Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Keep Calm and Carry On.

Me with my pals Sara and Kelly in Sevilla, Spain. There is little photographic evidence of my last Europe trip, because this was back in the day (2005) when cameras used film. And you can't waste those frames on selfies!

I've been thinking a lot lately about the state of the world. With the the upcoming anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the attacks in Portland, Manchester, and London, and myriad other acts of violence that have occurred in the interim, it's hard not to think about it, really. And having a loose cannon in the White House does little to ease my mind (but that's a whole other blog post).

The idea became more personal when my mom called last week as I was driving home from work. We chatted while I was stuck in traffic (hands-free via Bluetooth, don't worry), and I mentioned I've been researching a trip to Brussels and Iceland.

"Be careful," she cautioned. "Brussels had all those attacks." I know she's my mom and thus she worries, but the threat of a terrorist event didn't even register on my list of concerns about the trip. I was more nervous about not speaking the language and finding an AirBnB that was affordable but still had a bathroom and no bedbugs. So her comment gave me pause.

Bad things do happen. And they can happen anywhere, at any time. My house is 15 minutes from the movie theater where a dozen people were killed in 2012. The last time I was in Europe, I happened to visit London in between the two July 2005 bombings. I don't say that to imply "Look at me! I've narrowly escaped tragedy!" but merely to point out the sadly ubiquitous nature of these events. Being out and about in the world today comes with a degree of risk.

But I don't want to let that stop me. I've always wanted to see the world, and I'm finally in a situation where I have both the PTO and funds to do so. So while I can't say I'll be venturing to the Middle East anytime soon, I don't want to put travel on hold until we somehow unlock the secret to world peace. Letting fear overshadow the things that bring me joy in life feels like letting the bad guys win. And if someone gets to win in my life, I want it to be me. So I'll proceed, with caution. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Female-centered shows I love

It's pretty common knowledge that I'm more into TV than the average gal. But my obsession with a certain show has reached critical mass the past few weeks, and that show is Pretty Little Liars.

Y'all. What even? This show is on Freeform fka ABC Family, and (while the characters have now aged up) it's about high school girls. And I started watching it when I was 26! I am so not the target audience for this shiz. But I'm HOOKED. I tried to quit somewhere around season 2-3, but ended up binging to get caught up, and I've watched religiously ever since. And now it's the last season, and we're going to find out who Uber A/A.D. is (the girls have been tormented by this A villain for seven seasons; they've unmasked other As in the past, but this is the big kahuna).




It's also the first show I've been this into while acknowledging that it's a ridiculous show. I enjoy watching it, but I equally enjoy reading the recaps that crap on it, like this or this or this. Things are just silly at this point. Nothing is realistic. Ever. But I CAN'T QUIT WATCHING.

I even changed my flight so that I'd arrive in time to attend the ATX Festival panel with I. Marlene King (creator of the show). That's fairly cray. It's not as if she's gonna tell us who A.D. is. But still, it's the panel I'm most excited about at this year's fest.

In less embarrassing news, there are a few other shows I've been digging lately that are, like, actually good.



First up, Sweet/Vicious. This gem was cancelled by MTV after one season (because they needed more room in their schedule for reality garbage? IDK. MTV is not great at keeping decent shows around). We've got Bryan Cranston's daughter, Sam from You're the Worst, and a vigilante coming for rapists when the system fails to punish them. Yaas. I love that there's a show focused around this subject matter, and I love that the characters are developed and not completely predictable (e.g., the sorority girls aren't just bimbos). It's kind of like Dexter, except with better clothes and more laughs. And even though the story won't be continuing, the single season has a decent arc that won't leave you totally unsatisfied.




Another show I'm very into right now is The Handmaid's Tale. Based on a novel of the same name (that I haven't read, but now want to), it follows the lives of several handmaids, women forced into service as reproductive slaves. They're assigned to wealthy/powerful families so the husband can impregnate them and they can provide the family with a child. The whole premise is beyond fucked up, but I'm engrossed and terrified every time I watch it. Also, Elisabeth Moss is a damn dream as Offred, the central character. I never watched Mad Men, so I'm late to the party, but this woman can act. And the whole dystopian society/government overtaken by religious crazies is pretty timely, given all the crap going on in our world at the moment. We're not on this level, but christ knows what's going down in the future. And that makes this show scary AF.

My brain is mush and beyond ready for the long weekend, so I'm gonna end things here. What shows have y'all been into lately?

Friday, April 7, 2017

HIGH FIVE!

It has been a minute since I did one of these posts, but I like how they prompt me to show gratitude and provide a hodgepodge of recommendations, shoutouts, etc. Good times. So, here we go!

1. Prescription sunglasses: How did I live so long without them? I've been wearing glasses since middle school, but since I only wear contacts to the gym these days, I decided to spring for my first pair of sunglasses last month. Game changer, for real. Being able to pop them on/off when I go outside (you know, like a normal person) is amazing.

Wearing the Schaefer style from Classic Specs. 
Don't worry, I parked before I took this.


2. Finding my people: I don't really mean in terms of friends (although making connections in that area is also awesome). Lately I've noticed that I really enjoy a lot of the people I pay for services. My hair stylist is awesome, my personal trainer cracks me up, and my therapist just, like, gets me. The comfort level/rapport we've established makes doing things I would normally view as a chore (like working out) way more appealing.

3. Sneakers: I've been on the hunt from some summer shoes. I need them to be comfortable (because old) but still cute enough to wear with dresses (cuz that's pretty much all I wear in the summer). I tried on about a million pairs and finally settled on the Chuck Taylor II -- similar in appearance to classic Chucks, but with more padding, etc. for us elderly folk. These were a close second.


All white errythang may have been a mistake, but maybe I can keep them clean.


4. S-Town: A new podcast from Serial and This American Life creatives. They released all seven episodes on March 28, and I listened to the whole thing that day. I thought it was going to be another true-crime podcast, and I was down for that, but it twisted in an unexpected and compelling way. It was beautifully done and way more interesting to me than another murder-mystery show.

5. 13 Reasons Why: Speaking of things I binged, THIS. I am a sucker for a good teen drama, and I loved that this one was a little more down-to-earth than, say, Pretty Little Liars (even though I watch that, too). Clay is adorable and everyone's parents are people you know from other shows you love. It's definitely dark/uncomfortable to watch at times, but I'm still thinking about it days later, so it's worth a look.

Linking up with April et al. for Five on Friday. Happy weekend, y'all!


Monday, March 27, 2017

I Hate Children (including yours)

Just kidding, friends. But it does seem like any time I make a comment about children or parenting, at least one person takes it that way. Just because I don't have (or want) children doesn't mean I hate them. Some of my best friends have kids, and I like hanging out with them (is that the same as the "I'm not racist, some of my best friends are black!" defense? Oh, lord.) I think kids are fun, and funny, and if you have a rotund baby/toddler, I will be quite smitten. Chubby cheeks FTW!




That being said, I do think there are a few places where kids just should not be. Like, ever. Even if they are the most well-behaved, chill kids on the planet. These places include:

- Breweries: I equate this to bringing kids to a bar. There is nothing here for kids. They don't serve food, and most don't even serve any non-alcoholic beverages. In fact, the whole point of the place is for adults to sit around and drink adult beverages. Heck, as a light drinker, I get bored at breweries sometimes. So what about it would be entertaining/enjoyable for your children?


To be clear, no problem with the breastfeeding, cuz that's natural.
What's not natural is your kid being at a brewery IN THE FIRST PLACE.


- Movies: Let me start off by saying, not all movies. Family-friendly movies, I expect to be loud and full of kids who are not thrilled about sitting still in the dark for 90 minutes. Not a problem. But bringing your infant to a 9:30 p.m. show of an R-rated movie? No queen. Wait for the Redbox. I also have a particularly vivid memory of watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (which, while technically a kids' series, is rated PG-13) and being distracted during the final face-off between Harry and Voldemort because a toddler was traipsing up and down the stairs next to me in her flip-flops. I didn't pay $12 to listen to that thwap-thwap-thwap noise while waiting to see what Harry's fate will be. Kids aren't the only ones behaving badly at the movies, but I don't feel comfortable shaming children as I do my peers (I'm the one stage-whispering "PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!" to any adults being turds. Sorry I'm not sorry).




- Nail salons: Similar to the brewery situation, there is nothing here for kids. Unless, of course, they're also getting a mani-pedi. Then I have no beef. But if you brought you kid and expect them to hang out while you get pampered for 45 minutes? I've never seen a kid who was able to make that work. But I have seen kids who entertained themselves by splashing their hands around in my footbath, which kinda killed the whole relaxing vibe.

Essentially, don't bring your kids places that are fun for you and not for them. Sure, you've gotta take them to the dentist and the grocery store and on planes, and they might not enjoy that, but it's necessary. Having them tag along to your recreational/relaxation activities is not. So for their sake (and mine), please leave them at home.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Things I'm Loving Lately

In no particular order, here are some things I've been enjoying:




Imposters: I think I saw an ad/blurb about this show on Entertainment Weekly and thought I'd give it a shot. Six episodes later and I am IN IT, y'all. It's about a woman who marries wealthy people and then drops off the face of the earth after stealing all their money. It has kept me guessing with the plot twists, but it's still frothy enough to be fun. Also, the lead actress (Inbar Lavi) is so stinkin' pretty. I like her face.




Homeland: Obviously not a new show, but Homeland is on its game this season. I loved it in the beginning, then there were a few seasons where it was just kinda off. But it is back now, and I'm obsessed. The Carrie/Quinn dynamic is very compelling, I like the struggles of the president-elect (who is female -- apparently I'm not the only one who thought Hillary was gonna take it), and Dar Adal is creepier/more devious than ever.

Torrid: I've been in Torrid before, but it didn't really seem like my kinda place. I gave it a second look recently after hearing you can buy big-girl bras there, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only do they have bras that can contain the girls (and I happened to go when they were on sale for $30), but some cute clothes and good sales (buy one, get two free on all clearance -- yaaas, queen!). I scooped these up, along with some bro-y workout tanks and other clearance tops:

Dress
Sweatshirt

Massage: I decided to treat myself for my birthday and bought a year of monthly massages. I had my second one earlier this week, and it was so nice. It keeps me more relaxed and works out some of the kinks I acquire while living life because old. Definitely a good investment.

What's been putting a smile on your face lately?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Time for an update

... of my "about me" page. Because YIKES.


There's nothing really wrong with it, but it's not a reflection of who I am anymore. For one, that photo was taken 4+ years, several inches of hair, and many pounds ago. By my ex-husband, at my old house, neither of which I've seen since 2014. So, yeah, outdated.

Aside from that, it's just so freakin' earnest. And basic. It reminds me of pretty much every profile I've ever seen on Bumble BFF (yeah, I've tried to meet new girlfriends on Bumble. It's not really panning out).

Back in the day (circa 2012, when that was written), I think I was really afraid of turning people off by swearing, or ranting (two of my favorite things), or talking about anything that might not be all sunshine and rainbows. I also may have had delusions of grandeur regarding this blog, that it would somehow "take off" and become a source of income for me. (Tangent: I should've known that this was not to be, based on the time I interviewed for a magazine job I was not at all qualified for. Part of the interview was putting together a short article about antler chandeliers based on the info from the press release. I sat there in panic mode for about 30 minutes before writing some completely terrible copy about how the rustic beauty of the chandelier would be a charming addition to any mountain home. No queen.)

But now that I've been reading these things for a while, it seems like many blogs that are monetized aren't all that interesting. It takes a special touch to make sponsored posts seem interesting and authentic, and I definitely don't have it. So I'll just make money at my job and save this space for whatever the fuck I feel like. And revise my bio page accordingly.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

This is not important. And that's OK.

I never blog anymore. Not because I don't enjoy it or don't have anything to say. But every time I come to this space to share my thoughts, I get really caught up in whether I'm saying anything new or interesting, or whether I am being fair and considering all angles.

While those are typically important things, like, for life, I realized that this doesn't have to be perfect. I started writing here to catalog who I was and what I was doing. Not to highlight the latest lifestyle trends or share my brilliant insights on race relations/politics/etc. So I'm going to get back to that. It might be trivial or uninformed, but it's me. The End.

JK. That would be a new low for posts, even for me.

So, what's up with you? I'm still adjusting to life in Trump's America. Not that my everyday life is really affected by his presidency, but it's been a journey to find the right balance of reading news and staying informed and engaged, and not, you know, losing hope for humanity. I'm still working that out, really. But I've been trying to focus on the smaller stories, of people being kind and learning to be compassionate and understanding. That gives me hope that we will work through this as a country and not just implode. This American Life has been crushing these kinds of stories lately. Give it a listen, if you're so inclined.

Outside of that whole situation, life has been good lately. I went to Hot Sulphur Springs last weekend and vegged out in the water for about eight hours. It's smelly (because sulphur), but it's relaxing and pretty affordable and only two hours from Denver, so I'd recommend it. Also, there's a restaurant called The Glory Hole just down the road, and that seems like it's worth a visit.

I've been to a bunch of good restaurants lately, my favorites being City, O' City and Sugar Mill (because how could I not love a place with sugar in the name?). I also tried out Denver Restaurant Week for the first time this year, and I was ... underwhelmed. I don't know if I'm not a fan of fine cuisine, or upscale places just aren't great at making vegetarian entrees, but I was not blown away by anything. And I didn't take any photos, because I feel like theeee biggest turd when I take photos of my food nowadays. Bad blogger, I know.

Speaking of bad blogging (it's today's topic), I recently read a post on another blog about how to make an attractive Instagram account, and the writer suggested having a theme. Your most recent nine posts should be somewhat cohesive, to give visitors an idea of what you're about. As it turns out, I'm about all sorts of things:

Should my theme be treats? Or dogs? Or how to
take a super-flattering selfie while getting your hair highlighted?


I'm not knocking her advice by any means; it makes sense, and I'm sure it works. But I've never been able to settle on just one area of focus (hence why this blog is called Life of Laura - it's all the things).  Blogging was the best for me back in the Livejournal days, when I just wrote about my life and didn't think about readership or including photos or sticking to a theme. So I'm not going to. And that's OK.