Book club: MWF Seeking BFF

I think I've seen She's All That too many times.

And for that matter, 10 Things I Hate About You.

Not because I often break out into choreographed dances to Fatboy Slim songs (I do), or pine for a place where Y and I can throw giant paint balls at each other (I definitely do).  I actually came to this conclusion because I'm convinced that when anyone seems to like me, they're only doing it as part of a bet. 

Since I've been married for almost three years and am pretty sure Y isn't betting he can turn me into prom queen, I've displaced this fear onto friendships. People are only hanging out with me because there's some kind of bet on the line.

 Okay, maybe I'm not that down on myself, but when I hang out with a new friend, there is a tiny part of my brain that thinks that after we hang out, she's going to go make fun of me with Sean William Scott I mean Paul Walker (are they the same person??), Andrew Keegan, and everyone else who is in on the bet. 

All that to say that making new friends is awkward. I'm really glad my book club decided to read MWF Seeking BFF, a memoir that goes into detail about the complete awkwardness of making new friends as an adult. Rachel Bertsche, the author, reminded me of myself in so many ways, including having incredibly creepy hyper-recall (I remember every conversation I've ever had with you, friends...and possibly what I was wearing for each one) and never knowing whether to hug or shake hands. I was kind of sad when the book ended, in the way that you get sad when you hang up the phone with an old friend. 

Katie decorated her house with polka dots to match the front cover of the book. It was pretty freaking cute. 

Oh and did I mention we Skyped with Rachel Bertsche? That's her on the laptop above. My favorite thing she told us is that for her birthday this year, she's having a 90's throwback slumber party... with 26 people! Pretty fun, since at the beginning of her book she barely had a handful of acquaintances, much less anyone you could invite to a slumber party without seeming like a total weirdo.

Pink was the unofficial color of the night; pizza was the official meal (including dessert pizza, above). 

And there were favors! Friendship bracelets, of course. I loved mine, wore it the next day, and assumed everyone was talking about me behind my back.

Oh, and FYI I'm not ashamed to admit that yes, I learned the She's All That prom dance to Rockafeller Skank when I was in high school and yes, I have googled "paint balls that you throw" many, many times in my life. Want to be my friend?

I'll miss you... New Orleans

You never know what will happen in New Orleans. From crying in a bathroom stall of a bar while telling a drag queen how beautiful she is, to catching beads thrown by Joshua Jackson (in the Pacey Witter era), to listening to Morgan Freeman sing while you eat the best fish and bread pudding you've eaten in your life.

Last weekend, thanks to an overbooked hotel in the midst of Mardi Gras season, I ended up in a luxury suite with a perfect view of St. Charles where my friend and I watched a parade from a new angle.

In the hotel across the street from ours, an elderly couple enjoyed the parade hand in hand... as a girl waltzed around in lingerie in the window above theirs for 45 minutes.

Even though we weren't dancing until 4 am with leftover fried chicken fingers in our purse (as has been known to happen) and waking up 4 hours later to dance with Ellen (as has also happened), it was still amazing to spend time with good friends. Two minutes of laughter that leaves you gasping for air and covered in snot that only happens with your best friends is worth every second of a five hour drive.

And the food. I could easily make a separate post entitled I'll miss you... boudin and grits. And praline bacon. And king cake. And bread pudding. And jambalaya. 

I'll miss you... archive:

book club: black heels to tractor wheels

Here's what I knew about the blogger Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) before I read her book:

  • Girl makes a mean cinnamon toast.
  • Apparently Reese Witherspoon will play her in the NY Times best-selling story of her life.
  • I have entered no less than 5 giveaways on her cooking blog to win candy-colored Kitchenaid mixers
  • I am the proud owner of all of her {free} photoshop actions, such as Old West:

As you can probably tell, I had no expectations going into reading her book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.

Here's what I know about blogger Pioneer Woman after reading her book:

  • She annoys the sh*t out of me.
  • I can think of three people off the top of my head who could write a better book than she did.
Obviously, I was not a fan of this book. And when our book club met at Laurasia (my phone's autocorrect pet name for "Laura's"),  we were pretty divided on it. Here's the breakdown:

The "loved it" girls felt like Ree did a great job expressing the "fizziness" of a new relationship. The "hated it" girls thought Ree was a bad person and her relationship was based on a lot of making out and some big arm muscles. My personal opinion was that the story wasn't even that interesting, although a better writer could have made me care. Case in point:  in the book, Ree runs over her childhood pet, and in describing it, didn't even make me feel bad for her. I felt like I was reading a far-off narrator explain to aliens how a girl might act if her dog died.

When my car suddenly shook from a series of unsettling bumps, i knew something dire had happened. To my horror, when I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw that I’d run over Puggy Sue. Puggy Sue, my fat, prognathic canine who’d settled into my arms the day I’d returned from California and had become, in effect, my child during my time at home, was now lying on my parents’ street, squealing, writhing, and unable to move her hind legs. 

Hearing Puggy’s yelps from inside the house, my mom darted outside, scooped her up, and immediately rushed her to the vet’s office. Within thirty minutes, she called to tell me the news to which I’d already started resigning myself: Puggy Sue, my little package of fawn-colored love, was dead. 

I spent the next several hours in a fetal position, reeling over the sudden death of Puggy. 

I'm glad we read this though, if only because the conversation was hilarious and the food - recipes from the Pioneer Woman blog including fig and prosciutto pizza, bruschetta, chicken spaghetti, and pear clafouti- averaged about 4 sticks of butter per dish.  And there was sangria. Butter and sangria, who could ask for anything more?

& a few pictures from our Gatsby book club night, which somehow slipped through the blog cracks:

101 in 1001: Austin City Limits

scenes on South Congress

Confession: I started one of those 101 in 1001 to-do lists last week.

I know I'm, what, 2 years late to this party? But I had a great reason: September 15, 2011 was exactly 1001 days until my 30th birthday. I can't think of a better thing to count down to than my impending senior citizenship.

Just kidding. But 30 is kind of scary, considering I feel 16 about 99% of the time.

Anyway, I think rather than sharing my 101/1001 list here, I'll just be sure to tell you when I check something off, like I did this past weekend: attend a music festival.

Even though I've been to Jazzfest in New Orleans twice, I felt like I had never had an actual music festival experience. My first time, I was a senior in high school and was only allowed to be there for a few hours. We got there just in time to stand at the back of a Dave Matthews concert, and left immediately after. My freshman year in college I went back, armed with a Sharpie-d shirt that said "WE <3 U JOHN MAYER" which I'd like to pretend never existed.

I've always wanted to go to Austin City Limits, and I knew next year I might not have the luxury of a relatively short car ride. So I went.

We heard Ray LaMontagne, whose voice was -- as the girl behind us correctly noted -- like butter despite his lack of personality (made up for by his sassy sign language interpreter). Dehydrated and hungry, we stood in the middle of a haze of smoke listening to Foster the People. We arrived early for Sara Bareilles and ended up front and center; she played her song "Let the Rain" on guitar and when she threw her pick into the crowd, it landed on my foot. She and her band busted out the accordion for a perfect cover of Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man". 

I stood in the middle of the park with "Love Lockdown" in my left ear and "Viva La Vida" in my right ear as people streamed back and forth, trying to decide which concert to see. We eventually ended up at Kanye West, in the middle of thousands of white people in tight jeans and fedoras yelling we want prenup!

I only made it to ACL for one day, but I'd say I had a pretty great music festival experience. I can't wait to go back to Austin and I'm mildly obsessed with this little video of the trip I made using the 8 mm camera app and iMovie:


on royal weddings

In the summer of 2005, I studied abroad in London and was instantly in love.

The best part? Other than the perfectly stoic atmosphere after the 2 attacks on the Tube, the wandering around Notting Hill pretending to search for a handsome British bookkeeper (but not really pretending), and the breeze while studying in Hyde Park, I fell in love with high tea. At home, tea was a refreshing thing to drink while sweating your face off. In London, tea was a drink that came with three tiers of treats.

tea at Harrod's, July 2005

Who knew that a few months later, I'd start dating my half-British future husband, who would proceed to make me a cup of English breakfast tea almost every morning for the next 5 years (and counting)?

Anyway, I share that because I want to let you in on why I was so excited to celebrate the royal wedding with - what else - a tea party. Other influencing factors included:

1. the fact that this poster once graced my wall (right underneath a poster of Dawson and Pacey):


3. HATS!

If you don't agree that those are good reasons to whip up some scones, break out the Pimm's cups, and plop a bunch of feathers on your head, well, I don't think we can be friends.

Hope you all started your weekend with a fairy tale celebration as well, and are ending it with some good old fashioned American pride if you're from the States!

arts and crafts time

Somewhere along the line, all of my friends really stepped it up in the crafts department and left me behind to spray paint pumpkins. For example, A. sews her own clothes and makes statement art for her house.

Imagine how embarrassed I was when I proudly handed her a meticulously decoupaged birthday card for her 27th birthday. She handled it gracefully; I think she's going to be a great mom someday.

One of the first friends I made when we moved here for medical school does the following: metalworking, jewelry-making, painting, children's book illustrating, and cake decorating. Usually on the same day. Oh, and she's an aspiring radiologist. I know, right? It took all the energy I had to decoupage one 4x6 birthday card.

I think I'm most impressed with my friend Diane, though. She's the first person I know who's decided to capitalize on her talent. Although she could have easily started a store selling light fixtures like the one she made for her kitchen... or reupholstered chairs like the many I've seen around her house... or her homemade Christmas stockings... I was pretty excited when she started selling her handmade clutches. And she even gave herself a brand name: Coventry Lane. (Which she claims is the first street she lived on, but I'm preeeetty sure is just the second part of her porn star name.)

Your homework: 1) Check out the rest of Coventry Lane's clutches and 2) impress me with your secret crafty talents. Is anyone else on the kindergarten-decoupaging couch with me?

a midwestern adventure

I like adventures.

Whether they are as epic as meeting Kobe Bryant in Las Vegas....

We had a very stimulating conversation. I said, "Can I take a picture with you?" and he said, "No."

as bizarre as accepting a ride from a combo bus driver/cowbell player in Florida...

as irritating as herding sheep out of our way during a scenic drive in Ireland...

as ridiculous sounding as driving to Canada...

as stupid as walking across the Brooklyn Bridge with a paralyzing fear of heights...

or as confusing as trying to find Lance Armstrong at the finish line of the Tour de France.

That's not him in yellow, contrary to our popular belief at the time.

I've been spoiled in that I've traveled to so many interesting places, as early as a wee three year old. Did I mention I lived in Holland? the 1600s, apparently.

Now, thanks to being dragged from country to country, museum to museum for as long as I can remember, I hate sitting still. In my spare time I plan hypothetical vacations and browse And when I find $100 plane tickets to Chicago from my local regional [usually expensive] airport, I don't pass that up.

So, I recruited two friends and we're off to Chicago tomorrow morning before the sun comes up. I think I'm most excited to step outside without sweating and drink my first pumpkin spice latte of the season - they aren't quite as exciting when it's 90 degrees and the closest Starbucks advertises them like this:

It's the PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE, people! Show it some respect!

I've actually been to Chicago once before, just for a day, and made the unfortunate mistake of wearing boxers under a dress in order to ride a bike without flashing anyone.

Which leads me to the real reason I'm going to Chicago -- I need pictures of myself in the Windy City where it doesn't look like I'm wearing a diaper.


The other day, this arrived in my mailbox:

There was no note, so naturally, I assumed it was laced with anthrax. No matter that it was the day after my birthday and several people had asked me for my address and one of those people happens to be JUST the type of person to send a plant with no note.

before I put two and two together, but after I determined that the plant was not anthrax and didn't seem to be ticking (because I assume all weapons are made by Acme) I started to feel bad for this lonely plant. Like it had wandered onto my doorstep, whimpering, desperate for a home. I had to take care of it. So, I did the only thing I knew to do: watered it, dressed it up in Anthropologie, and named it Bob.

Of course, eventually I realized that Bob The Plant was a birthday gift and it hadn't chosen me to nurse it back to health. But I like my story better.


Would you guys shun me if I told you I had an imaginary friend? If it helps, she's only sort of imaginary. She exists, I've just never met her. If we're getting specific, she's more like a pen pal from the past.

Kam/Kim/Karen Hefstader/Heferstader/Hofstad -- the previous owner of my law and ethics textbook.

While my classmates are arguing about whether or not Boomkeisha is an acceptable name for a baby, or while my teacher discusses how "Jews may have Ramadan, but they're still white and therefore have no history", or while I explain to the class why chain letters are not a valid source of information -- you, KamKimKaren, are the voice of reason in my class.

You always have a relevant comment to the stuff we're supposed to be learning, whether it's "indeed." or "well said!" or "WHOA!" or "***ASK MOM!" or "BUUUUSH!" which I can only imagine being said like this:

I kind of feel like I already know you, KimKam, but there's so much more I need to know. What makes you underline words like "but", "if", "also" and "because"? How can this possibly be helpful? Also, are you a pirate?

And, who uses the word "yipes"?

But really if I could tell you just one thing, whoever you are, it would be that after a long day of work, and an additional 4 hours of class, nothing brightens my day more than one of your exclamation mark faces.

Basically what I'm trying to say here is, SOMEONE BE MY FRIEND SO I'LL STOP TALKING TO WRITING.

Taylor is the new Lizzie.

I went on a little road trip last weekend to embrace my inner 16 year old.

Yes... four friends and I, most of us over the age of 25, went to a Taylor Swift concert and in between songs about high school crushes and Jonas brothers, we talked nonstop about how we could all be her best friend. Seriously. Two of us are married, two of us are homeowners, and we can all relate perfectly to a song about being fifteen. That is the beauty of Taylor Swift.

[Confession: I spent my four hour car ride memorizing the lyrics to all of her songs. This activity replaced my usual road trip entertainment: impressing myself with my ability to remember songs from my youth. My proudest moment? I still know all the words to Gettin Jiggy Wit It.]

In case you never get the opportunity to make it to a Taylor Swift concert, I'll give you the rundown:

Taylor sings a song, making sure to punch the air with her fist and/or run her hand through her hair. You desperately wish you were her, so you strike a Taylor pose:

Taylor finishes song and, in awe, looks at the crowd:

and looks.

and looks.

I mean, we get it, Tiger Stadium is pretty impressive and there are a lot of people there.

(When I showed Yoni this picture, he noted pretty seriously that he's surprised there was no epistaxis among my friends and me, and then laughed gleefully at his exclusive little joke. This is why he wasn't invited.)

And Taylor looks on.

And on.

Seriously, this went on for at least two minutes.

I began to wonder what Ike was doing.

(That's about how I felt, too at this point, buddy.)

And when I was done Ike-dreaming, Taylor was still staring.

I would say by the end of the show, there were about 10 minutes total of combined staring.

(Scholarly Ike calculates that the staring:singing ratio was 1:12.)

But even with all of the awkward staring (and dancing...and arm thrusting...and attempts at conversation) we did enjoy ourselves. And if Taylor Swift and I had gone to high school together, I'm pretty sure we would have skipped through the halls together, holding hands and wearing sparkly dresses.

I can only hope we had as good of a time as this person, who must have a special place in their heart for the music of T Swizzle and just had to take a solo picture in front of the tour bus. Like I said, that's the beauty of Taylor Swift. We were all fifteen year old girls once.

d out

Once upon a time, three girls flew to Vegas armed with kukui beads, shrugs, and some useful advice: Don't tell anyone your real name.

"Jordan", "Riley", and "Taylor"

4 years later the same three girls, joined by two more friends, traveled to Dallas. This time we were armed with better clothing but the same precious advice. We chose the name "Carol". All of us. We figured a name like Carol - generally associated with well, moms -- would deter any weird people (aka, guys on steroids wearing Ed Hardy) from talking to us. As you can see from the picture below, it didn't quite work, but the name stuck.

To account for how 5 girls named Carol were friends, we explained we had met at a national convention for people named Carol and thus, the Carol Convention was born.

How dare they misspell our fake name?

This article in Real Simple inspired us to designate one person each year to plan a surprise trip (the yearly Carol Convention) and to add two more Carols to our posse. The girls (ladies? women?) in the article are in their 30s and some even have kids, but every year each one puts in a certain amount of money and one person plans a surprise weekend, heightening the suspense with months of clues.

Well, this year's trip starts Thursday, and after our series of cryptic clues, we were convinced we were going to be playing putt putt on a cruise with mailmen. But, it turns out we're going to a tiny resort town in Florida for 4 glorious days. Since the thing that makes my blog remotely amusing are tales of Y and Ike, neither of whom are invited, I might not have any fun blogs from the trip. So, I'm putting the pressure on my hilarious friend Kathy to recap the weekend!

fashion show! fashion show! fashion show at lunch!

Last weekend I went to New Orleans, where my friends and I celebrated my friend A's birthday. A and I are both interested in fashion (although she's probably never accidentally dressed like a French clown). So, since I have over 10,000 pictures on iPhoto dating back to 2004 (I'm that annoying girl who always carries a camera, okay? Deal with it.), I decided this blog needed a montage of A's birthday fashion.

2004: Judging by the color of R (center)'s fabulous pants, this was not taken on A's birthday but sometime after Memorial day. However, I think it's an accurate representation of what we might have worn to celebrate our dear friend's 20th birthday. Note the abundance of pink and polka dots.

For A's 21st birthday, we celebrated with light denim, shades of green, and a shirred top with a lovely applique.

Of course A, who didn't even know she was about to be attending her surprise 21st birthday party, is the only one of us who actually looked good.

2006. One word: gauchos. Okay, two more words: denim jacket.

2007: Well... I don't actually have anything to say here. Good job, girls.

2008: the year of the weave.

And, 2010: A apparently borrowed her outfit from her 21 year old self.

Happy birthday, A! You're closer to 50 than you are to one! Can't wait to see what you wear to your 40th birthday bus trip to Lucy's.