carol convention top five

Two weeks ago, my friends and I embarked on our annual trip, which we like to call Carol Convention (read more about it here). We spent the weekend at a cabin in the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas which, believe it or not, is actually really, really pretty. Because I like to think my friends and I can be pretty entertaining, I bring you:

5. Inventing peanut butter m&m pancakes. Recipe: throw peanut butter m&m's into Aunt Jemima pancake mix. Source: Just Dandy original. Be on the lookout for my cookbook.

4. Making a music video to Justin Bieber's Boyfriend in the middle of the woods and on the top of a mountain.  I wonder if that will ever see the light of day.

3. Since every year a different one of us plans the trip, at some point we have to figure out who will be in charge of the next one. On previous trips, we've found a "mascot" guy to draw a name out of a hat; at a piano bar in Florida we decided that a guy who looked like Fabio was the most hilarious man we had ever seen, it clearly had to be him. Last year at a dance hall in Texas, I asked a cowboy who had performed earlier that evening to be The One.

This year, we shared our secluded cabin with not a soul -- except for two dogs. The only thing to do was tape three names to the bottom of three bowls and put meat in each one. Whichever bowl the dog went for first contained the name of our next planner.

2. The most ridiculous game of Catchphrase. The scene: We're trying to guess a word based on clues my friend Dana is giving us.

Dana: Okay, if I want to talk to someone I would call them on my....
Us: Cell phone!
Dana: Nope.
Us: Cellular phone!
Dana: No.
Us: Mobile phone!
Dana: No...
Us: MoBILE phone!
Dana: NO.
Us: Cellular device?
Dana: NO!!
Us: Smartphone?
The rest of us are silent.
Dana: TELEphone.

1. Throughout the United States, you might like to joke that those of us who live in The Dirty South are partial to marrying our relatives. Well, in the south, we like to deflect that accusation on one state in particular: Arkansas.

You guys, we were in Arkansas for TWO. DAYS. We listened to local radio for maybe an hour total. Besides hearing Gotye approximately 656 times in that hour, we also heard a segment where the DJ asked people to call in and tell us "how their life is like a soap opera". The first caller:

I am dating a guy whose mother is his sister. 

I am thinking that kind of confession has to happen pretty often for us to have caught one in the short time we were there.

a carol convention recap

A few years ago, I ripped an article out of a magazine and it made things happen. The kind of things that you normally agree might be fun and then you just talk about for years and years.

I'm always ripping things out of magazines: from posters of male celebrities in middle school to wedding dress inspiration and recipes. I take great care to make sure each item is organized the way I want it, then I put it in a corresponding binder: recipes, home decor, entertaining inspiration... teen idols.

It's a huge waste of time. I've never looked at those things.

Until Real Simple's executive editor wrote about her and her friends' Great Escape-- their yearly vacation planned by one and kept a secret until the very last minute. My friends and I had just returned from a weekend full of marathon sessions of laughing until we couldn't breathe. I felt like we needed to do that yearly.

Although I e-mailed my friends pretty regularly, I made actual paper copies of the Real Simple article and snail-mailed them with a sticky note. Let's do this.

Who knows, maybe the actual paper made it feel more like something real and less like just another article.

A few weeks ago, I returned from the second episode of our very own Great Escape: a summer weekend in central Texas.

Where I experienced a short and sweet taste of Austin and its live music for the first time. (I'm excited to go back in September!)

Where we had to forgo fashion to avoid foot fungus at a water park.

Where we floated a river; a giant party on tubes. My favorite part was when we floated underneath the water park and the entire river cheered as the next victim was lifted to the top of a sky coaster. My least favorite part was cramming two giant tubes the size of my Prius into... my Prius.

One night we visited a teeny town called Gruene which, while undeniably charming, is running the risk of turning into the next great city turned tourist trap, a la Gatlinburg. The first sign: a ye olde timey photo studio. I predict a tacky t-shirt store and a few pancake houses within 5 years. I'm glad we visited while it was still charming.

We were in Gruene to visit the oldest dance hall in Texas.

One of us wore cowboy boots. One of us had really sweaty ankles.

(It was me.)


After a night of Texas beer and dancing (mainly with each other), we found a real live cowboy to draw the name of next year's planner.

While in Gruene, we found air conditioning in an antique store where one of us bought a phrenology head. Looking back, I'm not sure why we didn't return from our night out and read the bumps on each others' heads.

Probably because we were too busy laughing until we couldn't breathe.

Other Carol Convention posts: 1, 2, 3

carol convention 2011

Today is a very important day: the start of the annual Carol Convention.

I've explained Carol Convention before, but let me just sum it up by saying that at my old age of 27 and 4 days, it is the one weekend a year where I might have the opportunity to make a Facebook album with a line from a song as its title. Just like the olden days.

This year our planner, Leila, went all high tech on us with her clues for the weekend. We were sent this CD and told to listen to the songs, go to a website and answer questions about the songs, and only then would we receive our clue.

The clue:

Here is your packing list:
Cowboy boots
A Swim suit
Dancing Shoes
Water shoes
Water camera
Lots of room for Texas beer, chips, and salsa!

If you haven't figured it out, I'm headed to Texas today, authentic Target cowboy boots in tow!

For those of you who enjoyed the guest posts the past few days, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter! If you write a post, send me the link -- and I'll share my thoughts sometime next week, when the traveling craziness dies down.

For those of you who think my blog has turned into The View (aka Y's friends): a) dibs on being Whoopi and b) don't fear, the guest posts are over and I'll be back to making fun of your friend shortly. As in, tomorrow.

(PS: A recap of last year's Carol Convention. I'll do better this year.)