Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Randomosity & Engagement Shoot Teaser

I missed Wordless Wednesday... but that's okay. Instead I'll turn this into another random post and just include another teaser picture from our engagement shoot :) We are sending our save-the-dates out this weekend... so after those reach mailboxes I'll post way more. Promise!

(Click image to enlarge)
Did I mention I loved our engagement shoot? And did I mention we just had a couple of our friends (Kim & Zac you rock!) help us? Yep-- so amazing pictures at an amazing price! And by price I mean we took them to dinner after (and had to fight them to pay.)

Speaking of fighting to pay for a restaurant bill-- that was something that never, ever made sense to me when I was little. And I promised myself that if anyone ever tried to fight me over a bill I would just let them take it. Well, sorry self... I lied.

Speaking of things that don't make sense to me. Why is it with children's books the title of the book is so large, and the name of the author is so small... but with "grown-up" books it's the opposite? Where's the turning point where the author becomes more important than the story?

Speaking of books we had Book Club on Monday... so if you want to join us in reading we will be reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson, and The Weight of Shadows: A Novel by Alison Strobel which comes out May 11th (but is available for pre-order on Amazon.) I also have two potential give-aways in the works for the book category... so I will keep you posted.

Speaking of posts, next month I'll hit my blog-o-versary... one year! So I have a goal of posting more than I've ever posted, and getting more hits than ever. Please tell your friends!

Speaking of telling your friends... also mention that I made a fanpage on Facebook! So if you like Laurealism head on over and "Like" it, if you would. Here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/Laurealism

Speaking of links... have you seen this? It is SO GROSS so I warn you don't click on it if you have a weak stomach. I posted it to Facebook a few weeks ago thinking it was a rat... apparently further investigations saw it's just a lot of mold. But I still see rat. Gross.

Speaking of gross...  on second thought-- this pattern could go on for hours. So I'm going to go ahead and stop here. And don't say I didn't warn you about this post being random!
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Strawberry Puffs

A roommate from college recently reminded me about this recipe that I used to make, that I completely forgot about! In fact, she's the one who named them, "Strawberry Puffs," so you can all thank Erica for reminding me about this one!


Strawberry Puffs are so easy to make and perfect for summertime... especially since strawberries are currently on sale!

What you'll need:
1 cup of milk
1 package of vanilla pudding mix
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. almond extract
18 (ish) strawberries

First cut all the stems off the strawberries. Then cut an "X" in to the top part of each strawberry to create a little hollow (this is where the creme will go.)


Next whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. But, if you want to take a shortcut- buying something like this certainly works (though I would use 2 cups of it if you aren't going the traditional route.)

In a separate bowl mix the pudding mix with 1 cup of cold milk (the back of the box will call for 2 cups... but we want it to be thicker.)

Fold in the whipped cream and almond extract.

Using a piping bag (or plastic bag with a hole cut in the corner) pipe the creme into to strawberries!

If you want another shortcut, you can just serve the cream in the middle of a bowl of whole strawberries.

SO DELISH. Enjoy!

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LaureaLIST: Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books

I like lists. So I'm starting what I am going to call LaureaLIST. These lists can consist of anything and everything, and are meant for your entertainment, so enjoy!

While I was writing Book Love: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I learned that particular book was one of the top ten most challenged books from 2006-2009 (so far!) 

So I did a little research on challenged books (i.e. "googling") and came across this list: The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2001.
  1. Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
  8. Forever by Judy Blume
  9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  10. Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  16. Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine
  17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  19. Sex by Madonna
  20. Earth’s Children (series) by Jean M. Auel
  21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  26. The Stupids (series) by Harry Allard
  27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  29. Anastasia Krupnik (series) by Lois Lowry
  30. The Goats by Brock Cole
  31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  32. Blubber by Judy Blume
  33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
  41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  46. Deenie by Judy Blume
  47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  55. Cujo by Stephen King
  56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
  64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  65. Fade by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  71. Native Son by Richard Wright
  72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  74. Jack by A.M. Homes
  75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
  77. Carrie by Stephen King
  78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

While I have read many of these... it should certainly help my "to-read" list to grow... ALOT. Because challenged books are probably some of the most interesting! BUT... what does "challenged" mean?

I found the below info under a post titled Books Under Fire by Borgna Brunner:

"A banned book is one that has actually been removed from a library or school system, a 'challenged' book is the attempt to ban such material.
As the ALA notes, books 'usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. The three major reasons for challenging books are, in descending order, sexual explicitness, offensive language, and "unsuited to age group.' Other reasons include occult themes, violence, promotion of homosexuality, promotion of a religious viewpoint, nudity, racism, presentation of sex education, and books considered 'anti-family.' The challenges come from both the right and left ends of the political spectrum. According to the ALA, most challenges are made by parents, and most are unsuccessful.
Some of the most famous challenges have been to works widely considered classics of American literature, including J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.Probably the most publicized challenge in recent years was to the highly popular Harry Potter series for promoting unChristian magic.' 
What books are on your challenged list? Which of the above have you read and loved? Hated?

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Book Love: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I've read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky twice now. And I think I'll read it every two years or so for the rest of my life because I love this book.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

It's different than anything I've ever read. First off, it's an epistolary novel-- which is a fancy new word I just learned from Wikipedia that means a novel that is written in a series of documents (like letters in this case.) The letters come from a high-school aged boy who is writing anonymously to someone he barely knows, but thinks is a good person. I just think he wanted someone to talk to, someone to tell his whole story. Because most people don't have someone they can tell absolutely everything to, right?

"So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."

The book touches on so much: sexuality, drugs, abuse, introversion, and the all-together awkwardness of being in high school.


"We accept the love we think we deserve."

Not only is the main character introverted, he may be borderline autistic or have a social disorder. But he is beautifully simple. And because the book is from his perspective, I dog-earred more than ten pages worth of quotes that I fell in love with.

"...and put my head under my pillow and let the quiet put things where they are supposed to be."

Growing up is a roller coaster, and this book will bring you through so many aspects of life. There are parts that are hilarious to imagine that will put a smile on your face, parts that are difficult to read, and parts that will just break your heart. There are parts that are awkward, and parts that are so beautiful they'll take you back to a time where you were on top of the world. But that's the range of life, isn't it? And that's why I think I liked this book so much-- it touches on the things that everyone has to go through-- whether directly or indirectly.

"And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."

So, if you've read it, let me know what you think. Or come back and comment after you do read it. And remember I'm always up for other recommendations or books to review!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Formula for a great weekend

First, turn off your computer AND cell phone. 
Then start with a 20's themed murder mystery:
Add about 20 of your friends and a quaint little farmhouse...
Add a lot of goofing around, and a little bit of campfire:

Throw in some cave exploring and fishing...

And there you have it... a fun formula for a great weekend!
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And the Winner is...

For the Sex and the City Tour Giveaway the winner is...

If you can't see it, the number that was generated was two. Which corresponds to this comment:


naazia said...

i'm pretty sure I'm a Charlotte - bright-eyed and kind of innocent :)

husainn (at) mail.amc.edu

great giveaway!!!

Congrats Naazia, I will contact you (since you were nice enough to leave your email!) for details on how to claim your prize.

For those of you who didn't win. Better luck next time (and there will be a next time. A little birdie told me we might also have a Gossip Girl tour option!)


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Wordless Wednesday: Love


Click to enlarge. Photo credit to Zac of "Zac & Kim" :) They did a fabulous job on our engagement shoot, and this is just a teaser!
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Randomosity

Did you see did you see? I added new tabs above! Book Love, Blog Love and Recipes. Check them out!

My trainer (Kara @ Lifetime Fitness in Indy, who is amazing) told me today that every time a commercial comes on while I'm watching TV. I should get down and do a plank hold for as long as I can hold it. Then two side-plank holds for as long as I can hold it.

In unrelated news, I'm giving up watching T.V.

I forgot to tell you this but when I was in Canada last week, we were doing a sort of impromptu drive through downtown tour. The guy I was working with pointed out the "Shooting Gallery" I assumed this was a fancy way of saying "Shooting range" until he explained. A "shooting gallery" is where the government gives drug addicts free, new needles and a clean place to do drugs. Are you kidding!?!? I can't imagine being okay with that if it happened in the U.S. How about using the money to instead trying to kick the users habits?

My New Year's Resolution of keeping my socks together is failing miserably. I think the monster in the laundry room got wind of my plan and has been eating extra socks just out of spite.

I'm participating in a Murder Mystery Party this weekend. I'm excited about it. Rambo isn't.

The Tudors started again. Which makes me very happy. It's on Showtime, and you have to watch it (even Rambo likes it!) Also there's been this new show Life on lately (I think Discovery Channel?) and it is really-really fascinating.

Scratch that about giving up T.V.

You should have guessed from the title that this post would be random and pointless.

The end.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tip Tuesday (Inspired by Two Shades of Pink!)

Okay, so one of the super-amazing blogs I follow is Two Shades of Pink. It is adorable, and crafty and heartfelt all rolled into one. Seriously this woman puts Martha Stewart to shame. She does things like turn broken hula hoops into adorable canopies in her spare time, I know-- I told you, AMAZING. Oh and her name is Jessica.

And one of my favorite days to check out her blog are on Tuesdays, because she usually has TWO TIPS TUESDAYS, and they are usually fun, easy, crafty or any combination of those three... Including, but not limited to a SUPER easy way to clean your microwave, fancy napkin rings from hair rollers, a simple way to turn blankets in to bolsters... need I continue? So you'll have to check her out.

But Two Shades of Pink got me to thinking... I have some good tips, too! Just not as many, so I can only afford to give out one this Tuesday. But regardless, Jessica has inspired me to share!

My Tip for the Day?
eReceipt Folder

It's really not too complicated. And maybe everyone already does this but I like to think of myself as clever so go with it...

 I've been doing a lot of online ordering lately (between wedding planning, traveling, Mother's Day and just some splurging in general.) And I always get to those final pages: "Print for your records." So I usually print them, and not being the most organized person, can rarely find them if I need them (which you hardly ever do, right?)

So lately I've started a Receipt Folder on the desktop of my computer. And every time I order something online, I just take a quick screenshot (shortcut Command-Shift-3 for Macs) of the confirmation page. And on my Mac it immediately saves these to the desktop, and I just drag them into the folder.

Voila! I save some paper and I'll always know where they! (And yes I checked my email, and cleaned my desktop before taking this picture...)

So what about you? Have an crafty or organizational ideas? I'd love to hear them! (And I think Jessica at Two Shades of Pink is also looking for guest tippers!)
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Monday, April 19, 2010

A Man and His Boat

Probably six months ago, Rambo bought a boat. And just so we are on the same page when I say "boat" I mean a bunch of metal, with a lot of rotting wood, and bugs, on top of a rusty trailer. A guy at the junk yard made a mistake and sold it to him and a very good price, when in fact it was actually worth more as scrap metal.


Apparently Mark has a better imagination than I do, because in my head there was NO WAY he could fix that "boat" up enough for me to want to go on it without a bag over my head.


And I won't lie, I wasn't too into the idea of fixing up a boat. But Mark convinced me that come summertime, we'd have a nice boat to go out on together. I grew up on a lake, and loved every second, so I gave him my blessing. Plus I figured we'd always MAKE money selling it back a scrap metal, should we have to...

But I've got to give Rambo some credit. He turned his heap of junk metal into a fully functional (and floatable!) boat. And it's actually pretty good-looking, too. On the other hand, he neglected to mention how much of a FISHING boat it would end up being (fish-finder, trolling motor, rod-holders and all!) Definitely a man's boat... and you can tell how proud of it he is. But just look at it! He should be!


So yesterday we took "Beauty" out on her maiden voyage, to test her out. And we managed to have a pretty nice afternoon.  King especially loves the boat, but I'm not sure if he was just trying to get closer to the water, or actually jump in the water, because this is how he looked the whole time:


So then on the way in, I had to decide if I wanted to try to back the trailer into the water (no, too many onlookers, could be embarrassing) or have Mark back up the trailer, and I could drive the boat onto it (also no, what if something happened and it died in the middle of the lake? I'd have no clue how to fix it!) So I told Mark I would just wait by the dock with the boat while he backed the trailer in, then he could come get on the boat and drive onto the trailer himself.

Well Mark thought this was silly, and told me to get my butt out to the middle of the lake and get ready to drive onto the trailer. [Insert pouting here]

So guess what happened?

The motor stopped working, and I couldn't get it started again. JUST LIKE I SAID WOULD HAPPEN. Proving yet again, that I am always right. Here I am getting towed in by another boat (thank you very much to those guys!)
Mark told me that while I was getting towed in he was thinking "Man, I've got a good looking boat and a good looking girl."

Notice how he said boat first?
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Love: Catching Up!

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, but I did end up getting a bit behind on the Book Love posts, so here's a quick recap to catch you up! I will however still owe you two more book love posts on two recent reads that I truly loved...


You'll also notice that the below images and links to Amazon, if you aren't aware of how amazing Amazon is then allow me to fill you in. Most of the time they ship same-day AND you save a lot of money than if you buy from a bookstore. Also I signed up for an Amazon Associates program, so if you buy from one of the links below, I get a credit (not a bad deal, since I was going to recommend them anyways!) So, read away...


A Reliable Wife (Robert Goolrick)
A Reliable WifeI love historical fiction, and like any girl I suppose, I'm a sucker for a good ole-fashioned love story, which is why A Reliable Wife was right up my alley! This was Goolrick's first novel, and I hope he has plans to continue to write because I'm already a fan. The plot has a seductive little twist, and picturing the  scenes and the characters is a joy in itself! 
Quotes of Note:
"Catherine Land liked the beginnings of things. The pure white possibility of the empty room, the first kiss, the first swipe at larceny. And endings, she liked endings, too. The drama of the smashing glass, the dead bird, the tearful goodbye, the last awful word which could never be unsaid or unremembered.
It was the middles that gave her pause. This, for all its forward momentum, this was a middle. The beginnings were sweet, the endings usually bitter, but the middles were only the tightrope you walked between the one and the other. No more than that."
"Such things happened."
The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
The Red Tent: A Novel
As a daughter of Jacob, Dinah is only briefly mentioned in the Bible. So I really liked this book because it told Dinah's story, and focuses much on the females of her life-- and it puts a different twist on the story than that which you've heard in Genesis-- a much more romantic story might I add. Again it is definitely historical fiction, but the storytelling in it is divine!


Quote of Note:
"We have been lost to each other for so long.  My name means nothing to you. My memory is dust. This is not your fault, or mine. The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word passed to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing. That is why I became a footnote, my story a brief detour between the well-known history of my father, Jacob, and the celebrated  chronicle of Joseph, my brother. On those rare occasions when I was remembered, it was as a victim."

The Swan Thieves: A Novel (Elizabeth Kostova)

The Swan Thieves: A NovelThe Swan Thieves revolves around art, and an intriguing character who is so passionate about art that he becomes completely immersed in the people and the world that he has painted. The character that the story revolves around is a dark and romantic man, who comes to fall in love with a woman from the past, whom he only gets to know through ancient letters. If you are an art lover, and don't mind a good historical fiction (no surprise there!) you'll enjoy it! It is a bit long-winded at points though, I have to warn you, but I wouldn't talk about a book that I wouldn't recommend reading!


More Book Love to come!
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