Thursday, December 23, 2010


Yesterday morning, after going to bed too late and tossing and turning most of the night, I woke up naturally at 6:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. Normally I would be annoyed and exhausted and have to drag myself out of bed, but this time I felt like I was jumping out of my skin with anticipation. After forcing myself to try and concentrate on work for a few hours (seriously, we were all having a maaaaajor case of senioritis in my office), it was off to the airport to head home to California.

Although the box of treats I was carrying home on my lap was seriously testing my self-control, we both made it home in one piece. Over the last week or two, my friends have listened patiently as I waxed poetic about my awesome family and how much fun we have together over the holidays. Many of them have had the same reaction--some variation of, "How do I get in on that?" Consequently, my little brother David has quite a few suitors trying to get in on the Ostler action. He has informed me that he has no problem whatsoever with older women.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've often thought that having a single day to commemorate my entry into the world was sadly inadequate. Luckily, I seem to be finding opportunities to more fully celebrate this wondrous event throughout the month of November.

Last year, watching the ING New York Marathon became one of my all-time favorite activities, and this year it just happened to fall ON my birthday. My friend Zach, who was my spectating companion last year, held a pre-marathon brunch at his apartment. We ate and made signs and tracked the pro runners on my iPhone (the winner averaged a 4:53 mile, no big deal) and then headed over to 5th Avenue to watch.

We loved watching the masses and yelling out random people's names (many runners put their names on their clothing). Our signs were a hit--mine especially, for obvious reasons--with many runners giving us thumbs up our shouting things back at us. One guy came over and gave me a hug before running on. I also got to see my friend Reagan running (who had given me my birthday haircut a couple days earlier!) as well as Suzette, one of my friends from work. It was so much fun, and made me even more excited to run it next year.

I rounded out the day with a trip to my beloved Shake Shack with a couple of the ladies, after which we laid around watching random movies on TBS and feeling cozy. I also had calls from various family members and got to listen to several children shout the Happy Birthday song at me over the phone, which is always a win.

Last weekend was our now-traditional roommate joint birthday party, which this year added another friend with a November birthday. With our combined ages, it's a wonder we didn't burn the apartment down, but we managed to have a good time without having to invite the fire department.

To counteract all this aging, my two best friends in the world and I will be embarking upon the Greatest Vacation Of All Time (TM) this Thursday in Orlando. After that, Becca comes back with me to New York for a week of Broadway, delicious food, holiday lights, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My excitement levels are about on par with a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve, so it's good to know that even after 26 years I haven't become too much of an adult yet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


We had never really been dog people. I mean, most of us liked dogs, but the closest we’d ever come to having pets was a few goldfish and some sea monkeys. Then, about a week before Christmas when I was 16, there was a knock at the door. My little brother went to answer it, and we heard him shout, "Guys, it’s a dog!" Everyone ran to see what he was talking about, and there on the porch was a little crate with a puppy inside, and a note saying that Santa couldn’t wait until Christmas for this present. We brought it in the house and opened the crate door, and out waddled a tiny ball of white fluff. We were beside ourselves with glee.

Louie quickly came to be adored, and probably a ridiculous amount. He had a loving and affectionate demeanor, and was always ready to cuddle up next to you for hours on end. He would also drag you out the door and down the street as soon as you put on his leash, and he was always game for a round of hide and seek in the house. He submitted meekly to all sorts of indignities, from babies pulling his hair and trying to ride him around the house, to Becca taking pictures of him with various flower clips in his hair. And even when you caught him eating used Kleenex or barfing up grass on the carpet, you couldn’t stay mad at him for long.

When we would first arrive home after being away for a long time, Louie would go bananas. His little face would be waiting in the window when the car pulled up, and then would disappear as he ran to meet you at the door, jumping up and down with excitement as if you were the most amazing thing he’d ever seen. He was great with people, and rarely barked unless he saw that the squirrels in the backyard were getting a little too big for their britches. Louie had a personality all his own, and we loved him for it.

Two days ago, Louie passed away unexpectedly. It seems to have been complications from a fast-moving form of cancer. We’ve all been pretty shocked and devastated, especially since Louie never really seemed to grow out of the puppy phase, and we assumed we had at least a couple more years with him. We will miss him terribly, but we are so lucky to have had the last 10 years with such a fantastic friend.

We were never really dog people. But we were Louie people.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fall foliage.

You guys, I love Fall so much. It's always been my favorite season, but I think living in New York has given me an even greater appreciation for it. And while there are many great things about summer in the city, I am only too happy to say goodbye to sweating in the subway, the smell of hot garbage, and people blasting music on the sidewalk at 3am. Now is the time of gorgeous colors in the park, boots, salted caramel hot chocolate, and baking every treat I can find that is even vaguely pumpkin-related.

Recently, a few friends and I decided to take a weekend trip to Boston. I'd never been, and I really loved it. But can we be honest? Boston is not a real city. I mean, it's beautiful and I would totally live there, but come on. It reminded me a lot of the touristy parts of DC--lots of brick buildings and wide streets. At one point, we decided to walk through Boston Common for a bit. After like 10 minutes of walking, we came out the other side, and kind of looked around, puzzled. "That's it?" Heh. I guess I've been desensitized a bit by New York?

Harvard was also very nice. I totally should have gone there. Here you see the first stop we made after dropping our stuff off at the hotel--an ice cream place across from Harvard yard. (That sentence kind of makes it sounds like our hotel was the ice cream place, which is something I can only dream about.) Pumpkin and chocolate chip ice creams in a cone? Yes, I'll have that.

We did all the obligatory tourist stuff--Italian food, the Freedom Trail, clam chowder. Aside from our bus driver almost making us miss the season finale of Mad Men, it was a delightful trip.

The next Saturday involved a day trip with some other friends to Sleepy Hollow, about 30 minutes north of Manhattan (which I refrain from calling "upstate" thanks to Noelle). We frolicked in the cemetery (who doesn't?) and visited the Headless Horseman bridge (pictured above). I would really be interested to know the amount of revenue that town sees in October compared to the rest of the year.

I'm actually excited to pull out the coats from under my bed, and to have a use for all my scarves other than preventing frostbite at my office. And while I know that come January, the tears will freeze to my cheeks as I cry over the arctic temperatures--for now, I'm in heaven.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


One month until...



I could not be more excited. And yes, I will be 26 years old by that time--why do you ask?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Last night I did something I thought I never would in my entire life.

I'm not proud of it. I managed to get through 5 years living in Utah without it happening.

I attended a country music concert.

We were offered tickets to the Lady Antebellum show through work, and knowing that my friend loves them intensely, I got them. Because I am a really good person.

I might have danced a little. And possibly sung along to that one song that I know (and that, okay, I have on my iPod). And only once mocked the lead guy's many entreaties that we "get this party started".

It was actually kind of fun. Please don't judge me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Have you ever wondered how you would have fared as a Viking? Ever since Sarah showed me this link six months ago, I knew this was something I needed to be a part of. Luckily, I have a few friends who are game for ridiculous (by which I clearly mean awesome) ideas, so we all got to experience it together.

The Northeast region race was held at a ski resort in the Catskills last weekend, so 12 of us (8 racers, 4 cheerleaders/photographers) drove up on Saturday morning for a 3.25 mile race. On a mountain. With obstacles.

Yes, I realize I'm making the "I love you" sign, not bull horns as I had intended. It was corrected later.

The place was insane--packed with upwards of 8000 racers plus spectators. It was awesome, though, and there was an immediate sense of camaraderie because let's face it, this is kind of a strange and crazy thing to do. Tons of people wore costumes, some more elaborate than others. People kept shouting "TUTUUUUUU!" at us and we became instant friends.

Our groupies.

The initial ascent.

Our wave started at 1:30, and I was giddy with adrenaline. We were joking about how I should push to the front, and then our group started chanting, "LAURA'S GONNA WIN! LAURA'S GONNA WIN!" Spoiler alert: I did not win. Anyway, off went the gun (and by gun, I mean giant FLAME-THROWERS) and off we ran. For like 2 minutes, until it became very clear that the crazy uphill climb was not ending anytime soon and we decided to walk for a bit. At one point as we were all gasping for breath, a girl near me told her friend, "At least we can say that we're true warriors. None of our friends can say that!" The other girl simply replied, "Our friends are JERKS!"

For the next 3 miles, we ran (sometimes trudged) through forests and across ski slopes, hopped over walls, crawled through tunnels, ran through tires, waded waist-high ponds, climbed cargo nets, careened down a giant Slip N' Slide, leaped over fire, and dragged ourselves through mud (under barbed wire) to the finish line. It was awesome.

After we finished and got our medals, we hung out by the mud pit to wait for the others and watch the racers come through. Some guys were absolutely fearless--diving or flipping straight into the mud, some even clearing the first line of barbed wire. They got huge cheers from the spectators, while people who stepped gingerly into the pit were met with resounding boos.

Who wants a hug?

Afterward we headed for the showers, which were basically power hoses set up on a grassy area. The water was ice cold and I totally shrieked like a crazy person while I tried to wash off as much mud as possible. After that, it was back to the car to change. I ditched my shoes in the donation pile but cleverly forgot to bring an extra pair, so I spent the rest of the day barefoot.

We were all starving after the race, so we stopped at a random diner for sustenance. I ordered a huge 1/2 pound cheeseburger with fries and completely cleaned my plate, and still felt awesome afterward. Because I am a true warrior.

It was an absolute blast, and I can't wait to do it again next year.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The usual.

Despite the crazy heat (99 degrees plus humidity), today's been pretty good so far. I got all my laundry done, went to the library, picked up a package at the post office, hung out with friends, and then nudged a dead pigeon off my window sill using a bendy straw.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Sometimes I get really fed up with living here. Sometimes I wish I could get from Point A to Point B without having to rely on public transportation. Sometimes having my own big, new apartment with walk-in closets for less than I'm paying now doesn't sound so bad. Sometimes I just want simple tasks like doing my laundry or going to Ikea to not be a production that I have to plan my whole day around.

Last night was not one of those times. Lying in the grass in Central Park, listening to the New York Philharmonic play "Rhapsody In Blue" and selections from West Side Story, watching fireflies float lazily through the warm air, I felt perfectly content. When I hugged my friend goodbye later, I said, "This was magical." And for once, I wasn't being facetious.

People often ask me what I like best about living in New York, and I always have a hard time answering. Because it's those random, perfect moments that happen every now and then that make people so in love with this city. Running along the river at sunset, looking at the Rockefeller Christmas lights, people-watching in Columbus Circle--I freeze-frame those moments and put them in a mental album entitled This Is Why You Live Here (And Pay A Lot Of Money To Do So). And luckily, it's enough to get me through those other times that aren't quite so magical.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Heat wave.

You know what's awesome? When the temperature inside your apartment is 93 degrees. Doesn't that sound awesome?

If you know anyone who lives in the Northeast (oh, hey), you've probably heard them complain about the heat wave we had last week. Temperatures spiked to the triple digits with high humidity over the 4th of July, and things got nuts. Heat advisories were issued. People posted crazy expletive-filled rants on Craigslist, begging someone to sell them air conditioners. One guy started stabbing people outside my office building.

Thankfully, I was able to escape the city for most of it (except the stabbing spree! that was exciting) and go to Colorado for a redhead bonanza of a holiday weekend. I traded in stuffy subway stations and the smell of hot garbage for:

pajama-time sparklers

baby bedhead

becoming one with nature

and lots of silliness
(okay, I might have stolen this one. my camera isn't quite that nice.)

There were also early morning jogs with my sister (including some nearly-exploding lungs thanks to the 6000-foot altitude change), tons of homemade deliciousness, hours of playing Lego Harry Potter (and NOT with the 5-year-old, oddly enough), swingsets, zoo animals, hugs, stupid jokes, and Oreo pancakes.

Thanks to a crazy thunderstorm on the 4th, we opted to enjoy NYC's fireworks display on TV (which, ironically, it turned out that many of my friends in New York did as well). We were champs, though, and were rewarded the next night with re-scheduled town fireworks that we enjoyed with a giant bag of freshly-popped popcorn.

I had a great time and, as always, was reminded that I kind of like my family. But soon enough it was time to come back to New York and my nightly Sophie's Choice: the TiVo in the living room, or the air conditioner in my bedroom. Reality can be harsh sometimes.

More pictures here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Of mermaids, pasties, and corn dogs.

A couple weekends ago was the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. The parade happens every year to celebrate the start of summer. And since anyone can march in the parade and New Yorkers love any excuse to let their freak flag fly, it's extremely entertaining. My favorite was seeing a woman with pasties on (a common sight at the parade) holding the hand of her young daughter. It's a family event!

A group of us made the long trip out, with a pit stop on the Lower East Side for donuts on the way (of course). It was fun to be on the train and see people get on at various stops with their costumes on. I'm already planning my outfit for next year.

There were more than a few oil spill-themed floats and costumes.

We finished off the afternoon with corn dogs and soft serve, because it would be criminal to leave Coney Island without enjoying all it has to offer. Plus, I was just happy I didn't have to run there, so I was milking it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Tonight, as some friends and I considered eating ice cream despite our already full bellies, I shared some wisdom passed down from my father: you're never too full for ice cream--it just fills in the cracks.

The same man who gives sage advice on ice cream consumption goes running and rides his bike dozens of miles a week (and looks pretty awesome doing it). The same man who can intelligently discuss everything from literature to economics to medicine always appreciates a well-placed fart joke. The same man who enjoys fine cuisine and Broadway musicals also loves butter-drenched popcorn and watching Jack Bauer chomp a guy's carotid artery. The same man who won't hesitate to mock me when I deserve it has always been one of my biggest supporters, and will take every opportunity to let me know that he's proud of me.

I don't know how my life would have turned out without this man in it, and I'm so thankful that I get to call him my dad. Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The tourist lane.

Pictures, articles, and videos of this project started popping up on the internet and in the Post last week, and it looked pretty hilarious. I know I'm not alone in feeling the city could seriously benefit from an initiative like this.

The full story can be found here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Catching up.

So. Let's talk about May, shall we?

It started off with a little of this:

And kept on being pretty stellar the rest of the time. I got to go to the live taping of Oprah at Radio City Music Hall, thanks to my lovely clients at Harpo. It was a lot of fun and also extremely amusing because everyone was decked out in their cutest outfits in bright spring colors (I didn't look to bad myself, if I do say so). O even commented on it when she came out in her pink sequined floor-length skirt. Anyway, we didn't come away with any swag, but it was a good time all around.

A few days after that, I got to go home to California for a visit. Two of my sisters were visiting at the same time, so I got to see most of the fam, which was great. Some highlights:

Visiting the Jelly Belly factory.

In-N-Out runs.

Flying kites in the park.

Kissing scrumptious baby cheeks.

Other activities included Ostler favorites: eating lots of delicious food, playing games, winning at Buzz (me), watching movies, squealing during Wii Super Mario, taking walks, and laughing a lot. I also got to see Marisa and Rob for the first time in far too long, but apparently we did not take any pictures. We did eat ice cream though, so win some, lose some.

I had a great time at home, as always. I love living in New York, but I've realized that it's necessary to get out of the city every now and then in order to keep enjoying it. Otherwise it starts feeling a little claustrophobic. So this was the perfect way to relax and just be able to hang out with a lot of people that I happen to really like.

The week after I came back to the city, I did half marathon #3, in Brooklyn.

Lauren and I post-race.

I did this race last year, which was my first half marathon. I didn't break my goal, unfortunately, but I did run it much faster than last year and my knees didn't give me any problems (which has been my biggest concern lately), so it's all right. I'm taking a summer hiatus from races (running in 90 degree humidity does not seem that appealing to me) but already have plans for the fall: Warrior Dash. I don't think I need to say anymore about that.

May ended with a road trip to Montreal with a couple of my girlfriends, which will be a separate post. In the meantime, more May pictures can be found here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Moomsie daisy.

This picture, to me, kind of represents the mom jackpot. Wearing her most huggable outfit, sporting bodacious hair first thing in the morning, frosting homemade cinnamon rolls for us on Christmas. I kind of want to live in this picture forever.

My sister has already written a much finer tribute than I can, but I will say this:

Thanks, mom, for making it so that I never understood why women in movies are always so horrified when they realize, "I've turned into my mother." Because frankly, that seems like something I can only ever aspire to, and I will count myself extremely fortunate if that day ever comes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


A few years ago I wrote a song about these three girls. It was about them being kids and thinking about what life would be like when they all grew up. And it was about how even though things would inevitably get tough, they'd always be there for each other. In hindsight, it probably should have included something about destroying hilariously awkward photographs of themselves.

Today feels like a milestone for these girls, as the youngest one is graduating from college and they are all officially adults now. And the girl who, in high school, claimed she was "just not smart" is now a Dean's list graduate of the University of Utah Nursing School, and is about to go on to do great things and change lives.

I'm sure our lives are not quite what we imagined they'd be 20 years ago (I'm still waiting on our connecting houses), and there will be plenty of uncertainty to come. But I'm glad to know that these girls will be there for each other for lots more milestones.

Congratulations, Becca! We're proud of you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Runner's high.

As I stood shivering in my tank top in the half-light of Sunday morning, I couldn't help but wonder, "Why in the world am I doing this again?" Like, maybe when I had signed up a few months earlier to run 13 miles, I hadn't been seriously considering how comfortable my bed is. I wondered how many of the other 11,000 people there were thinking the same thing. But after training for weeks and quickly destroying the cold virus that had threatened me earlier in the week (including some Googling to contradict my friend's claim that high volumes of Vitamin C can lead to kidney stones), I wasn't about to turn back.

Thankfully, it was a beautiful day for a run, with clear skies and a cool breeze. My favorite part of the race was around mile 8, when--after coming out of Central Park and before turning down the West Side Highway toward the site of the World Trade Center--the course took us through midtown. There's something about being in a sea of runners going through Times Square while total strangers cheer you on that is pretty hard to beat. It was the perfect adrenaline boost for the last half of the race.

(Incidentally, my second favorite part was the group of people around mile 11 holding a sign that read "High Five Station" and slapping our hands as we ran past.)

My goal for my first one was basically to not die, which I managed pretty well and finished in 2 hours 20 minutes. This time, I was shooting for 2 hours. My official finish time was 2:00:23. I'll take it. And besides, I'll have a chance to break the 2-hour mark in 9 weeks, when I run the Brooklyn half marathon. I'm taking a week off while I hobble around on ridiculously sore legs like an 80-year-old, and then it's back to training. I think maybe I'm a glutton for punishment.

Monday, March 15, 2010

In like a lion.

This weekend, driving rain coupled with 60 mph winds turned New York City into an umbrella graveyard. On Saturday afternoon, my roommate and I ventured out to the nicer grocery store several blocks from our apartment to get some things for a party we were having. I was happy we were together as I would have felt really stupid clutching my umbrella in front of me like a shield and shrieking if I'd been by myself. Instead, it was kind of hilarious. We opted to take the bus back after finishing our shopping, and didn't really brave the elements again that day (though all our party guests had to... they were rewarded handsomely with pie, though). Sunday morning, the carnage was everywhere--mangled skeletons of umbrellas, dumped hastily in garbage cans or lying abandoned in gutters. It was strangely poetic.

Thankfully, the 10-day forecast shows sunny and 60 degrees, with only one day of rain during that time. Except, guess which day that is? Half marathon day. I also appear to be coming down with a cold, so I'm downing NyQuil and am currently at about 2000% DV of Vitamin C (you can't overdose on vitamins, can you?). Bring it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Sometimes I feel like people are silently judging me.

Like when I'm trying to stuff all my things into a locker at the gym, and three boxes of Girl Scout cookies fall out of my bag.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Je voudrais un croissant.

Tomorrow is my first day of school. When I finished college, I secretly wished I could stay another semester or two and just take classes that I wanted to for fun. But since I'd already been there for 5 years and gone on study abroad (twice), I figured it was best not to try my parents' patience any further.

Anyway, I'd been thinking for a while about taking a class of some kind, since there are so many options around the city for continuing education. I settled on learning a new language, and decided to try French on for size. My reasons include 1) the fact that I took Spanish in high school and was awesome at it (we won't go into my retention, which is probably more relevant now that I live in a heavily Dominican neighborhood, but whatever), 2) it sounds pretty, and 3) it is one of my life's ambitions to meet a cute foreign boy and have zany/romantic adventures together while riding around on a scooter, a la Passport to Paris.

(For reference, my other life's ambitions include winning an Oscar for Best Original Score, meeting Ben Folds, and being a contestant on Cash Cab.)

My friend Zach signed up to take the weekly class with me, and we've already envisioned great things for ourselves. We're convinced that our plan to speak to each other exclusively in French after about week 5 will amaze both friends and strangers, even though our conversations will mostly consist of things like, "Where is the library?" and "I like oranges!"

I figure that, after the 14 weeks are up, my life in general will look something like this:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


One night last week, I made my way to the store to return a book. As I crossed the street, a group of hooligan teenagers passed me, each waving a book in the air and yelling, "OZZY RUUUUUULES!" While I appreciated their enthusiasm, I was confused as to its source until I entered the Time Warner Center and saw the massive line outside of Borders. Next to the line was a poster: Ozzy Osbourne Book Signing. Apparently the Prince of Darkness himself was in the store to promote his recent biography, and these people were waiting to get into the signing.

Unfortunately, that meant that the checkout line was also filled with customers waiting to buy their copies of the book. I sighed and went to the back of the line, wondering if the $5 refund was really worth it. A few moments later, an associate came to the front of the line and announced in a shaky voice that he was sorry, but they were completely sold out of the Ozzy book, and those who didn't already have copies would be leaving empty-handed. He looked so terrified that I felt sure he'd never worked a Harry Potter midnight release party. There were loud grumbles from the crowd and, to my delight, 90% of the line dispersed.

As the crowd of mostly overly-pierced teenagers and aging rocker-types were turned away, I was surprised to see a conservatively-dressed man in his 60s. He walked slowly past me and said, in dejected tones, "You heard they're out of the book, right?" I looked down at my green peacoat and skinny jeans and then back at his neatly parted hair and sweater vest, and my gut reaction of, "Do I look like an Ozzy Osbourne fan?" disintegrated. So I just smiled and said, "Yes, thank you," and went to the front of the line.

Friday, January 29, 2010


A couple mornings ago, as I stood in the office kitchen pouring milk into my cereal, my boss came in and caught sight of what was in my bowl. "A little Kix to start the day, huh?" he asked. Yes, because apparently I am 7 years old.

The cereal in question was actually Berry Berry Kix, also known as the greatest cereal ever. It was one of my favorites when I was younger, but it seemed to disappear for a while and I thought it had been discontinued until some time ago, when Allison reported a sighting at her local grocery store. When I went to visit Allison a couple weekends ago, my very own box was waiting for me to bring back to New York.

So anyway, I went to North Carolina to see my new baby. Isn't she cute?

Annabelle is a delight, and enjoys such activities as cuddling into your chest, not crying, and making adorable baby noises in her sleep. When I wasn't staring at her, I was making mischief with this little hoodlum:

At church on Sunday, Emaline dubbed me "Reindeer" because of the way my necklace was looped to look like, well, a rein. From then on, whenever she addressed me it was, "Reindeer, do you want to play Mario Kart?" "Reindeer, can you read me a story?" and so on. I get no respect.

One day, when I was taking one of thousands of pictures of the wee one, Emaline asked if she could try. I handed her my camera and showed her the button to press, and it was somewhat like what I imagine the moon landing was for Neil Armstrong. Her face lit up and she immediately began taking pictures of everything in sight. Each photo was proclaimed to be more beautiful than the last.

A brief photo essay:

Anyway, it was a great weekend and, despite Allison's apologies that we weren't doing anything exciting, I had a great time sitting around in sweatpants and playing with the kids. Plus, sometimes outings can get overwhelming, like when Allison and I sat in the parking lot of the Cookout for 10 minutes while I tried to decide which of about 15 kinds of burgers I wanted. These are big decisions, people! Sometimes I much prefer having virtual sword fights with a 4-year-old or laughing about stupid things with my sister. Or eating Berry Berry Kix for two meals a day.


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