Tuesday, December 21, 2010

helpin' a sister out.

photo: Veronica Eisert
Sometimes I think God really is using me in this life for things that I never imagined.  The Secret Agent L Project is one of them.  Sure, that's kind of a global thing, which is totally amazing and mind-blowing to me.  But the non-global, closer-to-home things have that same profound effect on me, too.

My friend Kelly Diane, who lived in Pittsburgh for a time and just recently moved back to Michigan to be with her family during a time of need, has felt God's call in her life.  Kelly was raised Christian, but in the past year has felt called to the Catholic faith in a real and palpable way.  We've gone to Mass together, we've had long discussions about the faith, our beliefs, our hearts, and how God has worked in our own lives.  And through all of that, we've learned that the Catholic faith is the one of the ways that we really feel helps us live out our lives in a way that is full of love, kindness, and goodness.

I've been enjoying standing alongside Kelly Diane as she's negotiated her journey of faith, have been honored when she's come to me with questions, have been excited when she's suggested going to Mass together.  Having a sister in faith is an amazing feeling, especially in a world where God is associated with "crazy" people, zealots, anti-abortion fanatics, and other not-so-nice images.  We're just two modern, normal, full-of-love gals who want to continue to bring goodness to the world.  And we happen to love God and the Catholic faith.  And chocolate.  And clothes.  And boys.  And naps.  Really, we're pretty normal!

Yesterday, Kelly Diane called me and asked me to be her sponsor as she goes through the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), which is the process individuals undergo when considering joining the faith.  I was absolutely floored--and so honored!!  I'm really looking forward to being there for her now that she's made the committment to discern whether or not this is the path she wants to walk.  That's what so great about RCIA: it's a period of discernment and inquiry.  I'm proud of her for taking her faith journey seriously.

Please keep Kelly Diane in your prayers!

with love from Pittsburgh,

Monday, December 20, 2010

holy family and facebook.

I love this in a way I can't describe. And I don't even like Facebook. But this. This makes my heart sing. And helps me remember the true meaning of Christmas. And makes me feel closer to the Blessed Mother, which I have been wanting lately.  Makes me thankful for Jesus, who I think is awesome.  Because he is all that is good and kind and full of love.  Which is what I want my life to be.

That is what I want for Christmas.

Christmas blessings to you all, dear friends.

with love from Pittsburgh,

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

totally overwhelmed. but in a good way.

Some of you may know that I lead a double life.   Today I learned that my alter ego has been named one of Yahoo!'s 2010 Inspiring Acts.  I am honored, truly.  And deeply thankful.  I simply want to spread love and kindness, and I hope to inspire others to do the same.

You can read about it here.  And then you can read my response on the Secret Agent L website.

with love from Pittsburgh,

Sunday, November 28, 2010


It just occurred to me that I never shared with you the photos and experience of my F-16 flight with the USAF Thunderbirds. I mentioned a little bit about it in a previous post, but I never went into full detail.

Without further ado, please go here to see awesome photos and learn more about the time I experienced the ride of my life.

It's pretty spectacular. Promise.

with love from Pittsburgh,

Saturday, November 27, 2010


i haven't been here in quite some time.

what has it been? two months?

a lot has changed.

the ross-a-tron and i are no longer together.  out of respect for the five and a half years we were together, i will not go into the details as to why our relationship has dissolved.  things ended over a month ago.  it was my choice...a very, very difficult and painful one.  i am trying to move forward.  life is full of twists and turns and moments that we never expected.  i am learning to accept those things.  and i am stronger for them. at least, that's what i tell myself.

the secret agent l project continues to be a major part of my life.  and i love it.  with the help of two amazing men, the entire site got a makeover.  i grow more and more in love with this work each day.  i continue to receive countless emails from people all over the world who want to participate in missions of kindness, and my heart swells with each one i read.  i am being offered wonderful opportunities to speak at engagements, to record Podcasts, and to meet new faces.  this project has become one of the greatest honors of my life.  i hope you'll check it out.

my father resigned from his job recently. a great shock to our family, but a decision that was made with calculation and integrity.  please keep my parents in your thoughts and prayers.  we don't know what the future holds.

i have been doing some major soul-searching lately.  really thinking about what i want in my life, what's true and absolute to my heart, etc.  and it feels good.  it feels freeing.  i don't know what the future holds, but for the first time in my life, the control freak in me is actually okay with that. 

i haven't really felt compelled to write much here lately.  my life is changing.  i'm changing.  but perhaps i'll start to visit my little corner of the world here more often.  it's good to write, and if i should feel compelled to pour out my words here, i will do it.

that is the latest.

with love from Pittsburgh,

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Yesterday, the Ross-a-tron and I went out to Stables of Serenity in Plum Township to learn about Equine Therapy.  The Ross-a-tron's friend, Bob Reufle, has been studying this type of therapy for the past year or so.  We love horses, but since we're city slickers (and very busy!), we haven't really had much opportunity to be around these beautiful creatures.

Until yesterday.

The Ross-a-tron finally had a weekend off from work, and my life as a Secret Agent has slowed down just enough to where I can go be me a little bit.  We drove about 40 minutes to the stables, and as soon as we arrived, my heart felt light and excited.

We learned about the ways the horses mirror humans' behaviors, which was fascinating.  Those of us attending the presentation about Equine Therapy were all brought into the horse arena to interact with four of these amazing animals.

We spent time with Sammy...

...and my sweet, sweet Emmitt.

The Ross-a-tron and I totally took to Emmitt.  This sweet horse nuzzled us, stayed close to us, and literally spoke to us with his soulful blue (yes, blue!) eyes.  We learned that Emmitt had a bit of a rocky past--a previous owner practically let him starve.  This kindred soul was definitely our favorite in the arena.

But that's not to say that none of the other horses captured our hearts.  Miss Daisy?  Now she was my absolute favorite.

Daisy had the most out-going personality.  At times, she got a bit ornery, sort of like a toddler.  But every time I approached her, she nearly wiggled with excitement.

She kind of reminded me of a puppy.  Only, you know, bigger.

Daisy thoroughly enjoyed nibbling on my neck and nuzzling into the back of my head.  I hated to leave her.

There was even an adorable little Beagle named Amanda who had the sweetest disposition and wanted nothing more than just be near us.

I can't wait to go back.


I will never understand how anyone could ever hurt an animal.  And I will forever love animals more than shoes, handbags, money, and even donuts.

with love from Pittsburgh,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

an awakening.

I am living everything. And it is scary. Things are changing. I am changing. My heart is moving, moved, moves. People, places, opportunities, all surrounding me like a whirl of leaves in the wind of a busy day.

I feel a heat rising up inside of me, to my fingertips, urgent in its need to get out. GET OUT. SCREAM OUT.

Things are changing. The way I used to know is not the now I know. And it is scary. But I am trusting. And I am loving. And I am breathing and listening and letting and going.

I will breathe my way into the unresolved questions in my heart.

I am experiencing an awakening.

with love from Pittsburgh,

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

call sign: moneypenny.

"Negative, Ghost Rider. The pattern is full."

{Yes. That is a Top Gun reference.}

That's me in that photo. Pretty bad ass, huh?

Yesterday I flew in an F16. I'm still recovering from the following:

1. Pulling 7 Gs.
2. Going 750 mph. (That's a little over Mach 1.)
3. Bolting straight up to 18,000 feet while going a little over Mach 1.
4. Doing a barrel roll.
5. Flying inverted (that's upside down, folks) several times.
6. Puking.
7. See #6.

So, until the vertigo stops and I get back to normal, the photo above will have to tide you over.

with love from Pittsburgh,
Laura (aka "Moneypenny")

Monday, September 06, 2010

i'm here! i'm here! really!

Hi! I've missed you! First, my apologies for putting my blog on lock-down last month. After The Secret Agent L Project reveal party, my life sort of, um, exploded. I was contacted by CNN to do a live interview, and as a preemptive move, I put my blog on lock-down until the media hype subsided. I think things are calming down a bit regarding said media, so I thought I'd have my blog come out of hiding. But, if something else big comes along, I'll put it on lock-down again. But just for a bit. I'm trying to maintain a normal side of my life and didn't want the contents of my blog spilled all over for the world to see. Not that the world can't see it now, but you get where I'm coming from.

So, I'll keep this post short and just say this:

1. My life is so blessed. I am overwhelmed by how God is using me for goodness and blessing me with goodness in return. Like, woah.

2. I've missed you all.

3. Tomorrow I'm flying in an F-16 Falcon fighter jet with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

Yes. You read that right.

I've been selected as a Hometown Hero as a result of The Secret Agent L Project and have been chosen to fly in an F-16. I feel so honored, and I'm so excited that I can't even express it in words.

Will post video and pictures afterward!

Love to you all!

with love from Pittsburgh,

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,