is it too soon?

I totally want another tattoo! More arm coverage plz! Meanwhile, on the internet you can find photos of all kindsa crazy/lame/embarrassing/what were you thinking/ridiculous tattoos. But I actually found a couple I really liked, even though they weren't ones I myself would get.

I think this is one of the prettiest tattoos I have ever seen, not to mention really excellently done... if it is real. What do you think? Either way, good choice, guy in picture.


If Wonder Woman was your thing, then this would be a rad tattoo. I've always liked comic book art. The vibrant colors! The contrast! The drama!


Attention everyone: if for some reason I am in a coma, TAKE ADVANTAGE of that pain-free time for me and bring in a tattoo artist! Now that I know how much it hurts, the idea of getting any non-small tattoo while fully awake and coherent is pretty daunting... but still worth it.

so carlsbad it's carlsgoood

We spent our final day in New Mexico at Carlsbad Caverns. I remember visiting some caves on an 8th grade trip a billion years ago, and that was totally sweet. So I was looking forward to more cavey goodness.

We had to take this path down 800 feet below ground. You can't tell how deep it goes, but it wound back and forth and back and forth many times before we got to the bottom deep in the darkness.

Captain Prickles sez goodbye to daylight


It is difficult to sense the scale of what you are seeing in these photos... but believe me, this was a huge cave.



The grand finale huge room


Nothing finishes off a trip to a cave like a creamy pb sandwich in the car


Coming up next in vacationland... say hello to Texas and my favorite part of the trip... the free-roaming animal drive thru zoo!

a whole new world

Somewhere in the middle of New Mexico, I realized we weren't in Michigan anymore...

when animals attack

So our vacation continues in New Mexico, day two... We happened to see a lion attack a rhino while an elephant and some birds looked on.

Ok, actually this is just Cabella's, home of the craziest collection of taxidermied animals evarr. What can I say? For some reason summer is the busiest time for me. I keep going out of town and am super busy, so I will get around to the next installment of vacation pics in due time. I like to think that I am leaving you in suspense. Meanwhile, enjoy the scary animal attack scene.

parker totally wins


Like two decades after it originally aired on television, Parker Lewis Can't Lose is finally going to be released on DVD next week. This is rad. Dear library, Please stock some copies of this in your inventory so I may rent this early 90's goodness. Thank you. Love, Karen

hsm horror

Thanks for reading through my uncharacteristically long blog post yesterday... if you actually did. I was thinking about cutting it down into two different entries, but I was so amped to share the whole story that I just went for it!

Today, I keep it short. Question: What do I think is awesome? Answer: When movie trailers are re-edited to be a different genre:



I have seen a couple other movies that someone has done this to, but this was just too great. Those quick clips from "Bet On It"! Eeeee! (squeal of delight and hilarity)

spoiler alert


Being that this is the last year that I could audition for American Idol given the age limit, I decided I would give it a try. Mike and I had previously discussed my auditioning for this season- He would get a lot of awesome photos and I would get people ceasing to pester me about auditioning... and a chance at being a superstar, of course!

I'm next, pretty boy.

When we realized that the auditions were extra early this year and Mike had to work, I asked my friend and fellow singer Joy to audition with me, not thinking she would be able to, and resigning myself to the fact that oh well it wasn't happening. But then she was super into it, so I was down for it too. This is my behind-the-scenes look at what it is like to audition...

We went to the auditions in Chicago, where our friends Ryan and Meredith live. That was totally awesome because we got to hang out with them in the city AND get a free place to stay.

When we rolled into town late Saturday night, we went to the United Center (home of the Bulls and Blackhawks) to register. No line at all since it was 2 am. They gave us a wrist band that we were not allowed to remove until we were all done in a few days. All photos via my Blackberry since Mike and his rad gear were at home.


At registration they told us to show up at the United Center at 5am Monday morning and learn the song "Hot N Cold" by Katy Perry for the crowd singing shots. We spent Sunday sleeping late and playing Rock Band. Then we went to some shops in Wicker Park where I acquired some very Karen-y kneesocks and pair #2 of heart-shaped sunglasses. Then we had some wonderful steak for dinner and went for a walk around downtown and the beach! Fun times!

Monday at 5am we were ready to go... us and 12,000 other people, which they said was the second largest crowd to show up ever. The odds just keep getting better and better.

We settled in outside for almost three hours. It rained lightly almost the whole time, but we got cozy under our umbrellas, sitting on the ground on a blanket.

Yes, we even look hott at 6am

They let us into the center just before 8am. Everyone had received a ticket at registration which led to your seat for the day... and I do mean all day. First thing we did inside was shoot the crowd scenes cheering and yelling "I'm the next American Idol" and singing "Hot N Cold". They changed the lyrics to "you PMS like a chick, I would know", instead of using the original lyrics. It's a family show, people.

Here is what we got to look at for several hours. What they did is lead people down by section to the floor where 12 booths waited. Groups of 4 would line up in front of each one and after they each stepped forward and sang individually, two producers in each booth would discuss and then tell you your fate. Golden ticket meant you went on... and if not, an intern with scissors cut off your wristband and sent you on your way.

Twelve hours after we arrived at 5am, it was time to audition at 5pm. Of course a lot happened inbetween, but I am trying to be concise here. Ask me later about ridiculously clueless people, extremely talented people, and weirdly costumed people. I have stories.

We are emerging from the tunnel to the floor finally. Blue plaid girl and blue scarf girl were in my group of 4, along with a guy wearing a cowboy hat. Joy and I ended up in separate groups at tables next to each other.

While making the slow trek to the stage, we had "fun" listening to this orange dress girl with a 'tude go on about how awesome she is. She was in a group with Joy, who reported that there were more runs than melody in her song. Say bye bye to your wristband, diva girl.

Gossip Girl here. Spotted: Michael Orland, AI pianist and song arranger, aka "guy Seacrest sometimes thanks at the end of the performance shows when he is trying to fill time". Apparently he is one of the judges!

I don't have a photo of my actual audition of course, but it would have looked awesome I am sure. I was actually really pleased with my performance of "For The Longest Time" considering that I have a propensity to choke in high pressure audition situations! I got cut though, along with everyone else in my and Joy's groups. Let's face it, when they only pick about 150 out of 12,000 you gotta be something super special in their eyes.

So I was left with nothing to live for in life, and subsequently jumped off this bridge. This is actually Mike typing as Karen. Sorry people, she's gone.


Not really of course! I mean come on, there was so little of a chance that it was hard to even muster up much disappointment. And it was just fun to experience the whole thing, not to mention have some fun times in the city with the Laverteam!

When I arrived at home, Mike had a "Top 3 Homecoming episode"-type situation prepared. This included flowers, a parade (or one exuberant flag-balloon waver, as the case may be), and the key to the city... which looks strangely similar to the key to our apartment storage space.

So alert the media: The next American Idol will not be me. Apparently, I will have to find other Americans to idolize me.

The End!

the fallen

I'm totally into this witty yet melancholy series called "Fallen Princesses". Photographer Dina Goldstein wanted to create a look in which the "'happily ever after' is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues."




You can see the fate of Cinderella, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, and more here.

nuevo mexico... caliente!

Goodbye Colorado... Hola New Mexico...

We could still see mountains in the distance once we crossed into NM. It was just crazy to see desert stretch as far as the eye could see on either side of the road. I mean, who owns all that land? I couldn't stop marveling at all that open space. I love city life, but maybe I have been conditioned to live in a box. Do country people feel claustrophobic surrounded by buildings and concrete?

It's like the clouds are lounging on the mountaintops.


Primarily I shot video and Mike shot photos on our vacation. So you might see more of me in pictures because there are more photos of me, not because I am obsessed with myself...


In the heart of Santa Fe, there was a Native American arts festival with dancing and music and lots of art for sale in the streets. I loaded up on lovely turquoise jewelry and searched for the silver bangle I had been searching for.


And I found it! I love it and think it is even better than the other one I used to want. And let me say that it was way cooler to have the experience of meeting the woman who handmade it (and knowing it is one of a kind) rather than buying a mass produced one at a store.


After the arts festival we headed out to an abandoned Native American pueblo. It was first built in the 1200's, which probably makes this the oldest building I have ever seen in person.


New Mexico was the first state that we encountered that I had never traveled to before, and we found it to be very lovely... especially after the second day in Carlsbad. More NM to follow!

you gotta jump

So for awhile now I have been wanting to watch 21 Jumpstreet. I mean, how could I not want to see the show that Johnny Depp now claims to be totally embarrassed to have been in, the very one that catapulted him into fame and onto the covers of teen mags everywhere in the late 80's?

Sounds like my kind of show, so I rented season 1 on DVD. I am barely through episode 2 and I am just like bursting to blog about this. Seriously, WHERE HAS THIS GEM BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

For those of you don't know, the show stars Johnny as Tom Hanson, Jr, a young straight-laced cop who is following in the footsteps of his heroic dead dad. Sadly, because at age 21 he looks really young, no one takes him seriously. So to make him useful during his baby-faced years, the police chief decides to put him undercover in a crime-ridden high school. Antics ensue! 80's references abound!


Ok, if you aren't convinced of the awesomeness of this show, read on.

1. In episode one, a female cop takes the nerdy Tom to get a makeover. Hello, feathered hair and ear piercing! Come on, everyone loves a good makeover scene (See: She's All That, The Princess Diaries, every season of America's Next Top Model).

2. After a hard night of cops and criminals mocking his youthful appearance, lil Tom goes home and gets out his saxophone and a photo of him and dad. What else is there to do other than bust out a truly glorious 80's saxophone "solo" as he gazes forlornly at the photograph? Let me tell you, as a musician I love those moments on TV and movies where someone is supposed to be playing something that they couldn't possibly play with the instruments given. Like, when drums come in when someone is just playing acoustic guitar, or backup vocals when one person is singing. I love it!

3. Tom and his partner pull over a car of guys who have just robbed a convenience store. Partner to Tom: "You stay and cover these guys. I'm gonna run down the street and find a pay phone to call this in." FIND a PAY PHONE?? What is this, the 1800's??

4. Needless to say, post-80's-makeover Tom has all the high school ladies swooning. To keep things legal, he's gotta find a way to keep them away. How does he do it? Tells them he has herpes, of course. Tom to no-longer-interested girl: "If you want, I can call you when it goes into remission."

5. There is an absolutely amazing opening credits sequence. For real, I am so glad I grew up in the age of the "original song written about the show over clips of the characters" type of opening credits. (See: Who's The Boss, Growing Pains, every show ever on TGIF). And that spray paint sound effect just kills me! The song is sung by costar Holly Robinson of Hangin' With Mr. Cooper fame...

"Your friends will be there when your back is to the waa-aa-aaaalll..."


And all that was from two episodes! I can't wait to watch the rest!

me & estes = besties

Vacation adventures continue! I've got some more Colorado to show you. After that superhot mountain hike (previously shown), I was prepared with shorts and a t-shirt for Estes Park.

dang it.

Luckily I had a hoodie, and in no time I was warmed up (mostly) from the hike. My toes never got warm enough though. Sorry for my lack of typical Coloradoish breathtaking mountain views, but you will get plenty of that when my husband gets around to posting some pix on his site. I like the people shots mostly...
Boys never know how to pose together


Resting and checking out the scenery at the end of an uphill hike

We tried to take it easy since we didn't have adequate hiking shoes, but for awhile we ended up off the trail and scaling a narrow, steep, icy "path" that plunged into the lake on one side. My frightened demeanor is only sort of a joke here... I totally thought I was gonna fall in.

We saw some female elk just peacefully grazing. They didn't move when we came close.

Ok, maybe one typical Coloradoish photo... me & Mike and that lovely refection on the water.

my name is karen

and here you will find things that i make and see.

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