the weekly carol | the history

(Last week I shared a Very Exciting Announcement  about  a little event I have coming up called Carol Convention. But what I failed to mention was why we call it that. I know you’ve all been dying of suspense. Here’s a little history.)

It started in April of 2009, a car packed full of girls driving to Dallas for a weekend in “the big city”. We were stuck in absurd traffic. After we had talked about everything under the sun, we settled on a very important topic: 

When guys hit on us in bars, what fake names were we going to give them so that they would leave us alone?

It had to be an older name, we decided immediately, one that brought to mind mom jeans. “Carol,” said one friend. No one could think of anything better, so… we all decided to go by Carol.

We needed a back story. How did five people all named Carol end up being best friends? There was only one option: we became friends when we met at a convention for people named Carol.

And thus began the Carol Convention.

Sidenote: my legal name is Esther. Why did that name not come up as a douchey-guy-in-bars deterrent? No one wants to talk to an Esther. Every time I tell someone my real name, they say, “That’s my grandma’s name!” In fact, it just happened Tuesday. (Hi, Kelly!)

 I fully believe that if we’d used Esther, this legendary Carol Convention picture never would have happened:


Our proud and noble heritage

A few years ago, you may recall, a normal (although slightly prettier and richer than average) girl married a British prince.

I definitely remember. I even wore a fascinator for the occasion.

To this day, girls around the world are hoping for Kate Middleton-esque fortune to fall in their lap. To fall in love with a man who, as it turns out, is a prince. Or part of some kind of noble lineage.

Well, friends, that fascinator must have been magic because… it happened to me. 

Yesterday, I found out that my husband stems from a well-known British lineage.

Let me set the stage for you: Y’s father, who is British, was doing a wee bit of genealogical research. This is one of his many hobbies — others include collecting stamps with mushrooms on them (he has the world’s largest collection!) and building miniature ships. 

But, I digress. 

During this genealogical research, he uncovered something prettttty significant and alerted the family.

Soon, I got the text from Y: So, it turns out my great great grandfather was probably Jack the Ripper.

Every. girl’s. dream. Am I right??

Learn more about Great Great Grandpa Jacob Levy (and his raging case of syphilis) (and how HE MUTILATED A BUNCH OF PROSTITUTES) via this video (starts at 17:30).


people I want to punch in the face | a playlist

When I went to New York for the first time, I was 24. I think I was expecting to be enchanted; instead I took my shoes off every night wondering why the hell Carrie Bradshaw bothered to buy such expensive shoes if they were going to get covered with Manhattan street juice each time she went out.

In the end, the thing that really impressed me about New York was a staircase. 

We passed a girl running up and down the stairs to the Highline, and ever since then I’ve been longing to live in a place where you could combine exercise with infrastructure. Shreveport never felt conducive to running. There were no paths near me — mostly there weren’t even sidewalks — and the scenery and weather never really inspired me to get outside. (Plus, I kept having to save stray babies.)

I dreamed of moving to DC and running the monuments. Or running along Lake Michigan in Chicago.

A few weeks after we moved to our house in Minneapolis, I came across these:

And I knew, kind of reluctantly, that I had to justify four years of stair-envy by actually using them.

So a few times a week I head out for the lake, ending my lap with four minutes of running stairs. Currently, I’m running to a little playlist I like to call People I Want to Punch in the Face, and I’ve never run so hard in my life.* **

Allow me to explain… we’ll start with the self-explanatories:

1 // Chris Brown, Transform Ya

2 // Miley Cyrus, We Can’t Stop (Miley gets an extra evil eye from me for continuing to make songs that I secretly love. But she’s just being Miley, guys.)

3 // Kanye West, New Slaves

And the ones that might need a bit more explanation:

4 // Britney Spears, Ooh La LA
Punch factor: Brit, you’ve strung me along since you were “the pride of Louisiana”. (No really, when I was in high school there were Pepsi billboards with this slogan.) I’ve seen this video. You’re not even trying anymore. Your thong was inside of your jeans and you didn’t even have a snake!

5 // Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines
Punch factor: the mustache. That annoying little mustache. Also the way he laughs when he asks what rhymes with hug me? 

6 // MIA, Bad Girls
Punch factor: this song makes me feel like I could actually punch someone in the face if I needed to. Nothing against MIA.

7 // Lorde, Royals
Punch factor: this sixteen year old seems like she’s going to be trouble. Someone might need to slap some sense into her one day.

8 // Jay Z, Picasso
Punch factor: I want to be married to Beyonce. Life is so unfair. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to covet my neighbor’s wife, but luckily I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford real estate in Jay Z’s neighborhood. 

9 // One Direction, What Makes You Beautiful
Punch factor: You probably want to punch me in the face for listening to this song. I can’t help it. It’s actually scientifically impossible to listen to it without smiling.

10 // Icona Pop, I love it
Punch factor: They need to be punched in the face for making such an annoying… yet oh, so catchy… song that refuses to leave my brain. 

* Please don’t judge my musical tastes on this list. I promise I’m better than this.

** I don’t actually condone violence. Duh.

lately + currently



READING Self Inflicted Wounds, by Aisha Tyler. Sometimes I feel a little silly for writing a blog about myself — like my life isn’t all that interesting — but the fact that Aisha Tyler wrote an entire chapter about eating frozen dinners in her dad’s apartment and still made me laugh makes me feel slightly better.  

WATCHING House of Cards. Do you remember how creepy Kevin Spacey was in American Beauty? THIS IS CREEPIER. Sometimes it’s so creepy/suspenseful that I have to look away and play with fonts and photos (see above) to keep myself from cringing.

LISTENING TO this playlist that is making me want to curl up in bed and feel all of the feelings of being 18 again. Konstantine by Something Corporate. Brand New. Jimmy Eat World. A whole lot of Dashboard Confessional. The playlist was made by a Twitter account I follow, @yourawaymessage, that I swear must be tapped into some kind of log of our old AIM away messages because it hits the nail on the head. IN THE CAR: Open, by Andre Agassi. The guy reading it has a spellbinding voice — my attention was rapt as he narrated a tennis match.

THINKING ABOUT how happy I am that I’m no longer 18.  

(linking up with Lauren)


In case it isn’t obvious (it totally is and you’re just slow), SBQL stands for A Song, A Book, A Quote, A Look — a fun little link up created by someone I automatically hate for being able to turn their name into a pun-tastic title, Jena of Jena sais quois

Song // Haim, Don’t Save Me

Trust me: this song is the perfect soundtrack to running along the shores of a lake on a gorgeous summer day.  

Book // Eleanor & Park

If you’ve been driving around the Minneapolis metro area and noticed a girl in a Prius grinning uncontrollably, well, that was me under the influence of a young adult audiobook. Eleanor & Park. I can’t even talk about it. I miss them. 

Quote // Anne Frank

Look // denim on denim + sparkle

Because…Why not wear sequins on a Tuesday?

I have an exciting announcement

From what I can gather, there seem to be a few rules about “exciting announcements” in the blog world. First of all, you must announce your announcement prior to actually announcing whatever it is you’re wanting to announce. Follow that?

So on Monday, you say I’ve got some exciting news to share with you… but I can’t reveal the details yet. Stay tuned. Winky face! and then the next, say, Tuesday, you make your big announcement.

The other rule I’ve noticed is that your announcement must either be that you’re having a) a baby or b) a book.

Well I’m going to ignore the first rule and tell you my news after this paragraph. And I’m going to ignore the second rule, because I’m not gestating a baby or a book.

I am, however, planning a top secret trip for my closest friends.

Was that a huge letdown? I thought it might be, so here’s a picture of Ike as a puppy to make it up to you.

Carol Convention is a trip my friends and I have been taking for the past four years. One of us plans the whole thing on the sly. The rest of us send her money. In the months leading up to the trip, the planner sends clues, not revealing the location until the week before. So far, we’ve been sticking to the dirty south, but we have big plans to require passports one of these days.

I thought it might be fun (for me, at least) to share the story of Carol Convention, introduce you to the cast of Carols, share travel guides and tips for friend-trips, and lead up to this year’s big announcement via the blog. Who knows — maybe I’ll inspire a wave of Carol Conventions?

For now, I’ll leave you with the first clue of this year’s trip:

hanson at the state fair: a special guest post

Today I have a really special treat for you. I’ve been waiting for the right time to have this person guest post, and I love what she came up with so much that it might become a regular feature.

This month I’m seeing a concert, an artist whose name usually elicits the reaction Um, why? No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to convince people why it’s so important for me to go to this concert. Eventually, I realized that today’s guest blogger is the only one in the world who can put into words why I’m seeing Hanson in a few weeks.

Introducing… 12 year old D. 

Hi readers! Before we get started, I just have to tell you how disappointed I am. You see, I consider myself a great observer of the human condition, and I’ve noticed that all of the popular kids have a green anorak. So, this weekend I begged my mom to take me to the Gap and we purchased my very own green anorak. I felt like a new woman when I hung it in my closet, guys. On Monday, I jumped off the bus waiting for my legions of fans to crowd around me and invite me to their birthday parties, but…nothing. Nothing. I’m back to square one here. Any tips? AM I GOING TO HAVE TO SNORT MARIJUANA?

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about anoraks. 

I’m here to talk about yellow doc marten boots. About blonde, ponytailed drummers. That’s right… I’m here to talk about Zac Hanson and how Future D is going to be breathing the same Minnesota air as the drummer of my dreams.

I never saw this coming, guys. I mean, first of all, what the heck am I doing in Minnesota? And secondly — most importantly — why am I a mere audience member? I must have made some bad life choices along the way if I’m not married to Zac Hanson in 2013. I’m doing everything right:

+ My walls are plastered with Hanson posters courtesy of Bop Magazine. If the brothers Hanson saw my bedroom, they would know just how devoted I am. What’s that? You noticed my poster of Dawson and Pacey? That’s just there ironically. Just to show how gross they are compared to Hanson.

+ I have declared my love on my Geocities page. 

+ I own Hanson’s documentary, Tulsa, Tokyo and the Middle of Nowhere. I’m positive that in 2013, Future D is watching that VHS each and every night on her spaceship. I also taped their appearance on the Weird Al Yankovich show and watched it over and over again. If that’s not dedication, I can’t tell you what is. 

+ I know absolutely nothing about Louisiana history. Huey P. who? 

This is relevant because it was right around the time I started taking Louisiana History that some genius published Tulsa 74132 on the internet. For those of you not in the know, Tulsa 74132 is the ultimate Hanson fan fiction. It must be as long, if not longer than that thick new book about the boy wizard with the glasses. Tulsa 74132 is better though.. it will truly stand the test of time. 

Anyway, my friends L, T and I have Louisiana History together 3rd period, and each day one of us brings in a new chapter. We have a big binder that we put it in so it looks like we’re doing work. If I didn’t live in the capitol of Louisiana, I probably wouldn’t know what it was. But Hanson is way more important. When will I ever need to know any of this Louisiana stuff? (editor’s note: Sometimes I think the entire state of Minnesota was reading Hanson fan fiction when they were supposed to be learning state capitols. I would say that most people here have no idea what “Baton Rouge” is.)

Here’s the bottom line: There is nothing else on this earth I love more than Hanson (family is automatically excluded from these kinds of blanket statements, everyone knows that). I’m making a pact with myself right now, that if I ever pass up the opportunity to see Hanson, I will literally never forgive myself. Thank you for your time. Don’t forget to weigh in on the anorak situation. 

Peace, love, and happiness! And yin yangs. Oh boy, do I love yin yangs. 

–1997 D


So you see? My former self would kill me if I didn’t go to this concert. I can’t have that on my conscious. 

P.S. I soon bought a second anorak. It looked like this. It didn’t help.