The Truth.

Friday, August 29, 2014


I've been avoiding my blog lately for a couple of reasons but mainly because I'm in a major slump. While we've been doing all kinds of exciting things, I have honestly been feeling really depressed.

The truth is, life can be really crappy sometimes, even when you're doing all the fun stuff.

The truth is that behind all of the colorful photos with their fancy filters, there's a lot of pain and frustration in my life.

I can sit here all day and talk about our crab feasts and our weekend plans, fun recipes I've found and books I've read, but posting those things right now would reflect the total opposite of my real emotional state.

Life just sucks for me right now. With my job. With sick family members. With stress. With frienships. With my anxiety.

I feel like I've completely and totally lost control and that I've almost forgotten who I am. I'm running around trying to pretend like I'm okay and that life is great right now, but it's not. I'm really not okay. I've never felt more alone and helpless than I do right now. I'm so confused as to what I'm supposed to be doing and which direction I need to go. So many people seem to have opinions about where I should be in life with my career, with children, with school, with our house.

Sometimes it's outright. "Laura, you won't be happy anywhere else. I know you and I know you won't succeed in any other job setting. Remember how much we've invested in you." Or, "Only one class a semester? How can you stand it? I mean, I'm taking three classes at a time. I can't imagine going that slow!"

Sometimes it's subtle. "We wanted to have as many kids as we could in our twenties because once you get into your thirties, there are just so many risks. And no one wants to do that to their kids."

I feel so torn. Like I'm being pulled in thirteen billion directions and as hard as I keep tugging back, trying to stay true to myself, I'm splitting at the seams. Everyone seems to have thoughts about where I should be... except for me. It's incredibly difficult to listen to your own heart with so many other voices telling you how to live your life.

I know that there are brighter, happier days ahead. I know things will work out in the end. I know I will feel better eventually. But right now, I don't care about any of that. I have no energy for the happy stuff and I can't continue to mask the fact that I don't feel alright. It would be wrong for me to try and portray anything else.

I'm honestly not trying to throw a pity party or anything. I'm just sharing the truth. Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to relax and work out some of the kinks and return next week feeling a little better. Thank God for long weekends.

Dare Theory - Do You Dare?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Last weekend, Mike and I and two of our good friends, Matt and Ali, ventured downtown to experience Dare Theory for the first time. It's a relatively new event in Baltimore (I think the first year was last year) and I have to say, we will most definitely be doing it again next year!

The idea is that you create teams of 2-6 people and run all around the city trying to cross off as many "dares" as you possibly can in four hours. They give you a list of 50 dares that are worth different points. As you complete them, you take a photo or video and send it to the Dare Theory instagram account so that they can approve them as you go through the list. At the end, the top 10 teams with the most points win a bunch of awesome prizes.

We came in 44th place. Yea, I know, we suck. But regardless, we still had a ton of fun! Some of our favorite dares were:

#2 - Stand in a fountain and do a fish face.

#5 - Wink next to a Natty Boh head.

#13 - Make a sand angel at Rash Field.

#14 - Have a stranger pour a drink into your mouth without touching your lips.

#19 - Barrel roll down Fed Hill.

#30 - Do the Titanic pose with a stranger on a boat/ship.

#45 - Get licked in the face by a dog.

We were also dared to sing 'NSync with five male strangers, dance on a bar, dance on a pole, arm wrestle a stranger with a mustache, get a stranger to show us their underwear, challenge strangers to a chug-off, and a ton of other outrageous things!

I wish I could figure out how to put up some of the hilarious videos we got (like us singing the Spongebob theme song while dangling our feet over the harbor and robot dancing at Ripley's) but I am technology challenged today.

We had an absolute blast, so if you're looking for something fun (and a little crazy) to do in either the D.C. or Philadelphia area, Dare Theory is coming your way soon! Check out their website for tickets!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I cannot even begin to express how excited I am to say that! For a lot of reasons, this course was a major challenge, and if I'm being totally honest, there were moments throughout the summer that I wasn't sure if I'd make it through. But I was so relieved when I logged in this morning to see a big old A- staring back at me under that Final Grade section.

Not a bad start! Next up is Molecular Biology and now that I've got Biochem under my belt, all I have to say is bring it on!

In other news, I literally chopped 7 inches off my hair. Maybe more.

Ahhh! I'm still getting used to it but so far I looove it! It's so much easier to deal with in the morning and I love how light it is. I have extremely thick hair and it gets so heavy when it's long, so it's nice not to have all that extra weight hanging around. It's a big change but I'm pretty happy with the results!

I also got a good laugh out of it, too. Last night, my mom and I had plans to get dinner and pedicures but I decided to get my hair cut before we went. Since I was already in the salon when my mom got home from work, I told her to meet me there and we could walk over to get our toes done together when I was finished. I was sitting in the chair getting my hair dried and I saw her walk in behind me. She kept looking around, clearly confused, and checked her phone a couple of times. She obviously didn't see me and went to sit in the chair behind me. When she was looking in my direction, I waved at her in the mirror and she just stared at me. She most definitely didn't even recognize me because my hair was so short and she freaked out when she finally realized it was me. Everyone in the salon started cracking up laughing. It was hilarious! Like I said, it's a really big change for me!

Sooo, that's really all I've got for today. Lame, I know. But now that my class is over, I've got much more free time for blogging. I'm hoping to do a little re-cap of our awesome Dare Theory experience later this week.

Happy Hump Day!

Five on Friday

Friday, August 15, 2014


Happy weekend, friends!

I'm keeping it short and sweet today so that I can really maximize my study time as I prepare for my final on Monday. All week I've been dreaming about those two magical weeks coming up where I won't have to do anything related to biochemistry - well, except for my job, I guess... Ugh, anyway...

Here are five things I am looking forward to doing once I'm done!

1. Getting a massage. I got a gift certificate from my mother-in-law for a birthday massage but I've been saving it for after my class is over. If there is any week to pamper myself, this one coming up is IT!

2. Getting a pedicure with my mama. We've been trying to make plans to do this since mother's day. Yes, it's been that long since my last one - yikes! We are both long overdue for a girls' night out and I am sooo looking forward to spending some quality time with her. The pretty toes are just a bonus!

3. Crying my eyes out ... while reading The Fault in Our Stars. Okay, I'm not excited about the whole crying thing, but I am looking forward to finally being able to get my hands on the book. Everyone I know has read this one and says it really is a wonderful and touching story so I'm ready to stop feeling like I'm missing out.

4. Playing around with my DSLR. It's been a while since I've actually picked up my camera and gone out to explore a new place. I honestly think the last time I even took pictures on something other than my iPhone was back in May during our stay in the treehouses in Washington State. It's time to dust off the old Nikon and do a little adventuring!

5. Searching for the perfect LBD. I've been on the hunt over the last couple of months for the perfect little black dress and I think I may have finally found the one! I'm hoping to wear it on our anniversary date coming up next month and I can't wait to surprise Mike with it! Fingers crossed!

Linking up today with:

Hawaiian Blackberry Mojito

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

After the week I had last week and the horrible exam I took last night, I need a drink.

I essentially spent the last seven days with my nose buried in a textbook only to get to our last (and biggest thus far) exam and be tested on only half the things I studied. Thankfully, from the looks on my classmate's faces, I was clearly not the only one who had a rough time. It's hard when there's so much material and our professor gives no indication of what may or may not be important. You have no choice but to try and memorize it all and hope for the best. Maybe he'll curve this one? Since no one looked confident, there may be a chance. We'll see. Worst case scenario, I end up with a B going into the final, but I'm hoping that will go much better than this last test so that I can still squeeze out an A. We at least get a sheet of notes for that one and it's not timed like everything else. Ugh, no fun, I tell you.

So, after the insanity last night, the first thing I wanted when I got home was a giant cocktail. Unfortunately, it was almost 10:30PM on a Monday night, and somehow downing a tall glass (or four, because let's be real - who's stopping at one glass?) of anything alcoholic seemed vastly inappropriate - especially with the 5:45AM alarm I had set for this morning.

Instead, I figured I'd wait until tonight so that I could take the time to really reward myself with something special and super tasty!

Enter, the Hawaiian Blackberry Mojito.


Hawaiian Blackberry Mojito

6 blackberries, crushed
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz white rum (optional)
4 fresh mint leaves
3-4 oz sparkling water
large handful of ice

1. In a glass, crush blackberries with a muddler to extract the juice.
2. Using a mesh strainer, strain seeds and pulp leaving only blackberry juice.
3. In a tall glass, muddle mint leaves with lime juice to extract flavor.
4. Add in blackberry juice and rum, giving a quick stir to mix. Add a handful of ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of lime or a blackberry.

NOTES: To save time, you can prepare the blackberry juice ahead of time and keep in in a glass jar in the refrigerator. The rum adds a bit of sweetness, if choosing to omit you may want to add a drizzle of raw honey to contrast the tart berries.

A Lesson on Patience

Friday, August 8, 2014


This morning, I woke up with a headache.

My mind was still fuzzy from the strange dreams I had just had about children and glasses and parent teacher meetings. (Don't ask me to explain it, I'm just reporting it.) I trudged out of bed, got into the shower, and tried to feel excited that it was Friday. But in reality all I could think about was the fact that I had a long day of work ahead and a whole weekend full of nothing but studying before my last test on Monday. "Weekends are no fun anymore," I thought.

In my grumpy mood, I got dressed, packed a lunch, and loaded myself (and all of my school books) into my car. I drove along in silence trying hard not to be frustrated and hate the world, but I wasn't doing a very good job.

As I pulled up to the toll booth that I've passed through twice a day every weekday for the past three years, the white SUV in front of me (mind you, IN THE E-ZPASS LANE) came to a stop.

Now, there are only a few things about bad drivers that annoy me, but one of my all-time biggest pet peeves is people who come to a full stop in the E-ZPass lane. There is a reason that you have E-ZPass and it's so that you can keep driving through the toll so you DON'T HAVE TO STOP! Ugh. Why people consistently do this, I will NEVER understand.

Since I was already running low on cheer for the day, I tried counting to five, hoping that the vehicle would realize that their tag had already been registered as "paid" and they could proceed through the booth. But no. This didn't happen. Nothing happened. In fact, the brake lights went out, the car was put in park and the driver's side door opened.

I lost it. I started screaming and honking and yes, I became one of those frustrated a-holes waving their hands and cursing behind closed doors and rolled up windows.

What happened next changed my day.

A middle aged Asian man got out of his car and waved at me with a smile on his face. He started walking toward me.

At this point, I had stopped honking and screaming and pretty much sat there with my mouth wide open in shock that he was coming to talk to me.

I rolled down my window and he said in broken English "Good morning! I'm sorry to bother you. I've never used E-ZPass before and I'm confused. I'm not from here. I have the tag in the car. Is there someone I wait for or can I drive through?"

"As long as you have the tag displayed on your dash, you can just keep driving," I said.

He nodded, apologized and thanked me again, got in his car, and drove off.

As I passed through the booth, I suddenly began to feel awful. Instead of resenting the man for making me wait an extra 60 seconds, I felt like a jerk. I had done a great job of making quite a scene but the man was so kind and apologetic.

What if he had a sick wife or baby and he was just trying to make it to the hospital? What if that had been me? In a new city, or even a foreign country, totally unsure of how to pay the toll, just trying to do the best I could to make it through the day without getting in anybody's way.

I couldn't believe how little patience I had had with the man. And for what? So that I could let him know how pissed off I was that he was making me 60 seconds late?

My attitude changed drastically as I drove away. I felt terrible and pretty embarrassed for how I had behaved. Who am I to go around on my high horse getting mad at everyone who doesn't know what they're doing. What makes me think that it's okay to act that way? There have been countless times where I didn't know how to operate a machine or I couldn't find my way around a city or I was trying something new for the first time.

We aren't born knowing everything, and I feel like today I've learned a true lesson in having a little patience with your fellow humans. None of us are perfect, so show a little mercy. We're all struggling to figure out this life, so why not do so compassionately?

Checking In

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Believe it or not, in two weeks I'll be finished my very first grad school class. I've got one more exam next week and then the final and I'm DONE!

My fall class doesn't start until September so I've got about two weeks off until I have to get back in the swing of things again. It'll be really nice to have a little break to breathe and enjoy what's left of summer.

Things have been a bit nuts for us lately with school, work, family in town, and summer plans and I haven't had much to talk about here. After taking a little break for my birthday weekend, I had to play catch up with all the work I had been neglecting so we haven't been doing much of anything besides working, hanging around the house, visiting with family, and studying... well, for me anyway. August kind of snuck up on me and I feel like before we know it, the leaves will start to change and we'll be picking out Halloween costumes. (I secretly can't wait!)

So I thought for today, I would post a couple of pictures of some of the small things we've been up to aside from the boring stuff.

I picked up a few plants at Lowe's the other day and I was finally able to find a use for the anthropologie planters we got for our wedding. I absolutely love them but couldn't quite decide where to put them. I think they definitely add a little character and charm to the porch!

I've also finally started to decorate the house. I know, I know, it's pathetic. We've been living here for more than a year and still don't have any pictures on the walls. Well that's all beginning to change now! I found this awesome pitcher at Michael's for $6 (it was originally $35!) and now I can't wait to start filling our home with all sorts of pretty things!

I've been on a roll when it comes to crossing things off my 101 list and I'm working on a few more at the moment that I can't wait to share. For now though, I've only got pictures to document a couple of the random ones.

#71 - Successfully French Braid my own hair.

and #85 - Do a run/walk for charity.

We ran a 5K on Saturday with a bunch of our family and friends to benefit both Kids at Hope and Recreation Deeds for Special Needs in their "Hop(e), Skip & Jump 5K." We all decided to name our team the Neon Ninjas and dressed up accordingly. These guys are a hilarious bunch and we had so much fun. I hope we all do it again next year!

We also went to our first O's game of the season this past weekend and the birds beat the Mariners 1-0! Although it was cloudy, we still had a great time since Mike's work sponsored the day. We had great seats and got $80 in vouchers to spend at the stadium. It was a great time but I think I ate enough ballpark food for 10 people. I just can't pass up free stuff!

And saving the best for last... our family from Chicago is in town! My aunt and uncle and their two girls are staying in Baltimore for the week and we could not be more excited for their visit. It's always a blast when they're in town. And it's only going to get better when my aunt from Virginia comes up next weekend to visit with everyone before they all leave! It will be one heck of a weekend and I can't wait!

This was taken at a family game night on Sunday. We played a little Left-Right-Center, Hold 'em, 5 and 7-Card Stud, 5-Card Draw, BlackJack, and my favorite game - Indian! Nothing like a true Larson family game night!

Carlisle turns ONE!

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's hard to believe that our little fur ball of love turned a whole year old yesterday! I don't know how or when it happened, but looking through some old photos yesterday, it amazes me how much he's grown! I can't believe how tiny he was when we first brough him home on the day we adopted him.

I remember for the first few nights in our house he slept under the couch even when we tried to get him to come to bed with us. It made me sad to think that he was scared, like we were going to leave him or something, but before long, he got the idea that we weren't going anywhere and happily found a new spot beneath Mike's chin.

He's brought so much life and love into our home and into our hearts. I can't imagine my life without him and his quirky little personality.

His obsession with bags/totes/boxes and trying to sneakily swipe anyone who walks by him.

That ferocious kitty meow. He's by far the most talkative kitty I've ever known.

I can ever get any reading done anymore with him sitting on top of or directly in front of my books. Even now as a big cat he still does it and that face gets me every time! (He's one of the main reasons you haven't seen any book reviews on here in a while!)

He wants whatever we are eating no matter what it is.

He likes joining in on Family Game Night, too.

He's best buddies with his doggy cousins- Lucky and Lucy.

This is what we wake up to at least once a week right above us as he tries to swat at our heads and balance on top of the rail.

And the endless kitten snuggles.

Here's to another great year with our baby love!
Happy Birthday, Carlisle! We love you so much!