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Friday, July 29, 2016

happy friday!

we have a huge patch of beautiful orange tiger lilies along the side of our back porch.  i absolutely love tiger lilies, so i really enjoy looking out every day and seeing them right there.  tiger lily season is slowly coming to a close, and there are only a few flowers remaining.  i'm trying to soak it up as much tiger lily viewing as i can before they are gone for the year.

tomorrow is national dance day!  to celebrate, my dance studio is joining forces with another local dance studio to perform a flash mob tomorrow afternoon at a local art festival downtown.  i've never been a part of a flash mob before, so this should be fun!

have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

my top 5 summer skin care must-have products

we have been experiencing a crazy heat wave recently.  this summer has been hot and humid!  the summer weather can easily take a toll on your skin, especially if you have sensitive fair skin like me.  last february, i shared a list of my top 5 winter skin care must-have products.  during the last few hot summer weeks, i have found a few must-have products that i swear by for taking care of my skin, so i wanted to share them:

1. coppertone sport sunscreen - sunscreen in the summer is a must.  i have tried dozens of different types of sunscreens over the years.  i have really sensitive skin, and even most of the sensitive sunscreens make me break out in little red dots.  one of the only sunscreens that my skin will tolerate is coppertone's sport sunscreen.  it goes on thick and lasts forever because it is meant for sports.  it holds up great to hours swimming, and i love that it has a very mild smell too.  it doesn't bother my skin at all and it provides hours of protection from the sun.  

2. banana boat soothing aloe after sun gel - even when you are diligent about applying and reapplying sunscreen, there are still times when you find yourself with a little bit of a sunburn.  for times like those, we reach for banana boat's aloe vera gel.  it is so soothing and takes the red and the sting right out of a sunburn.  this stuff lasts forever too.  we are still using the same bottle that we bought a long time ago! 

3. dove clinical protection antiperspirant deodorant - when we got married, our wedding ceremony was outside in august.  i knew i would need a really reliable deodorant for our big day.  in the weeks leading up to our wedding, i tried tons of different brands.  my favorite one, which i wore on the day of our wedding and still swear by six years later, is dove's clinical protection antiperspirant deodorant.  i'm a girl who sweats and smells, so this deodorant is a life saver in the hot summer months!

4. garnier skinactive clean+ invigorating daily scrub - we just discovered this product a few months ago, and both ryan and i are hooked.  garnier's skinactive clean+ is the perfect scrub for the summer.  i love how it makes my skin tingle.  my face always feels so fresh after using it.  i've fallen into a habit of using it at night to wash the day off my face and it leaves my face feeling so great!

5. olay age defying classic night cream - after washing my face, i like to moisturize it at night.  this is a habit i just started recently after my dance show when i was wearing so much heavy stage makeup.  i have been a huge fan of olay's products for years, and i just love their classic night cream.  it goes on smoothly and doesn't leave me oily or greasy.  it's such a great night moisturizer.

. . .

all of these products can be found at your local target, drugstore, or online.  keep your eyes open for coupons too.  whenever we restock these products in our house, we always use coupons that we find online.  what are some of your favorite summer skin care products?

love, laurie

*please note: this is not a sponsored post.  the content is based solely on my own personal opinion.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

calm after the storm

there was a huge storm that hit our area on monday night.  the skies opened up and it down-poured for a very long time.  the torrential rain was accompanied by constant thunder along with lightning so intense it looked like there were strobe lights in the sky.  as if that wasn't enough, huge pieces of hail started falling and hitting the house too.  it was downright crazy.  poor leko was scared out of his mind.  it took a little while, but he eventually calmed down after the storm passed.  i couldn't resist snapping a picture of him lounging in a spot of sunlight on the kitchen floor.  we sure love our little fur baby!

love, laurie

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

buckwheat, banana, and oatmeal pancakes with dark chocolate (vegan + gluten free)

this weekend was packed.  on friday night after work, we headed over to a family friend's house to help out with a few chores such as moving boxes, cleaning furniture, and doing some touch-up paint on the outside of her house.  on saturday, we ran some errands and then met up with my parents to cool off a local water park since we were in the middle of a heatwave.  on sunday, we spent the majority of the day outside at a work function for ryan.  luckily, in the midst of all of that, we carved out a little time on sunday morning to have a peaceful breakfast in our pajamas on the back porch.

we had a very ripe banana sitting on the kitchen counter that needed to be used up, so we found a good use for it in some pancakes.  it has been a long while since the last time we made buckwheat pancakes, and we had some buckwheat leftover in the pantry, so we pulled it out and put it to use.

these pancakes are exactly what sunday morning pancakes should be.  mashed banana acts as the base and combines perfectly with buckwheat, oats, and dark chocolate.  oh my goodness, these pancakes were so good!  we were both so impressed by how tasty they were.  (guess what?  they're vegan and gluten free too!)

buckwheat, banana, and oatmeal pancakes with dark chocolate
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
yields: 2 servings
adapted from yammie's noshery

1 large ripe banana
3/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

in a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork.  add the milk and vanilla.  stir with the fork until combined.  add the buckwheat, oats, baking powder and salt.  stir just until combined.  fold in the chocolate chips.

heat a lightly greased griddle or frying pan on medium heat.  pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake.  cook for 3-4 minutes until small bubbles begin to form.  flip the pancakes when they start to bubble, then cook for 3 minutes until they are dark and cooked throughout.  serve warm, topped with additional chocolate chips, sliced banana, and warm maple syrup.

love, laurie

Monday, July 25, 2016

canadian fishing village wallpaper {free download}

last october, i shared a few free downloads of one of my favorite photos of a sunflower that i took while visiting a local cider mill last fall.  the vibrant colors in that photo made for the perfect desktop wallpaper for my computer and the perfect wallpaper for my ipad and iphone too.

when we were in canada last month, i took a photo of the canadian fishing village of peggy's cove in halifax, nova scotia.  the colors of that photo were so bright and gorgeous.  i printed out an 8x10 copy of that photo and framed it in a simple white frame.  i got to thinking that it would make a nice desktop wallpaper too.  so, i wanted to share three free downloads of this photo to decorate your electronic devices.  i hope you enjoy this wallpaper as much as i do!  to download, click on your device: desktop / iPad / iPhone 6

love, laurie

. . . 

*please do not embed or upload these images to your website or social media accounts without crediting love, laurie and linking back to this blog post.  images copyright 2016 love, laurie.

Friday, July 22, 2016

fun links

wow, it's friday already!  to celebrate, here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently . . .

1. these banana, coconut, chocolate, chia popsicles look perfect for this hot summer weather

2. this makes me want to stay out of pools now, gross!

3. supermarket fails . . . oh man, people are dumb

4. we just binge watched this show and cannot wait for season 2 to start in the fall!

5. tahini cake?!

6. how to use paint to separate small spaces

7. vegan milky ways - proof that almost anything can be made vegan!

8. michelle obama went on carpool karaoke and pretty much broke the internet

9. this article about a grandmother's polite google searches made me smile

have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, July 21, 2016

throwback thursday

on my birthday this past january, i shared an old picture of me in a stock pot on the kitchen counter of my childhood home.  it's one of my favorite pictures.  i was searching through some old photos recently and came across another photo of me in what is most likely the same stock pot, but this time the pot and i were on the stove instead of on the kitchen counter.  (you have to love my parents' sense of humor!)  i couldn't resist sharing this gem with you today since it's "throwback thursday" today.

have a great day!
love, laurie

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

early morning kitten shenanigans

leko is always up to something.  he sure keeps us on our toes.  i woke up this morning at 6am to find him sleeping with ryan, it was so cute.  we had the windows open and leko heard a birdie rustling around outside.  he sprang into action and shot up to the head of the bed to look out the window.  when he realized that a birdie was out there looking back at him, he crunched down and sat on ryan's head, staring at me.  his expression was saying, "mom, do you think it saw me?"  i just had to reach over and grab my phone off my night stand to snap a picture of him.

when he was pretty sure that the coast was clear, he propped himself up on top of ryan's head to look out the window to assess the birdie situation.  he was so careful about looking out to see if the birdie was still there.  of course, i had to snap another picture.

i know that these pictures are horribly blurry because i snapped quickly on my phone early this morning, but i still love them because they are the perfect little snapshots of mornings at our house with our fur baby.  :-)

love, laurie

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

snapshots of life lately, according to my iphone pictures

. . . and ryan's iphone too.

a few photos of . . . leko sitting on the kitchen sink to watch birdies out the window at the bird feeder, enjoying a sampler platter during a lunch date at a local mediterranean restaurant, the world's largest knex ferris wheel on display at the mall downtown, finding a tire on a 1954 tractor that was almost as tall as me at a local township carnival, 19 pounds of zucchini from the farmers market, summer veggie grilling, leko "helping" ryan with some paperwork on the kitchen table, and flowers that ryan bought me for our front yard.

follow along with us on instagram
love, laurie

Monday, July 18, 2016

short hair for summer!

after we got back from our cruise, my hair needed some serious tlc.  it got pretty beat up the last few months, especially from my dance recital, so i got a haircut as soon as we came back from our trip.  i opted to get it cut short again, because hey, it's summer!  ryan took this photo the day i got it cut.  i always love the way a haircut feels while it is still fresh.  it's amazing what a difference it makes.  it's been two weeks since i got it cut, and my hair still feels great.  it feels so light, healthy, and refreshed again!

love, laurie

Friday, July 15, 2016

a new bench!

back in may, i bragged about my amazing husband after he built a new stair case from scratch under our basement bilco door.  i'm going to take some time to brag once again, because ryan built something else that i'm super proud of . . . for quite some time, i have been wanting some type of long narrow bench for the hallway at my dance studio.  all of the students (including me) throw dance bags, shoes, water bottles, etc. in the hallway when we are in class, and the hallway gets so crowded.  it's always so crazy trying to step over piles of dance stuff.  so, i thought a bench would help to get some bags up off the floor and would give us a place to tuck our shoes underneath, thus making the hallway less of a fire hazard.  my dance director brought up the same concern recently, so ryan and i got to work creating a solution for the problem.

we used 2x4s and screws that we already had at home and built a bench.  it was a lot of fun designing it and building it together.  ryan is a wiz with power tools and he had this project knocked out in no time.  it took us less than 2 hours and in total cost under $10 in supplies!  the new bench is super sturdy and it looks great in the studio hallway.  we all love it so much that ryan and i plan on making a few more for the hallway and the lobby!

love, laurie

Thursday, July 14, 2016

middle eastern belly dancing workshop

over the years, i have studied all different types of dance (ballet, pointe, jazz, broadway, lyrical, modern, tap, ballroom, and liturgical).  however, the one type of dance i have never tried is middle eastern belly dancing, which is pretty ironic since my mom was a professional belly dancer for many years.  last week and this week, my mom offered a two-part middle eastern dancing workshop at my dance studio.  it was so much fun!  it was so great to dance with my mom and to learn a new style of dance too.  we all had a blast.  i'm so glad our dance director snapped a quick picture of us on her phone after the first workshop.  i can't wait to do it again!

love, laurie

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

a little video of our carnival sunshine cruise to canada

i hope you enjoyed seeing so many pictures last week and this week from our cruise to canada with our families.  here is a little video that we took while we were on our cruise.  i actually shot the whole thing on my iphone 6s!  (the music is "pumpin blood" by nonono.)

love, laurie

. . . 

you can see all of our photos from our canada cruise here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

carnival sunshine cruise to canada - part 5

after exploring peggy's cove during our visit to halifax, nova scotia, we had some extra time before our ship departed from the halifax port.  after grabbing a quick bite to eat, we walked up to the halifax public gardens.  we had to dodge a few quick rain storms while we were there, but it was worth it because the gardens were so lovely.

after walking through the gardens, we walked through nova scotia's capital city and down to the halifax seaport along the water before returning back to our cruise ship.

love, laurie

. . . 

you can see more photos from our cruise to canada here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Monday, July 11, 2016

carnival sunshine cruise to canada - part 4

the second port of call on our cruise to canada was halifax, nova scotia.  one of the most popular spots in nova scotia is peggy's cove which is home to the famous peggy's cove lighthouse.  the lighthouse on the edge of peggy's point is the most photographed lighthouse in all of canada.  it was built in 1915 and sits along the south shore of the tiny rustic fishing village of peggy's cove.

less than 60 residents live in the village of peggy's cove year round.  it is such a quaint little area with brightly colored houses nestled close to the water's edge.  while we were there, we really enjoyed exploring the village and admiring the beautiful lighthouse.

^ryan took this panoramic shot on his phone, and i just love it.  it really captures the area.  i love that my parents and i are in there too.  it's like where's waldo . . . can you find us?^
^this bagpiper and this sweet accordion player serenaded everyone as they explored peggy's cove.^
^i mean, come on!  this little village is so pretty.  the weather was gorgeous which made for some really great photos!  every time i turned around i found another view that was more perfect than the last.  it was like walking through a postcard.^
^it was neat to see the degarthe monument which was carved from a massive slab of granite by artist william degarthe as a tribute to the people of peggy's cove.^
^before we left, we were able to get our passports stamped at peggy's cove which made for a neat little memento!^

love, laurie

. . . 

you can see more photos from our cruise to canada here: part 1, part 2, part 3