Friday, July 29, 2011


Guess who is ready for this weekend's America themed float trip?

Not pictured: my cut off shorts, camo beer coozie, and tiny tee I found on ebay that has an eagle holding a flag --- wait for it -- all bedazzled.
I love summer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fruit in unexpected places


We are like way overdue for a food post around here.  Since I have been hosting my college roomie while she’s in town, I thought it might be nice to make a departure from the on-the-go less than healthy options we’ve had lately.  Serendipitously, this month’s SELF magazine had several lovely fruit-in-regular-food recipes from which to choose.  Seriously: cherry chili, curried plum stir fry, the list goes on.  This particular one struck my fancy (i.e. was the easiest).


Fish Tacos with Strawberry Salsa (from SELF Magazine).

  • Cod (oven cooked)
  • Tortillas
  • Cabbage
  • Strawberries
  • Chives
  • Lemon & seasoning
  • JalapeƱos (I used poblanos because I’m a wimp, but totally should have gone for the bigger kick)
  • Dashes of sour cream.  Raise your hand if you’re addicted to dairy.

It was good food and made good times with two of my favorite gals (hi Bowler and crazy Amy) joining.

Sidebar: how awesome is it that strawberries are like a dollar a pint right now?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Snitches be Crazy

Avert your eyes if you’re sensitive to over the top nerdiness, because this entire post is nothing but shameless fanaticism devoted to the series that has captured our hearts and ABC family weekend programming for the past decade.  You know, the children’s series? Also creep alert, am I the only one who thought Harry and Neville were kind of hot in this movie? I know. Chris Hanson. Take a seat right there.

So we had a small party six months or so ago for the second-to-last movie (HP Deathly Hallows 7.1).  Amy made pumpkin pasties and butterbeer and it was so much fun I knew we could do that… and more.. for this the very final installment.

Also the planets were aligning for all of my favorite people, who also had fun with these books, to be in the same place at the same time.  Bowler lives in San Francisco but was coming back for a reunion, Stokes is moving to London in two weeks, Amy and Chris are moving somewhere far far away once he finishes his PHD in a few months, and Alisa is a temporary college resident who works 23098430928408 jobs and is planning to move to Madison the first chance she gets.  YOU SEE? You see how crazy it was that we were all together in Columbia MO at midnight on a Thursday (hello, a school night).

In short, the party was hilarious.  The movie was pretty great too.


But let’s back up. When Bowler and I lived together in college we would spend days brainstorming ridiculous ideas for hot gluing things to our ceiling, or using a staple gun and safety pins to make a toga.  We were crafty. We cracked ourselves up.

It warmed my little heart when Alisa tackled her first few college theme parties with the same creativity.  Also Bowler’s mad deco paging skills got her wedding into Glamour.  Oh HAAAAY.

OBVIOUSLY I took the day off work after picking her up from the airport and then we spent five hours at Jo Ann’s fabric getting craft supplies.

we did not buy buttons   making the magic happen

Making magic.  If only we had spells for this kind of thing.  We definitely wouldn’t have melted the Styrofoam.  Speaking of which….  I now know that you can’t spray paint Styrofoam.  Apparently this is common knowledge? Fail.  The golden snitches look like eroded moon rocks.


We brought snacks too.  Sterzings (heart! Thanks for sending them aunt Anne!), Treacle Fudge, Bertie Botts Every Flavor beans.

IMG_0799  IMG_0800

Amy, the most domestic of us all, produced butterbeer cupcakes.  YUM.  Not pictured is the butterbeer itself (part butterscotch schnapps and part cream soda), and the flasks we labeled ‘polyjuice potion’ that were filled with cinnamon whiskey.  If you’re wondering if we took them into the movie theater.  The answer is spilled in the bottom of Bowler’s purse.


My darling sister made fun cups for everyone’s butterbeer and pipe cleaner glasses for us.

IMG_0802  IMG_0798

We brought along an invisibility cloak.  It’s a shame you can’t see Bowler and Stokes in this picture.  They’re there, I promise.


Of course Bowler made tiny broomsticks and the makings for wands too (feathers, dragon heartstrings, pipe cleaners, etc.)


Remember how scary it was in HP DH 7.1 when the snake came out of the old lady?  The following is a dramatization of that event.


Of course when you’ve got wands and butterbeer flowing, sh**  starts getting real.  DUELING.




This one was totally inspired by the office, which I’m sure was inspired by a real action movie.  You could cut this tension with a knife the sword of Gryffendor.


Another duel, Bowler is fleeing the scene of the crime by tiny broom.


Casting spells is totally the most effective way to solve a domestic dispute.


So after a most hilarious party in which we actually were SUPER excited for the movie, we eventually made our way to the theater for the midnight showing.  Man. Midnight showings are great.  Why don’t I do this more often? The crowd is cheering and laughing and amped up. And when you go with your buddies, it makes everything ten times funnier. 


Wait a minute, is that the sword if Gilbert Godfrey Godrick Gryffendor?


This was my favorite of all 8 films.  I laughed, I got choked up (others were bawling like babies), I hurled.  And that’s not just the polyjuice potion talking.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Champagne Wishes and Caspian Dreams


So this weekend months of planning, years of giggling, and a lifetime of dreaming about Emily’s big day came together for one of the loveliest weddings I’ve attended.  She and John were all smiles and their excitement and love for the day, each other, and everyone there filled the room.  She was radiant.  And someone else didn’t look too shabby in an up-do…


BAM. Guess who is a bridesmaid.  That’s right, #3 in your programs, #1 in your hearts! Caspian blue taffeta and peacock hair accessories are my jam.  Also pay no mind to the barefoot bridesmaid over yonder, she’ll just be doing 10,000,000 Hail Mary’s to make up for it and enduring some dirty looks from the other ‘maids and all grandmas in attendance.


The wedding was at this unbelievably beautiful and ornate church, and the reception was in this posh ballroom and overlooked the KC performing arts center.  Or maybe it was the Sydney Opera House.  I guess you’ll never know.


They toasted with my aunt Sheila’s pretty painted wine glasses.  Get that woman on Etsy!


There was busting a move….


I guess mom learned a little something in Zumba too.


There was lots of dancing.


Lots of sweating. (sweet mother of God it was triple digits that day).


A little bit of planking.


A few photo ops (my Dad is crazy about Emily).


And lots and LOTS of hilarious moments with friends.


Congrats to the prettiest bride and happiest couple ever.  Now hurry up and get back from your honeymoon so we can recap and plan your next open bar party.

On Wisconsin

So I come from many fun food-loving ladies.  A long line of them actually.  And I’m not just talking about the line for the buffet (pause for laughter). 

Anyway once a summer we all get together.  How many of us were there? Let’s put it in math terms.  my mom + 7 sisters + 2 great aunts (no.. greatest) + 3 nieces + (3 bags of sterzings/chip hoarding by those opening the bags)….. Carry the 2, approximate the number of dudes that came around (easy.. I’m referring to the ones we’re related to)  = roughly 15 people. Not too shabby.

In was was undoubtedly our healthiest year ever, the weekend kicked off with a salad bar. 


Steak and blue cheese salad:


BLT Salad


Asian shrimp salad


It was glorious.  That afternoon included a rowdy zumba class.  I would recommend this if you ever want to have your mom intrusively ask where you learned to move your hips like that, despite the fact you are a grown up and learned these things like, a hundred spring breaks ago.  We all tried our best to keep up and sweated a BOAT LOAD.  It felt nice after being stuck in a car for 5 hours that morning.  Plus I’ve got some great aunts with some serious moves.

That evening Teresa, my saint of an Aunt, had a banquet held in her honor.  It was a lovely ceremony, everyone was dressed up, no one caught a napkin on fire accidentally at their table.  In case you were asking.  It wasn’t me anyway. Okay it was me.  Don’t worry I put it out NOT with my wine glass.  Eh? Eh? who has a master’s degree? This girl.

The next morning we drove up to Madison which I can only describe as the most charming little big city I’ve ever visited.  Oodles and oodles of charm.  Fistfuls.  Boat loads. Insert additional miscellaneous units of measure. My Aunt Trish’s mother in law Joan hosted us for a lovely lunch (book club) featuring the local fare.  Cheese. Obviously. Also there were these pasties (not that kind, I know, my mind went there too), which apparently are Welch for hot pocket.  The crust was amazingly deliciously flaky and the insides were pretty yummy too.  Apparently the miners used to take them to eat for lunch, and they would stay warm and could be eaten with one hand.  That’s my kind of meal.




Also this included these yummy saffron raisin rolls.


Later on there was a specific family treat…………. YUM


The next morning, bright and early, we visited Monona Terrace to be in the studio audience for NPR’s Saturday morning live trivia show.  Guess what? Mom got up there and won it.  Hooray for our new board game and pink flamingos prize.


Before we left we enjoyed a fabulous meal on a restaurant on the square across from the capital.  Part of the slow food movement, this place rocked.  Every plate was amazing and you’d better bet that we shared.

Here is Anne’s country fried steak putting my school cafeteria’s to shame.  What, it’s the only other place I’ve had it.


Lox and Bagel, predictably awesome.


Eggs Benedict- one with steak and one with vegetables.  Those rosemary potatoes are the stuff dreams are made of.


Alisa got this dessert parading as breakfast.  Orange zesty and buttermilky.  Yum.


On the way out of Madison we stopped at Dodgeville and Mineral Point.  We lived in Wisconsin while I was born and within a few months of my arrival moved to Missouri where I have more or less retained residence ever since.  I have been so wanting to go back, especially when MSN declared MP one of the most charming places in the country. IN THE COUNTRY.  Exciting, no?  I pretty much told everyone I met on the street.  About me being born there that is, they already knew about the town.

So here I am in front of the hospital where I was born.  Pay no mind to the fact they probably tore it down and rebuilt it five years ago.  That’s the entrance! The Main One! (yes the most photographic shot to be had with me in it too).


Look it’s the entrance to the town!  It’s where Wisconsin Began! It’s where Lauren began! It’s where those pants began to get really dirty.


This is mom outside of the tiny apartment where we lived when we first moved to town.  She would climb her pregnant self up those narrow stairs.


This is the house where we lived when they took me home from the hospital.  Don’t worry, I’m sure the people that lived there were only mostly creeped out by us.


And finally on the way home the sister and I had a rowdy time in Iowa City with our Bar Manager cousin who you should never go drink for drink with ever. ever. Unless you want to ruin your pretty white J crew pants.


Best sister’s weekend yet!