Friday, November 30, 2012

Laura Loves {November 2012}

Whoops…I did it again…I took another unannounced (ie unexpected) blogging break! Believe me, I have plenty of ideas. The truth of the matter is I am just more and more frustrated with my laptop and have been avoiding it big time. I briefly mentioned this in my birthday post, but my laptop is…well let’s just say…it’s on its last leg. It’s fan is VERY loud and annoying. It gets really hot on my lap…I am attached to the wall because the battery lasts less than an hour when full…and well…then there is this:

2012-11-28 21.55.40

The weird thing is…I have no idea how it broke. One day a while back it just made this weird loud click as I opened it…and it was all out of whack…and then just kept getting worse and worse.

And yes…I do have a desktop I could type on…but I find it much more relaxing after work to hang on the couch and catch up on TV as I blog.  I sit at a desk in front of a desktop for a majority of my work day so I prefer the couch at night haha. Anyway I will be fixing this soon. Hopefully that will inspire more frequent blog posts.

But for now it’s time for Laura Loves!

I have to just say that I love the month of November! The air is crisp! The leaves are falling! The month starts with my birthday and ends with my favorite holiday (and some of my favorite foods)! And before the month is out I get to continue my new tradition of rushing back to my apartment Sunday morning and setting up my Christmas Tree to get me motivated for the season! I just love everything about November except for maybe the clocks falling back and it getting so dark. That is alright November, you bring me enough other fun and goodness that I forgive you for the early sunset!

This is our Jam
My friend Liz pointed me toward the fun blog called This is our Jam. It is a music blog run by a few friends where they post new music they have recently discovered and enjoyed! So far I have found 3 new artists that I really enjoy by following this blog in the past two weeks! They even make playlists for various occasions…I love checking in with this blog when I’m on the hunt for something new and different to listen to! Enjoy!

NY&Co Nail Polish – Millionaire
I was out shopping with Shirin two weeks ago when I spotted this Nail Polish at NY&Co…I couldn’t resist.


The color is called Millionaire. I promptly put it on my nails that night and I absolutely loved the color! It is a metallic gold but it isn’t too yellow-y if that makes sense. It is such a nice fall/holiday color and even though I’ve already repainted my nails red (because I after over a week it was finally chipping!) I redid Millionaire as an accent on my ring finger. If you are looking for a nice gold holiday polish…I’d highly recommend it!

Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends
A friend recently shared this funny video on Facebook and I love it! It is pretty much a slam dunk argument for supporting gay marriage! I had to share! But be warned there are some (just a few) choice words and a little sexual suggestion…kids should probably have earmuffs on!


This fall I decided I was going to make an effort to pay more attention to watching football. Growing up, we were more of a baseball family than football family. I have some parts of my family who are Giants fans…some who are Steelers fans…and my immediate family would just watch football casually. On top of that I went to an undergrad school that didn’t even have a football team! So this year (kind of randomly) I decided I wanted to watch as many South Carolina Gamecock games (my grad school) as I could get on TV up here in DC, and I also figured I’d start watching a little bit of pro football.

It turns out…I didn’t need to put that much “effort” into it at all. I have been REALLY getting into football! I can’t get enough! Specifically (and I apologize to 1/2 of my family) I’ve been paying a lot of attention to and rooting for the Redskins (and RG3 but I will get to that in another post). But football in general has captured me. Even when there isn’t a Gamecock or Redskins game on I’ve been finding other matchups that I want to watch. I love it!

That’s all I have for November! Check back at the end of the year for the last Laura Loves of 2012!

Monday, November 5, 2012

It’s My Birthday!

ALREADY! That was a quick year! The years just go by faster and faster! I have this theory that it always feels that way because one year keeps becoming a smaller and smaller portion of the length of time you have been alive. To a 5 year old, a year feels like forever…and it should…it is 1/5th (20%) of their life! But to a 28 year old, a year is a mere 1/28th (3.6%) of the time they have been alive. The percentage just gets smaller and smaller…hence a year feels faster and faster.

Anyway…two years ago I started the tradition of asking myself a few annual questions on my birthday as sort of a reflection of the past year and thinking about what I’d like to make of the coming year. I thought it was a good exercise so I want to keep it up!


Alexandria, VA

What are some of the highlights of the past year?

  • Having my first Christmas tree! And celebrating the "The Year of No Tree" at my parents house!
  • Adding the Academy Nominated Short Films to my Mission Oscar Snob!
  • Running my first 5k! (and my second with both my sisters in the summer!)
  • A fun weekend in Sea Isle to see family and meet my new baby cousin!
  • The 2012 London Summer Olympics! And a fun Olympic Party with friends!
  • Nationals having the best record in baseball! And getting to go to a postseason game! (Even if it was the most heartbreaking game of all :-/).
  • Four weddings! (And no funerals….thankfully!) Well…really 5 weddings if you count the one RIGHT after my birthday post last year…but that wouldn’t have worked with the play on the movie title…
  • Starting to ride my bike a bit more…and finding NOVA CBG to ride with!
  • Living (and voting) in a swing state in the for the first time in my life! The constant commercials have been ridiculous and exhausting…but I do feel like my vote matters more now than ever before!
  • The late season Hurricane Sandy…and her unfortunate impact on my home state, the area in which I grew up, and my childhood shore memories (New Jersey, New York Tri-State Area, and various parts of the Jersey Shore). ---- {HERE} is the link to the Red Cross which is a great way to donate to the relief effort.
  • Getting Milo’s DNA test results! (More to come on that!)

What life lessons have you learned this past year?

  • If you pay the money for the race will be motivated to train for it. It doesn’t really work the other way around.
  • A great quote I heard this year was “Don’t compare your behind the scenes with other’s highlight reel”. It didn’t hit me right away…then I caught myself one day doing just that with one of my favorite bloggers. She seems to have everything so organized! I think it is a common mistake to read other’s blogs or see other’s Facebook posts and pictures and it seems like they have everything together in their life. But really...that is their highlights they are sharing…and you see everything in your own life. I think people know not to do this…but I think it is natural for it to happen…and that quote makes me aware of it when I do.
  • This year I have noticed that if I just push myself to attend things I’m hesitant about…I tend to enjoy them more than I thought I would. So I’ve been pushing myself when I’m feeling lazy. I rarely regret it.
  • I also realized that I am able to trick myself into saving money with a certain transfer tactic…hopefully the trick works for awhile!
  • I really enjoy watching football! I mean I would sometimes watch casually but this season I’ve been making an effort to pay more attention to South Carolina, Redskins, and a few other college and NFL teams…and I’ve really been enjoying it!

Did you accomplish your goals from last year?

  • Consolidate my student loans (yup its back on the list).
    • I actually sort of did this…but to the extent that I am satisfied at the moment. I did consolidate a lot of my loans…and was looking into consolidating my higher interest ones that didn’t qualify. But what I found was that those couldn’t be helped as much right away as I thought…and I am concentrating on just paying more toward them for now.
  • Be better at keeping in touch with friends and family in different places.
    • I think I did better with this this year…although it could still use some improvement…I think this one is always something to work on.
  • Be more open to doing activities on my own.
    • Yup! During my Mission Oscar Snob…I attended most of the movies on my own (which actually is what I did the year before so it might not really count haha). But I also joined a new biking group and went to the Nationals Playoff game by myself too! I did a few more things on my own as well. I still prefer to do things with friends…but I’m not as bothered by doing things alone anymore.
  • Find a new primary care doctor...I'm a bit overdue on this one.
    • I didn’t find a primary care doctor…but I did find a few types of doctors that I needed to…I get at least half credit for this one!
  • Be sure to do things in the city despite having moved outside of it.
    • Yes! I did plenty in the city this year! And I’ve discovered that I am not as “far” out of the city in my apartment as I thought I would feel!
  • Complete weight loss goal #1 (almost there!) and hopefully put a dent in goal #2!
    • Despite the running and biking…I haven’t been as diligent with the Fitbit (it broke this year)…so I haven’t been as good with the goals…I will be reinstating this this year.

What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

  • I think I will be upgrading my laptop in the next year. I haven’t shared the state of my laptop on the blog, but for way over a year (I actually think more than 2 years) it has been very loud, hot, and half broken physically (not quite sure how that happened….but the screen doesn’t really line up with the rest of the body…I’m making plans for a new portable device…and I think it will be happening this coming year.
  • A vacation next year…after June. This is not even really in the works yet…but work will have me really busy until June next year…and it was busy this past year. If everything finishes up as planned (around the end of May) I hope to take a nice vacation…not necessarily expensive…just nice in terms of at least a week off…even if its just time with family in New Jersey…but we will see ;-).
  • At least one more wedding! I’m looking at you Shirin!
  • Living past December 12, 2012!

Other than those things above I think it is actually going to be a pretty low key year…at least at this point.

What do you want to change about your life/yourself in the next year?

  • Keep working on staying in better touch with old friends.
  • Keep working on my weight loss goal #1.
  • Sign up for at least 2 5ks next year. Consider a 10k (this is a “stretch goal”).
  • Go on at least 5 bike rides this coming spring.
  • Work more on Milo jogging with the bike. He was introduced to it this fall and did really well. Hopefully we can work some more when it gets warm again!
  • Attain goal #1 in my savings account. Based on my current track I should get there in plenty of time for my next birthday…but you never know what is going to happen in the year!

How are you celebrating your birthday this year?
This year I’m not doing much for my birthday. My birthday is on a Monday and I have a pretty long/busy day on Tuesday. But I did some baking Sunday to enjoy treats this week! I made an apple pie because my apples from apple picking this fall were about to go bad. I also made a butter recipe bunt cake because it is my family’s birthday tradition. So let’s just say I will get back to working on that weight loss goal next week!

Apple Pie & Bunt Cake