My Third American Thanksgiving.

For Thanksgiving I brought the salad. There is an unwritten rule that each dinner guest is required one serving of said vegetable in order to justify the rest of the feast. So, I lovingly and painstakingly toiled at making candied walnuts for this breathtaking salad. Two batches later, and a phone call home to Mom, I had some sweet and edible nuts to make the salad a little more tempting. All in all, it was a salad of spring mix with apples, candied walnuts and balsamic dressing. Not too shabby.

I feel like Thanksgiving dinner is the only meal in which you can combine every item on your plate and still end up with a tasty forkful. Turkey and stuffing: Good. Cranberry sauce, turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes: Good. Turkey and stuffing, salad (mandatory serving) and jello (yeah...jello!): Great! I think my next "Laura in the Kitchen" Blog should be a recipe for Thanksgiving leftovers. I call it the "Thanksgiving Leftovers Smoothie". Put your favorite combination of leftovers inside a blender...or I recommend a Magic Bullet if you have one, pour in some gravy and pulse! Its that simple folks!

And of course nothing finishes off Thanksgiving dinner like pumpkin pie and ice cream. There is no coincidence to this choice. They save you the inconvenience of actually having to chew.

Around this time in the meal, I get delirious as I talk about my imaginary relationship with Justin Timberlake and how we met at a Zumba class, laughing so much it makes me want to hurl. Finish up with some "Catch Phrase" and its a success. Another good ol' American Thanksgiving!

Laura in the Kitchen: More Goodies!

An Apple Crisp I made for a friend's dinner party.
Nothing beats warm apple crisp and ice cream!!

Apple Cranberry Muffins I made this morning

Chewy texture filled with oats


Come To The Edge

Come to the edge.
It's too high.
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
And they came.
And he pushed them

And they flew!

-Christopher Logue




I was intrigued by the "taxidermy" section on Etsy so I thought I'd take a look. For only $900 you can own your very own mounted unicorn. Scratch Mac Book off my Christmas list. Hello, unicorn!


Laura in the Kitchen: Coffee and Pie, Oh My!

This is a simple, but delicious recipe we got from a family friend. Peanut butter lovers only. Perfect for any occasion!
 Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.
Start with cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Mix together until they look like this.

Add peanut butter!

Blend together until it gets all creamy like this.

Fold in Cool Whip...Cool Whhhip.

Store bought pie crust...graham or shortbread or chocolate all work fine.

Spread in the filling.

Add cold milk to chocolate instant pudding and mix until thick.

Spread on top of the peanut butter layer.

DONE! See that was easy.

Then just stick it in the fridge.

Creamy and delicious!! Enjoy!

The Quidditch World Cup

 Last Saturday I went to the Quidditch World Cup, which was hosted in New York this year.

I feel like if that was the end of my post it would be amusing enough, but I'll explain further. The sport, Quidditch, excuse me, Muggle Quidditch, began in 2005 in Vermont, and since it has expanded into a worldwide phenomenon. Colleges from all over North America came to compete in this tournament. Life is FULL of pleasant surprises! I couldn't believe this existed.
So because they're muggles, they didn't actually fly unfortunately. The real sport Quidditch is amazing, so this was a little more disappointing, but also a little more daffy. Basically they run around with a broom between their legs, throwing volleyballs around and running after a person dressed in yellow - who is the "snitch". Its weird, to say the least, but surprisingly really entertaining. The game can get pretty rough; at times players throwing each other to the ground and such. The sport is sort of a blend of rugby, field hockey, lacrosse and dodge ball...I guess.

After the Quidditch matches was a "wizard rock concert". The band was called "Harry and the Potters." (Okay guys, several times throughout this whole evening, I had to make sure I was awake and not in some twisted dream.) The band consists of two brothers who take on the role of Harry Potter at different points in Harry's life, and all of their songs are about the Harry Potter books. Every single song is about Harry Potter. You can tell a lot about a band by the crowd watching. I think that's enough said.
I can't believe there's a market for such a specific band. And apparently there are a bunch of these wizard rock bands! I should start a band dedicated to singing about pizza or something. People like pizza. Or Star Wars. That would be great. 
This band actually had a following. The crowd new all the words to their songs too, like this song about Hagrid...
"Hagrid is fun to hug. Hagrid is full of love. Just don't get stuck in Hagrid's beard."
This song of course has actions to go along with it. I found myself singing and playing along with the rest of the wizard wannabees. Probably because I'm just a big dork too. And yeah, I bought a t-shirt. Whatever.

I'm gonna find a Quidditch team to join.  


Laura Does Improv

Two months ago I signed up for my first improv class. I hadn't done much improv, aside from my high school drama club, so I had mostly zero experience. But its been my aspiration to be funny, and I know funny people do improv.
There are three big improv studios in NYC: The People's Improv Theater, The Upright Citizens Brigade, and Magnet. I'm sure they're all great, but it was suggested to me that I start at the PIT, so that is what I did. Luckily I snagged an internship this summer, which works as a type of work-study. I felt pretty cool hangin' around the improv big shots, while secretly dreading the day when my class would actually start. I put it off for a while, until finally I made the commitment. I was going to start my Level 1 improv class.
With goal in mind (I'm going to be funny), I went confidently (i.e. trying to appear confident while inwardly being terrified) to my first class, which I actually loved! My favorite thing about class is laughing. I laugh really hard, for most of the class. Probably too much while I'm performing. But its good medicine for the soul!
So, I left that night feeling pretty good about myself. Pause. Then the next week came around. Every week before improv I would actually dread going to my next class. I would dread it the whole day, sometimes the day before, while on the subway, walking to the studio, right up until I walked into the class. Then, usually I would love it and once again have an outlook full of hope for my future improv career. I would be the next Tiny Fey. Until the next week of course, when I was brainstorming excuses or accidents that I might happen to fall into, which would render me unable to attend the class. Okay, I did miss a couple classes! But for the rest of them I popped some Pepto and dragged my butt there.
This is all to say that for two months I would ask myself why I was torturing myself in this way, and it was all leading up to our graduation show; Monday November 8th, 9:30pm. This was the moment when I would be a fool in front of, not only my class, but also a room full of audience. Civilians. But I was determined that I WAS indeed going to go. And I was going to be funny.
I did go, and ironically I was chosen by my teacher to perform in both 20 minute halves of the show rather than just one. Go figure, right? First, panic. Then logic. It would give me time to warm-up, get more practice, and hopefully have better luck if one of the suggestions from the audience was awful. (Our suggestions were "hot tub" and "potty", by the way.) And ya know what? I had a great time! I feel like I was finally able to let go and have fun with it. To just be silly and commit fully to what I was doing and what my partner brought to the table...even when we were running in a circle and talking about pooping in our pants when we exert ourselves too hard. There's definitely something about having an audience there too. I LOVE an audience! And I LOVE making people laugh. And I was reminded why I'm doing this. Why I'm going crazy day to day, working my butt off to be an actor. Because somewhere in there, I love it, and I thrive off of performing. So, I made a mental and written note that I want to perform once a week to keep this fire alight. And I figure the more I get out there, the less skittish I'll be too.
Agh. So the dichotomy of my life continues. Its a love/hate relationship.
I'll leave you with a saying that they use at the PIT:
"Follow the fear." -Del Close (Legendary Improv Teacher)
I think that's about right. This is how we grow.


Some Promising Projects.

So...just the usual. Looking for projects to audition for.
Yeah, there's some great stuff...
It makes me feel really pumped to be in this profession.

No...no, not really.
Take a look at some of my findings. Hopefully they'll give you a laugh.

Barney Live
Riff, 4'3 – 4'9; and Baby Bop, 4'0 – 4'3 - male or female, over 18 years old; open ethnicity; require excellent movers, with the ability to be imaginative and expressive within a full-body costume; these are non-singing roles."

Justin Bieber Celebrity Encounter
(Female, Ages 30+) - We are looking for women to play moms who catch "Bieber Fever" at a book signing. ("Bieber Fever" has a lot of the same symptoms as a real fever...)"

Purina Cat Chow
25-35. People who are passionate and enthusiastic about cats. Must have knowledge of cats and some type of presence in the cat world - blog, articles, works in vet practice, etc. Can be an amateur expert - self taught. Specifically looking for cool, edgy, optimistic people who have an infectious energy." (Actors Access)
Rich Farm Girls, Reality Series
"Project description: "Do you come from a prominent farm family and live a lifestyle to be envied? Are you living on a farm by day, but enjoy the glitz of the city by night? Towers Productions is looking for girls who are living the good life, but in a farm town. If you have all the style, wealth and sass of a city girl, but grew up in a small town, we want to hear from you.""

Addicted to Tanning, Reality Series
"Project description: "Do you go to the tanning parlor several times a week? Are you rarely seen without a tan? Do you feel unattractive or uncomfortable if your skin is not tanned? Do your friends think you're a tanaholic?"" 

Well, things can hopefully only look up from here!



Last week I went to Ikea with a friend of mine. Even that is a unique experience in the city! We traveled to downtown Manhattan and then caught a ferry to take us over to Brooklyn, to the Ikea. It made me feel like Christopher Columbus when he set sail and discovered the first Ikea. Thank you Christopher Columbus!

I love Ikea. Nearly everything about it, except putting the furniture together. I knew right away that I've spent too much time in the city because when I arrived I felt like I had to pay admission to get in the store. Ah, life's simple pleasures.
We quite enjoyed going through the store, pretending that we lived there, and imagined the ginormous kitchens we would one day have. And this of course made us hungry so we went to the Ikea Restaurant. For a New Yorker, this is a dream; You can get pasta for $2, chicken fingers and fries for $4, salmon for $6 or something, and they even had some buy one get one free dessert special. You could basically order everything on the menu for the price of one meal at a Manhattan restaurant. 

Once refueled, we went to the most amazing part of the store...the accessories area. This is also the most dangerous part of the store, because everything inside of you will try to convince you that you absolutely need these obscure items that, truthfully, you'll probably never use. Kitchen gadgets, candles, tea towels, picture frames, fake plants, real plants, so on and so forth. My brain quickly converts to Christmas gift mode. "This mug is only 29 cents!! What can I do with this?!" "I know! I'll get a pack of straws and give some out with each mug...with some tea light candles. And a napkin." Now, the lesson here is: Just because its cheap, it doesn't make it a good Christmas gift. Bad gifts are the worst.

Overall I didn't do too bad...I got a cork board, a lamp and some file holder things. Practical, I think. And I didn't have to lug anything too huge on the boat/subway. 
I look forward to my next visit to Ikea. I think next time I'll bring a book and just hang out for a while.


The Lawn Gnome Epidemic

This is genuine documentation of real properties at present. It was difficult to believe myself, which is why I thought it called for logging. It is a serious problem that still exists in our society and we must not turn a blind eye. What I have captured here is only a small sample. Please take a look.




What would HGTV say about all this? I think I can guess.


That's actually a real bird, not part of this faux pas.

I guess they're easier to keep than real pets.

They are even hiding in the bushes.


Yup...Its mind-blowing.