Thursday, 29 November 2012

We LOVE Jason Mraz!!!!

One of the upcoming events we are most excited about this year happens December 1st - we are so excited to say that we are going to see Jason Mraz in concert in London!!

Have you heard of him? If not, then prepare yourself - we're about to change your life. Jason is such a talented singer and songwriter, with an acoustic feel and very clever lyrics, his music is amazing and as if that wasn't enough, he is an incredible person.

Mraz lyrics are all over our house!
Jason and I go way back. Coincidentally, my brother's name is also Jason, and I go way back with him too (from birth). I first saw Mr. Mraz in concert in 2005 in Boise, and completely fell in love. I own every album and know all the words to all of his songs. It's one of her bigger obsessions.

The second time I got to see Jason in concert, I waited at the stage door, and had one of my dreams realised, when I got to meet him! I have a signed ticket stub and photo with him. He was lovely in person, though a little short (but nobody's perfect, right?). It still goes down as one of the best nights I've ever had!

Oh yeah, that's me at 16!
When I got together with Sarah, I knew a big test of how compatible we were was if she could appreciate Jason Mraz. His music also helped me get through a really dark time in my life, so it was really important. At first, it looked like Sarah would fail the test - fast forwarding to the quick, 'pop-y' songs and not loving the slow and meaningful ones, but I would come to accept Sarah's adoration for anything cheesy (Britney Spears!). Once Sarah really listened to the album Mr. A-Z, she got it... and I was relieved that I could in fact marry her someday.

And what's even more awesome than his music? When he got engaged a few years ago, he pledged not to get married until everyone can. I have so much respect for celebrities who value marriage equality.

I made this for Sarah when she went away to Bali for a week when we were in Oz! I missed her so much
You probably didn't need all this backstory, but I just wanted to make sure you understood just how much Jason Mraz means to me.

So this Saturday, we get to see him live!! My third time, Sarah’s first. We are SO excited to see him in such a big venue – I've just seen him in Boise, Idaho.

We’ll update you after the concert on how (inevitably) amazing he was, but we thought we’d leave you with a few of our favourite Mraz songs!

'I'm Yours' - A Mraz classic!

'Lucky' - this is 'our song'!! In fact, the lyrics to this are all over our house!

'I Won't Give Up' - Jason's latest hit - touching, emotional and beautiful

'Geek in the Pink' - one of the original songs that made me fall in love with Jason Mraz!

Monday, 26 November 2012

A Very Merry Thanksmas!!

SO Thanksmas comes but once a year and our second one took place on this past Saturday night. And it was AMAZING!

To start at the beginning, Thanksmas is a 'made up' holiday, an opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK with a mix of Christmas traditions included so that we get to share both holidays with a select group of friends.

Just like last year (see here), the evening was a mix of FANTASTIC food, GREAT guests, games and DELICIOUS dessert with more than a little alcohol consumed. What was different was that Laura had a sous chef in the the form of Lauren, from 2 brides to 2 mummies, and we had invited some new guests.

The fam! 
Lauren and Sarah arrived on Thanksmas Eve laden with American candy, bags of diet coke, freshly baked savoury muffins and PUMPKIN PIE! We spent the evening indulging in pizza and catching up till almost 2am!

On the day, and filled with excitement (and because some rowers were being yelled at to 'TURN AROUND, THE FOG IS TOO BAD!') we all bounced out of bed bright and relatively early. First order of the day was to warm the savoury pumpkin muffins S&L brought, add some baked beans and voila 'Thanksmas Breakfast'! Definitely a must for the day next year!

As femme-couples, we don't have defined roles - though society tends to think that one must be more 'manly'. In fact, I think it's true of a lot of couples today: they are made up of two individuals, not 'one' who will cook and clean and 'one' who will work and chop wood (or whatever) - and that is definitely true in our case. However in the case of Thanksmas, roles quickly became defined amongst the four of us. The L's (Laura and Lauren) cooked/baked and the Sarahs stayed way out the way - we may have mixed a few things but other than the potatoes it was all on the L's! (and an amazing job it was too, but more on that later). The Sarah's were packed off to the shops to get a few last bits and then got to do the decorating, table laying and furniture moving. It worked out well.

As the weather outside was frightful (see what we did there :) ) Sarah decided to meet the rest of the guests at the station and provide a taxi service to the flat. It meant a slightly delayed start but it also meant everyone turned up a lot drier than if they walked!

The guests were: Sarah & Lauren, Fiona (Sarah's sister) & Ben - her boyfriend, Alison - Laura's old school friend over here studying, Pete - Sarah's old work colleague (and gay man version of Laura) and US! Oh and Willow, the smallest and furriest of our guests, but also modelling a very festive jumper!

As we seated everyone in their allocated chair, poured drinks and got everyone introduced, it was time to start the serving - that way Laura didn't have to be lost to the kitchen (as last year). Her panic of not having enough food was quickly put to rest as the dishes were past around and the plates reached their limit! Damn those Americans and their amazing food. It's ALL so good!

The only problem was, those who hadn't come last year hadn't paid attention to our 'dress comfortably and if possible wear trousers that stretch' - and they were having to do some mid-meal adjusting! In true American style though, Alison led the way, claiming Laura's green bean casserole was the best she'd EVER had!!! A compliment indeed!

So the menu in all it's glory: green bean casserole, turkey, cornbread, roast potatoes, carrots & broccoli, candied yams, stuffing and gravy!

After dinner was cleared away, it was time to be thankful - so we went around the table each giving thanks - a serious thanks followed by a silly thanks! Laura kicked it off and if you saw our last post (HERE) you'll know what her serious thanks included. Her silly thanks was for the one and only Boris Johnson - for making London cool again!!! Sarah's was.....we think (bearing in mind it was 2 days ago and alcohol was consumed) for dog clothes, so we could dress our dog up to be as cute as Willow and make everyone smile!

Just awww!!!
Then to Apples to Apples - a game that when described sounds so terrible and boring, yet to play is hilarious and informative and allows insight into people's minds that even alcohol doesn't provide!

Willow in her sweater playing A2A, & they say the cards you win describe you - Sarah on left, Laura on right haha!
After what seemed like no time at all but had actually been nearly 4 hours, we dared to serve dessert. We say dared as last year dessert proved one step too far for most guests who ended up taking it home  :) This year though we had Pumpkin Pie (courtesy of Lauren) and Bread and Butter Pudding (courtesy of Fiona & Ben) - served with custard or double cream, or both!!

Both desserts were DELICIOUS! Having never had Pumpkin Pie (what kind of American is Laura - right?!) it was a revelation - seriously so good! So good!

In fact, all the food went down so well EVERYONE left with food parcels!

So there we have it - our second annual Thanksmas was arguably better than the first - and we look forward to celebrating it together for years to come!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hi everyone!!

Thanksgiving is one of Laura's favourite holidays (it is heavily food-centred), but because we don't celebrate it here in the UK, she wasn't able to get the time off work to properly prepare a Thanksgiving meal.

Thankfully, that's what Thanksmas is for, which is only two days away!!

Laura decided to do a little vlog to celebrate this wonderful day, and tell you all about what she is thankful for.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving??

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

So this may have happened.....

So Thanksmas is only 3 days away, we've done our last bit of shopping, the turkey is bathing and the fridge is packed full.

We started our countdown here:

The only thing left is to cook, oh and finish decorating. Our start to decorating went a little something like this:

So as you can imagine we have quite a bit to do! But bring it on!! 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Is it just me?

It's been a while but today I decided to rant. Normally if I rant at Laura and she doesn't look at me as if I have 4 heads then I consider that my rant is not completely crazy! So rather than complaining at Laura I thought I would put it out to the blog world and see if anyone agrees!


Let me preface this with I understand wholeheartedly the need for passwords. Having just had my phone stolen I do see why having them is necessary but......

Seriously how many passwords can one person need in a day?!

Let me start at the beginning of today, as with every day I need a passcode to get into my office so before my brain is fully engaged I have to enter a four digit number! Challenge!! Password 1!

Then there's the password to get into my computer - here's where I became UNRAVELED this morning! I changed my password last Friday and noted it down, nice and simple 'Holiday2012' or so I thought. As I sat down I entered it and got the 'wrong password', I tried again and again and again and once more, then again oh and again and then I defeated the computer by turning it off! Not that it solved the password problem, it just postponed it. I got a cup of tea and started again, I tried every password I had used in memory and NOTHING! I raised a helpdesk request and then after my 100th attempt I added an 's'. I made my password 'Holidays2012' and it worked!! Seriously 'Holidays' - who uses the 's'!!!!

So lets say that was EVENTUALLY password #2!

Then I have to enter password #3 to get into my emails - that one thankfully hasn't changed in 18 months! Then password #4 gets me on to our sales system!! By this time it's only just 10am!

When it comes to my phone thankfully I am always signed in - although that could have been bad if Mr Phone thief (I say Mr as there was only men around) wanted to cause chaos on our twitter account :) But can you imagine if I had to sign into:

So phone sign in can go down as 1 more password!

If I get cash out then there's the ATM password, I have one, the joint card has a different one, the credit card has one and I have a TERRIBLE memory, so I could be there some time making sure I am 100% sure of the pin!

And laptops they require a password! Seriously see passwords- they are stressful! The nemesis for me though is accounts that have required me to put 'numbers' in my username or password!! I mean that's it, I request a new password as often as I use the account.

The funny thing is Laura and I actually did a focus group with paypal about how to make life easier. The suggestions ranged from face recognition to speech analysis, eye recognition to finger print signing - I mean they were trying BUT who knows how long that would take and would that be better?

Who knows?

Right rant over, I feel somewhat better after getting that out there.

I hope I am alone in struggling with password overload, I sense I won't be, but as they say better safe than sorry even if I lost nearly an hour of my life to frustration and memory lapse! Holidays2012! Seriously!!! Next time it's back to the good olde ILoveLaura4eva!

My day may have been a bit better had I stayed in bed :)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Countdown to Thanksmas 2012!

For those of you have followed us from the start you may have remembered this (THANKSMAS) happened about this time last year!

THANKSMAS is the event we created to celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas with our best friends. As with Thanksgiving there is turkey, cornbread, candied yams, green bean casserole, mash potatoes and things to be thankful for and as with Christmas there is the cranberry sauce, pudding, crackers and party games. It is a true union of the traditional American style food and English festivities.

As we LOVE Christmas we also use it as an excuse to get our crimbo decorations up and get the festive tunes playing while wearing ridiculous Christmas themed items of clothing, see exhibit A:
Exhibit A
With this being our second Thanksmas there were a few changes that needed to be made, namely making more space!! Especially as this year we will have an extra guest and a dog (albeit a tiny, incredibly cute one by the name Willow) so being rammed against the wall won't work. Our solution was to move out a couch, so right now our hallway looks ghetto with it sat out there.

Although did turn our front door into a present so hopefully Mr Postie will forgive our challenging access because we have given him a reason to smile - who doesn't like presents, right?!

Food preparation is underway with the turkey already at home in our freezer and our shelves crammed full of all kinds of goodies. The only thing missing is dessert which we hope is arriving with the lovely ladies from 2 brides to 2 mummies!

We also have another American joining this year as Laura's school friend Alison will be coming so Laura can at least have a bit more of an American Thanksgiving feel.

In getting our flat ready the next step after clearing the space was to set up the tree:
Laura got the hard task of the un-wravelling fairy lights!!
Our finished tree looks like this:

Have a good week and for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday!!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Coming Out at Work - You Better Get This Party Started

I have worked at my new place for 5 months now - wow, didn't that time fly?

I love it there, its hard work, but the team are great, I'm good at my job, and the company is really good to its employees. I must say though, there is one obstacle I didn't expect to have to overcome at my new role - I've been trying to 'come out' at work for months.

As I've always worked with Sarah, it was very easy to come out - people would see us together and assume, or be told by someone else because inter-office romances are hot gossip, gay or straight. But in an office with no Sarah in sight *sob*, it is just not that easy to get it through to people that I have a girlfriend.

(A day in our lives when we worked together - simpler times!)

It's not for lack of trying - I refer to my 'girlfriend' all the time. Probably partially because I'm American, people assume that I refer to my good female friends that way. No matter what scenario I put my 'girl friend' and I in.
'I'm taking my girlfriend to New York City for her 29th birthday' 'Oh wow, you're a really great friend'
'My girlfriend and I have worked at 4 different jobs together, we always try to get jobs at the same place' 'How funny, you follow each other around!'
'My girlfriend and I are going to Thailand on holiday' 'You must be really close to spend that much time together!'
We are.... really close.

I have found I have to focus on one person at a time in my office, to tell them that my girlfriend is not of the friend variety, then move on to the next - without standing on the desk and yelling 'I'M A BIG GAY' or wearing a hat that says 'Ask me about my lesbian relationship'. I even tried (unsuccessfully) to start a rumor about myself. However, I'd only successfully managed to come out to two people during my employment.... until today.

Then these came into my life.

These beautiful red long stemmed roses were delivered, from Sarah, to my work this afternoon. It was a wonderful surprise - I'm truly the luckiest girl in the world!! When I came back into my office sheepishly carrying the roses with an inane grin on my face, everyone looked up.

'Oh, Laura, who are those from?' 'What are those for?' 'Oh my god they are so beautiful!!'

HR offices love flowers.

So then I did it. I took my moment in the sun. 'They are from my girlfriend!' Surely they couldn't think my platonic girl friend would surprise me with a dozen roses? This would be a really weird friendship.

Thank god, one of my colleagues said loudly 'SO ROMANTIC!' - half sarcastically, but I'll take it!

Another colleague said 'I think you're the envy of everyone in the room right now!'

And with that, I was out.

*Small victory dance*
Or, awkward jazz hands in the Blue Mountains. Your choice.
I know, it was a lot of lead up for not a very dramatic story, but it feels so good haha!

Even better, one of my favourite colleagues wasn't there - so when I went to leave with my flowers, she again asked who they were from. I got to actually tell her about Sarah, and our relationship - in the middle of the office, so everyone heard how amazing she is, and that we've been together almost 4 years.
I gots ma'self a girlfriend
Especially as we are both quite femme, coming out every day is just part of being together, and not at all something I have a problem with - for the time being, until the public is more educated not to assume people who look like them are always straight, we will keep opening their eyes. But it is a relief to not struggle to come out to the people I spend 8-10 hours per day with - lets hope I don't have to change jobs again for awhile!

How did you come out at work/school? Was it as painful as I made it, or was it simple, and how did your peers react?

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Holidays Are Coming!!

Now that we can relax (thanks to President Obama being re-elected), we can finally start enjoying the Christmas season!! The weather is nice and cold, Christmas decorations are up around central London, and all the wonderful holiday TV ads are appearing!!!

Here are some of our favourites so far of 2012's holiday season!

We always love a John Lewis advert - they are touching and beautiful, and this one is no different!

This Debenham's ad is the very essence of a British Christmas

This ad for ASDA is Laura's dream Christmas - she loves to make holiday magic for everyone around her!

And of course, there is the classic Coca-Cola Christmas advert - a must!

We started listening to Christmas music today, yay!! It's a little bit sad, but one of our favourite Christmas tunes so far this season?


How are you getting into the holiday spirit??


Saturday, 10 November 2012

This Happened Today!!

So this happened today!

But more importantly that happened with this beautiful lady:

and my Mum came too! It's fair to say that 6 months ago I never thought today would have been possible! It's been almost 4 years but finally I was able to spend the day with two of my favourite people.

It was over 2 years ago that I first told my Mum about Laura and I and if you have read my past posts (HERE) you will know that it turned into one of the worst days of my life. 

To think that after all of the hatred, drama and upset that differences could be set aside to spend a whole day together gives me some sense of hope. I am not naive enough to think that my parents have completed a 180 and are now ready to accept us but I really hope we are heading that way.

Getting to this point is down to two things as far as I can see. 

1) Laura, and her amazing love for me. I mean how much must you love someone to take a whole heap of abuse and still turn up, smile and be a perfect daughter-in-law-to-be?! I tell you I am so incredibly grateful, thankful and in awe of just how amazing she is. 

2) My Mum. I'm not sure if someone (most likely my sister) had 'words' or the fact that my parents have moved house from their local area but something has changed. I hope it is permanent. Over the past 3 months my Mum has been nothing but pleasant, welcoming and supportive. And then willingly spent the whole day with us and not just at a show! We actually sat and had dinner and chatted for 2 hours. 

As I say I hope it's permanent, I am well aware that change can happen both positively and negatively so incredibly quickly and for so many reasons. I could write a whole post on reasons I think things may have shifted but I am scared to look into too much detail. What if the reason is the fact that my sister now has a boyfriend?! Maybe my parents will feel less like they failed if one daughter settles down with a man and gets married. Who knows!!

All I know is right now, as Christmas approaches I am holding my breath. Holding it because 2 Christmas's ago I sat down with my family to try to find a solution to 'the situation of me dating a girl', a day that saw me agree that I would tell NO-ONE in my family or family circle about Laura and I. An agreement that also banned ALL mentioned of us as a couple on Facebook. Bans that are still in place!

Then last Christmas was a day divided. A day that meant I had Christmas Eve day with my family, Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Laura and Christmas afternoon and Boxing Day with the family. Not the best way to spend any Christmas day - with me torn in two.

This Christmas we are heading to Idaho. A day spent entirely with Laura and her family and I can't wait. The very least I can do is give the love of my life the whole day. The whole Christmas period! Bring it on. And if I get one Christmas wish it is that all Christmas's from here on in are undivided. Lets hope the change is permanent with my parents.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Most EPIC Presidential Election Ever!!! Obama 2012

Hey all, Laura here...
America - HELL YEAH
When I first moved to England, it was towards the end of Bush's presidency. I quickly noticed that when people met me, and realised I was American, instantly they'd ask me, with judgement, if I voted for Bush (I did not.) - this happened on an almost daily basis. The British public just couldn't wrap their heads around what kind of country could elect that guy... twice. And to be honest, I didn't get it either. So over that year, I separated myself as much as possible from my American-ness (you know, besides the accent) - and the USA became more like that gun-toting, bigoted drunk uncle I don't want to invite to parties in case he embarrasses himself (and me).

But then, there was Obama (and, of course the wonderful Hillary). A beacon of hope, of change - imagine having a president who knew where other countries were, who wasn't constantly making the USA a laughingstock - and who wanted to better the lives of all people, not just middle class and wealthy white people?

The whole campaign was so inspiring and positive. By the time Obama was elected, I think it's fair to say the entire continent of Europe was pretty much in love with him (including me, and most people in the USA under the age of 40).

And honestly, he hasn't disappointed me. Absolutely, some promises that were made weren't completely kept, but the President did the very best he could with the absolute mess left from 8 years of Bush. He had attempted to make healthcare more affordable, created jobs, protected women's rights, and 'evolved' on the issue of gay rights. He did a LOT in his first four years.

Over his term, I became increasingly proud to be American - something I honestly did not feel often growing up. I loved my bigoted gun toting drunk uncle USA as much as I didn't want to, but over the last four years that picture of it changed - I've seen strides made for all sorts of wonderful improvements, from the repeal of DADT to Obamacare, from reversing the rise in unemployment to cutting taxes for the middle class, from stopping Bin Laden to ending the war in Iraq, from making college more affordable to signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act, from the return of the auto industry to becoming the first President to support marriage equality.

Why all he back story, you ask? Turns out I am very long winded when it comes to Obama. But I can honestly say that now, and for the last few years, I am proud to be an American. I'm proud of our progress, I'm proud of our recovery (though slow) from the economic crisis, and I'm proud of the acceptance and tolerance shown by most people I know in my really Right-wing state of my relationship with Sarah. And it's amazing.

So, for the last month I've been a nervous wreck. Romney would have taken all this progress and crumpled it up, threw it out the window. A Romney presidency would have shown the world that we don't care about our women, our poor, our racial minorities, our LGBTs. It would have sent the message that men who think babies resulting from rape are 'God's will' and that women's bodies 'shut down' when they are 'legitimately' raped *shakes head*. And that the USA will vote for someone despite them telling lies at every turn. So it's fair to say I was shit scared. The blood would drain from my face every time someone would ask me about the election. Could I go back to a life of being disappointed in my country?

So when my mum wrote on my Facebook wall at 4:30am this morning and my phone vibrated -

We couldn't believe our eyes. The nightmare was over!! OBAMA HAD WON!!!!!! We jumped out of bed, danced around together, and cried. It was just the most incredible news.

And it just got better and better.

Not only was President Barack Obama re-elected, but it was a GIANT election for women's rights and LGBT rights.

There are now 21 women in the Senate - the highest number there have ever been.

Do you remember the 'legitimate god's will rape' guys? They lost their seats... to women.

The first ever openly gay Senator was elected. And she is a woman. And she is awesome.

Her House of Reps seat was taken by an openly gay man - making this the first time a gay person has succeeded a gay person in government.

3 more states legalised gay marriage - for the first time, by popular vote - Maryland, Maine and Washington (we love Washington!)

Minnesota also helped the cause by voting against a proposition that would define marriage in their constitution as between a man and woman.

2 states legalised marijuana for recreational use (Washington again and Colorado)

I mean.... how much cooler can the USA get??? We've gone from crazy drunk uncle to awesome protective big brother.

Just Obama. Chilling on a unicorn. Spreading equality. BAMF.
Sarah and I have been very emotional today, partially because of how extremely early we got up this morning, but mostly because of what Obama's win means to us (and to a lot of you dear readers!). President Obama has promised to legalise gay marriage federally. This would mean that Sarah and I could potentially move back to Idaho or Washington, to realise my dream of raising kids in the Pacific Northwest with the one I love the most. It means, more pressingly, that whether it's legal or not at the time, when Sarah and I get married in the next few years in Idaho, it will be with the support of our President and our country. And because of the support from the government, vendors, family, friends - everyone is more likely to be open, accepting and supportive of our love and relationship.

The President being re-elected means that gay children will grow up knowing that in fact, it really does get better, and kids who might have been bullies with another influence, might instead not pick on the gay kids. It means that little girls can grow up to be anything they dream of being, without worrying about having to leave early to cook dinner for their husband and children (unless that's their choosing, of course!) The whole country will continue on this path to being a leading nation once again.

What does Obama's big win mean to you?

Thank you for voting!!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Welcome to November!

We hope you are having a great weekend!!

We decided against going out for Fireworks Night yesterday, because it was too cold to be enjoyable, and BOY are we glad that we did!! We were cuddling, watching Saturday night TV, when we noticed we could see fireworks from our balcony!

Sarah even got Laura to watch Ghost for the first time.

We spent the rest of the evening snuggled in PJs and blankets, with a nice hot chocolate, watching four different fireworks displays across the river, including a private one at the Hurlingham Club, and the Battersea Park ones, which you have to pay to be admitted!

It was stunning, warm and a great surprise. We will definitely remember this for next year, and stay in unless we head to Lewes!!

Over the last week we've put together a few videos from our trip to Egypt and Thailand in August. So exciting because we thought we'd lost the camera charger :)

The first video is our 24 hour trip to Cairo, Egypt. It was an incredible experience and a wonderful trip - we loved Cairo, the pyramids, and our tour company, Memphis Tours!!

Then we've put together our trip the next evening, the night we arrived in Thailand, to the Full Moon Party!! 30,000+ people on one island, drinking out of buckets and dancing the night away under the full moon - it was like nothing we'd ever experienced before!

(warning; This contains a short burst of swearing (not from either of us :)) 

We have a few more videos to make of our trip to Thailand, which was incredible and well worth the VERY long time between holidays :)

Speaking of holidays, we are so excited to only have 40 days left until we head to Idaho for Christmas!! You'll be hearing more about the trip as it gets closer.

Can you believe that it's November - officially the start of the Christmas season for us! Only 3 weeks until our second annual Thanksmas, and only 6 weeks until home - we are already writing our Christmas cards this weekend, and preparing - for the first time ina  long time we actually feel organised!!

Tuesday is of course the Presidential elections!! With that in mind, we'd like you to VOTE and consider the below:

Laura has already done her duty and voted, so please join her!! Remember if you don't vote you can't complain for the next 4 years!