You're in Sinbad's House.

My name is Laura.

I am in my late twenties. I live in Austin, Texas, with my new-ish husband Kevin, and our pets Hazel, Wink and Lennie Briscoe. I enjoy college sports (particularly my Jayhawks), old movies, popcorn, outdoor dining, Scrabble, bourbon, pretzels, bad reality television, and the Chicago Blackhawks. I'm learning to be a better cook.

My husband
My wedding
Losing weight and wearing dresses
Places I love
Songs I love


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My side project - Late To The Movies

Recent Tweets @snackmantis

Spotted (by Kevin) on the UT Campus

If being a therapy dog doesn’t work out for Hazel, I think I might try to enter her for America’s Next Top Model.

If being a therapy dog doesn’t work out for Hazel, I think I might try to enter her for America’s Next Top Model.

And I have learned that I need to learn to chill a little. I started to get stressed about the fact that I’m not stressed enough (or as stressed as I’m used to being). That’s pretty sick.

Leslie: I started watching Friday Night Lights. I’m so excited.

Me: Yay!

Leslie: I hung out with Zach Gilford in college, he was so cute.

Of course she did. My celebrity stories are always, oh yeah when I saw 16 I saw the Barenaked Ladies and screamed at them about how much I hated Canada. Her’s are always, oh yeah I sat next to David Cross at [fill-in-the-blank] event and also [such-n-such big name comedian] told me I should really get back into stand-up.

“Have you considered making a version of this margherita pizza for your readers who are trying to avoid gluten, dairy and nightshades? What if I shoved a roll of basil leaves in my mouth, do you think that would taste good?”

This is perfect.

Meet Vern, my new CGC trainee! He has the energy of a young puppy and the ears of a rabbit. 

I am about a week late making this announcement but SMOKEY PASSED HIS CGC TEST LAST SATURDAY! We’ve been working together since March and, well, let’s just say this was a long time coming. I learned a lot about training and obviously he learned a lot since he passed the damn test. Now it’s just time for him to get adopted!

If you’re interested, here are the details of the CGC test— note that in training we use corrective collars (like a Gentle Leader or a "Good Dog" collar) and treats for positive reinforcement, but you are only able to test the dog on their regular collar and without any reinforcement:

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness. 

Many dogs have issues with this because they jump up (my dog, who is training for the test as well, is a jumper). Smokey was good with this.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. 

Test 3: Appearance and grooming

This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

Smokey had a little difficulty with this only because he really loves toys and viewed a brush as a toy, so we worked for a while on understanding that it wasn’t and that he didn’t need to try to chew on it.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)

This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops…In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd

This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.

Smokey is awesome on a leash.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place

This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog’s leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. 

Test 7: Coming when called

This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. 

We had some trouble with this test earlier this summer but he’s super good on it now.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog

This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler. 

I personally think that this is the hardest test for most dogs and it definitely takes a lot of work. Even if a dog isn’t dog aggressive it feels natural for them to try and sniff out the other dog. This was the toughest test for Smokey to pass because he gets distracted easily but he has been on point lately and did a great job during his test.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction

This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

Test 10: Supervised separation

This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. 

Last picture on my phone: I mean, this new Mac sleeve from my new job is pretty adorable, right?

  3. I bought two sweaters from Boden (thanks to Sara Z) and they are adorable. But why did I buy sweaters when it’s going to be 100+ degrees for the next four months because I live in Austin? The world may never know.
  4. Lease is signed. House is ours as of September 21st. You guys. Yard. Yard. YARD. YAAAAAAAAARD.
  5. I’ve only ever seen one episode of The Simpsons so my control-freak friend Ryan put together a list of 20 episodes to DVR during the Every Simpsons Ever marathon below. This is what I’ll be doing during the four days between jobs. Let the games begin.

I’ve gone a little silent on here for a bit since returning from Europe because I’ve had a lot of (good things) happening in my life. 

Most notably, I’m taking a new job at a company called Spredfast. I’m excited about the company and the opportunities I’ll have there. I’m going to be working on the marketing team for the company, which means I’ll actually be brand side instead of agency/managing clients and that is something I’m really looking forward to doing. My last day at my current company will be this Friday, and I’ll start at Spredfast next week. Boom.

Also, also notable, Kevin and I are signing a lease on a house tomorrow. Square footage-wise, it is a bit smaller than our current apartment BUT it is a house with a yard and washer and dryer hookups. We won’t have to deal with dicks running around our complex with their dogs off-leash and pooping, and we won’t have to deal with the “laundry facility” (four washer and dryers for about 60 people, and they never work properly). It also has an outdoor storage space (and storage accounts for a lot of our current sq. footage) where Kevin can brew beer and where I can put a bunch of crap. Bonus: it costs the same as our current apartment so we basically get a lot of benefits for the same price and can continue saving to buy a house in the future.

Damn guys. Damn.