a great time at Taste of DC! I have to say though I think next time I will try to go twice and maybe spread out my tickets over a few days. There are so many restaurants to try and I was so stuffed it was hard to try everything I wanted. It was also sooooo crowded that sometimes you waited a long time to get food. Or sometimes you want to try something and the line is too long to wait. I think when they do it again I might try to go at two different meal times or on two different days. I’d also advise anyone going to get food first before beer and bring the food INTO the beer tasting area because you can’t do the opposite (although with the crowds in the beer tent it may be hard to eat)…its just too bad that its hard to have a beer and your food at the same time.

Other than the crowds and being so stuffed so fast…I really had fun at Taste of DC! And it was great to hang out with Megan! I’d definitely go again!

Any other DC folks check out Taste of DC? What restaurants did you try/like/dislike? What did you think of the event?