On the No Pants Dance

I once made a deal with myself; I would never leave the house not wearing real pants.

Real Pants. Which loosely translated in my head meant Jeans. Jeans everyday. Home from work? Jeans. Out with friends? Jeans. Date night? Jeans.

Fast forward.

I’m not sure when it happened – when jeans started to feel like a chore. Maybe it was the “I had babies” pounds, or the metabolism of my late twenties and early thirties. Maybe it was the acceptance that my diet and new found appreciation for craft beer were a sure recipe for a muffin top. Maybe it was the desk job, and the work clothes, but I didn’t want to get home just to take off real pants and put on real pants.

Between that and my whole “trying to get my abs back” kick, I’ve found myself outside of 9 to 5 living in my leggings. Working out? Leggings. Home from work? Leggings. Target runs? Leggings.

All of a sudden, I seem to be constantly running out of clean leggings. Short of doing laundry more often (and between Mom-life and Work-life, who has time for that?!), I’ve needed to expand my wardrobe. Here are the top 3 picks I’ve encountered on my hunt for the perfect legging.

Girlfriend Collective: If you haven’t heard of this brand, you need to check them out. I found out about them when they first popped onto the scene, offering free leggings for the cost of shipping, and they’ve been my favorite pair of leggings ever since. They’ve been washed a thousand times by now, they’re easily 3 years old, but they still look and feel like they’re brand new. Plus, there’s the added bonus that they are recycled from old plastic bottles; the company is all about sustainability. I swear, I put these leggings on and my butt is back in 2005. They’re a little pricier, but well worth it!

JoyLab from Target: If you’re an avid Target lady like I am, it’s hard to miss the JoyLab displays in the Activewear department. The patterns are cute and colorful and the prices are mid range ($30-40). So far, the leggings I’ve gotten from JoyLab have held up to the test of time. They’ve retained their shape after washing, and move really well when working out. Added bonus! Target has a regularly rotating section of Clearance (at least at my location) which I always make sure to hit – I once found an awesome pair for $8.48 that way!

JoyLab from Target. Image from Brit.co

Old Navy Active Wear: These are by far the cheapest leggings I’ve found! With regular sales always happening at Old Navy, I’ve managed to never pay more than $20 dollars for a pair of leggings. While they’re comfortable, I’ve found that they don’t hold up as well as other pairs I own. Sometimes I find myself tugging at them to make sure they stay where they should be while working out, which especially when you have gloves on, is not easy!

Leggings and top by Old Navy. Roundhouse kick by Laura.

Is there a pair of leggings that you swear by? Let me know in the comments!

On Getting Fit

I’ve never been the type of person to make New Year’s Resolutions. I’m sure if I thought hard enough about it, I’d remember a few feeble attempts that I made over the years. Every effort was probably made at or around 11:58 pm for the sake of it being the new year, but nothing was ever serious enough to stick – most people don’t keep them past January anyway, right?

Variations probably included:

  • I’m going to spend more time with my friends/family
  • I’m going to eat better
  • I’m going to clean on a regular basis
  • I’m going to get back into shape
  • I’m going to write every day

And more of the same.

But this year: I accidentally started my New Year’s Resolution back at the beginning of December. It was December 6th, actually, and it was a Thursday. I had signed up for Yoga classes through my work, which were then cancelled a day after signing up due to low participants. Signing up had been my lackluster effort to say “yes, I am getting my body back into shape after my second kid.” I’d been saying it for awhile. I mean, I have a gym membership [that I pay for and really never use]. So, the class being cancelled was more of a downer than I thought it would be.

Cue to that Thursday. I had complained to my coworker about Yoga being cancelled and wanting to get back into shape, and somehow, we got on the topic of CKO Kickboxing. There’s a location literally two blocks away from where I work, and it happened to be running a special – 3 classes and free gloves for $19.99!

Free Gloves! Who doesn’t like free stuff?!

…and so we signed up.

The first class killed me. I’m pretty sure the ghost of Laura’s first kickboxing class is actually still floating around CKO, trying to master which is a jab and which is a cross.

The second class included Burpees, which I haven’t done since spring of 2005. The day after, I made a new resolution to never walk a flight of stairs again.

The third class I almost missed, until my husband told me he was proud of me for going twice. I had a thought that he might buy me flowers or a nice steak dinner if I actually made it to all three.

And so I told myself – and my husband, because you really need a witness for these kind of goals. That I was going to go to kickboxing at least once a week. That this was the year that I’d actually get back into shape and stay that way. That this would be my New Year’s Resolution.

Cue to now.

I just went to my ninth class. I’m expecting my invitation to represent the US in the Kickboxing Olympics any day now, because I’m sure that’s a thing. My pre-pregnancy jeans are fitting better, and I’m pretty sure that my thighs don’t wobble as much as they did 8 weeks ago. My scale keeps telling me that I lost a little weight, and a lot of body fat. The internet tells me that’s a good thing. I even purchased a membership to CKO – which means if I stop going, it’s about as useful as the money I’ve been throwing at that gym I don’t use.

I know I’m not “in shape” yet. Three classes in, the instructor told me to use my core, and I told Facebook later that I haven’t seen my core since 2008. But the point is –

it’s February., and I’m still following through.

Signature

P.S. If When I make it to 10 classes, is it silly to reward myself with some cooler looking gloves?!

Hi, I’m a full time working mom pumping at work.

I love my baby. I love how he smiles at me, and I love how squishy he is, and I love that he’s started making these squeals ala Ross Gellar’s Pterodactyl noise, and I love that he’s still breastfeeding at five months old.

I realize that doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment at this point to some folks – I know one lady who is still breastfeeding part time and she’s got a two year old. He’s got teeth, folks. When Lucas was born, breastfeeding seemed like so much, with the late night wake ups, and the constant need to feed him, and the worry that I’d run out or dry up, or plugged ducts!

But the first three months of breastfeeding (on maternity leave), while time consuming and stressful at the time, now feel like a freaking picnic compared to now.

I made a goal when Rob and I first found out we were pregnant; I wanted to breastfeed for at least the first year. I’ve done the research, I know the benefits, and I wanted to do that for my baby. When my first son was born, I only managed to breastfeed for three months before my supply dried up, and I still feel a little bit of a sad/guilty twinge now when I think about it. So that was the goal: one year. Save us some money in formula, give my son all the positives of being a breast-fed kiddo, and get to hear my older son coo at him, “Are you milk drunk?!”

Cut to now.

I’ve been back at work for eight weeks. I’ve been pumping for eight weeks. I’ve been taking time out of my work day to sit in a room (which despite the fact that I work for a healthcare provider is not always a good room to pump in) and listen to the-

Whoo. Whoo. Whoo.

-of my breast pump as I hope that I’ll get enough out to give a good supply to my kid.

I’ve had days where I forget to pump. I’ve had days where I barely produce an ounce. I’ve had days where I know I need to but don’t, and get home in pain because I’m about ready to burst. I’ve had days where I’ve forgotten to bring my milk home and I worry if it’ll still be okay the next day. I’ve had days where I’m constantly looking down at my shirt wondering if I’m leaking through it and I’ll get judged because I’m a breastfeeding mother.

And after all that – I. Am. Tired.

Most of all, I’ve had lots of days where I just want to quit.

But then. I get home, and I get to hold my baby, with the squishy, and the squeals, and the smiles. And I remember that he is happy, and he is healthy, and that regardless of if I am pumping or not, everything I am doing is for him.

It’s hard, but it’s for him.

It’s sometimes painful, but it’s for him.

I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do it, but I’m going to keep going as long as I can, because it’s for him.

And at the end of the day, that’s what matters most.

img_2222

Can you wed with all the Colors of the Wind?

Did you ever get the super sized, more colors than you’ll ever need, I come with a sharpener so I’m automatically cooler than the rest of you, box of Crayola Crayons? Someone would ask if they can borrow a color and even though you have 64 (or if you were REALLY spoiled, you had the 96 box), you’d hoard them all to yourself because crayons break, people and no one can be trusted.

Screenshot from Crayola Website. Childhood jealousy not included.
Screenshot from Crayola Website. Childhood jealousy not included.

I’m currently immersed in this box. Like swimming in it. I’m that kid that is looking for a color and has found seventeen different versions of the color and I want to use them all.

A few years ago, I fell in love with rose gold. Like rose gold watch, rose gold bracelets, rose gold e’rything. And ever since then, all of my wedding dreams have circled around this particular color. Plus, you know. Pinterest.

I even found a Rose Gold Bridesmaid dress on Pinterest that was so simple and perfect and I loved it and wished I could be my own Bridesmaid to wear it too. I’m such a multitasker.

But now I’m in the giant Crayola box of Wedding Dreams and Decisions, and I have found a spectrum of pinks and roses and blushes and I love them all. It’s like someone put me into a room full of puppies and told me to only pick one.

Screenshot from Crayola.com
Screenshot from Crayola.com

How are you supposed to pink pick a color when you have a spectrum of friends in a variety of body types and skin colors and so many dresses that are available that you could bury yourself in a mass of tulle and lace?!

I’m sure you’ve come to the same conclusion that I have by now.

You’re not. Just pick all the colors. Take all the colors and use them because OMG, guys, bridesmaid rainbow.

BHLDN
Screenshot from BHLDN.com

Looking at these dresses is currently my drug of choice. I’m completely obsessed with BHLDN.com (Anthropologie’s Wedding Line, and I LOVE Anthropologie) and their assortment of wedding EVERYTHINGI’m stumbling across these names like Rose Gold and Cameo Pink and Blush and Rose Quartz and Rosewood and Palest Pink and Vintage Rose and does Crayola have a wedding line of crayons because they so should. I’d buy them in an instant!

I can’t wait the entirely too long period of time to get to see a slew of ladies walking down the aisle because then I GET TO WALK DOWN THE AISLE.

Wedding colors? Check.

Now to find the other colors to go with my Pinks because I doubt Rob will be willing to stand up in a blush suit or tuxedo.

…things to look up on Pinterest later, though.

Signature

P.S. Leave me comments. I like comments and I like responding. What were/are your wedding colors?!

P.P.S. High Five to my BFF Jenna for the name game today – I hope you were singing Colors of the Wind as you read this blog.

P.P.P.S. Check out some of my favorite Bridesmaid dresses from BHLDN. I’m thinking I want each of my ladies to get to pick their favorite pink and favorite style. THIS IS THE DREAM, GUYS. THIS IS THE DREAM.

Death by Cream Puff

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

My mom is an RN who works about 5098572 hours a week, so when she and I both happened to have a day off, and she asked me if I wanted to go try on wedding dresses…

ZOMG, yes.

I was never the little girl that went around in a wedding dress made out of toilet paper (though I had to do that once at a wedding shower for a game, and HIGH FIVE, guess who won?!*) or planned out her wedding growing up, but HI, have you seen the pretty things on Pinterest?

We headed to David’s Bridal (who have since e-mailed me about a bazillion times) and walked in looking dazed and confused. We wandered about for a few minutes before an employee came up to us.

Her: Can I help you?

Me: Yes, is it possible to try on a few things?

Her: Do you have an appointment?

Mom: No.

Her: Hm.

Me: We can just browse.

At this moment, I waved the golden ticket of weding lore: the engagement ring.

Her: OH. Is it wedding dresses you’re looking at?

Mom: Yes, she just got engaged.

Her: Let me see what I can do.

Next thing you know, I’m in a room with six wedding dresses, a strapless bra/corset so intense it could protect me from a nuclear fallout, and some sort of under the dress poofy thingy that I’m not quite sure how to utilize.

Her: Do you need any help sorting things out.

Me [even though I can’t move my legs from the skirty thingy and cant breath in the corset thing]: …No…

Five Minutes Later:

Mom [in a whisper]: She’s gone, do you need help?

Me [in a strangled voice due to being held down by the power of MAWWIAGE]: YES.

I started trying on dresses and get lost in a pool of tulle and silk and lace and white and POOF. I strongly recommend just trying on wedding dresses if you’re ever having a bad day. Turns things right around.

Dress 1: Vera Wang Strapless Dress

Laura’s Brain: How do I even put this on?

Step over it? Nope. Now I have weird skirty parts up around my boobs. 

Lift it over my head? How do I even lift this up? Wedding is HEAVY. My god, how much does this weigh? Why is it so stiff? Oh my god, it’s standing on it’s own. The wedding dress is standing on it’s own.

Mom: Do you need help?

Me: NO.

Laura’s Brain: I probably need help. Unless I ditch the underskirt thing. FUCK THAT THING. Things are so much easier without so much poof. Oh my I’m in a dress. I’m getting married.

GUYS, I’M A PRINCESS.

Vera Wang

Dress 2: Super Low Cut “I stole your bedazzler and found your wedding dress” Dress

Laura’s Brain: I feel like Russia loves this dress. THERE ARE SO MANY JEWEL THINGS ON IT. SPARKLE SPARKLE, BITCHE-

Ow.It just scratched me. Out, damn jewel.

But my boobs. They are just out there.  Cleavage for days.

Me: Hey, Mom, what do yo-

Mom: No.

BeDAZZLED

Dress 3 – There is a dress. And then it’s got things glued on it. And more things glued on the things on the things.

Laura’s Brain: This thing has LAYERS. And LAYERS ON LAYERS AND LAYERS. I’m digging a hole to the center of the wedding dress. 

There are beads and lace and is that a flower? It is a flower, and I’m stuck in it. I am stuck. In the dress.

Mom: Do you need help?

Me [ tug. tug tug. TUG.]: I’m okay.

Laura’s Brain: Do NOT rip the expensive dress. Do NOT rip the things glued on the dress. WHY IS THERE SO MUCH STUFF ON THIS DRESS?!

Foom.

Laura’s Brain: That is the sound made by finding a way into a multi-dimensional over the top dress reminiscent of Mugatu in Zoolander or Santino on Project Runway, Season Two.

Texts Picture to Meghan. This dress is so much insane.

Mom: Hm..

Me: Probably not.

Text from Meghan: Ew. EW.

Things on things on things

I walked out of David’s Bridal feeling accomplished. Like I’ve done something from the wedding checklist even if I didn’t buy a dress. 

Things we HAVE accomplished:

  • Wedding Hashtag

Oh, but hey. I’ve got plenty of time to find a dress.Because now there is one other thing we can check off the list — Especially now that we’ve finally set a date.

Signature

 

 

I’d like to add that I don’t think I will be choosing any of the dresses in photos I put online for my groom to potentially see if he reads my blog. This means you, Robert.

 

I think this is supposed to be the easy part.

Written while watching the unrealistic premise that Matthew McCo-How Hard is it to spell your last name and JLO would fall in love.

I’ve heard every side of this argument:

Wedding planning is easy, just do it in three months and it’ll all fall together.

Take as much time as you need, it’s your wedding, you should love it.

I had the worst time wedding planning because everything I wanted I couldn’t have.

But let it be known, from the beginning stages of these things, even with having wedding magazines and a wedding planning binder that Dana gave me with a much needed bottle of wine, it does not seem easy.

Case in point: we still have not picked out a date.

My original reasoning behind not picking a date was that there was a significant possibility that my older sister would be out of the country. Seeing as she’ll be my maid of honor, and she’s my sister, and when I was one, she taught be how to pee in the toilet, I insisted we wait to find out her plans.

My new reasoning behind not picking a date?

My sister has also offered to make invitations and save the dates for us which is awesome, except my mom says that we should send the save the dates and it’s hard to send the save the dates when there is. No Date. To Save.

Like, Dear Guests. Be Prepared. Marriage is Coming.

George R.R. Martin will not be invited to my wedding, btw.

Don’t get me wrong – I have made some progress.

I know what kind of bouquet I want, and I can picture my dress in my head but I just need to find it in real life because the emperor is NOT wearing clothes, and I have my colors picked out to the T because I love rose gold AND I have pinterest.

I just don’t have a date on which to put all of these magnificent pins.

Also, by the way, did you know you should have a place in which you get married?

xo,la

The whole point of blogging

So, when I initially started blogging, which let’s be honest, was years and years ago despite the fact that I’m still not successful at it (probably your fault for not reading, not mine, at all.), I thought I needed a niche. I was a huge fan of The Bloggess and the fact that she was so freaking funny and I looked at myself and just thought,

You’re really fucking funny.

Except then my face looked back at me and replied,

Your face is really fucking funny.

Which was terrible because I had a zit the day I started blogging, which I couldn’t stop touching* and eventually imploded all over the side of my nose. I didn’t know how to deal with zits back then.

I always considered myself to be a fairly good story teller, and figured if I could just find a way to write down the things I say, I would basically story barf out a pile of success and good stories and she’s a writer, folks.

Point is, it was always supposed to be a funny thing that I did. Funny Blog. Humor Blog.

But then two weeks ago, my boyfriend did this thing where he got down on one knee and goes, “I’ve never done this before, but…” and then I started crying and he asked me to marry him and I cried more and the only thing I want to write down is ZOMG, I’m getting married, but I want to write it in big sparkly letters in all of my Gelly Rolls and then I want to blog about my impending nuptials and-

It’s supposed to be a humor blog, guys.

So now, I have this humor-ish blog that I want to write about a wedding on, and I have this boyfriend that I get to call a fiance now, and in the midst of all of this, when Rob asked me to marry him, my answer was, of course,

I said yes, right?

Please hold your applause.

xo,la

*Don’t pop your zits.

The darnedest things, kids say OR STAR WARS SPOILERS HERE

I’ve never been a big fan of Star Wars. When I was in 8th grade, we took a class trip to Chicago, and watched whichever movie has Jabba in it. I remember taking one look at the screen, seeing Jabba in all his glory, and going back to reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because Sirius Black for life, yo.

When I hit high school, my boyfriend at the time was in LOVE with the movies. When episode 3 came out, he insisted we see the movie. At midnight. I drew the line at costumes.

Upon learning I had never actually watched the movies, we pulled a marathon: all five movies in the day before the midnight premiere. This resulted in me being the biggest Star Wars fan ever –

And yes, By biggest fan ever, I mean I may or may not have fallen asleep in the Death Star. I caught all the important parts, babies being born and terrible rulers being put into masks that give them the inability to sneak up on anyone anywhere ever.

*insert heavy breathing here*

And that was the extent of my love for Star Wars. SIDENOTE, when I was pregnant with Boo, I was in the hospital, hopped up on my epidural, and sang Darth Vader’s entrance music when they brought down the giant light for birthing.

…but that could be a love for John Williams as much as for Darths Vader, Maul, and the guy that looked like Pope Benedict.

Thus, you can imagine my levels of glee when they announced this new movie.

Boo and Rob however, were ECSTATIC about it. Boo went with his Dad to see it, and Rob and I were hanging out when I talked to him about it.

Me: So how was it??

Boo: GREAT!

Me: What happened?

Rob: NO SPOILERS.

Boo: WELL, Han Solo DIED.

Me: …

Me:…

Rob:

Have you seen the latest Star Wars? What did you think?

Words to Live By

I was having a conversation with my good friend Dana today. We were discussing the finer points of adulthood and life, as 20somethings tend to do. Somewhere in the midst of our ponderings, I said to her…

true colors burn under fire.

The second I said it, I was thinking of how it relates to my own personality – how under pressure, we get frustrated, we get irate, we say things we may not mean. But It is those moments that are so poignant. Those moments that stick with us, that brand us, and help form us into who we are meant to become.

FullSizeRender

I paused to write it down, partly to text out my make shift calligraphy, but also to reflect on these words. I asked myself: How am I when I’m angry? How do I react under pressure?

It was in that moment that I promised to myself to do my best to stay calm, to stay focused, to stay true to the person that I am and to the person that I strive to be.

xo,la

Blue and Yellow make Green but that doesn’t mean that we can be friends

Last Saturday was a big day in the state of Michigan. The big college rivalry football game happened Saturday afternoon, which means my office looked like a tailgate (and hosted one on Friday too) and that the trash talk is abundant. If you didn’t know that #GoBlue or #SpartyOn were common greetings, then you aren’t from Michigan, and now you know.

Plus.

What. A. Game.

If you watched the game, or even the ESPN highlights that night, your face probably still looks like either this guy:

Or this girl:

Or if you’re the overly aggressive type, you went ALL SORTS OF CRAZY, and are a popular vine now:

I personally cheered for U of M, because when I was six, a girl in my first grade class told me that everyone needed to pick a side. Blue is, and was, my favorite color, so here we are.

Go Blue.

This was an insta-costume one year because I didn't plan well on what I wanted to be.
This was an insta-costume one year because I didn’t plan well on what I wanted to be.

I headed over with Rob and the Boo to my bff’s house to partake in all things football. Her husband, Dave had bags or cornhole or that new fangled version of horseshoes out, which I get steadily better at with every beer I drink. There were good people, and good beer, and a good game to watch, and most importantly, there was enough food to keep me full for days.

Jenna already recapped the game on her blog, and was snapchatting the festivities, and even caught a candid moment of me and the boyfriend, which I promptly screenshot and saved forever.

Snapchat, more like SNAPCAUGHT
Snapchat, more like SNAPCAUGHT

She and Dave asked everyone to bring a dish, since there were so many college football crazed fans heading over there. I normally make white chicken chili, as it’s my favorite kind of chili, and Jenna even cooked some up for me, since it’s easy to make and uber delicious. This time, however, I decided to branch out and make beef chili, since I’ve never done it before.

My friend Dana has been posting recipes on her blog, and I’ve realized that my cooking skills are sub-par, at best. So I googled around and found a recipe, and tweaked it around to my liking.

Then, just for shits and giggles, I snapchatted the whole thing, because #SnapCooking.

The beef chili actually turned out pretty well…to the point where my family ate it pre-party, and we brought meatballs to the tailgate instead!

Chili because Football, ala L.A.

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cans kidney beans (drained)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the beef, onions, and garlic thoroughly.
  2. Drain the beans.
  3. Add beans and tomatoes to your slow cooker.
  4. Add cooked mixture.
  5. Stir. Stir more.
  6. Add tomato sauce.
  7. Add sauces. Add more sauces ’til you like it. Get saucy.
  8. Cook on low heat four to six hours.
  9. Eat it. Eat it more.

xo,la