Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nobody Here But Us Chickens

Alright, it's official. I would like to unveil the 99% complete (and always tweaking) new blog, no longer hosted by blogger.

Please visit betterinrealife.com for your continued reading pleasure.

Thank you for your awesome support! I hope the new site lives up to expectation.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some Days

Some days life is just hard. Harder than it should be, harder than the other normal days where something goes wrong and you smack yourself on the forehead and go "what the fuuuuuck", and then you move on. Yesterday was one of those days. So much so that I am now laughing about it.

I should have known something wasn't right and I should have marched right back into bed when Kamel totally flipped out on me in the morning over putting turkey on bread. There was also mayonnaise involved and his total, full body, melt down, complete with yelling and the pulling of his own hair, may have possibly been because of my provocation, but seriously - the reaction was totally uncalled for. It actually startled me, and then sent me stomping out of the house without him... until he caught up with me at the bus stop and then cuddled me into submission all the way down Geary, until it was his turn to disembark. Then, as I was nearing my stop, I saw two homeless guys trying to beat the shit out of each other. They were chasing one another around a newspaper stand, yelling and arm waving and trying to swipe at each other with their fists and then one guy yanked a stick,which was probably, at one time, holding some sort of a sign, off the telephone pole and started to swing it at the other guy, nails and all. That's when the bus moved forward and I was left with an icky feeling in my stomach and a vague feeling that maybe I should call the cops, but I didn't.

Then time escaped me at work. Actually escaped me, who does that at a job that is sucking the soul out of them? And I had to go put more money on my bus card because it was all the way down to zero, and I was about to be late for a meeting with my internship boss we shall call bloggess (until I can officially announce. At this point I'm just trying to impress her). So I called Kamel and he said he could swing by and get me in 30 min, leaving us 45 min to get to the meeting and it was all going to be A-ok. Saweet. But then there was traffic and thirty min turned into 40 minutes and then when I finally got into the car, and Kamel was frantically trying to avoid San Francisco traffic in order to get me back toward our apartment in 30 minutes or less, he accidentally took a wrong turn landing us right smack dab on the Bay Bridge.

The BAY BRIDGE TO OAKLAND,with no exits left. Heading east. During rush hour. which meant even if we got off at the Treasure Island exit, we would still have to battle against arguably the worst traffic in the city just to get me to my meeting in now - 24 minutes. If you had been in the car when the turn was made this is what you would have heard:

Me: Is this the bridge? Is this the bridge? Are we on the fucking bay bridge? Are we going to Oakland? We are totally going to Oakland. Mother FUCKER we're on the bridge.

Simultaneously Kamel: FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? There was no sign! did you see one sign? NOT ONE FUCKING SIGN FUUUUUCK.
*While he banged the palms of both hands again and again down on the steering wheel

Also by this time I am starving to death because we are on day two of Weight Watchers Online Wedding Get Fit Marathon 2010-2011. Which just so happens to be what the morning fight was about. ("why are you putting on mayonnaise? do you know how many points that is? Have you made my sandwich yet? we're going to be late for work!" ... ahem) Once I realized we were headed right for the 9th circle of hell I knew I had to email the bloggess and let her know that I wasn't going to make our scheduled appointment. Thankfully her response started off with a, "ahhhhh hahahahahaha". She understood. Well, while I was emailing with my phone and Kamel was swearing at traffic, and I was starving to death, I also became ridiculously car sick. So there we were, windows rolled down, me gritting my teeth so as not to puke, and Kamel trying his damndest to now get us home as fast as he can since the meeting was graciously rescheduled.

But what could we possibly have for dinner? Our evening plans were flipped over backwards and I was about to start gnawing on my own arm. Plus we were restricted by points. So I resorted to a trick my mother taught me: Baked potato in the microwave. Only 3 points and it's done in ten minutes! (5 for each side). I don't know if I can fully and accurately explain how god awful hungry I was by the time I got home. Thankfully, what happened after I pulled the potato out of the microwave paints a pretty good picture.

Let me start off by saying the plate was really, really hot. And I had only grabbed it with one hand in a pot holder and totally under estimated the weight of my potato. I went to set the plate down quickly on the table, but Kamel was framing photos for our photo wall project and their was no safe spot left. By this time the plate had begun to dip and I was forced into using my other, naked hand (the tip of my pointer finger) to help hold up the plate, but it wasn't enough and I was burning myself. As I went to set the plate on top of Kamel's empty plate (still on the counter), the potato flew off and smashed to the ground in the little space under the cabinets, sending little sizzling potato chunks all over my clean kitchen floor.

And then I burst into tears and walked straight into the bedroom as Kamel called from the kitchen, "it's ok, Lauren! the floor is clean! It's totally fine! I saved it! holy mother this plate is HOT!"

I cried into my pillow for about 30 seconds before returning to the kitchen and putting cheese on my potato, and trying to eat it but ending up spitting it back out on my plate because, uh, it was too hot. About that same time Maris sent me an email that read,

"aaaaaaaaand WIN"...... for no discernible reason I can think of.... complete with this photo attached:


And I knew I was finally out of the woods.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Weekend

It was early August when I realized that the following month would be Kamel's birthday... and I had no idea what to get him. The man has everything he's ever wanted: a formidable DVD collection, every video game he could ever want, he never wants for clothing, he just got a new computer, I mean really, I was at a loss. But then I remembered our "list of things to do before 2010 is over". Only a few more months until the year is out, and we'd only done one thing on our list. One thing that had me wide eyed with terror, and had Kamel giddy with excitement. It was time to cross something else off, so I booked a B&B and decided to take Kamel somewhere he had never been: Carmel By The Sea - a little village, with an amazing beach and lots of shops, just south of Monterey. I would have never known about this gem of a beach town if it wasn't for my amazing boss Traci and her enthusiasm for the place. Thanks Traci!!

1.) Charter a boat
2.) Take Kamel somewhere he has never been (he's always doing this for me, it's time for me to show off a little)
3.) Go to Mexico
4.) Go to at least 1 concert
5.) Host a party in our new place


The waves made the most amazing crashing noises, big booms that echoed down the beach.
 

The water was rather cold, but the sand was warm.


And eventually you got used to the temperature shock, anyways.


Kamel rented a lens for the weekend and took some pretty adorable pictures of my feet jumping out of the cold, foamy water. By 6 oclock we were totally beat, and headed back to the B&B in Montery to play some Quiddler (A word game kind of like Gin Rummy that I HIGHLY recommend to all my word nerds out there!) on their rooftop deck in the sunset.

This was my first time at a Bed and Breakfast and the experience started out really well. When we checked in, the amazing smells of breakfast greeted us. Eggs and toast and bacon, mmm. I knew the extra splurge was going to be totally worth it. The reviews on the place said that it was really clean, incredibly friendly staff, but that the rooms were small. I always think this critique on a hotel is silly. It's a room, in a small hotel, unless you're in a resort - what are you exactly expecting? Boutique hotels might be small, but they are often very stylish.



Ok, so it was small, and you could hear everything anyone said in the hallway, and when you didn't shut the door all the way an alarm sounded, even if you had just ducked out into the hallway for a minute, but it smelled so clean and happy in our room, and the bathroom was bright and tiled and lovely, and the room had these amazing hardwood floors, and the bed was just.... lounge-able ya know? With the greatest pillows ever created. Except the shower leaked. And I don't mean leaked a little, I mean there was a space in the shower door that was about an inch wide all the way across where water would come gushing out. Kamel had to jam one of the bath mats into the door just to keep us from flooding the place. But the soap smelled nice, and I fell asleep watching tv, so things were still good in my book. When I fell asleep Kamel was still wide awake and the window to the room was open, and because we were on the ground level he wanted to close it before he went to bed so we wouldn't be robbed and murdered while we slept. But when he went to close it, sometime after 10pm, the alarm sounded - the same annoying alarm that the door to our room had - so that no matter which way he moved it, the alarm would sound, so the window stayed cracked. This ended up being a good thing as I was very very hot and uncomfortable for most of the night. The bed happened to be a Full, and I have become rather accustomed to my queen sized bed, especially while sharing with someone else. This bed must have been on the small side of full, too, because with both of us lying on our backs, side by side, we were both at the edge. This caused a lot of rolling rolling rolling all night long as if we were meat on a spit. Very unpleasent.

But then the morning came! with the breakfast! that was paid for compliments of the room! and the part of the hotel where the breakfast was served was this amazing eclectic adorable picnic meets Victorian chandeliers type deal and my shitty nights sleep zoomed out the cracked window when the hotel owner poured me fabulous black tea and I got to sit in a booth with a pillow behind my back for extra support. Holiday Inn Buffet this was surely not. Then she brought out this tiny plate with a pastry wafer with baked on pecans and brown sugar sitting atop a bed of strawberries and cream. I thought, "Heaven. THIS IS HEAVEN." But that was just the amuse bouche right? What was the main course going to be, oh bed and breakfast of mine?!

Bagels. With Salmon.

Wait, what? Where is my eggs and toast? Where are my waffles with powdered sugar? A bagel? I know they have these at the Holiday Inn, hell even at the Days Inn. So the plate was coated in salmon, yes I see this, but I just can't do cold fish at 9am. I know lots of people who love it, and maybe my pallet is just not as refined as the rest of yours, but seriously.... I got the fancier hotel with the whole boutique ambiance and the breakfast at the bed and BREAKFAST is bagels? Bagels. Can you tell I'm STILL disappointed?

Anyways - day two of Kamel's birthday fun surprise was taking him on yet another boat ride. God, yes, I am a saint. But this time I scheduled it for 11AM, where the seas are bound to be less... frightening? bone chillingly cold? And the whole point of this sail boat adventure was that their were animals out in the water to be seen and discovered! And photographed! A 1 hr/45min sail boat ride to seek out sea lions, otters, dolphins, porpoise, and maybe even whales.


About 30 minutes into the ride I got bored. We had seen the sea lions and the pelicans and the otters. Amazing that they don't only live in the aquarium. But their was little wind and we were on a small boat with just the captain and us, the captain who wasn't very chatty or tour guid-y. Kamel took pictures and I looked around and enjoyed the slap of the water against the boat and the sunshine and swatted at the flies that kept bothering us due to lack of wind.


I daydreamed about lunch.

You know what the best part was? Managing to totally surprise Kamel, take him somewhere he had never been and having him love it, being able to get away from the city and have a few adventures. And it was only one night, and it was only a few hours away, and it was great.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Moving, Moved, Gone

Everybody grows up, but not everyone matures. Not everyone wants to mature, that's for sure. (and that rhymed. YES!) And this blog has reached the point in its life where it, too, needs to grow up and move out of its mother's house.

That's right, we're leaving blogger, we're moving on to bigger and better things, where I have to pay for hosting and where all things are possible. (Maybe not all things, but more things. Yay!)

So, in order to continue the story of Better In Real Life you can use either of these domains (if they don't work for you right away, try back tomorrow. Things may possibly be wonky at first):

http://www.lsdupuis.com/

or

http://www.betterinrealife.com/

See you on the flip side!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

The cupcakes were so tempting,


and we were so hungry, and it was so his birthday,


that we didn't even make it out of the car before having one each.


The second one we saved for dessert. Birthdays are delicious.

The Old Man & The Sea


Happy birthday Kamely!! Today you turn 28 and that makes you forever and ever older than me. This weekend I'm taking you to Carmel - a place you've never been - to stay in a B&B and then sailing in Monterrey Bay to seek out sea life (whales, dolphins, otters, sea lions, etc).

I am so incredibly lucky to have you in my life. You are becoming my family and every day I love you more and more. I love your crazy bed head, and your amazing laugh, your constant enthusiasm for life, the way you sing in the shower, and  your ability to challenge me and keep me on my toes.

I am so lucky.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lauren Life List: Random Acts of Kindness

I recently added 1,000 random acts of kindness to my Life List. 1,000 is a lot. I figure it's going to take me several years to complete this goal. Several years of intermittenly being aware that I should probably do something a little less selfish, rather than sit on the couch and play World of Warcraft for 4 hours at a time.

A few months ago I was crossing the Bay Bridge and I, on a whim, decided to pay the toll for the car behind me. The toll attendant was happy to take my extra money, and then as I sat in traffic I watched the exchange behind me in my rear-view mirror. I had never done this before, although I had seen it on Oprah several years ago, and I've heard stories of it happening to other people. The couple behind me seemed happy and looked at my car, ahead of them, but didn't wave or anything in particular. They just sort of turned to eachother and chatted, and I imagined them marveling at the kindness of strangers, chatting about me, about how they were going to have a really great day. I dunno, it was kind of thrilling, even if most of it happened in my head. And it felt great! And it made me want to do happy things like that all of the time! So Life List it is.

But then, I sort of forgot about it, because it really does take energy, thought, and being in the right place at the right time. And then I got to thinking, "well, what actually constitutes a 'random act of kindness'?". I spent an evening last week, while having trouble sleeping, discussing this with Kamel. We came up with a list we were sure constituted as such:

Paying for strangers' bridge tolls (of course)
Feeding stranger's parking meters (possibly illegal)
Buying groceries for homeless
Send packages overseas to the troops
Putting change in a vending machine, then walking away (no lauren, do not eat the cookies! BACK AWAY)
Opening the phone book and sending a random person something nice (a kind note, a gift card, etc)
Baking for the neighbors (who knows their neighbors? maybe I could start)
Dropping off teddy bears to Fire Stations
Sticking happy notes in books at a book store
Giving up your seat on a plane and flying standby
Donating to Locks of Love

Happy things that don't actually count as random acts:

Donating all the clothes I really don't like to the GoodWill (useful, yes, too self serving for this project, also yes)
Bringing in goodies for co workers (sorry guys!)
Doing anything, no matter how random or spontaneous, for family and friends
Donating money to organizations
Giving free hugs (it challenges my boundry issues, plus it seems a slight bit pervy)

Basically, I want to challenge myself and keep an awareness that involves helping. If you have an ideas or suggestions please comment!

On saturday, in a very hot, very crowded, very stuffy bus, I gave a homeless man one of the two nectarines I had purchased at the farmer's market. He originally asked me for cash. I said I didn't have any (Lie), but then offered him my groceries. This choice does not seem like a big deal on paper, but in real life it is shockingly hard to give up the things we preceive as "mine". Giving the man my fruit did not immediately pop into my mind as an option. My first mental response was "I feel cornered by this guy sitting in front of me on the bus asking me for money, this is bullshit and I'm not giving him anything." But he was also really dirty, carrying two heavy backbacks on a day where I was asking Kamel to carry my coat because it was just too hot to have any extra baggage. And after a minute, I thought about my life list and I thought about my goals, and compassion, and I wondered how often this man was able to eat fresh fruit. It was the only food I had on me, so I offered him both nectarines. He took one, and he wasn't especially grateful, and that's alright. It must really be difficult to not have the freedom to buy what you want, but to instead depend on what other people decide you should have.

I want to be a more giving person, I want to have more compassion for others, especially when they make me uncomfortable. Towards my goal of 1,000 random acts of kindness I have 2 so far.

1 purchased toll fare
1 gift of food to a homeless man

What can you do to help others? Do you want to help me help others? Let me know and let's watch the count to 1,000 rise.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Month 4 and 5

I skipped last month. Last month I had nothing to report. Last month we were in a whirlwind of moving and hosting amazing guests and I didn't know which end was up. Last month very little was accomplished (except so very much was accomplished, just not having to do with the goals for my 25th year).

Month 5, though, has been loads better. I'm steadily writing a new story, with the help of some great edits by Margaret, and I've also been sprucing up my "finished" short story called Benz, with the help of my undergrad friend (and another fellow writer), Steven. Hopefully I'll have another set up submission in October.

Running has been slow going. Work changed locations, meaning my morning routine went all higgly-jiggly, and now at 6AM it's night time outside instead of being a lovely rosy color. I just can't get up and go outside in the dark. It feels like bootcamp torture and I won't do it. This means I need to get my butt into gear after work. Immediately after work, otherwise I end up gluing myself to the couch. This has been my dilemma. Last week I kicked things off with a hard core 2 hours ass kicking walk which left me REALLY sore in my hips for about 3 days. My aim is to run 4/7 days to start. One day in the middle of the week + Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I feel like this will narrow my chance of failure. I'm taking a new approach on distance. Instead of working my way up to 6 miles, I'm going to chart a course that is 6 miles from the beginning. I won't be able to run the entire thing, but I will be moving for 6 miles and then 6 miles won't be so daunting anymore.

Eventually I'll need to start really working out for the wedding. I think we are planning on joining the YMCA after Christmas. That will make winter workouts so much easier.

More news to come next month!

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's My Party

Man this week has been caa-raazy. I have been invited to so many parties this week and then i went and decided to throw one. If you weren't invited, don't feel bad. The partying that was happening this week was only for very exclusive people. I was surprised to actually get the invite, see, because usually these parties just involve one person and go by the underground code word of pity. Pity Parties. Get it?!

Is this national "I feel sorry for myself because the ecomony is bad and life sucks" week? Because I need warning next time. Here is how the week went down: Tuesday surprised the hell out of me by being one of the longest days of my FUCKING life (for various boring work related reasons).

Then wednesday rolled around and I decided to start the day off with a positive attitude that quickly melted to complete despair. I was hoping for a cheer-me-up email from the Margaret, but she was struggling with her own (not so) funemployment demons over in her new town of ithaca, which IN TURN had me thinking about my own career-empaired dilemmas and by wednesday afternoon I was in a full on "what am i doing with my life" mental meltdown. This lead me to take a 2 hour ass kicking walk through San Francisco leaving me both hungry AND exhausted. Not a pretty picture for Kamel when he got home (late) (grumblegrumble). I thought a good nights sleep may cure me, but then at 2AM I woke up with racing thoughts and that was the end of that. Plus I kept having the covers ripped violently from my shivering body... ahem.

Thursday rolled around reluctantly, complete with me not wanting to get out of bed. When I did finally don my outfit and head out the door I was immediately confronted by the fact that my car no longer had either of its license plates. Or the screws that hold those license plates so firmly to my car. Awesome. Police were called, reports were made, and I got a directive to go straight to the DMV and RE-PURCHASE my license plates. Thanks for the big Fuck You, universe. Hearing you loud and clear. (Can you feel the party starting? Can you?) I brought my iPod to work, so I could feel less like jamming a spoon into my eye while I scanned files in a tiny room for hours. And I felt like I was on an upswing until I realized that all three of the girls are now working, full time, in their professions and I, of course, am not. Wahh wahhh! And then Claire started texting me in the afternoon and she was right in the middle of her own pity party about relationships and the lack of "we" in her "me". These of course sucked me right in and pretty soon, while telling her how much she DID have, I realized how very much I didn't. By 4PM I had decided I had no meaningful present, no future to speak of, no friends, and nothing fun at all happening in my life. OH THE PITY. It's a snowball of doom I tell you! A party full of people arguing over who has it worse.

And so now it is Friday. And things are better. The sun is shining and I'm wearing pink pants. I'm hoping the weekend will be party-free, a party-free zone one might say, full, instead, with productivity and contentment with what we all do have, etc etc. (Insert more Oprah grateful talkyness here) I'm just hoping I can stop hearing sad trumpet sounds wherever I go. Wahh wahhhhhhhh.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fashion: Sales

There is money to be saved. Money for the wedding, money for birthdays, money for groceries and bills and rent. There is no money for clothes even though I buy them anyway.

I have never enjoyed sales. The racks are messy, they're always in the back of the store, the thing you want is never in your size and when I do buy sale items sometimes I buy it just because it's on sale and then later it sits, taking up precious room in my closet. Sales frustrate me, they push me to make a decision now, because who knows if the sale ends tomorrow or if the item will still be there in 5 minutes. I used to really hate sales.

But now I live with Mr. Fiscal Responsibility and a towering list of things I need to do and pay for, and now suddenly sales are my dearest, most whored-out friend. I haven't really gone shopping since I moved to Seattle from San Francisco, became earthshatteringly (one word) poor, and then spent the money I did have quitting my job there and moving back to San Francisco. Until this years Nordstrom Sale and then once I started I just couldn't stop.

So first I bought the jacket because the jacket was just so effing cool and I love jackets and the nordstrom catalog with their fancy pictures of beautiful people just got me. But I didn't get it in white because... I spill... I got in turquoise. I think it works.


*Sorry about the dirty mirror. bummer about that.

And then, because I was all about risk taking (why not) I got the shoes. THE shoes. The shoes I've been mentioning? Were so cool? Too cool for me?



They are also incredibly, ridiculously comfortable and, surprisingly, keep my feet nice and warm on chilly San Francisco nights. These are the shoes that had me running to buy skinny jeans, yet another sale purchase during all of this hullabaloo. I also bought a pair of running pants because I can't seem to ever quite purchase enough of those.

After raiding Nordstrom I went on to Anthropologie, one of the best sale stores ever. Their sales are huge, constant, and rotate every month? I'm not entirely sure, but I know it's at least a few times a season. There I bought this shirt, because I am a slave to ruffles:



And these sandals, because I have honeymoon visions, visions of comfortable, yet stylish feet, visions of skirt wearing days somewhere in my future:


And this giant yellow flower, because it's a giant yellow flower:


Here's the thing: I have had an awakening and I honestly don't understand why anyone would buy anything not on sale in any scenario (quicky weddings and funerals aside). I know there are certain items, as a shopper, as a clothes-horse, that we feel we absolutely cannot live without right this very moment. Except you can, and you probably should. Almost everything goes on sale, even the highest designer brands, and what I'm saying is, you can have everything you want at a reduced price. I'm a girl on a budget, but even if I wasn't, sales just make sense. I bought all of this for two-hundred-something-dollars (definitely under $300.00). Two pairs of shoes, one shirt, one pair of pants, one jacket, and one pair of running pants. Yes there are cheaper places to buy, but quality over quantity is a whole other post. Sales, my friends, go forth and shop.

*Note: Watch out for places like Jcrew that do these big sale events but then don't let you return anything if it doesn't fit. I don't like shopping at stores that make me feel like a theif, a pauper, or make me suffer for wanting to try things on that are only online but then don't let me return them if they don't fit. Amen? Amen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Melanoma Baby

On Labor Day we went to the beach. I was wearing a tshirt. We walked. We were gone for about.... an hour and a half. I put sunscreen on my face.


But I wanted to get a little color on my arms. I forgot about my neck. This picture was taken Monday evening. I feel as though I'm going to be getting an email from my mother in about 20 seconds. Kamel can't stop marveling at the ouch factor. I keep telling him "I'm WHITE! this is what happens to us!".

It will be better tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Party for Two

Friday, 6:30 PM




Friday, September 3, 2010

Things

I tried to take audio of the horrible horrible squeaking, nails on chalkboard noise coming from the bus this morning, but of course the minute I hit play it stopped and never picked up again. Consider yourselves lucky.

I was hit with a massive "your life is boring, you have nothing to write about" club and then I whipped kamel (and me) into a cleaning frenzy so I could finally show you all the new apartment in (most of it's) finery. I've also, once again, got the traveling and exloring and adventuring bug so now Kamel and I are planning a little weekend excursion to the Russian River complete with some canoeing action. Hilarity and Ridicu-losity should ensue. I like to throw myself into semi-dangerous, if not merely anxiety prone situations for your reading pleasure.

Plus! Kamel's 28th birthday is fast approaching (sept 17) and I have a little something-something (or a few something-somethings) up my sleeve for that weekend. Updates when appropriate.

As the internet now knows there were major lay off at LucasArts on Wednesday. Kamel isn't allowed to talk about it publicly but I AM! So HA! It was an incredibly nerve-racking, emotional day for both of us. Thankfully, Kamel still has his job in a greatly reduced company. There were so many of you sending well wishes and checking up on the situation that I really need to say thank you. All those crossed fingers and toes really paid off. I've never gone through anything like that, never known anyone to go through anything like that, and I really never ever want to do it again. But I'm sure we will. I'll get my breath holding techniques down real good.

At 5 oclock today a three day weekend begins. Hooray!! We don't really have any plans. I'll probably stay up too late, wander around in my sweats during the day, go play outside for hours at a time, forget to put on sun screen and even with the thick fog discover I've magically burned the tip of my nose. I'll let you know if anything noteworthy happens.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happies

Opportunity

Surprisingly warm days

Clean floors so shit doesn't stick to my barefeet

The boyfriend who keeps his job even though 1/2 the company gets laid off (pours part of her 40 on the ground and says, "for my funemployed bitches")

More storage

Finally, a good night's sleep

Hair accessories

New co-workers who rock my socks

Smart, funny people

Compliments (more compliments! (I love your shoes))

Painted toes

Mexican food

All the people who view this blog (you make my whole day, do you know that? For reals)

The guy outside who just hawked the biggest loogy I've ever heard and the moment of silence followed by extreme giggles from our party of two in the living room

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Unpacked

Finally I have some before and afters of the new apartment to show you. We are about 90% unpacked and about 15% decorated. Please excuse the massively naked wallspace and the unfilled squares of our new book shelf.


The apartment started out a mess. As most just-moved-in-apartments do. Except this time we had guests! Joy! And we lived by maneuvering around stacked chairs and towers of boxes - that I did not do a good job documenting, for about two weeks. Gross.

But now, thankfully, wonderfully, the apartment looks like this:





The kitchen table was the table we had while I was growing up. It's been in storage for about 8 years and I was super stoked to use it once again. Unfortunately the top got a few huge scratches on it during transit, but the yellow tablecloth makes me pretty happy too. The living room rug was an awesome Target find. It blended Kamel's need for neutrals and my need for Bam! Wow! Shizam! And of course my beloved couch that cost 399 and is both leather and insanely comfortable.


One of my favorite parts of the apartment is our entryway. Because we do have a little entryway. That's the old time-y buzzer on the wall complete with a little hook we can move in case we want to ignore the buzzer and a button to let people in. Our apartment door also has a doorbell which is interesting and something I've never seen built in before. The flowers are hiding the place where a wall phone could go. I'm imagining the kind with a separate mouth piece that was then updated to a rotary. In the land of cell phones it is now home to a rotating bouquet of fresh flowers.


This is my favorite little nook in the apartment. That is a painting one of my old room mates painted for me, and that leather chair used to be bright red and sitting in my parent's living room for years and years until the sun bleached it this bricky-pink color. My parents wanted to upgrade to a love seat but wanted to keep the chair in the family, so voila. The book shelf is another target find. It will look better when filled and decorated. These cube things come with a ton of add-ons that you can buy. We opted for the floating shelf, but if you're in need of storage go check it out. The whole shebang cost us under 80 bucks, even the bottom drawers.




Here is our galley kitchen complete with miniature stove and hanging fruit basket. The basket currently holds 1 onion, 1 banana, and 2 green potatoes that used to be yellow. I need to work on that. I've always wanted a cool hanging basket so when I bump my head on it while drying dishes, I choose to ignore the annoyance.


This is Kamel working his photo Magic on our prepped, polished, and staged apartment.


This is me, hiding in the kitchen, while Kamel kept calling out "Lauren! Don't Move!" because there are several frames with my gray blurr shooting through them. Oops.

We have a big photo project planned for one wall and some framing that needs to be done so when we're finished I'll give you an update. And show you the bedroom that was too messy and we were too tired to fix up. But it's really nice too! with our one closet! in the whole place! Isn't that fun? haha....

You should come over one day! We' ll drink wine and look at the ocean.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dumb Dumb Dumb-y


"We're going to reclaim civil rights!"

The real story - Glenn Beck, you're an idiot.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Strangers

Scene: Leaving work downtown San Francisco, walking across the street in the cross walk, minding my own damn biznass.

Man (who is about two steps ahead of me): Do you work at Gap?
Me (startled): Umm... no.
Me (thinking to myself): I'm not even wearing khakis... and we aren't in the shopping district .....and there is no gap within a mile of where I am walking. (These thoughts flash through my mind as I try and keep my face as calm and unperturbed as possible.)
Man: Oh, you don't? Well what do you do?
Me (continually startled by this line of questioning and beginning to feel as though I may soon be robbed.... of my not from the Gap items): uhhh... I ... uhh... (currently fiddling with my phone trying to decide what to say) I work for a non profit. (Phone rings! I AM SAVED)

I then hang back and let strange Gap man wander away. Later, in the car with Kamel, as I am retelling this story, and we are driving about a block from my office, and after I have repeatedly been all "wtf? there is no Gap here! What a weird thing to pull out of your ass!" we drive by a window with a huge Gap logo in the display. I press my hand against the car window and whisper, "Gap.... corporate...."

I still vote: creepy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Inertia

Kamel accused me of having writer's block this weekend and I was totally offended. No I do not have writers block thankyouverymuch!! It's called LAZYNESS, ok? Jeez. It's just so difficult to start, is all. During the week I am busy, although I know I could make the time, and I have made the time in the past, and then the weekends roll around and is it so hard to just want to lay about, watching movies? It is. It is frustrating and lazy, and leaves me with the feeling that I will never ever be anything other than a person who makes money doing things that she doesn't actually give a shit about. Sigh.

Writing is hard. Writing is time consuming and it means you have to sit at home or in a coffee shop, inside, thinking and writing and deleting and writing again. And sometimes it fucking sucks. But then when I say I'm a writer and people ask "oh, where can I see your work?" and I have a few responses, non of which are actually findable, I feel a little stab in my throat. A stab that says, "what are you doing here talking to these people? You should be at home, writing!" And so here I am. Stumbling through two short stories, writing on this blog, reading books by Joan Didion. It only took running up several flights of stairs over and over again this morning, moaning about what I need to do yet being incapable of leaving the couch, roasting garbanzo beans and then taking a shower to get me here, seated, in front of two giant open windows overlooking the beautiful sunshiny San Francisco afternoon, computer open and fingers on the keyboard.

I need to work harder, be less pre-occupied, be more self driven and keep reminding myself that their really is a deadline looming, their really is something to write for, to work for, to reach for. A year after finishing grad school and this whole process is still a bitch.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yoo Hoo!

I've been away from the internet for too long. First it was because Maris! the Lawyer! came to visit from chicago. We window shopped, bar hopped, wine tasted, ate amazing food, and .... played WOW. Yes, that's right, World of Warcraft is now on my computer and you can find me running around in Misha realm. Oh god. I'm being soaked in nerd. And it's not even from Kamel, it's from the secret nerd life of maris (maris, I'm publicly outing you! Embrace!).

I'm also switching up offices at work and right now we have a TV, but no computers. I'm behind in my blog writing, in my blog reading, in my emails, it's awful.

So to keep you entertained while I get my internet shit together, here is a video of maris and I at the Giant's game:

video

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lauren Life List Vol. 3

Read 50 books in a year
Do 1,000 random acts of kindness
Attempt to never buy another bottle of water again (Beginning 8/7/2010)
Live, for a measurable amount of time, in a foreign country
Have a family vacation spot that we go to every year
Go with my father to Italy
Host Thanksgiving
Decorate a home to my complete satisfaction
Build a library
See the Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, Niagara Falls, Yellow Stone, Arches National Park, Death Valley, Grand Teton, Red Wood Forest, and Zion National Park.
A lot of things on my life list have to do with travel. Most of it involves traveling abroad, but there are so many things to see within the US. My freshmen year of college I took "Geology of Nat'l Monuments" which was a thinly veiled way of getting the non science people to take a seemingly interesting rocks for jocks course. The best part was the lecture portion where we took notes while slides of the awesome national parks flashed in front of us. I was not born in the roadtrip generation. We didn't go from national park to national park and we certainly didn't camp (ok, once, but we left a day early). These places are bizarre and breathtaking and I want to experience them. 

I saw the bottled water goal on someone else's life list and I thought, "wow... what a challenge." Bottled water is incredibly convenient, but also incredibly wasteful. I have a a few water bottles, one Sigg, but I manage to forget them in various places all of the time. This live goal is about being mindful. There could be situations where I have to buy some water in a plastic bottle, but I want to reduce that need, and instead of it being my first thought, turn it into my last resort.

A lot of my life list goals are long term or things that may only happen when I'm much, much older. I have to keep reminding myself that these goals do not need to be completed in the next month or the next year or the next 5 years. I'm always looking for an opportunity to have an adventure, to cross a goal off my list, but I don't want them to become chores or unmanageable and I don't have someone sponsoring my life list like Mightygirl does so I need to learn patience - maybe that's another life goal as well. Patience. I am excited, though, about what will be and it's fabulous to have things to look forward to.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Things That Fly

I do not like butterflies. I do not find them graceful or beautiful. I do not appreciate them as tattoo art or as fashion or as aspects of interior design. My first formal dance I went to, my freshman year of high school, was held in the Pacific Science Center, in the exhibits surrounding the Butterfly Room. Where there are a lot of butterflies, flying around, landing on you, swooping through the air, big ones, little ones, in a humid room dripping with flowers. I walked through the butterfly room because it was novelty, and because everyone was doing it and because I was 14. I pretty much spent the entire time in there crouched to the ground or letting out only-audible-to-dogs-type-screams. I was trying to play it cool, but if you know me, then you know - that hardly ever works out.

The point of this story is: I don't really like anything that flies. Birds are ok because they generally stay away from me, but when they seem like they're going to dive bomb and/or begin swooping anywhere near my head, I run screaming like a little girl, flapping my arms about like an orangutan. And this is the explanation for this video (warning, obnoxious laugh ahead):

video

Friday, August 6, 2010

Crazy

On Monday I drove home from work convinced Kamel didn't love me anymore. Why you ask? Because I was on my period. And no matter what anyone says - hormones have much to do with life, and can make normally sane people, crazy. So when I got home that day I crawled into bed and played Super Mario Brothers on the DS, still fully clothed, and waited for Kamel to come home.

When Kamel walked in the door he called out, "Lauren! Lauren?" and I mumbled, "In here," with the comforter up around my mouth and my eyes fixed to the screen.

"Lauren? What are you doing?" he said at the door.

"Nothing.... you don't love me anymore."

"What?" and he laughed, and crawled into bed next to me and kissed the back of my neck while I was still cocooned like a crazy in my comforter. "Of course I love you," he said, "I love you more than anything ever in the whole world and I'm never ever going to stop no matter what. Unless you cheat on me. And then I'll still love you, but I'll leave, so don't do that ok?"

"No, but, but..." and then I listed off the million wedding stresses that I had and the million things I needed to get done and how he wasn't help me at all! Not at all! Not even a little bit. And then he explained to me how he was doing lots of things, but just behind the scenes and without telling me, because he didn't think he had to. Oh him. One day he'll learn.

"And guess what?! I ordered you a surprise! From Amazon! And it came today! Do you wanna see it?"

And I shook my head, yes. Because now I'm 5 years old and my future husband is taking care of me. He jumped off the bed and ran into the other room and before he entered he commanded me to close my eyes. So I did. And when I held out my hand, a package was placed upon it. and in that package were....

Crazy Straws!!!




Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fashion: The Skinny

So I saw some shoes in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale catalog. Not just any shoes, but the coolest shoes I had seen in forever, and I even had the guts to want to buy them. The problem? These shoes required a certain kind of pant due to their amazing ankle cuff. The type of pant they required?
 Skinny Jeans.

Or Skinny Pants. Or any leg covering - not tights - that had the word skinny some how associated with them. The type of pants I have runrunrun away from ever since I saw a glimpse of them on some skinny girls amazing body. Because in my world, I have a butt and some thighs to match. And I just thought.... pants with tight ankles are doing me NO favors. But the shoes people! The shoes! And they were on sale! So I just had to try. I went to twitter first. Where I always go for fashion advice.



And then guess who replied! None other than mightygirl herself. She suggested Express or the Limited. And when I went to Express.com and guess what? They TOO were having a sale! Just on jeans! 30% off! And so I did. I bought two and had them rushed so I could do a little try on and return if they didn't work. Meanwhile the amazing! shoes! were on their way! from nordstrom! And suddenly I think I've gone over my quota for exclammation points today. Hm.

So here I am. an actual owner of the skinny jean.


Here is the lowdown on the skinny. If you aren't skinny, go with something that has stretch. Something that borders on tights but isn't actually the jean tights I look upon with skepticism and fear. This pair is actually amazingly comfortable and, unlike the second pair I purchased, I can actually pull them up past mid-thigh. They don't cut in, meaning there is no muffin top to be found, and they don't actually make my butt look any bigger than it is. Plus they were about 1/3 of the price I usually spend on jeans. They do scrunch up a bit at my ankle, which is fine for a casual look, but doesn't completely function with the amazing-cuffed-shoe situation. Right now I roll them to get them to sit flush, but I'm still working on it. Pictures and discussion of said cuffed shoe will have to go into another daring shoe post, I'm still working on how to rock the look. But in the meantime lets just marvel at the fact that I actually bought a pair of these:


Pink socks and all.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The We in Us

I know I've written my engagement story. And it was a private moment, surprising and sweet and beautiful. And it was important, but not as important as what happened after. I've been thinking about writing this post for a while, well more like thinking about these ideas for a while, but couldn't write them down just yet because I needed a little more distance. And now it's been a full two months since I said yes.

The thing is, I got engaged on a Thursday ("got engaged" that sounds so gauche), and if I had any advice for anyone it would be that no matter how anxious you are, do not pop the question on a weekday, when you both have to trudge off to work the day after.

When I was dating Kamel, we did the majority of our relationship in different cities, in different states, and though the distance sucked, it wasn't horrible. I like my independence. In fact, when Kamel filled out a survey about me and compared it to my own filled out survey about me, we both put that my #1 priority in life was independence. His was feeling safe. I like to do my own thing. I like to sit alone and write or read or go out with my own friends. And I like when he does his own thing, when he goes to movies with his people or does nerdy boy things without me. But the morning after he asked me to marry him, I went to work reluctantly. This really isn't earth shattering, I often go to work reluctantly. We could say the majority of the time I am dragging myself out of bed to go to work in a reluctant manner. But it wasn't work I was reluctant for, it was being away from him. The entire day, after our engagement my thoughts were solely on Kamel, and when I could see him again, be with him, and have no one else around. Being engaged, for me, flipped a switch. It wasn't just about me anymore, it was about us and I felt an incredible desire to protect it, to nurture it.


I'm still independent me. I still run off to Chicago and leave Kamel at home, I still plan winter time snowboarding adventures with college folk and without Kamel. I still like to lay in bed and read and go for walks by myself. But I also hate coming home to an empty house. I hate when we're both so busy during the week that I only see him when he's crawling into bed next to me, waking me up. I want us to come home, I want us to make dinner, eat together, watch movies together, sit side by side on our computers together. And I want us to not be in the world all the time, around people. I have an immense craving to hide up in our new apartment, away from everyone and just be us.

Being engaged, surprisingly, is not just about a fab ring and planning a kick ass wedding. Being engaged is not about the build up to the wedding, it's about the build up to the marriage. And that's what I've been thinking about, that's what I've been wanting to share because no one tells you that when you're a kid and you're running around with a sheet on your head playing bride. Engagement is so much more meaningful than I ever thought it would be.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lust List 2: The Perfect Bag

Everywhere I look I see amazing clutches, briefcases, travel bags and purses. I don't need them, I wish I did, I want them. I wish I could justify owning every single one of these. But I can't, so instead I post them here. Maybe you can justify it? I'll cheer you on. And then when it arrives at your front door can I hold it? Just once? Please?

That man just became 10x sexier holding that deliciously leather briefcase. It also comes in green and I want it from Jenny N. out of Austin, TX. Hot.


I wish I was this cool. Bright, happy, patterned day clutch cool. It would also be helpful to have those legs. I'm just sayin. This designer is aptly named Proud Mary and this clutch is only $60.00! Hooray!


Holy jeebus this is my favorite find - from Trakatan. In my imaginary life, this is the quintessential travel bag. Big enough to fit a jacket, an umbrella, maps, money, passport, and still have room to fit any shopping finds while away from the hostel. And! it's so deep - how the hell are you going to get pick-pocketed? Dude would have to shove his whole forearm in their just to sift around. Amazingly fabulous.


And last, but not least, one of the greatest everyday bags I've ever seen, another total score by Trakatan. You've got to go look at the pictures on the site for this because it can be worn in so many different ways. Plus I love the little flap closure. Grocery shopping, walking through the park, or snatched off the table on your way to dinner, it works. It can be a city style backpack or an over the shoulder bag. And the clean lines, industrial edge, and fine leather make it perfect for any situation. Lustlustlustlust.