When all else fails, you can always find time for a movie!

It may be late in the day, but I didn’t forget!  Movies have actually been on my mind a lot lately–basically because I own so many DVDs and don’t watch many anymore.  So I’m trying to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to purge.  Plus there are many that I own that I’ve never seen, so that’s first on the priority list!!!  I’ve almost finished my conversion project, switching a bunch of VHS tapes to DVD format, so we’ll see how far I can take this ‘clean and toss’ mode I’m in!!!

Sunday Social

This Weeks Questions:

1. What is your favorite movie of all time? Continue reading

Hodgepodge Hiatus is Over!

Our wonderful host for the Hodgepodge is back, so the list is back up for the week!  Here’s this week’s information:

  1. Summertime is a season of reunions, weddings, and other family celebrations and gatherings…are any of the above on your calendar in the next two months?
    Due to my mother’s declining health, she’s not hosting a reunion of the family this year.  And I have to say, I’m relieved.  My brother and I are the only ones of our generation between the ages of 30-50 who attend, and it’s stale.  Maybe next year.  Weddings I’ve already been to two, and have to miss one because of Vacation Bible School.  Father’s Day weekend was a gathering of sorts, and it was nice–my dad brought his mom home for a few days (she’s 91 today.  Happy Birthday Grandma!), my brother, SIL, and their new baby came over, and I drove up to DC for a delightful day just being together. Continue reading

Where have I heard that song before???

I am a scrapbooker.  Have been for many years.  And it’s a running joke among my scrappy friends that I don’t scrap my life, I scrap events.  So I have books of vacations, books of weddings, books of babies, but no books of everyday life.  This running joke of my life being lived in themes has prompted different discussions over the years as to what book I should do next.  There was actually one proposed that I thought was really cool, and have started assembling the materials to make it but haven’t gotten as far as actually putting it together yet.  The idea was to pick the ten songs that were the autobiographical soundtrack of your life.  The ten songs that can tell people who you are with no explanation, or tell of events in your life.  I loved the idea of this project, and I started to compile my list.

As of right now, that list stands at 28 songs.

It was 37.  I was able to get down to 28.  I am still trying to get down to 10.  It’s difficult!

Anywho, this was the first thing I thought of for this week’s Tuesday Topics.  We’re down to a list of five, so here are my five most favorite stories from individual moments during the 28 song soundtrack of my life: Continue reading

Picture Perfect

I love taking photographs.  Always have.  As I’ve gotten older, I find I prefer to take more photos of nature and landscapes than I do of people.  I think it’s because photos of people tend to be busier, and as I age I prefer simplicity.  When I read this week’s topic, I thought of a ton of photos–but most of them were taken with film and I don’t have digital copies!  So here are ten that came to mind that I had digital copies of:

I remember this day so clearly, the butterflies were swarming around the coneflowers! Continue reading

A fashionista I am not

I have visions in my head of being a fashionista, being stylish, being someone who can walk into a store and purchase something off the rack and it looks awesome with no effort.  Instead I shop plus size websites whenever the clothing I am wearing develops holes or tears, and even then it’s only if I choose not to pay the power bill for the month.

Sunday SocialWhat is your favorite store to shop at?
Hobby stores, mostly.  Craft stores.  Bed Bath and Beyond.

If you could afford anything and everything, which designer brand would you covet?
For me it’s shoes.  I love shoes.  And more shoes need to come in wide widths.

Must have closet staple?
Black.  Black pants every day in the winter.  Black shirts, tshirts, etc.  Black shoes.  Black everything.

Favorite kind of shoes? (brand or type)
In summer, my Yoga Sandals.  I’ve never had anything more comfortable in my life.  Only the damn dog just took a chunk out of my blue pair.  During the winter, my Danskos.

Best clothing deal you’ve ever gotten? (sale or amazing find)
I bought thirteen dresses for my brother’s wedding.  The first one, which I ended up never wearing, was an evening dress that was originally $349 and was on sale.  I went to the register and it rang up for $23.  But it wasn’t appropriate once I found out what the other bridesmaids were wearing.  So I still have it in the closet.

Style you’d love to try?
Any of them!

Repeat entry, different link party!

For this week’s Tuesday Topics, we’re supposed to list six favorite products.  Only I just listed my ten favorite beauty products for my Monday link party.  So instead of retyping, I’m just going to refer you to this post.  Pick six of the ten and count them as my favorite! 🙂

Life. Love.Lauren

There are a few non-beauty things that I am obsessed over, however.  Here are a few (though not six, sorry!):

  1. Mio Peach Tea.  I cannot stand the taste (non-taste?) of plain water.  I used a soda stream for a few years, then discovered this.  Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find.  Is it being discontinued???
  2. Yoga Sandals.  I wear these all.the.time.  They are so comfortable as your foot doesn’t slide around.  You just have to get used to the things between each toe, which takes no time.  Great for pedicures too!!  Have them in black and three other colors as well.  Biggest problem I have with them is to keep the dog from chewing on them–even while they’re on my feet!!!
  3. Going for the heathens here–has anyone ever heard of Crabbie’s?  It’s my new favorite once a month alcoholic treat.  It’s a true ginger beer.  Served over ice (or not, in my case) with a lime.  Delish!

Where’d they go????

This week’s topic had me ready to go, as I always seem to get invested in a television show that subsequently gets yanked off the air.  It cracks me up when people say that a show was cancelled too soon if it was pulled after ten years (Friends, Frasier).  Honestly, at that point, the story has been told.  It might be funny to tell it again, but the story was told.  I always think of Cheers though, which was the dead last ranked show at #77 according to Nielsen the week it made its debut.  Thanks to Brandon Tartikoff it stayed on the air, but all too often shows don’t get the chance to stick around.

So here is my list of 10.  Oddly enough, many people appear in more than one of these shows before finding the show that kept them on the air . . . . Continue reading

Feeling a bit Peevish

Sorry for the late posting, but I am currently without phone, cable, or internet at home.  Stupid super storm that wasn’t still managed to bring down a tree limb on my service line.  Grrrr.

Sunday Social
1. What is your biggest driving pet peeve?
When I graciously let someone into the lane in front of me and they don’t say thank you via a hand wave.  And I’m not talking about the single figured wave either, I mean acknowledging that I let them cut in the lane.

2. Biggest Blogging pet peeve?
That I still can’t make WordPress work properly on my mobile device.

3. Biggest general pet peeve?
Men who come out of the bathroom and are still buttoning their fly.  I know what you just did in there.  I know what you just touched.  And you didn’t wash your hands?  Ew.  Gross.

4. What is your most irrational fear?
That something will happen to me and I’ll be at home and no one will notice me missing.  That I’ve fallen or gotten sick or died and am all alone.

5. 3 celebrities you’d want to have dinner with?
I don’t know that the three of them would work TOGETHER, per se, but I still think it would be fun with them all–Tori Spelling, Lauren Graham, and Wil Wheaton

On the Sidelines of History

Three days ago, on Thursday, a violent storm through my town knocked loose a branch from a tree in my back yard.  This limb fell on a wire that leads to my house, pulling it loose from the house.  The strain of that wire hanging in the air snapped one of the wires in the bundle.  That wire was my cable source.

I was gone all day Friday with my mother for her surgical procedure then babysitting my ‘nephews’ while their mother was at her schools’ graduations.  Saturday was my Father’s Day celebration out of town, so today, Sunday, is really the first chance I’ve been at home with nothing on TV to watch for the afternoon.

I realize this should be a blessing, and an opportunity to clean my house.  But after the week that I have had (working 40 hours in three days, volunteering for a golf tournament, and then the aforementioned Friday and Saturday activities), about all I was able to manage after church and a few hours at the playground with the same nephews was to veg out on the couch.  So I’m going through old items on the Tivo.

There are movies that I had recorded, some almost two years ago, and am now able to watch because the ‘new’ stuff is not recording.  One of the shows that I have been meaning to watch and never had the time was The Freedom Riders: An American Experience.

I was a triple major in college.  One of my majors was American History.  I even focused on the history of the South.  I was aware of Jim Crow laws.  I remember my elder family members speaking of them, though not often.  I remember my mother talking about desegregation of her schools, and how that was a huge upheaval here in Virginia.  I had heard of the Freedom Riders.

It’s oh so humbling to say, but here is the basic truth: I am ashamed.  I am ashamed that I would answer, when asked, that yes I knew about the Freedom Riders.  I knew that blacks and whites rode the bus together.

I am ashamed because I knew nothing. Continue reading

June Hodgepodge

No intro, let’s just get to it!

1. What do you think makes a good dad?
From the mouth of my own father–someone not like him.  Someone who wants children, someone who is capable of love and nurturing.  Someone who loves the mother of his child, someone who is willing to discipline and laugh, play and grow.  Someone who will be a prime example of a Christian man–a role model for his sons to be and for his daughters to marry.  Someone like my brother, who I admire more than anyone and who is the standard to which I hold all men.

2.  What’s something you learned from your own father?
How to drive.  In the parking lot of the West Falls Church metro station in a 1984 Chevy Blazer, watching him draw diagrams on the back of a Kleenex box to demonstrate how the wheel turns the axle and the chassy follows.  Never mind the fact I’d driven tractors, etc., this was his car.  I needed diagrams.

3. It’s your birthday-what kind of cake will we be having?
Homemade strawberry with whipped strawberry icing or with my nana’s chocolate frosting.  That stuff is like big sheets of fudge.  And no box mix is ever allowed for a birthday cake.

4. When you’re faced with a big decision are you more of a go with your gut type of person, or are you someone who reasons it all out, weighing the pros and cons?
I think I’ve said this before.  When it comes to major decisions, it’s usually an easy one for me.  If I’m waffling on my decision or if I take longer than 30 seconds to make a choice, then it’s a pretty sure bet that I am picking the wrong one.  I truly believe that it is God telling me that I’m making the wrong choice, and when I’m able to make the decision so quickly it’s because it’s the choice I am supposed to make.  Call it gut, call it divine intervention, call it ignorant bliss.  It works for me.

5. June is National Dairy Month. What’s your favorite dairy item? Most often purchased dairy item?
favorite: all kinds of ice cream.  Most often purchased: milk.  I go through a gallon of skim milk in about a week.  Mostly from my morning oatmeal or cereal, but I do enjoy glasses of it too.

6. Explorer Jacques Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910….what’s something you’ve recently discovered or something you’d like to explore?
There was a video posted today on the discovery of an oarfish near the wreckage of Deepwater Horizon.  It’s a fish that lives so deep they rarely get to see or examine it, and the largest bony fish known to man (i.e., largest fish that isn’t a shark or a ray–can get to be as big though!).  That kind of stuff is just so cool.  The one in the video is only about eight feet long, but still fascinating.

7. Are you typical of your generation?
Not as much as I used to be.  In some ways I’m a lot younger–friends I keep, movies I watch, church I attend, and in others I am older–knitting or scrapping as a hobby, music I listen to, etc.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
On Saturday I’m going to visit my father for Father’s Day.  He’s getting his mother for a few days so she’ll be there as well, we’ll celebrate her 91st birthday, my dad’s 65th, his 40th father’s day, and my brother’s first father’s day.  Should be interesting.  Once his birthday is over, we don’t have another until October for the men.  Every man in my family (father, brother, two grandfathers, stepfather, uncle, and a few others) was born on the 2nd, just all in assorted months.  Only problem is everyone between July and September has passed, so we have a few months with no celebrating.  When my sister in law was pregnant with her first, she was convinced it was a boy and was panicking because her due date was the 25th of April and she felt all kinds of pressure to deliver on the 2nd.  Fortunately it was a girl, delivered on my stepnephew’s 3rd and my 40th birthday instead!

It’s so nice to have a job I LIKE, you know?

So I’ve had a few jobs.  Not a lot, but a quite a few.  Started when I was 18, and have had at least one since then, usually two or more.  Until about four years ago, when I was laid off from not one but two in six months, and then spent 18 months unemployed before finding part time work.  That work is now full time, and I actually really like my job.  It’s been a long time since I could say that, and I’m thrilled that I can!  Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard sometimes.  And busy.  And tedious.  But overall, at the end of the day, we’ve helped people.  And that matters.

Life. Love.Lauren
  1. I tell people I work for Northwestern Mutual, but that’s not entirely true.  I work for someone who works for Northwestern Mutual, I don’t work for them myself.  My check comes from him, not the company.  Downfall of this is that there are no benefits, which sucks, and I’m trying hard to make it financially.
  2. It’s not an insurance business, it’s a full service financial services company.  529 plans, 401K plans (I had eight on my desk to work on when I got in this morning), company disability, etc.  And it irritates the tar out of me that my family (one person in particular) speaks very negatively of my job basically saying I work for an insurance schiester.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.
  3. It has no benefits, which is the only drawback to it right now.  If I worked for the agency, I’d have benefits.  But working for an individual?  Not so much.  And health insurance on my own costs 25% of my take home pay.  It’s expensive y’all!
  4. I had 377 emails when I got in this morning.  I left here at 8 on Thursday night, out at an all day meeting on Friday, off yesterday to volunteer for a non-profit fundraiser, and in today.  I’ve been working on them for three hours and needed a break so I decided to finish my list. 🙂
  5. One of the guys I work with just returned from China where he ran across the Gobi desert.  250 Kilometers.  That’s 155 miles to you and me.  Why, you ask?  I have no clue.  But he did it a few years ago in Chile when he ran across the Atacama.  Personally, I think something in his head must make him off his rocker to do it.  But it’s pretty cool that he has a goal and works to achieve it like that.  And he’s a great guy to boot.  And I love that I work for a company that allows people to chase dreams like this and make them a reality.
  6. Sometimes my boss and I get annoyed at the titles of boss and employee.  We are business partners.  We are friends.  We are work-husband and work-wife.  We are so much more.  And I’ve worked for a lot of schmucks over the years, so to have this kind of a work relationship with someone is awesome.  We used to work for the same company a decade ago, and that shared history is nice too.
  7. I am truly blessed to be employed and better yet to work for someone who shares the same set of beliefs that I do.  Someone who values family and thinks they should come first.  Someone who thinks that work is important, but that life is too.  Someone who, when my mom has surgery (like in three days) basically kicks me out of the office to go care for her instead of threatening me with losing my job like our mutual employer did over and over and over again.

It’s a lot of effort to look this way….

I was a tried and true 80s child.  Big hair, makeup, whole shebang.  And I was awesome at it.  Now, you’re lucky if I throw on eyeshadow.  But there are still some things I will never give up!


  1. Baby wipes.  Preferably Huggies unscented or cucumber green tea.  Works great as a makeup remover.  So much so, that we used to use them at the theme park I worked at to remove Klingon makeup.  Takes off a little foundation with no problem.
  2. Blinc mascara.  This stuff is absolutely awesome.  It’s the only thing I’ve found that doesn’t make me look like a raccoon and also has no issues when I wear contacts.
  3. Almay Anti-Chap SPF Lipcolor in Sugarplum.  Hands off, people, this one is mine.  I love this color, love the lipstick.  And they quit making it like ten years ago.  So I buy it whenever it comes up on ebay.  I thought I had found a replacement in the Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Cocoa, but dangnabbit they discontinued that too.  And it’s even harder to find.
  4. Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash.  Love this stuff.
  5. Q-Tips.  I am obsessed with them.  I clean my ears daily, and during bad allergy times twice a day.  It’s an obsession, but it needs to be done too.
  6. Arm & Hammer Advance White Toothpaste.  Which is a big surprise given that I was very much a Colgate girl for the first 25 years of my life.  Either one will work, but I prefer the A&H.  Just stay away from Crest.  It causes  Alzheimers.  (Not really, but that stays in my brain.)
    Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 10.31.01 PM
  7. Lubriderm moisturizing lotion with SPF.  This is actually my daily moisturizer.  Works better that most of the store bought stuff too.  I’m highly sensitive to scents and fragrances, so a lot of moisturizers I can’t wear.  This one works great.
  8. Revlon gel eyeliner.  OHEMGEE.  This is the best stuff I’ve found.
  9. Mineral Veil SPF brush.  Dry sunscreen.  Great for arms, hands, and face.
  10. St. Ives Green Tea Facial scrub.  I can’t wear the stuff that has walnut husks and apricots in it.  It’s too harsh for my skin.  This actually works pretty well.

Back to the Beginning

Sometimes it’s nice to remember your roots.  Go back to the beginning.  Reinforce your motivation.  Remember why you started this to begin with anyway.  That’s the focus of this week’s Sunday Social!

Sunday Social

How did you come up with your blog name?
I knew that the blog would be random bits and pieces as they floated across my brain.  I also went to Virginia Tech, and am therefore a Hokie.  Voila.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?
That it is a spot that I can vent in.  It’s a place I can brag in.  It’s a way to alleviate stress.  It’s also a way to remember.  Remember the fun.  Remember the events.  Remember the emotion involved.  Of course, that means that I need to remember to blog about many of these things, and lately I tend to be doing link parties, but that’s okay.

What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now can’t live without?
Excellent question.  I really don’t know.  I enjoy blogging, I enjoy reading the blogs of others, but I don’t know that I have discovered anything new.  Just enjoyed what I have in a different ways.

Facebook or Twitter? and why?
Facebook.  Because it’s enough of a time-suck as it is.  I can’t afford another, greater time-suck in my life.  So I just stay away from Twitter altogether. I actually have an account–have since 2006.  But I never use it.  Plus, I have to admit, ever since the Library of Congress announced that they considered tweets to be published material, therefore they would be archiving all tweets posted on Twitter, I have abstained.  I just have a hard time participating in something that considers the likes Kourtney Kardashian or Ashton Kutcher worthy of being alongside Shakespeare and JK Rowling in the preservation of our history.

If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be?
One?  Just one?  Um, let’s see.  Tori Spelling?  I just feel like she’s down to earth despite the money she had growing up, has real world problems, and would be cool to hang with.  Or Lauren Graham–gotta support the Virginia girl, plus she seems like she’d be a hoot.

What is something you want people to know about your blog?
That it’s not about home improvement, unless you count how I’m blogging about the fact I finally cleaned my house.  It’s not about crafting, unless you see the photo of the blanket I made.  It’s not about sponsored posts, because I wouldn’t have a clue how to even do that.  It doesn’t have ads, because I don’t do this for revenue purposes.  It doesn’t have anything other than me.  And that’s just fine.

Better Late Than Never

It’s almost midnight on Wednesday, so I have a few minutes before I’m overdue.  Here’s this week’s answers:

1. Have you learned more from success or failure?
Failure.  Because it motivates me to feel the success on the next attempt.

2. What did you call your grandparents when you were growing up? If you have children, what do they call your parents?  If you have grandchildren, what do they call you?
Nana and Papa and Grandma and Pepa.  Grandma still to this day tells the story of how I broke her heart the day I got out of the car and carefully pronounced Grandma instead of “Meemaw”, her preferred name.  My parents are known as Sassy and Tito.  Mom always wanted to be Coco, but when my eldest niece was born they had a cat named Coco.  So somehow Sassy became her name.  My brother is determined to call her Coco though.  And my dad and his wife are waiting for the baby to get old enough to decide.

3. You’re invited to a luau.  In keeping with that theme, what dish do you bring to share?
Does pineapple upside down cake sound trite?  I’d love to take taro boba, but it’s not luau food.

4. Besides Jesus, what one person’s life story do you think everyone should know?
You know, there could be any of a few.  I liked the answer of Hitler, so we remember what hate can do.  But I also think people like Medgar Evers, or MLK Jr., or the Little Rock Nine for what they stood for and what they accomplished.  Ryan White, as an example of how you can turn your experience around.  Mother Teresa.  Ghandi.  So many.

5. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Agree or disagree?
Some days.  Some days it’s the small stuff that gets ya’.

6. June is National Rivers Month…when were you last on a river?  What’s the prettiest river you’ve ever seen?  What’s a river you’d like to see?
I drove over the river today.  Twice in fact.  But I can’t remember the last time I played in one.  But by far, my favorite one is the Salzach River, running through the middle of Salzburg.

On a more serious note, please remember the people in Dohna, Germany.  The Elba River has overflowed again.  When I was there two years ago, there was a marker on the wall from a flood a few years ago, and another one from 1954 that was about 12 feet high.  This has surpassed the 1954 mark, and has shut down businesses, including that of a friends, and ruined homes.  It’s a horrible situation over there right now.

7. Speaking of rivers-paddling, swimming, fishing, or bird watching safely from the shore?  Which activity would you choose?  Yes-you have to choose.
Swimming.  No contest.  Would enjoy paddling or fishing, but swimming wins.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I’m still ruminating on the wedding I attended this past weekend.  It was such a lovely affair.  Simple, and God focused.  Beautiful.

Aw, Man! I wanted easy!

You know I truly enjoy these link parties.  Especially ones like last week, when we pick nine photos to share.  That’s fun.  I share a little bit of myself that I normally wouldn’t, the anonymous interwebs enjoy, and all is good.  I usually write up the posts the night before, as an attempt to relax after work.  Like tonight.  Worked from 8 to 7, no break.  Spent 90 minutes on the phone with Anthem–in California–trying to figure out how to fix my problem with Anthem in Virginia.  Changed clothes, sighed when I realized I’ll be 915 eating dinner, and tried to relax by doing the Tuesday Topics for this week.

Well Lauren, thanks for nothing.  Easy, my tired patootie.  Eight goals for the month?  That’s HARD to come up with after a long day at work.  Here goes:

Life. Love.Lauren Continue reading