Thursday, December 29, 2011

Adieu, 2011

Holiday Party Photo Booth

Dear 2011,
Thank you for all of the trials and tribulations.  I experienced tragedy from the death of a close friend, mourned the loss of my grandmother, and watched my family work through some difficult news which have permanently changed all of our lives.  I cried a lot, screamed a few times, paid more parking tickets than I'd like to, and much more for car insurance than I will ever hopefully have to.  I had some brutal hangovers, lived beyond my means and even gained a few pounds.

But

Thank for you for all the gifts and joys too.  I got to reunite with almost all my closest friends from college, I learned to appreciate my mother more than I ever have, and I found that something so life-altering doesn't means its a bad thing.  In fact, it means becoming closer.  I cried from being so overwhelmed with happiness, and of course when things were not so bright.  But sadness is temporary, and mine was soothed by the tremendous love of my family and friends.  If you really love someone, you say "I'm sorry."  Not because you should, but because it hurts you just as badly, and sometimes more.  I've said a few sorries and accepted apologies, and I truly believe the two most important things you can say to someone are, "I love you" and "I'm sorry".  I'm also sorry for not being a better driver.  2011 insurance costs taught me the hard way.  I slowed down.  I went to incredible parties, weddings, and dinner dates with family, friends and Boy.  I got to see all my best friends for a whopping THREE reunions!  I treated myself to a lot of dinner dates with my two best friends who just this year both live in DC.  I got to enjoy delicious food and learned that decadent dinners and treats are treats, and are meant to be enjoyed.  I also learned to listen to my body and exercise when I felt I should.  Most of all, I learned that nothing is more important in this world than happiness.  Do what makes you happy, surround yourself with people who support you, and be kind.  

I'm looking forward to 2012, but 2011 was pretty special. 

Thanks Again,
Laura



Happiness Means...
1.  Family
2.  Friends
3.  Boy
4.  Puppies (Obviously)
5.  Pretty Dresses (preferrably in lace, sequins, or backless)

Goal:  Ring in the new year!  Which means making out at midnight.  Bad luck for seven years if you don't.  I just made that up. 



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fa la la la la

The Kennedy Center ceiling
Last weekend, boy and I went to Baltimore for his office party. He works in the main office building in DC, but his dad always hosts the company party at his home in Baltimore. It was a great weekend away from the city, and I got to wear a new dress, drink too much champagne, and enjoy an entire Saturday with just the boy. Saturday afternoon we set out to Princeton Ski Store so I could model 50 ski jackets and ski pants and pick out some Christmas present ideas for our vacation to Aspen in February. This was funny because I've been skiing once in my life so I literally know nothing about appropriate ski gear. However, I did end up with a beautiful white winter coat with a fur trim hood (c/o boy). After that, we drove around his old neighborhood in Roland Park. Holy beautiful. Seriously, every house is a gorgeous mansion or cottage nestled in the woods with sophisticated Christmas lights and candles in the window. I love hearing him talk about where he grew up and his memories of living there. We grabbed some hot coffee (chai latte for me!) and drove down to Hamden for the "Miracle on 34th Street". It's essentially the tackiest part of Baltimore, and they do not forget this when decorating their homes. 34th street in particular looks like Christmas exploded. If you don't believe me, take a look:


Look at this video someone made if you still don't get the gist. There you have it folks.

Happiness Means...
1. The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center with my two best friends, dinner on the roof terrace, and a Tiffany Christmas ornament to celebrate :)



2. My tabletop Christmas tree



3. A laid back, long dinner date of margaritas, oysters, and seafood at Tackle Box

4. My new New Years Dress. Annnnnd it was under $50

5. Starbucks Skinny Peppermint Mocha

Goal:  Get Christmas Presents/sell my body to pay for Christmas presents..........

I kid.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Gift of Giving... the Right Gift

Everyone has a family member that gives lovely gifts. My sister may not give the grandest gifts, nor does she usually give me something I have asked for. However, she always manages to find me things that suit my taste and personality better than anyone else I know. She picked out my prom dress when I wouldn't give it a shot (and to this day I think might be the prettiest I ever felt); she gave me vintage water glasses for my birthday when I moved into my new apartment (who knew I would need something to drink out of?! And pretty too!); she gave me a little makeup kit of "the essentials" even though I've never strayed from Maybelline (thank you thank you fancy mascara and an eyeshadow palette of browns and golds that I wear every single day). The gift of giving can be experience by all at Christmas-time, but having a gift for giving is something not all of us are lucky to have (or experience). Here is my attempt to channel my sister, and present some wonderful gifts for the holidays:
For a close famly friend or anyone with kids.
for the newlyweds
For the in-laws
For anyone with a soul.
OPI Muppet Collection for your best friend (I'm a proud new owner of both Rainbow Connection and Gettin' Miss Piggy With It )

And a few other unique gifts...
Perfume that actually smells like snow
The ultimate burger blend CAUTION: raw meat
Forget fruit of the month,this has every "Of the Month" club you could ever imagine... bacon, cupcakes, beer, hot sauce... amazing.

Happiness Means...
1. $100 gift card to Target :)
2. Making up a Vietnamese appetizer recipe and finding out it is indeed delicious! Mix light mayo with chopped cilantro, spread on baguette slices, layer with organic deli sliced roast beef, top with pickled vegetable peels (peel one whole cucumber, one whole daikon radish and one whole carrot, mix with equal parts white vinegar and white sugar and marinade for two hours). I called it Banh Mi Minis :)
3. The new Best Dressed edition of VOGUE
4. The Christmas Tiffany ads!!!
5. Boy, who is sometimes the only one who can deal with a nutcase like me.

Goal: Christmas decorating!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stuff The Ice Chest

Go here as soon as you can And check the rest out here. You're welcome. No matter how many times I've watched these, it kills me.

Happiness Means...
1. Tuesday night I went to the Caps game with boy, row 15 (sounds far but we were actually pretty close and right in the middle of the rink). I'm not a huge fan of hockey but I absolutely love going to the games.
2. Being home with family for Thanksgiving.


3. Being home for Thanksgiving and looking through old pictures of my parents. Mom was a serious smokeshow (still is) and dad always the stud. I think their wedding picture started my obsession with men's dinner jackets...


4. Cooking. On Thanksgiving, I cooked gluten free stuffing (my aunt is gluten free), two pumpkin pies, one healthified pumpkin pie (surprisingly better in my opinon), sweet potato casserole, brussel sprouts, and nutella krispie treats. PHEW. No, I am not Miss Susie Homemaker, but I get some freak satisfaction out of reading recipes and making my own up as I cook, trying to switch things around and making it as healthy as possible. I love to cook because I love to eat, and when you love to eat, its good to get the maximum nutritional value of what you're consuming, especially when it has a high caloric count (lots of big words in that sentence...ok maybe not, but it sounded smart). Those krispie treats were seriously nutritional, let me tell ya.
5. Cooking again. Sorry if its a cop out to use cooking twice here, but I am truly a freak for home-made meals. Sunday night, my cousin from Florida came to visit for dinner. He's been working in Virginia the past couple weeks and we've been trying to get together but there just wasn't a good time. Last minute on Sunday morning, I realized that before he left on Wednesday, this would be the only night to get together. I originally planned that we would go out for dinner, but last minute decided an intimate meal at home would be cozy and better suited for catching up (I haven't seen him in five years!). Not to mention, its easier on the bank account, and far more delicious. Here is what was on the menu:
Man Salad (courtesy of boy- ahem Man): Romaine lettuce, giant slices of tomato, sliced cucumber, salt and pepper, drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette
Chicken Parm: So easy. Take 6 chicken breast halves, dip in egg whites, dip in whole wheat bread crumbs, lay in a greased pan or baking dish, pour half a jar of sauce over (or as much as you'd like- I only put blotches here and there, I didn't want my chicken swimming in it and I prefer a little crust) bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, check the chicken if its done (if not, bake longer duh), add shredded low fat mozz cheese on top, place in oven til cheese melts, pour remaining sauce over and serve.
Spaghetti: Directions? Idiot.
French Bread: Mix 2 cups flour, 2 tbsp. cornstarch, and 1 tsp. salt. Then ignore everything I just said because store bought loaves are $1.50 so why waste your time.

Be sure to enjoy this meal with 2 bottles of red wine, 2 bottles of white, and 3 beers.

Hey, my roommmate and a friend came too, so there were 5 of us. Ok, so judge anyway.

Goal: Get some more sleep! Seriously, I started reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo LAST YEAR and I still haven't finished. I obviously stopped reading it some time ago (unless you think I'm dyslexic and blind which would be the only other explanation). However, I just picked it up again and CAN'T put it down. Its only because Daniel Craig is starring in the upcoming film, and I really hate watching a movie before reading the book. Sorry, no love for Twilight- the movie was dumb and the book? I just can't take it seriously.