Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Laura Loves {July 2012}

It is the end of what has been a busy busy busy July for me. I am looking forward to taking a deep breath and relaxing with a calmer August. But I can’t say goodbye to July without sharing a few things I have loved this month!

Post Secret
About a month ago I checked out one of DC’s largest annual art show, Artomatic, with a few friends. At the event I happened upon an exhibit of the popular blog Post Secret. I actually hadn’t heard of the blog before I found this exhibit but it really struck a chord with me. Creator Frank Warren started the project by suggesting people send him anonymous postcards with their secrets on them. People took to the idea, created their own beautiful postcards with a secret, and send them in. Frank posts these secrets for the world to see on his blog. Some are very deep, some are silly, some are quite dark, and many are relatable. At the exhibit at Artomatic, they had a video about the project and secrets posted on the wall. You could even write your own to post on the wall. I ready every single secret on the wall. I was so moved I started to tear up.

Every Sunday a new set of secrets goes up on the blog. I love checking it out each week. Reading people’s secrets almost makes you feel so connected to the human community. Check it out. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

TiMER
I came across the movie TiMER on Netflix instant watch earlier this month and was intrigued by the synopsis:

“In this comedic fantasy, science has facilitated the search for a soul mate via biotechnological implants that count down to the moment one is supposed to meet his or her match. But Oona (Emma Caulfield) is worried: She's nearly 30, and her TiMER isn't ticking yet. Will her dream guy get snatched up by someone else? John Patrick Amedori co-stars in this film from first-time writer and director Jac Schaeffer.” ~ Netflix Synopsis

Here is a the trailer from YouTube:

I have to say I really enjoyed this movie. I don’t think I’d say it was the funniest movie or even the most well acted…but the concept was interesting and the story line was good. It really made you think. Would you get an implant if it was guaranteed to tell you when you will meet THE one? This movie explores the good and the bad of that idea…

I don’t want to say much more about how I felt about the way the film played out…I think a lot of reviewers on Netflix were a bit too vocal about how they felt about the plot. While they aren’t spoilers per say…I think their thoughts give things away once you start realizing where the plot is going. So if you think you are interested in the film based on the above…stay away from reviews!

Girl Scout Cookie Crunch Bars
Back in February, I came across this post on Buzzfeed

{Source: Buzzfeed}

I was extremely excited about this potential candy bar, considering Thin Mints are one of my all time favorite Girl Scout Cookies. But on the bottom of that picture you can see the marking “Sales Sample – Not Intended For Retail Sale” and I thought this might have just been some sort of test candy bar that wasn’t really going to come out in the market…

Fast forward to June and Rebecca of I Wanna Be A Domestic Goddess shares this post. She found them! And not only that…but there are two other flavors. Not just any flavors….my other favorite cookies!!! Seriously it is like Crunch ready my mind! I always always order Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs! I had to find them!

A few weeks later, my friend Avi told me all three flavors can be found at Walgreens…I had to go get some for myself!

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I know Rebecca didn’t love all of these bars in her post…but I have to respectfully disagree…I LOVE LOVE LOVE them all! They all taste like a wafer crunch bar version of their cookie counterpart. I do agree with Rebecca that the Caramel & Coconut is an excellent interpretation of the Samoa Girl Scout cookie. I was the most skeptical about that one but it really surprised me with how well it was done. And the taste was uncanny! But I really I loved all three flavors and if you are a fan of any of these cookies I think you will enjoy these crunch bars. I think they are only out for a limited time so get them while you can! (I am crossing my fingers that they are so popular that they keep them around for a little while).

The United Shapes
I had to share this clever map of the shapes of the states of the United States by IXCD. I think my favorites are Georgia and Missouri!


{Source: IXCD}

2012 Summer Olympics
I think I made it quite clear in my last post that I am VERY into the Olympics. I get the chills every time I hear any part of this awesome song…

This past first weekend I took in as much of them as I possibly could. I have spent an almost embarrassing amount of time watching the world’s best athletes compete as I go for gold in being a couch potato. I think I’m also currently in the lead for best Olympic DVR management. As I mentioned in my last post…the irony that the most athletic event in the world is inspiring me to be the most lazy I have been this whole year is not lost on me. But I just can’t get enough. So far I have really loved watching volleyball and gymnastics. Misty & Kerry are so fun to watch as they dominate beach volleyball. The US women’s indoor volleyball team are fun to watch as well. The spikes and kills from Destinee Hooker have been particularly awesome.

The women’s gymnastic qualifying round was quite exciting…especially how close it came for which US women would compete in the all around. Jordyn Wieber, the current All Around World Champion placed 4th overall, but doesn’t qualify for the Olympic All-Around competition because two other US gymnasts placed above her and each country can only send two gymnasts. I have to say that I sort of understood spreading the qualifications to different countries in a way…but at the same time I think it feels a little odd that the 4th overall best gymnast at the games isn’t allowed to compete in a top 24 competition for an INDIVIDUAL event. It’s like the best of the best aren’t really in the competition…so I’m not really sure I agree with that rule. My heart broke for Jordyn in the end. But team USA is VERY strong and it should be a great team final!

I will be obsessing and getting much less sleep and exercise over the next two weeks! I’m particularly looking forward to watching some of the track & field sprints  and soccer too! Plus all of the other sports I don’t usually get to see on a regular basis! What are you looking forward to watching over the next two weeks?

That is all I have for Laura Loves for July! You know where to find me at the end of August for more!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympic Opening Ceremony Watch Party!

I’m not sure when it started…but for as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with the Olympics. During the two weeks of the Olympics, it is basically all I watch. So of course as soon as I found out the date for the Opening Ceremonies, I knew I wanted to have a watch party!

As soon as I shared my plans with my friend Sarah, she found a few fun Olympic themed ideas and so we decided to prepare and host together! Here are a few of the Olympic themed things we had at our party…

Décor
For decorations, we went with a combined Olympic & USA theme. I found some star glitter to have on the tables and Sarah found the perfect 3D paper torch to hang in the living room!

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We hung red white and blue streamers in the dining room and my big American Flag (along with a few fake medals) in the living room…

2012-07-27 18.45.44  2012-07-28 22.01.02

We were the most proud of our construction paper Olympic Rings! We had large ones behind the couch…

big rings 1

…and then managed to cut a smaller set for above the TV!

small rings1

But there was one minor décor foux pas. I was so excited when I happened upon these seemingly perfect plastic cups for beverages at the supermarket…

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…but I was bummed when I opened the package to find that the cups were stamped with a LARGE indication of where they were manufactured. The cups were clearly not as patriotic as I had intended.

2012-07-28 20.12.11

Olympic Bingo
I thought it would be fun to have a game to play as we watched the ceremony. Obvious choice? BINGO!

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I found a lot of ideas for the bingo cards from these awesome cards by Meghan from Another Crafty Day (In Paradise). She was even nice enough to send me a few cards that she made! I wanted to add a few of my own squares so I mixed some of our ideas and formatted my own cards!

Special Cocktails
Inspired by this picture…we decided to create a special Olympic Ring drink. We found Life Savors as close to Olympic colors as possible and added some sparkling moscato! It was yummy!

481021_673610607268_778915905_n  2012-07-27 20.32.15(Glasses Photo Credit: Sarah)

They were really good! The Life Savors actually flavor the moscato a bit. But if you let it sit too long the flavor can be a bit much so…drink up!

USA Bud
Of course we had to take advantage of the left over 4th of July Budweiser cans to stick with the theme!

2012-07-23 20.23.17  bud

Olympic Ring Colored Food
We had 3 sets of Olympic Ring colored snacks! First up…peanut butter M&Ms!

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Then we had vegies and blue colored ranch dip…

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And blue tortilla chips and various dips!

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Dessert
But we were most proud of the themed dessert! Using red velvet cake…

580890_673610382718_495111433_n(Photo Credit: Sarah)

and cream cheese icing…

306750_673610407668_1419477838_n(Photo Credit: Sarah)
(ummm…how CUTE is Sarah’s apron?!?)

and ice cream cones…

2012-07-26 20.13.41(our favorite was the leaky cone that baked out the bottom in the middle of the dark pan)

we made Olympic Torch cupcakes!!!

Torches1  torches
(Right Photo Credit: Sarah)
(Inspiration from Cake Central and Crafty Parent)

We had a fun time at the party and enjoyed the Opening Ceremonies! I thought The Queen “jumping” out of a helicopter was funny. But my favorite thing was the fireworks! The raining rings were absolutely beautiful and the firework show at the end was just spectacular!

And now I will spend the next two weeks planted on my couch as I obsessively watch as much of the Olympic Games as I possibly can. And yes the irony that the largest athletic event in the world can cause me to be so lazy is not lost on me. But like I said…I’m obsessed!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Was Taken By Your Smile…

“…as we drifted by Sea Isle” ~ Bud Nugent, On The Way To Cape May

This past weekend I was lucky enough to hang with a lot of my extended family in Sea Isle City, NJ. That’s right…the Jersey Shore! We had a blast!

On Saturday I was ready to head to NJ with the two most important things packed…food and a special gift for a brand new baby cousin!

IMG_20120713_005144  IMG_20120714_011513

The weekend was full of kiddos…a how in the world is she already 6 year-old who did an awesome job on her first crabbing trip!

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A 20 month-old who was constantly on the move…worming away from her mom with a smirk, “reading” out loud to herself (possibly the cutest thing ever), or testing the lower kitchen cabinets for baby proofing…

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Until we managed to contain her in her brand new beach cart hammock stroller…

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DISCLAIMER: No baby was tortured in order to get this picture! She LOVED that thing! She assumed her own lounge position and waved as we rolled her around the room. She even asked for her bottle! (I think she was so comfy she was ready to take a nap in there! DISCLAIMER 2: We didn’t let her…)

And last but certainly not least…the newest addition to the family!! The 6 month-old baby cousin who was the weekend king of laughing, eating, and most of all…

2012-07-16 12.39.12…napping!

I didn’t even realize I didn’t get a picture of this funny happy baby awake until I was back in DC! I was having too much fun hangin’ with him! So just for good measure…here is a great example of his happy/laughing face courtesy of his Mom’s Facebook page!

Derek

We had a blast eating, pranking, laughing, crabbing, and relaxing in Sea Isle! I wish I could have spent more than just the weekend!

I also just realized I never took pictures of actually hanging out on the beach! So I’ll leave you with some bonus pictures of some of the family crabbing on the bay!

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  IMG_20120715_144649

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Live, Laugh, Laura is now on Facebook!

Well I did it…it’s done…I’ve hopped on yet another bandwagon. For those counting…it is probably the third big trend I have joined in on in the past few years…coming in third after 1) blogging in general and 2) obsessive Instagramming. So…because all the cool kids are doing it…

Live, Laugh, Laura! now has a Facebook page!

I have debated making a page for the blog for some time now. At first, with a small number of subscribers on the blog itself I figured it really wasn’t big enough to have its own Facebook page. Over the last year, however, I have noticed that a lot of my readers follow the blog using my Facebook links. I started thinking it might be a good idea for those people to be able to subscribe to those specific updates in general…and it would be nice to not bother other friends who don’t really feel like hearing about the blog all the time! Sometimes I feel like I’m spamming with all those links!

But what really made my decision was actually during my unannounced June hiatus. My mom sent me a lovely note from a reader (who she knows better than I do). She followed my blog via Facebook links and was wondering where I had been and if everything was alright! I realized I have more readers to update than I thought…especially some people I may not know well who might not regularly see my posts in their news feed.

I realized that a blog Facebook page has a lot of benefits.

  1. Those who prefer to follow my blog on Facebook can do so by “liking” the page.
  2. Those who may not be my friend on Facebook can follow blog updates.
  3. Friends who don’t want to be bugged with my blog updates have won’t see links on my personal page all the time (in other words…no more spamming from me!).
  4. I can post quick updates on Facebook to blog followers when I can’t post for a while.
  5. Readers can interact more with the blog on Facebook with more than just post comments. They can post to the timeline, can tag the blog in their own posts, and can more easily re-share links with their own friends too!

With so many benefits…I had to go for it! So if you enjoy following Live, Laugh, Laura! via Facebook, then head on over to the page and “like” it to be sure you get updates! This is going to be the last post I share on my personal Facebook page! Oh and leave a note on the new timeline saying hi :-)!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Forth! {Wordless Wednesday}

 

milo flag
July 4, 2012  ~  Watching the parade in the shade!

Forth of July
Fireworks on the National Mall July 4, 2009
(I think this is my favorite shot I ever took of the Washington Monument)