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.

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GPOYs
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My wedding
Losing weight and wearing dresses
Dogs
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My side project - Late To The Movies

 

Eurotrip, part 2: Prague

As I previously mentioned, our plan had been to visit Krakow and I was very excited to go. A few weeks before our trip, Kevin realized that there was construction on the tracks between Berlin and Krakow and our trip would have been about 12 hours each way. As I was only in Europe for eight days (plus two days for travel), I didn’t want to waste a ton of time traveling to another city. We had heard from several people that Prague was super touristy, but decided to visit anyway.

I’m so incredibly glad that we did. Berlin, while beautiful in its own way, did not look the way I envisioned a European city to look, with old beautiful architecture and windy streets. Prague did. I think that, at least up until now, Prague is the most beautiful city I have ever seen.

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Because of my crazy work and travel schedule before this trip, I didn’t spend a ton of time planning for our visit to Prague. My plan had been to follow this blog post as closely as possible. It’s an awesome guide but I wish I had spent more time researching some places that were more off-the-beaten-path. 

Highlights:

  • We stayed at the Hotel Casa Marcello in a really lovely suite. Our jetlag was so bad while we were there and one of my favorite things we did was napping in bed with the windows opened while it rained for a few hours. They also serve the absolute best hotel breakfast I have ever had, hands down. I’m a big fan and if we ever go back, we’ll stay here again.
  • The Prague Castle and the Strahov Monastery were definitely highlights. A friend mentioned that we should show up to the Prague Castle early to beat the tourists and she was right— we were able to walk in and out of buildings and able to take pictures of the beautiful buildings and scenery without thousands of people crowding around. We then walked over to the Strahov Monastery and ate and drank at the brewery. It was such a beautiful day and we really enjoyed just sitting back and relaxing with a few beers.
  • All of the walking. I should’ve brought better shoes and my feet are still in pain, but we walked 10+ miles a day and I would’ve missed some beautiful things if we had taken cabs everywhere.
  • We watched the World Cup at a bar in Prague (bad timing = me) with a bunch of Russians and Dutch bros who really, really wanted the Germans to lose. Also, our waitress had a Eastern European accent until suddenly she confessed to me that she’s from New Jersey and really liked my Kate Spade wallet. Okay.
  • The day we left, Kevin and I woke up early to go to the Old Jewish Cemetery (picture below). For hundreds of years it was the only place where Jews could be buried in Prague. In some places the graves are 12 layers deep, and headstones are piled on top of each other. 

    The cemetery is next to the Pinkas Synagogue. I didn’t take any pictures as they are not allowed, but the names of holocaust victims are written on every wall. They also had a permanent exhibition of Children`s Drawings from Terezin, 1942 - 1944. Terezín was a camp located north of Prague between 1941 and 1945 where Jewish inmates were held before shipment east to extermination camps. The drawings were done between 1942 and 1944 by children in art classes at the Terezín camp. The classes were intended to be therapeutic and encourage expression during a really horrific time, and many of the drawings depicted life at the camp through the eyes of the children. You could see the confusion and terror through the drawings. The saddest thing was that all pictures are labeled with each child’s birth date, date of the drawing and death date— and a majority of them died before 1944.

    Seeing this was more moving than anything else on our trip. It was unexpected and so personal. I think when you go places like Berlin where many horrors happened, it’s easy for stories to almost go in one ear and out the other. This was in front of me and made history feel real. I’m so incredibly glad I got to see it.

If I could do it over again:

  • We had an incident where we got ripped off pretty badly after confusing the CK to Euro conversion rate. We were definitely scammed, but we should’ve known the conversion rate better and that was our fault. Dumb.
  • Should’ve done a walking tour or spent more time researching the history before going. I spent a lot of time on Wikipedia afterward. 
  • No absinthe. Not even the ice cream. 
  • As I mentioned before, I wish we had researched some of the more off-the-beaten-path spots around town and maybe steered clear of the town square. We ended up running into crowds constantly and I think we could have avoided them with better planning.
  • We should have rented a boat, as recommended to us. We would’ve loved it and been able to take some great pictures. Next time!
  • Seeing a building designed by Frank Gehry ruined by a humongous FOR RENT banner just made me a little sick, to be honest. What a disappointment.

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Kevin and I at sunset on the St Charles Bridge, with the Prague Castle in the background.

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A view of Prague (St Nicolas Church in the foreground) from the Royal Palace at the Prague Castle

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St. Vitus’s Cathedral at the Prague Castle. I just stood in front of this gorgeous thing for about fifteen minutes with my mouth agape. It’s the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen (although I actually preferred the inside of the Basilica at the Strahov Monastery but, alas, could not take pictures). 

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Strahov Monastery, where monks have been brewing (delicious) beer since the 17th century.

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More beautiful architecture, and it was pink, so why not.

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Pařížská Street, where all the designers have stores. Beautiful, but let’s just say I could barely afford to even walk down the street.

I want to move here.

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The Old Jewish Cemetery (see explanation above)

See the rest of our Prague photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/snackmantis/sets/72157645948017895/

Pretty Sick Mind: You'll Never Interview In This Town Again

You Don’t Have All the Qualifications We’re Looking For

“I see you’re experienced in MadCap?”
“Yes.”
“And FrameMaker, RoboHelp…”
“Yes, yes.”
“Are you also familiar with Visual Studio, Visio, SQL, LucidChart, Rally, MS TFS, WorkDay, SalesForce, the Microsoft Office Suite, the Adobe Creative Suite, my grandmother’s underwear drawer, Corel, Zoom, SnagIt, WordPress, Google docs, PowerPoint and Media Designer?”
“Everything but your grandmother’s underwear drawer, yes.”
Rejection email stated: “Did not meet all the qualifications.”
Note: The exception was not his grandmother’s underwear drawer, but it might as well have been. The point is this—no one will have all the qualifications you’re asking for, and if they do, they’re probably lying, and if they aren’t lying, they’re probably detail-oriented psychopaths.

One of the best blog posts I’ve ever read about interviewing for jobs, and it happens to be written by a very intelligent woman who is interviewing in Austin. My god, I can relate to almost every scenario (in and out of Austin). It’s a long read but well worth it.

Trying to think up some of my past job interview/job search horrors:

  • My very first interview out of college was at my university’s law school in an editing job (HA) where the interviewers told me that they fired the last person in the position because the professors did not like him. Not terrifying at all.
  • When I moved to Kansas City from Chicago, I interviewed for a job in February of that year. The manager told me that it would be a couple of weeks before he could offer me the job but he “really liked me.” Weeks turned into months, emails went from getting the “we don’t know anything yet” response to being completely ignored, and finally in May I took another job. A week later I ran into the manager at a professional club meeting and in front of my new boss, he told me he heard I had taken a new job, I had made a big mistake, he could’ve paid me way more than new job and I’d eventually regret it. (That guy got ‘laid off’ a little while later. Can’t imagine why.)
  • A company that I once thought was THE DREAM COMPANY interviewed me for a job (I had one HR interview, one phone interview and one four hour, in-person interview, not to mention a ton of paperwork to fill out). They called and told me they absolutely loved me, but felt like I didn’t have the right background for the job (one would think they could’ve told me this after the first HR interview), but they’d follow up with me if something else came along. To my surprise, they approached me later with another job that felt right up my alley. Again, I went through the same intense process and wound up rejected. You would think I’d have learned my lesson… but then they approached me again, with a job that was close to what I had been doing at the time and felt like a great path to take for my career. You can imagine how that worked out for me. I never did hear from them about a fourth try.
  • One company that burned me so badly during interviews that I’m still sore from it.

Anyway, read the post. It’s great and if anything, you’ll probably be able to relate to it. Hopefully someone hires this woman soon because she’s fabulous.

Playing catchup today for the Austin Chronicle’s #ACReads book club. Just like in college, but the good news is I like this book more than my college textbooks.

Playing catchup today for the Austin Chronicle’s #ACReads book club. Just like in college, but the good news is I like this book more than my college textbooks.

jonahray:

http://www.avclub.com/article/jonah-ray-his-intense-burning-hatred-sublimes-what-206997

So. I did a thing on AV CLUB called “Hate Song” in which they find somebody to rant for a while on ONE SONG. I picked a song that i didn’t really like: WHAT I GOT by SUBLIME. 

The best part is how I got AV CLUB COMMENTERS to DEFEND Sublime. Some of them had to defend them only to tear apart the WAY I made fun of Sublime. 

Sublime: most hated. They make my ears bleed. HATE.

EuroTrip, Part 1

I have a few long and obnoxious photo recaps planned for Berlin and Prague, but here’s Europe in a nutshell:

  • Steps walked between July 10th and 20th: 176,522
  • Miles walked: 78.35
  • Blood blisters acquired: three
  • Times I told Kevin that my feet hurt so bad that I was on the verge of vomiting: at least twenty
  • Pretzels consumed: 12
  • Pretzels with melted butter inside consumed: 2
  • Beers consumed: around thirty
  • Earliest I drank a beer: 9:15 am, but it was the morning of the World Cup celebration rally at the Brandenburg Gate so don’t judge me
  • Pairs of sunglasses broken: two
  • Times I felt in love with a Käthe Kollwitz piece: six
  • Times I got yelled at for doing something wrong: five (most of this occurred at various museums in Berlin)
  • Number of babies in my row on my Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Houston: three. THREE.
  • Quote of the trip, I guess?: “I am not a guy. I am not a guy. I AM NOT A GUY!” - our AirBnB host who wasn’t that great with English but really wanted us to know that he wasn’t gay

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(Yeah. That’s a pretzel with butter inside.)

We woke up early on the 10th to head to the airport, and Hazel was limping. She had been licking her paws all week because her allergies were bad and managed to chew part of the paw pad on her back left foot off on Thursday morning. Holy crap. We took her to the place where we were boarding her and explained the situation, and they eventually had to take her to the vet to get steroids and a big cone for her head. I’m super thankful that my mom was able to handle this for me while we were gone (I probably drove her nuts with all of the emails) and Hazel is feeling fine now.

Flying there and back was sort of brutal. I took all sorts of sleeping pills but could not sleep on the plane for more than a few hours. I felt a little nutty and claustrophobic, particularly on the 12 hour return flight, without natural light or space to move around, but I survived. Customs was great, I had zero problems and once again my severe travel anxiety was all for nothing. 

It was an incredible trip, but felt very surreal while I was there. I spent a lot of the trip walking around in a daze (partially because jetlag was actually quite awful for me and partially because OMG IT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING). I took a ton of photos and kept a journal because I was afraid I would forget details after I left, and I’ve already started to forget. But it was a remarkable experience and I am so glad I decided to do it.

I totally get why people love to travel now. I’ve traveled a lot domestically but always felt ready to come home by the time my vacation was over (save for beach trips because I never want to leave the ocean). When it came time to leave Berlin, I felt like my trip had only just begun. I want to go back as soon as I can, but DAMN this trip was crazy expensive. I am kind of shocked at how much it cost (granted, we waited until the last minute to book our flights). So hopefully we’ll be able to go somewhere next year— it may not be Europe but I definitely have an itch to travel more.

Bachelor Life

So I left Kevin behind in Germany, and he’s not returning until August 7th. I’ve had a ton of people say to me, “oh aren’t you going to miss him? Doesn’t that suck that he’s gone for so long? What are you going to do while he’s gone?” And I find that to be super annoying.

Yes, I’ll miss him, of course. He’s my best friend. And my dogs REALLY miss him. But guess what, I lived 25 fairly successful years without him. I’ll be fine. I may struggle to work our grill, but I’ll be fine.

(That said, I have been a complete hermit since I returned, which I’m attributing to jet lag [which SUCKS, by the way]. I do need to make an effort to get out of the house and not lay in bed with the dogs for five hours after work, watching Intervention and reading.

OH HONEY.
I’m back from Europe and tired and so happy. Recaps to follow, I’m about to get ‘noxious.

OH HONEY.

I’m back from Europe and tired and so happy. Recaps to follow, I’m about to get ‘noxious.

Berlin needs no filter. (at Deutsches Historisches Museum)

Berlin needs no filter. (at Deutsches Historisches Museum)

From Prague: snacking across the world. 🍦 (at Old Town Square)

From Prague: snacking across the world. 🍦 (at Old Town Square)