Monday, October 24, 2011

Musical ADD

Help, I need more ears!

I am trying to digest new albums from:
Ryan Adams
Feist
Coldplay
Kaskade
Kelly Clarkson
Eisley
St Vincent
Florence + the Machine (Shake it Out on repeat, until her album's out on Nov 1)

However, Bon Iver is in the UK and was on Jools Holland the other day.  And I can't stop watching this.  I know, I know, you're sick of my Bon Iver love.  Too bad.

Gorgeous, full band.  Ah!

Hold me for the pops and clicks.

Musical Monday

Kaskade's new album drops this week.

I smell some dancing that's about to happen in my living room.....

I will be a DJ in my next life......

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Royal Wedding Madness

As I sit here watching Say Yes to the Dress, I remembered I have a draft post about THE wedding of the year - the royal wedding.

I wore my fascinator to work that day, avoided all press as much as possible, and waited until I could meet up with Megs and Chantal to watch hours of coverage.  Chantal's mum is British, and she had quite the spread for us.  

Scones?  Check.  
Clotted cream?  Check.
Wedding veils and fancy dresses?  Check.
Princess Di memorial book?  Check.
Cake toppers and Cadbury chocolates?  Check.

We watched about five hours of coverage.  And while I'm super sad to see the end of Kate Middleton for the Win (seriously, best tumblr ever), long live Wills and Kate (or Bill and Cathy Cambridge, whatever you want to call them)
I promise I'm not a girly girl, but royal weddings call for such attention, right? 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Right Coast!

I visited my former homeland a few weeks ago, primarily to attend a wedding, but I don't need much of an excuse to set foot in DC.  There was even a Five Guys waiting for me across from my arrival gate once I stepped off the plane.  Ah, the East Coast - how I miss you!  However, I do not miss your humidity.  That was like a smack on the skin when I stepped outta IAD.  Gross.

Slick avoided his 3-hour commute that Thursday by working from home, so he was able to pick me up from the airport.  We'd do anything for each other, but a special place is reserved for those friends who will do airport runs for you.  They're a step above the rest of humanity.

I missed that face.
I had a little Hoya reunion with Angelle, Jacinda, Katie and Liz on Friday night at The Tombs (St Elmo's Fire, anyone?).  And maybe I got a little nostalgic.  Best years of my life, right there in that 4 block radius.
We were there long enough to get ours hand stamped (Liz asked for a forehead stamp since she didn't get one on her 21st), but not long enough to see the party really get started on the dance floor.  We're too old for that now.
Jacinda and I flashed back to our accounting class days with Srini across the street.  Bonus points on the exams if you could spell his last name (Sakaraguruswamy).

After dinner I drove across town to my old hood to pick up the groom of previously mentioned wedding at the metro.  A little pre-wedding party was at Bus Boys and Poets, and man, how my old hood had gentrified!  A few years ago there's no way on earth I would've walked down 5th St by myself, day or night, but now with a 24-hour Safeway and luxury condos on the block - pshaw.

I hadn't seen Michael in years!  So great to catch up, especially since the three of us used to spin electro-house music at all hours when we lived next door to each other in summer 2003.  That's what you get when you mix an Italian, a Spaniard, and a white chick who thinks she's Euro.
The lovely bride and groom - Janine and Javi.  Both Peace Corps alums.  They're hard core.
Saturday - wedding day.  My first Georgetown wedding that actually took place at Dahlgren.
I've been to enough Catholic masses that I knew I'd be confused as to when to stand, sit, kneel, turn to your neighbor and what to say or sing.  But that's alright. I successfully conveyed peace to my neighbor at a semi-appropriate time.
After the ceremony we headed across town to Silver Spring for a little lunch action at Mrs. K's Tollhouse.  I used to work in that neighborhood and had seen Mrs K's daily, though never eaten there.  It's a 'ladies who lunch' sorta place.
I don't even remember what we ate, but it was good.  Don't people only go to weddings for the food anyway?  No dancing, just mingling, and I successfully avoided the bouquet toss.  Michael's little girl, Sophia, filled in for me.
Jan had promised to cook me dinner while I was in town, so after the wedding I headed to his place in NE DC.  We explored his neighborhood before getting down to food business.  It was my second Catholic activity of the day - visiting the Franciscan Monastery.


They have the Hail Mary prayer written in well over a hundred ancient and modern languages and some lovely gardens.  It was worth suffering in the humidity to see some of this stuff.  The security guard yelled at us when we tried to enter the chapel - apparently he didn't think we wanted to step into the Mass that was going on.
Finally - the main event.  Turns out I like brussells sprouts more than I remembered.  Though the tomato peppers were a little too spicy.  I'm a weanie.
Delicious potato soup with chives, made from scratch.  Yum, yum.
And Jan, enjoying his perfectly seasoned steak.

We spent the rest of the night in a Mormons vs Catholics dart rematch.  Our rivalry dates back to 2001.  I wasn't doing so hot at first, but switching to my left hand made all the difference. How's that for ambidexterity?
Sunday morning I made my rounds to some of the DC singles wards, including one that meets in the Single Mormon Mecca.  I was super glad not to be in one of those wards while I lived in DC, and honestly I was almost intimidated to walk into one even now.  But no worries - I saw Celisse pull into the parking lot, ran into Katie while walking in, saw Jeff who I hadn't seen in years in the lobby, tweeted Joe Juanstan who was sitting on the stand, got a FB message from a Phoenix friend sitting in the row behind me, and saw lots of other familiar faces.  No big deal.  Three Relief Societies and two Elders Quorums are still full of people I know.

After church I drove to north Arlington to see Abe and Kim and their munchkins, who are finally back in the US of A for good.  Their girls are hilarious, and add in a couple kittens and you've got a rolling good time.
They just moved into a new house and hadn't unpacked anything, but their borrowed crock pot provided us with a delicious pot roast dinner.  That's the stuff Sundays are made of.
Time to rush to another social engagement, a birthday party for some guy I didn't know.  But a guy I do know - Mr Bill - ambushed me when I walked in.  Bill and I went to Primary together back in Oklahoma and have been friends ever since.  We still have our tradition of calling each other on our birthdays.  Yep, it's sustained us.  Okie friendships never die, even when you become a stodgy lawyer.
More people I know.  They  make me laugh.
So back when I was about 21, I fell in love with a band (that included two Okies) and joined their street team and went to all their concerts, because that's what you do when you're in college.  And despite growing out of that phase of my life to some extent, I am still really good friends with some people from those days, including the lovely Sammiterp.  Sam lives in my old Van Ness 'hood, so I met her there for lunch on Monday.  The Giant grocery store is way nicer now, btw.  IFFW for life!
After lunch I swung by my alma mater again to pick up some swag, then I drove over to see the munchkins and kittens again.  I helped install some cabinets, cause I'm good at holding things up on a wall.
Monday night, my last night in town, Slick, Christina, Tim and I went back into Georgetown for some food.
First stop, Georgetown Cupcake, because I needed to score dessert before they closed.  Yeah, yeah, the cupcake trend is on its way out, but I still love them.  And these ones are delicious.  Chocolate cubed?  Yes, please.  
Dinner was at the old standby, Pizzeria Paradiso.  I still think their small, original Dupont location is the best, but this one will definitely do.  Sparkling lemonade + a Bosco (add sausage) is pretty tasty.  

We walked to where M meets Wisconsin.  


And then we drove to the Iwo Jima Memorial, which is techinally called the Marine Corps Memorial, and finally after three tour buses left and I could hold my camera still out of the way of trees, I got an okay monument shot.
And then I drove back to Falls Church to see Stephen, who didn't go to UVA like his shirt says, rather he went to Georgetown with me.  His cute wife had baked a cake, so of course I ate more dessert.
Tuesday afternoon, my last few hours in DC.  I needed to explore Dupont Circle and the Shake Shack that recently opened, so I picked up Celisse and we had lunch.  I also dropped into my favorite little photography shop to pick up some stuff to hang on my still white walls, despite moving in four months ago.  I won't let myself hang pictures of places I haven't actually visited, but I prematurely bought some Istanbul shots since I'll be there soon enough.
I meant to stop by the new MLK memorial on the way outta town, but I didn't.  Cause it was on the verge of raining only it didn't rain, so it was jut 99% humidity and disgustingness, so I stayed in the car.  I also didn't get to visit my old Natty G friends, so that'll have to be another trip.

Until next time, DC.



Dynamic Views

Anyone else playing with dynamic views in Blogger?

We all read stuff on Google Reader, but maybe this is incentive to go hang out at someone's actual blog page.

Hit the upper left corner - I've got it set to magazine now, but you can choose your own reading adventure.  Flipcard might be a winner.

Ch-ch-check it out......

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reasons I Think I Want an iPhone

1) Words with Friends from my phone, no longer spreading games out for weeks on Facebook
2) Practice the piano with a metronome app!
3) Spotify!  All the music in my hand.  My precious!
4) Facetime with my brothers
5) Shazam, in the rare case that I don't know who sings a song
6) Nike Plus app - so I can run and set goals and keep running
7) Load AMEX specials when I check in on Foursquare (their app development for Blackberry is sloooow)
8) Siri
9) Instagram
10) I can't think of a tenth reason right now. Not Angry Birds.  Maybe Cut the Rope?

Reason I don't want an iPhone
1) Touchscreen (I shall miss my full Blackberry keyboard)
2) No more PINs to Christian

Let's see how long I hold out.....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Huh?

A few days ago I headed downtown LA to watch The Swell Season documentary, which might be coming to a theater near you.  And if you love Glen and Mar, you should check it out.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should first go watch Once, and then we can talk.

I will never get tired of Falling Slowly.

Anyway - that's not my point.

Before the film, this little clip played.  And I liked the animals and animation, and I liked the song (and Willie Nelson) and then at the end I was really surprised to see who/what was behind the video.

Do you know?  Can you guess?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Musings

I think I want to go to this tonight:
I dig Meiko and Gotye is all the buzz, apparently.

I saw a Groupon today for this, and I should go sometime.  Maybe my previous gymnastics training will come in handy?

I know you're all sick of Pumped Up Kicks, but I saw Foster the People on Saturday night and had a dancin' good time.  Surprisingly it was one of the funnest shows I've been to in awhile.  

Also, I survived my first official Sunday in my family ward.  Adios, YSA life - I'm ready to move on.  And two Georgetown connections in my new ward - I think I'm gonna be alright. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Brandon Flowers: I'm a Mormon

Maybe he's ditched the guyliner, but I've long maintained that if Mormon dudes were as cool as BFlow, I'd have been married a long time ago.  Even with the guyliner.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

(Last) Weekend Update

In reverse:

Last Sunday afternoon, LA closed off ten miles of streets for bikers to enjoy a car-free environment during CicLAvia (doesn't that sound like a drug?).  My bike's been in the closet since my trek to Manhattan Beach earlier this summer, and it felt fantastic to dust it off.  It was a glorious afternoon, and Kenny and I made a video about our adventure.  I almost ran over a policeman while driving into oncoming traffic while holding the camera in my hands.  Awesome.  And then last night I mostly watched Kenny click and move some stuff around a computer screen really fast, but video editing is cool.  We even made a stop at OccupyLA.  Here's our finished product:


I normally have church on Sunday afternoon, but this weekend was stake conference.  I was reminded of why I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after hearing three new converts share their stories, about having faith to do hard things, and 'the economy of the Lord's sociality.'  That last one's a Bednar quote - still thinking about that one.

On Saturday afternoon I built a shelf.  Photos forthcoming.

Friday night Kenny and I headed up to the Observatory, cause I've never been! I've never really taken my camera out of auto mode, so I armed myself with a tripod that I've never used, and Kenny taught me a few things.  Luckily all the rain last week cleared out the sky - I could actually see planes taking off from LAX.

The small, but lovely, DTLA.
Looking towards Hollywood.

Friday I had a lunch date with Spanish Jason - an amigo from Georgetown.  We haven't hung out at all since I moved to LA, even though it's been 5 months.  He's an endearing flake of a lawyer, what can I say?  It was DineLA week, so we tried out Engine Co No 28, located in a restored firehouse downtown.  Pumpkin soup, rib eye steak sandwich with roasted red peppers and gouda, perfect shoestring fries, and a bacon brownie with ice cream = pretty delicious.

Viva Los Angeles!





Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Travel Addicts Anonymous

This is about to get a little more use this year.


Hi, my name is Lauren and I'm addicted to traveling.

I've long had a goal to visit one other country per year - I figure that's reasonable, right?

Except somehow I went to four countries last year (in 60 days, no less, and on both sides of the Pacific) and it looks like I'm going to hit four again in 2011 (across the Pacific AND the Atlantic).

I really thought I was reaching the "slowing my roll" phase of life.  Maybe staying in one place for awhile, putting down some roots, going to a new country every two years.  I've done a lot since leaving my little Oklahoma town a dozen years ago.  Seen a lot of places.  More than most people in a lifetime.  I know I'm fortunate to be able to do this (or maybe I'd just rather buy a plane ticket over food at the grocery store).

I just booked all my flights within Turkey after a very short internal debate about whether or not to research bus and train schedules.  I'll be there in five weeks (and it's awesome that a flight between Istanbul and Izmir was as cheap as a bus and it won't take me ten hours).

I'm throwing in a little Utah trip for Christmas.  Thanks Southwest, for that free flight.

And then maybe I just booked a flight to Mexico City for New Years to reunite with Tim and reinstate our NYE tradition - this'll be the fifth year together!  I mean, he's only going to be living there for two years, and since the government has given him a nice place to live in a nice neighborhood and since someone could theoretically find me if I get kidnapped, I should take advantage of the opportunity, right?

Goal for 2012 - stay in America?  Explore my new city that I actually like being in? I promise I love you, Los Angeles.  Don't be jealous.  I'll miss you while I'm away (I think).

Except Karen!  I have to visit you next year.  Olympics? Keep our tradition alive?  I'd hate to see how addicted I'll be if I actually make Europe my home one day.  You are my inspiration.  Different country every month!

TripIt is awesome, BTW.



Monday, October 10, 2011

Musical Monday

Video overload today - sorry.

Earlier this summer I had the privilege of seeing The Civil Wars at a small LA venue with about 200 other people.  No phones, no cameras allowed; just devoted, musical appreciation.  And it was glorious. Despite the fact that they're married to other people, Joy and John Paul have this incredible musical chemistry that just filled the stark room.  Kinda like the first time I saw The Swell Season, which I'll get to in a minute....

Check the devastatingly beautiful Poison and Wine video from a recent Rolling Stone session (you've had that relationship they're talking about, right?): OR the more upbeat, souful Barton Hollow (and if you're reading this on Google Reader, I'm guessing the videos don't show up):

In other musical news, The Swell Season documentary is playing in downtown LA this week only, and I need to catch it.  You already know I'm obsessed with Once and have traveled several states over to see Glen and Mar more than a handful of times.  Marketa's new album is out - you can listen here.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Quiz Time!

I love taking quizzes, btw.

The NY Times has a lovely visual personality test today - take it!

My results - Culture Curious (it's mostly correct).

You embrace all varieties of culture and love new ideas that push boundaries and explore new avenues of thinking. You love to dress so that your personality shines through and you enjoy sharing your unusual perspectives on life with all who will listen. When all is said and done, you are a bit of an intellect with a tendency to do a spot of soul searching from time to time.
You're sophisticated and inquisitive with a real passion for art and culture. You pride yourself on being an early adopter of the latest music and films and always like to have a good book on the go. Your ability to bring together very diverse and even dissenting opinions is rooted in your appreciation for all points of view. You believe in immersing yourself in interesting experiences that make you look at people, places and opportunities from new angles. Being sensitive and creative you want to feel connected to the world around you and actively seek out opportunities to explore it. It's all about broadening your horizons and living life to the full. Anything else would not fulfill your curious nature.
You'll love the list of The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made, the Critics' Picks and Arts Beat.

Skop-meh and the good parts of Macedonia

We arrived back in Skopje after that early bus ride from Prizren, and while we had to check out of our Airbnb apartment that morning, we we...