Tuesday, July 27, 2010

dear pnc park. two words: funnel. cakes.

I am not a sports person. I know, I know. I live in Pittsburgh: City of Champions, and I am not a sports person. While I love my city more than a Prada handbag or a bathtub full of donuts {sans water, of course}, I do not, in any way, care for professional sports. I went to a Penguins game once on a blind date and kept staring at the architecture of Mellon Arena as opposed to the action on the ice. The only time I've ever been to Heinz Field was for a runway show I was modeling in. And PNC Park? I've driven by it. Does that count?


When my darling girl Melissa from OperationNICE came into town this past weekend to help me celebrate my Secret Agent L reveal, her husband Rob--sports fanatic to the extreme--got tickets to go see the Pirates play, and I was invited. How could I say no? People I Like trumps My Disinterest in Professional Sports.

And so, on Sunday afternoon, I found myself here:

At PNC Park.

The Ross-a-tron was invited, but he had to work all day. So I went by myself. But I made sure to include him as best I could:
I met Melissa and Rob's lovely friends, Devon and Craig:

They live in the suburbs and rarely come to the city. I will be working on changing that ASAP. Because they are lovely. And I'd like to spend time with them. Here. In the city.

The game was actually pretty fun. I am proud of myself for trying something new. Rob taught me a lot about baseball, and I enjoyed the whole atmosphere {despite the fact that the players' pants weren't nearly as tight as I thought they would be}. It was very theatrical. I like theatrical.

Do you know who else is theatrical? This girl:

We took a lovely group photo. I decided to take the crotch position:

And Melissa and Rob thought the whole Franktuary thing was hilarious:

I had a lovely time with my friends.


Do you know that PNC Park doesn't have funnel cakes? WHAT KIND OF BASEBALL PARK DOESN'T HAVE FUNNEL CAKES? A Communist baseball park?

Because that's what PNC Park felt like when Melissa and I went on our Very Important Mission to find funnel cakes.

Nachos? Check.
Hot dogs? Check.
Slushies? Check.
Soft pretzels? Check.

Funnel cakes? "We don't have 'em," replied the nice man selling beer when we finally gave up and asked. "Nobody wants to make 'em."

WHAT?! Nobody wants to make them? I'm sorry. Since when did the needs of the funnel cake makers {yes, that's their official title} outweigh the needs of the funnel cake eaters? This IS a capitalist society, is it not? They could be making a mint! Heck, Melissa and I would have bought four! I know! Four! That's a lot! I may have even bought one more to take home to the Ross-a-tron!

Funnel cake makers, you are missing out! It's an outrage!! I travesty!!! I want to use even more exclamation points!!!! WHERE ARE THE FUNNEL CAKES?!?!?!?!?


And that is why I do not care for professional sports.

with love from Pittsburgh,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

that time i kept a pretty big secret from you.

I've been leading a double life for the past year.

I am Secret Agent L.

I revealed my identity last night at a huge party and fundraiser at the Firehouse Lounge in the Strip District.

It was incredible, amazing, humbling, full of love and kindness, and one of the best nights I've ever had. And the people?


This city is filled with some of the most extraordinary, loving, wonderful humans ever to walk the planet. Hyperbole? Not in the least. And now that I'm no longer anonymous, I finally get to spend time with them. And that makes me happier than I can say.

More to come, folks. I'm just getting started.

with love from Pittsburgh,
p.s. For those of you who figured out who I was before I posted this? Thanks for keeping it a secret. xoxo!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

doing good in the neighborhood.

Sometimes, I can't believe my life is my life. And I mean that in a good way. Like, for example, I love my job. A lot. Also, I've gotten to act in London. And I've been on television. Pretty cool stuff, right? So when I got an email from famous mommy blogger Michelle over at Burgh Baby, I first pinched myself (um, hello, she's a CELEBRITY) and then made sure I didn't have any lipstick on my teeth. You know, in case she could see me. Somehow. When I read her email, I had to pinch myself again. Why? Because she wanted me to do something. With her. And a bunch of other totally awesome Pittsburgh women.

I know!

With the fabulous organizational skills of Cooper from The Motherhood and the brilliance of the Pittsburgh-based company American Eagle, Do Good Day was born. Why? AE recently launched a new kids' line: 77 Kids. And their flagship store? Right here in the 'burgh at the Mall at Robinson. Well, because American Eagle is such an awesome company (Um, hello, have you tried their jeans? Fab.u.lous.), they decided to have a day last week where 7 bloggers from 11 cities (that equals 77 bloggers in all--clever, huh?) got boxes of goodies supplied by AE and some money to purchase even more fun stuff--all to give away.

To strangers.

Especially kids.

Just because.

I KNOW, right?!

So how on earth did I get to participate? Michelle asked me to. She apparently reads my blog {that makes SIX of you now!} and likes me. And she likes that I love Pittsburgh {um, it's in the blog title}. Even though I'm not a mom, she felt I could contribute. And that meant a lot to me. I was truly honored to have been asked to be a part of such a wonderful day: Do Good Day.

My co-conspirators {who I just fell in love with, by the way}:

Allison of Allison Says

Dina of Fries on Top

Firemom of Stop, Drop, and Blog

Gina of My Very Last Nerve

Michelle of Burgh Baby

Virginia of That's Church

I got to meet some other celebrities: the actual Burgh Baby. {Alexis. She's the one on the right.}

And then there's Mike Pound. He's a journalist. And apparently a pretty big deal. I'm not on Twitter, but I learned that his Twitter name is Uncle Crappy. I have no idea why, but it just is. But there's nothing crappy about him. I was so happy to meet him because he's one of the nicest people ever. EVER.

I'm not a very good picture taker, but I tried to snap a couple of shots while I was workin' {if you call passing out stickers "working"}. I met Dina {with the camera around her neck}. She? Is lovely. And she and her husband make some pretty adorable babies. Holy moly.

We passed out glasses with fake noses and mustaches! I KNOW!! How cute is SHE?!

And Michelle? Is even awesome-er than I ever could have imagined. {She's on the left.} Like, if we were in grade school together, I would have TOTALLY wanted to be her friend. I would have given her my pudding cup during lunch if she so much as looked my way.

And Cooper {below} from The Motherhood? She is an incredible lady. Wow. The moment I met her, she just walked right up to me and hugged me like she'd known me forever. Such a warm presence, and so excited for all of us and the good we were doing!

Check out the treat truck! It looks like a mobile hotdog stand, but instead, it's filled with candy and toys and all manner of fun stuff for kids! It was such a hit!

We stood outside the Carnegie Science Center for the first hour or two, passing out gum, and money (as seen in the first photo), and stickers---oh, did I pass out some stickers!--and just witnessed such joy from children and their parents/guardians. Doing good really DOES change the world!

Afterward, we started walking down the North Shore. We handed dollar bills to people we passed, simply asking them to do something nice with it. We even included a little instruction sheet that suggested 7 things they could do with that dollar that would be nice for someone else.

And then we cooled off in the fountain steps. It was SO. HOT. And, yes. I got a sunburn. Ouch.

On Saturday, AE invited us to see their new 77 Kids store at Robinson. WOW. That's all I can say.


It's designed for kids and moms in a way that is so thoughtful and fun and brilliant. Treats in the store? Check. Aisles wide enough for strollers? Check. A beautiful family bathroom complete with soothing decor and baby wipes? Check.

And there are these awesome beanbag pillows called Fat Boys that are on the floor for the kids to sit on.

Or, you know, under.

We got a tour of the store, heard lovely speeches from some of the Top Brass at AE, and were thanked profusely for our participation in Do Good Day. And the clothes for these kids? Awesome. Reinforced for extra durability. Guaranteed to last up to 77 washes. Cute and child-like, but hip at the same time. But not too hip--AE didn't want kids to look like adults. (Thank you, modesty!)

I don't know about you, but I'm thinkin' I'm gonna get on with the baby-makin' here pretty soon and then go buy me some cute stuff from 77 Kids. Er, um, I mean, buy my children some stuff from 77 Kids.

But does this backpack come in my size? Because I simply must have it. Especially for Mondays. Rawr!

I have been asked by AE and The Motherhood to write about my participation in Do Good Day, and I have been compensated for doing so. Like I said: some days I can't believe this is my life.

with love from Pittsburgh,

Thursday, July 08, 2010

dear uterus. just...no. love, me.

I remember when I got my first period. I was all Oh, THERE it is! And then I went downstairs to the kitchen where my mom was and told her. I was kind of half-smiling. She smiled all the way. And we took it from there. I survived the becoming-a-woman thing. Hooray. Or something.

Flash forward all manner of years (20 if we’re counting. Are we counting? Crap. We’re counting.), and there is no more half-smiling. There is full-out growly face. On yours truly.

Here’s the thing. I never wanted kids. So for the past eleventy-billion years, while I’ve been havin’ this here period, I’ve been all What up, Universe? Um, ‘member how I don’t wanna have kids? So, yeah, can we just skip this whole remarkably inconvenient, painful, embarrassing, painful, annoying, painful THING?

*image of Laura, curled up on bathroom floor in fetal position, weeping from the pain, once every couple of months*

And the Universe was all I don’t care what you want.

And then I was all Oh, wait. I think I want kids.

So now the whole uterus thing is sort of relevant. But not enjoyable in any sense of the word. The PMS I get is, well, awful. My boobs hurt SO BADLY that I can’t even hug sometimes. Or roll over at night. And wear a bra? Torture. I also get extremely fatigued a few days beforehand. To the point where I literally come home from work and collapse on my bed for three hours. Then get up and go to bed for the night. I also feel flu-like symptoms. Upset tummy. Aches and pains. And my abdomen--because of water retention--distends to the point where I look like I’m 3 months pregnant, despite the fact that I’m actually preparing to be a part of the womanly time when one is NOT pregnant.

Do you know that last night I laid on my bed, shoving Oreos in my face by the handful—Double Stuf, no less—black crumbs of chocolatey goodness all over my fingers, all down my shirt, all over my duvet?

That’s right. I share that with you here because I have no shame.

I, Laura, was inhaling Double Stuf Oreos at a rate of amazing speed.

And tonight? Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips. At Mach 5. Like there was no tomorrow. My white tank top showing evidence of a PMS-ing woman on a salty rampage.

All because of my uterus.

And the Ross-a-tron, bless his heart, decided that I should do the Period Dance. Because the damn thing needs to JUST GET HERE ALREADY.

Yes, the Period Dance. What? You’ve never heard of the Period Dance? I was laughing so hard during it that I can’t even remember the lyrics to the song he made up to go with it, but I remember that it involved the following phrases:

I may not wear Fruit of the Loom, but what I need now is Fruit of the Womb.

Gush, gush, gush, I’m in a rush.
{He’s adorable. He thinks it gushes out like a fire hydrant or something.)

What? Too much?

with love from Pittsburgh,


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

it's my blog and i'll shout if i want to.

I find myself fidgeting a lot lately. Like I’m unsettled. I’ve definitely got a lot on my mind, that’s for sure. But the fidgeting. It’s driving me nuts. Tonight, after I got home from work and ate some dinner, I literally paced around my apartment. Touched this. Moved that. Shifted this. Re-arranged that. There are all these things I need to do, but my mind can’t focus enough, let alone my body, to do any of them.

I pulled into my parking spot around five o’clock tonight, and when I got out of my car and started walking towards my door, I was all That’s it. Time for a change. I don’t have to live like this anymore. And I literally made my footsteps a bit heavier. More purposeful. More take-that-i-ful. And then by the time I got inside, I was all Tomorrow, though.

I hate change, but yet I’ve found myself really having an urge for it lately. Part of me thinks it was the wedding I was at a week and a half ago in the beautiful Lake Geneva area of Wisconsin. Those few days away, they jolted me alive a bit. Different scenery, different people, different experiences. Here, it’s not any of that. But I love it here. I do! Oh, how I do! But I need to shift my perspective now and then, I’m realizing. And maybe, if I do, the fidgeting will stop. Or at least subside.

My goodness, I am so burned out.

I feel heavy. Yes, that’s it. Heavy. Like I’m carrying the world on my tiny shoulders. My shoulders that can barely hold my head up some days. Worries. Burdens. Bits of frustration. Scribbles of resentment. The little girl in me that wants to screw up her face and pout, “It’s not fair!”

The heaviness is prompting these recent blog posts. I find that pounding out the heaviness by way of the keys makes me feel not less heavy, but more validated in my heaviness. A strange comfort. It’s my way of shouting, in a world where I don’t ever really shout. Yes, these posts are my shouts. I hope they don’t scare you away.

So, like many bloggers, I’ll just continue to shout it out until I feel like whispering again. Here, in my little corner of the internet. The shouting will pass, it will. But for right now, it needs to get out. I’ll just work through it. Here. Where the pounding doesn’t hurt anyone and the shouting isn’t necessarily deafening.

But healing? Yes.


with love from Pittsburgh,

Monday, July 05, 2010

i hate money. why can't we just use rice like the indians did?

{image from here}

"The world holds enough to satisfy everyone's need, but not everyone's greed."

Money makes me want to throw up. Like, violent, full-out, barfing-until-I-can't-breathe throwing up.

How's that for a starting image?

Now, I realize that there are many, many people in this world who have it far, far worse than I. I am aware of that. I do not take my first-world-citizen status for granted. I do, however, get jealous sometimes. C'mon, I'm human. I am jealous of the other first-world-citizens who live in my city--even more specifically, my neighborhood--who are my age or younger who a.) own real estate, b.) go on vacations, c.) have money to go out to eat, d.) don't pinch every penny they have for fear of overdrawing their checking accounts, e.) I could go on.

I work really hard at my job. I also happen to love my job. But what I don't get is paid enough. Sure, we all say that. But as a single woman, living alone, trying to support herself, I can barely afford my rent anymore. Sure, I've got credit card debt: about eleventy-seven-billion dollars of it. Some of it is from years ago when I just didn't understand how the credit card industry worked. But most of it is from the interest rates that skyrocketed as a result of the crappy economy. I can't keep up. At all. And I'm not out spending like a madwoman, puttin' stupid charges on my credit cards. I literally need more income. Period. I'm hoping to get some modeling work now that I have new pictures, but that's also a waiting-and-wondering game.

And so, I am stuck at that place where I am thinking that I need to make a major change. A different job? I'd love to stay at the company I'm at--it's been an amazing, wonderful place fo rme--but just move to another position. I feel this is very possible. The trick, however, is waiting for a position to open up. My current boss is well-aware of my abilities, and she agrees that moving somewhere else in the company would be a good move. She's incredibly supportive, as is the rest of my department. But it's the waiting...and the wondering.

I'm 32 years old. And I have absolutely nothing financially to show for it. NOTHING. I can't move forward in life if I stay where I'm at--literally and figuratively. I want more out of this life. There are so many beautiful things to experience, places to go, people to meet, and I want to do all of it. Not at a crazy, extravagent level. No. Just occasionally. Hell, now it's even a stretch to go to the movies.

I look at my friends Lauren and Nick. They're younger than I am, yet they own a home, are preparing for a baby, travel all the time, have lived overseas, and are moving forward in their lives. Yes, I'm jealous. There. I said it. Sure, they've got worries and stresses, just like the rest of us. But why do I feel so left behind? I mean, yes--I've made decisions that have put me where I am. I am responsible for much of that. But now I'm starting to get the itch to change it up a bit. And that's so scary because I HATE CHANGE! So, where is this coming from, I wonder?

Man, I'm just throwin' up all over this blog post, aren't I?

with love from Pittsburgh,

Sunday, July 04, 2010

just not feelin' it.

{i hope.}

I went to Mass this morning, but not skipping and singing. I dragged myself out of bed after laying under the covers and having a moral fight with myself about how badly I just wanted to be lazy and stay right where I was. Some people may say to stop being so hard on myself. What’s the big deal if you miss Mass every once in a while? they’d ask. You’re a good person, Laura. It’s not going to hurt you. Well, maybe those things are true. But I really like going to Mass every Sunday. It makes me feel connected—not just to God, but to myself and those in the Catholic community. Plus, Mass is a gift. Every part of it. So when I miss that gift, I feel grumpy and fussy inside. The Catholic Church teaches that it’s a sin to miss Mass (if you’re not really sick, state of emergency, etc.) and that if you miss it, you have to go to Confession before you can receive the Holy Eucharist again. I’ll admit, I’ve missed Mass a few times in the past and have still gone to Communion without receiving the sacrament of Confession. But now that I’m in a different place in my faith, I don’t feel right doing that anymore. Confession is such a beautiful gift, as is the Holy Eucharist. I don’t wanna screw up either one, you know?

But today I really, really didn’t want to go to Mass. Like, at all. Not even a smidge. In fact, it wasn’t even just that I wanted to be lazy. It was also because I just wasn’t feelin’ it. Lately, I haven’t felt as connected to God as I usually do. My prayer life has decreased, I’m overwhelmed by the state of the world, I’m questioning some things in my life right now, and I’m just plain tired. And when I got to Mass this morning, I was kneeling there praying and saying to God, “Dude, I’ve got nothing today. I’m just here. I hope that’s okay. I hope that’s enough. I got up, I showered, I came here. I simply have nothing else in me.” I went through the motions of Mass, trying so hard to find one moment where I felt really connected, where I felt like I wasn’t just doing stuff by rote. I did enjoy the second reading, and there were a few things our priest said during the Homily that made me feel something (i.e. “God loves you more than you’ll ever know, more than you’ll ever be able to comprehend, no matter what”). But other than that, I was just waiting for it to be over.

Anybody ever feel this way in their faith? Like you just want to say, “Ah, screw it.” It’s exhausting being a faithful person sometimes. This human, imperfect part of me wants to just be all “Well I’m imperfect, so I don’t even care anymore. I’ll just go about my day.” But the part of me that listens to my soul is all “It’s not supposed to be easy, Laura.”

But I’m freakin’ TIRED. I’ve been giving and giving and giving in some other areas of my life, and I just feel tapped out. I feel like I don’t have an ounce of energy or care left in me for serious, contemplative prayer. For serious worship. For serious devotion. Pick up the Bible? Nah. Go to a prayer service? That’s too much energy. Spend an hour talking about faith stuff? I can’t fathom it. My head has been extremely foggy lately, I’ve been terribly forgetful, and I find it extremely difficult to really concentrate on anything. It could just be stress (I am LONG overdue for a serious, get-out-of-town, be pampered, ignore the internet and cell phone kind of vacation). Or it could just be part of the experience of a person of faith: life is hard and sometimes you just get burned out.

I wonder what Jesus would say if he and I were sittin’ at a bar havin’ a drink, talking about all of this. I wonder if he’d “write me a pass,” so to speak. I mean, he’s Jesus, so he’s totally cool and totally understanding. And I’m sure he’s all “Laura, chill. I love you, girl. Ain’t nothin’ gonna change that, yo.” (Yes, that’s how Jesus sounds in my head.)

Still, all I really wanna do these days is sleep.

With love from Pittsburgh


Friday, July 02, 2010

if my agent doesn't like any of these, i'll bop him on the head.

My photographer? Rocks. Can't wait to see what these look like all edited and sweetened up in Photoshop! And how 'bout that last photo??? I LOVE PUPPIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm back, Modeling Industry. And I couldn't be more excited!

with love from Pittsburgh,