Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Study Buddies

Missing the blogosphere world a lot right now. School has been insanely crazy and I seem to never cut a break anymore. Last week, I almost changed my major after a week of pure discouragement and even shed tears during class. I don't remember the last time I was social that wasn't along the lines of texting a fellow peer about school related subjects, studying with a friend at the library, or talking to someone during passing periods. I miss my life and my friends a lot right now. I don't remember the last time I was able to go for a run, I have nothing but peanut butter left in my pantry, and my coffee expenditure is through the roof. But I got my first Econ exam down today, Tax exam tomorrow, accounting project due Thursday, and then, finally, the light at the end of the tunnel: True/False this weekend!!

If it weren't for these guys, I don't think I would have stayed sane these last couple of weeks. Hollerrrr:

Death Cab for Cutie "Plans" album (this album will NEVER get old)
James Vincent McMorrow "Early in the Morning" album
Freelance Whales "Weathervanes" album
and well, my Bon Iver/Justin Vernon playlist, of course.

Thanks for being there for me, no matter how much I complain or suck the fun out of life, which I have been doing a lot of lately. I couldn't ask for better study buddies.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Schedule for my first True/False Film Festival experience:

18a. The Imposter Fri, Mar 2, 7:00pm 95 min. The Blue Note
30b. Secret Screening Lavender Sat, Mar 3, 10:00am 90 min. Forrest Theater
22b. Me @ The Zoo Sat, Mar 3, 12:30pm 90 min. Missouri Theatre
1a. Bully Sat, Mar 3, 3:30pm 99 min. Jesse
24b. The Queen of Versailles Sat, Mar 3, 6:30pm 100 min. Jesse
17a. How to Survive a Plague Sat, Mar 3, 8:45pm 109 min. Missouri Theatre
15c. Gypsy Davy Sun, Mar 4, 10:00am 96 min. Missouri Theatre
5c. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Sun, Mar 4, 1:30pm 91 min. Jesse
16c. Herman's House Sun, Mar 4, 3:30pm 80 min. The Picturehouse
37b. Undefeated Sun, Mar 4, 6:30pm 113 min. Jesse

Anyone seeing any of the same shows? CAN'T W8

Happy One Year, Wig.

Last year on Mardi Gras, I purchased my first wig. What then seemed like such a terrifying thing, leaving me feeling completely isolated and alone, became one of the most impacting experiences of my life--a true blessing in disguise and a reminder that no matter how hard life might seem to be, there is hope.

People always say to me, "I just don't think I would have been able to handle it that way you did," and I think to myself, I probably would have thought the same thing too, but I don't think that's true. It's all about inner beauty anyways, isn't it? I mean, the outside, well it's all just "stuff." Noise. On the surface. A way to hide who we really are deep down.

You see, I was lucky. At age 20, I had a wake up call. A terrifying call that that was sudden and unexpected, that I was powerless over, and that resulted in a complete surrender. A surrender to the old me, who spent countless hours focusing and dwelling on petty things, on temporary things, on tangible things, on outward things, and on things that truly added no real meaning to my life.

The beginning of my college years were rough, full of ups and downs, and a constant desire of something better, something more fulfilling and genuine. I was never happy, and always found myself settling. I knew I wasn't happy, and I knew that the lifestyle I was living wasn't what I wanted, but I felt no way out.

When I lost my hair in the Spring of my sophomore year, I thought was it. The icing on the cake. The march to my funeral. Overwhelmed with feelings and emotions that I felt no one could understand or offer meaningful advice for, I turned to my blog as an outlet to sort out all of the thoughts going through my head that I felt helpless over. At first, I was a little hesitant to make my blog go viral, but it seemed to be the best way to let everyone know that I was now bald, but not sick, without having to explain to every individual each time I ran into someone at the gym or when someone asked if I had highlighted my hair.

I could not believe the response that was received from my blog, and was further encouraged to keep blogging about my progressions. People seemed so moved that I was able to find peace through my difficult time, and able to be so positive about it, but why does it take hair loss for us to realize that inner beauty always prevails?

When I first lost my hair, it wasn't that I felt awkward or uncomfortable with the way I looked, but more that I felt awkward knowing that people didn't always know how to act around me. So many times I would make eye contact with people at the gym, and before I could say hi, they would nervously turn away. Maybe they really just didn't recognize me, or maybe I should have said hi sooner, but I just couldn't help to think about what a petty thing this was. So I don't have hair follicles on my head and I look a little funny, but what good did my hair ever do me anyway? It added a good 5+ minutes to my shower, 20 to my getting ready time, and didn't offer any practical sort of application. I was still the same Laura.

What I learned, and I hope everyone else took from my blog, was that despite all of the things on the outside, when stripped down to our rawest form, who are we then? Are we still proud of the person that we are at the end of the day? Or do we surround ourselves with trivial things to protect ourselves from discovering what truly lies at the core of our being?

Losing my hair made me confront my true composition: what was real and what wasn't. What mattered and what didn't. What was temporary and what true. It didn't happen overnight, but sitting here, one year later, I can honestly say that losing my hair was the best thing that's ever happened to me. It wasn't pretty at first, and I will never fully be the person that I strive to be, but I can firmly say that my priorities, my values, and my overall outlook on life have changed dramatically since last year, and I don't think I would be where I am today if it wasn't for that wake up call that was Alopecia Areata.

So, today, on my one year anniversary as a proud wig owner, I encourage you to think about yourself in a similar scenario, or more-so, the metaphor that it represents. If you were stripped down to the core to find only the contents of your heart and soul, what would you look like?

Alopecia was a true reminder that it's never to late to change or be the person that deep down you really want to be. To be the person that, 3 years can now, 20 years from now, and 60 years from now you can look back and be proud of, and know that you did your best to treat people with kindness, to love from the bottom of your heart, to embrace all the beauty that life offers, and to truly seek to be the best person you can be, inside and out.

Happy one year, wig. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lover of Bon Iver Covers

My three favorite Bon Iver covers, in order of discovery, are as follows. Enjoy!

Come Talk to Me (Original by Peter Gabriel)

 I Can't Make You Love Me (Original by Bonnie Raitt) 
Love More (Original by Shannon Van Etten)

I will definitely be falling asleep to this one tonight. Thank you Abi Getto for the share! Bon Iver can truly do no wrong. 

Sweet dreams cyber world,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy (Belated) Grammys, Bon Iver

So as we all probably know by now, Bon Iver won two awards last night at the 2012 Grammy's:

Best Alternative Album 
Best New Artist 

But New? Bon Iver's album 'For Emma, Forever Ago' (which absolutely swept the nation) came out in 2007.. when I was still in high school.. 5 years ago. I'm very happy for him, and that true talent is being nationally recognized, but as seen in the following excerpts from an article in the Huffington Post, Bon Iver is just as hesitant about the whole thing as we are about this truly delayed award:

Bon Iver's Acceptance Speech:
"It's really hard to accept this award. There's so much talent out here... and there's a lot of talent that's not here tonight. It's also hard to accept because you know, when I started to make songs I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I'm a little bit uncomfortable up here."

 From an interview with the New York Times back in December:
"I don't think the Bon Iver record is the kind of record that would get nominated for a Grammy. I kinda felt like going up there and being like: 'Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending that this is important.' That's what I would say."

And from a blog post last summer critizing MTV for being about "the dollars":
"Why do we NEED this shit so bad? Why don't we just have MUSIC? DO music? soul? I don't know."

All I have to say is, what a humble guy. It is so apparent how truly genuine and humble Justin Vernon is about not only his music, but his career and outlook on life. He has always been my favorite musician and these quotes really sum up the reason why. 

Congrats, Justin and gang. 5 years later, you still deserve it.

February Instagrams.

 The Simple Salad @ Winslow's Home on Delmar, simply delicious. Props to my girl Caitlin Whyte for the restaurant selection and wonderful evening ;) So delicious that I took my dad back the very next day..

 The Staves opening @ The Pageant before the Civil Wars. Girl crushes fasho.

 Mason jars make everything better.

 Had a fun day with the roommates and some guy friends four-wheeling and shooting clay pigeons at our friend's place 20 minutes outside of Columbia, until poor Marisa lost her phone on our four-wheel ride and we went on a two-hour unsuccessful search for it.. the day was worth it though? And I hit my first two clay pigeons!

Some of my favorite memories have been at my best friend Amanda's farm four-wheeling and swimming in the lake and trying to learn how to dive (and instead belly-flopping) and having evening bonfires and really spending quality time with people. I used to say that I wanted to have my honeymoon there.. Now I don't know if I'd go that far, but I really would love to have a farm when I'm older. There is just something so peaceful about being away from all the hectic craziness in city life that really brings out the inner-most best in people..

Crusader King Louis IX statue in front of the St. Louis art museum

This is what happens when I can't fall asleep..

Memorial Union looking very peaceful on this brisk January day.

 Meg made adorable cocktails with sweethearts in honor of Valentine's Day! What a sweetheart..

This is my excuse for being lame on Friday nights.. How could you pass up these two books, a fluffy duvet, and Christmas lights?

 As if the Starbucks' Valentine cups weren't cute enough.. Check out these adorable gift cards. Who wants to be my Valentine?

My first True/False Film Festival Weekend pass purchased!!!

 Dinner: turkey, avacado, spinach, swiss cheese, a fried egg, and salt & pepper on wheat toast. Egg-static about this turnout.

Starting off this snowy Monday morning right with a delicious smoothie for breakfast.

{{My recipe}}
-Big handful of mixed frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries!) 
-1 whole banana
-Organic vanilla yogurt
-Splash of POM juice
-A tad of flax seed for a fiber boost
&& Try it in a bowl topped with granola of your choice to add a crunchy dimension!

Three Cardinals outside of my window on this snowy morning. Beautiful. Cardinals always remind me of my Grandmother and Grandfather's house. Their bird feeders outside of the kitchen window in the backyard always attracted so many of them and we would stare out the windows watching them forever.. Hummingbirds too. I really treasure little childhood memories like these.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Human Experience

Just finished watching the documentary The Human Experience (recommended by a friend who is going to work in an orphanage in Peru shown in the film in May, pretty cool right?) about two brothers searching for answers: Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life?

In the film, Jeffrey and Clifford live as homeless people on the streets of New York for a week that ended up being the coldest of the year, work in an orphanage in Peru with abandoned, abused, sick, and disabled children, and live in a poor African community in an attempt to search for the answers to these overlying questions. Here's the trailer:


“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."  
Martin Luther King Jr.

As seen from this quote in this trailer, the documentary explores the idea of human suffering and destruction, but also the overpowering idea of hope. In a world where there is so much bad, we tend to overlook how much good their is. This goodness is seen in the people living in these "conditions of suffering," yet some of the children and people that the documentary shows are some of the happiest people ever. And just when I thought my desire to finally go Africa couldn't get any worse...

If my blog post didn't convince you, hopefully the fact that the film received 30 awards will... 

{Some of my favorite quotes from the film}

"I look at those memories. I look at those moments. Everyone lives differently. When you go somewhere out of your own comfort zone, out of your own realm, and you enter someone else's, that's learning." Jeffrey Azize

"Many young people do not have a meaning and purpose to their life. They're looking to say, does my life matter? Do I have a unique contribution to make... when you recognize that you have a real mission, an indispensable contribution to make, then you embrace life, you celebrate life in a completely different way." Anna Halpine, World Youth Alliance

"Where many, many young people today are saying, 'I need to experience in some sense that my life matters." The more mature person is not the person who has all the questions settled. No, the mature person is the person who enters ever more deeply, ever farther and farther and farther into the mystery and into the wonder." Anna Halpine, World Youth Alliance

"Even in the deepest suffering, there is significance. There is a meaningful process of positive possibilities. We have to recover the language of humanity. We cannot understand suffering without it... there's this struggle in life in every class of people... it's what we do with it that matters." Dr. William B. Hurlbut M.D.