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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

happy mardi gras!

happy mardi gras / happy fat tuesday / happy fasnacht day!  no matter what you call it, it's a great excuse to eat a doughnut today.

here are some of my favorite homemade doughnut recipes:
- baked mocha cake doughnuts with coffee cream cheese glaze
- baked strawberry cake doughnuts with strawberry glaze
baked pumpkin doughnuts with brown butter and apple cider glaze topped with pecans
- baked apple cider doughnuts

love, laurie

Monday, February 27, 2017

snapshots of life lately, according to my iphone pictures

. . . and ryan's iphone too.

a few photos of . . . a well-deserved veggie burger date at johnny rockets (which is the first time we've been there in years), a night out at a local university to see the musical "you're a good man, charlie brown," actually getting a chance to get the bikes out in february during an unseasonably warm day, gorgeous horses pulling a carriage at the ice festival, and leko sprawled out on a towel on our back porch table soaking up a few moments of sunshine.

love, laurie

Friday, February 24, 2017

fun links

friday's here, and what a weird week it's been.  we made it!  since it's friday, here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently . . .

1. 18 people who aren't getting promoted any time soon

2. after reading this, i now want to plan a trip to europe

3. speaking of travel, it's hard to believe these places really exist

4. 41 flowers with surprise meanings

5. things we did in gym class as kids that were really pointless

6. i think this would make me dizzy

7. such a cute idea to use faucet handles as hooks on a bathroom shelf

8. every new york times since 1852 . . . wow!

9. worth reading

enjoy your weekend
love, laurie

Thursday, February 23, 2017

kitten contortions

this guy sleeps in so many different positions, it's crazy.  especially when he's snoozing on his favorite pink fleece blanket!

love, laurie

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

cook a sweet potato!

today is national cook a sweet potato day!  i absolutely love sweet potatoes.  my very favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes is to peel and dice them, boil them in water until tender, drain them, and then mash them with coconut milk.  they are so delicious and creamy that way.  i could eat them all day long.  i love their vibrant bright orange color too!

sweet potatoes are low in fat and calories.  they are a great source of vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as magnesium and fiber.  (sweet potatoes are also great for your complexion too!)

to celebrate today, here are two easy and yummy sweet potato recipes that are both vegan: sweet potato black bean burgers and roasted sweet potato and carrot soup.

happy sweet potato eating!
love, laurie

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

fighting the winter blues

i definitely get bitten by the seasonal affective disorder bug every winter.  personally, i find the winter months to be so incredibly depressing (especially since we live in an area that seems to be in a perpetual state of gray dreariness from december through april).  once the excitement of christmas and new years is over, there's a long stretch of time that seems to drag.  if you're like me, here are a few things to help distract you during the winter months and tips to help fight the winter blues . . .

1. soak in as much sunshine as you can
we live in the northeast where sunshine is limited during the winter months.  when the sun is out and shining, take advantage of it and soak up as much of it as you can.  it will renew your faith in the fact that winter won't last forever and that spring will eventually come.

2. exercise
in the words of elle woods in legally blonde, "exercise releases endorphins.  endorphins make people happy.  happy people don't kill their husbands."  get out of the house and take a walk outside whenever you can in the winter (just remember to bundle up)!  if you can't get outside, do some indoor exercise.  consider trying a new exercise routine on you tube to keep you interested.

3. cook or bake something that you have never made before
since we're stuck inside for a majority of the winter (hello, cabin fever) it's a great time to try new recipes.  however, it's easy to eat a lot of comfort food during the cold months, so be sure to keep yourself in check.  (a few months from now, your swimsuit-wearing-summer self will thank you for not indulging too much over the winter.)

4. binge watch an entire tv series
we rarely watch tv in the summer months because we like to try to stay outside as long as we can and take advantage of the long days.  but, in the winter it gets dark and cold so early and it's hard to be outside after 6pm.  take advantage of it and curl up on the couch to watch something fun at night.

5. wear bight colors
despite the dreary weather and dirty snow all over, you can think warm thoughts by wearing bright colors.  it's an easy instant mood booster.

6. start a project and/or set a goal
it's easy to lose focus and motivation in the depths of the winter months.  set up something for you to look forward to in order to help pull you through.

love, laurie

Monday, February 20, 2017

ice carvings for broadway lovers!

last year we visited clarks summit's annual ice festival for the first time and really enjoyed seeing all of the elaborate ice carvings.  when we found out that this year's theme was broadway, we just knew we had to go again this year.

on saturday afternoon, we took a trip over to clarks summit and walked around the town to admire the broadway themed ice carvings.  the weather was surprisingly mild, especially compared to last year when we absolutely froze in single digit temperatures.  it was so unseasonably warm that the ice carvings were starting to melt!

there were over 50 ice carvings displayed throughout the town.  we didn't see all 50 of them, but we sure saw a lot of them.  as we were walking around, ryan and i kept saying, "we did that show, we did that show, and we did that show."  between the two of us, we either worked or saw every show that was carved into ice.  here are a few pictures of some of our favorites . . .

love, laurie

Friday, February 17, 2017

do something kind

today is national random acts of kindness day.  what a pleasant thing to celebrate in a world that can be so unkind.  if you're looking for some inspiration, here are over 600 random acts of kindnesses that you can choose from.  aesop once said "no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."  keep that in mind today.

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, February 16, 2017

ryan's back home (and he brought chocolate)

for the past several days, ryan has been in the town of hershey, pennsylvania at an education technology conference.  i can't think of a better place to hold a conference . . . needless to say, when he came home last night he brought chocolate home with him.  leko and i are happy to have ryan back home!

love, laurie

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 of my favorite makeup products

i always get a lot of questions about my skin and my makeup.  sometimes from people who i've known for a long time, but mostly from people who i don't know at all like waitresses at restaurants and cashiers at grocery stores.  i'm grateful to have skin that is pretty well behaved and doesn't break out often (in large part to my diet and my skin care regimen) but i do have incredibly thin skin (especially under my eyes) which is one of the reasons i wear makeup everyday.  i also have very sensitive skin, so products really have to pass the test to earn a permanent place at my house.

in the past, i've shared my top 5 must-have skin care products by the season (summer and winter).  so, today i wanted to share 5 of my favorite makeup products that i use on a daily basis.  let me preface this by saying that this post is not sponsored by any of these brands.  these are products that i have used for a long time and swear by because of my own positive experience with them.  everyone's skin is completely different, but for me here are 5 makeup products that i love . . .

olay regenerist lightweight moisturizing serum
using moisturizer to prep your face before applying makeup allows foundation to effortlessly glide over your skin (and not look caked).  i love using a lightweight moisturizing serum before i apply any makeup.  my favorite is the fragrance free version.  (truth be told, my local grocery store sells their own "knock-off" version of this olay serum and i love it as an alternative because it's a lot less expensive.)

mary kay medium-coverage foundation
i'm super picky when it comes to foundation.  i've tried tons with no luck and i'm often surprised at how many actually burn my skin (hello, sensitive skin).  my mom and i have worn mary kay products for years, and we both love this liquid foundation.  it lasts all day long, even through sweating at dance and the gym.  it's also fragrance free and oil free too, and i love the way it dries.

rimmel london stay matte pressed powder
after i finish with my liquid foundation and liquid concealer, i use powder to take away the shine and to set my makeup.  (an old trick from years of doing stage makeup that had to last under hot theatre lights.)  i swear by rimmel london's stay matte powder.  personally, i alternate between two colors: 003 natural and 004 sandstorm, depending on the season.  (hint, here's a tip: you can buy these in a 2 pack to save money.)

nyc liquid eye liner
the "cat eye" is my signature look.  i've tried different types of liquid eye liners, but my favorite which i go back to again and again is this nyc version in black.  i love it because it has one of the best applicator wands ever.  (the key to a good cat eye is two things: a steady hand and a great wand.)  it's sold just about everywhere and it's so inexpensive.  you can't beat it!

burts bees lipstick
i don't wear lipstick on a regular basis.  most days, i just wear burts bees lip balm which is colorless.  however, on occasions when i have to wear lipstick, i reach for this burts bees lipstick.  my favorite color is brimming berry.  as someone who has spent a lot of time on stage wearing lipstick, i hate how most lipsticks leave your lips super dry.  this is the most moisturizing lipstick i have ever used and as a bonus it smells really nice too.

. . .

these certainly are not the only makeup products that i use.  i have an arsenal of products that go into making me look human everyday, but these are some of my favorites.  what are some of your favorites?

love, laurie

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

happy valentine's day

i took these pictures on my phone a few nights ago when leko fell asleep on my lap.  i was in my pjs curled up under the most comfortable pink fleece blanket that ryan bought me for valentine's day back in 2005.  it's hard to believe that this blanket is 12 years old today and that this is our 13th valentine's day together!

unfortunately, i won't be able to celebrate valentine's day with ryan today because of our schedules, so we took a rain check on valentine's day this year and we'll be celebrating together this weekend instead.  at least i have a furry little orange guy to be my valentine today!

happy valentine's day!
love, laurie

ps: since it's valentine's day, the hottest romance movie the year you were born (mine is "out of africa")

Monday, February 13, 2017

plants that are poisonous to cats

valentine's day is tomorrow, and lots of people give/receive flowers and plants as gifts on valentine's day.  if you have a furry creature at home, before you put a plant in your living space take a look through this list of plants that are poisonous to cats.

i recently came across this list and was shocked to see that spinach was on there.  i had no idea that spinach was toxic for cats!  help keep your furry friends safe this valentine's day!

love, laurie

ps: speaking of furry friends, 7 things you should know about pet food labels too

Friday, February 10, 2017

product review: rug pad usa

ryan and i are all about healthy living.  for us, a healthy lifestyle doesn't just mean eating well and exercising regularly.  it also means surrounding ourselves with healthy and ethically sustainable items in our home.  so, we like to take a good look at what things are made of before we bring them into our living space.  (we also like to make sure that things are safe for leko too!)

i've mentioned before that we live in an old 1930s house which still has most of its original parts, including the original hardwood floors.  in a few areas of our home, we have area rugs to define spaces and to soften up the wooden floors.  however, all of our rugs always seem to end up slipping and sliding out of place because we live with an energetic five-year old kitten who loves to zoom around the house at top speed, skidding out on our rugs as he is chasing a toy, a shadow, us, etc.

so, it was perfect when rug pad usa reached out to us about rug pads.  bringing a rug pad into our home from rug pad usa was a natural fit for us because rug pad usa specializes in eco-friendly rug pads.  their products are more eco-friendly than traditional pvc and plastic padding products on the market which are often ridden with chemicals that can be toxic to you and your pets (and harmful to your floors too).  we love that rug pad usa offers sustainable alternatives to traditional rug pads with great grip and quality (and they are manufactured in georgia).

after sending rug pad usa the dimensions of our rug and a description of our floors, they helped us chose a rug pad that was best for us.  we ended up with the superior lock 1/4 inch which provides the perfect solution for rugs that slip and slide on surfaces in high-traffic areas.  the checkered natural rubber backing design of the superior lock allows for exceptional grip, while the recycled needle-punched felt provides a comfortable cushion.

as soon as our rug pad arrived in the mail, we put it to the test.  (really, i should say that leko put it to the test!)  we love how thin this rug pad is and how it adds such a nice cushion.  it passes the leko test and stays in place too!  it's so nice to know that we have something under our rug that is safe for us, leko, and our floors.

love, laurie

*please note: this is a sponsored post, however, the content of this post is based solely on my own personal opinion and experience.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

snow, snow, snow!

we woke up this morning to a ton of snow!  we got several inches overnight, it's still snowing this morning, and it's not forecasted to stop snowing for a few more hours.  this is definitely the most snow that we've had so far this season.  here are a few photos of the snow from our windows.  stay warm and stay safe today!

love, laurie

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

squirrel "hunting"

a few days ago, ryan was home with leko while i was working.  i laughed out loud when ryan texted me this picture of leko "hunting" a squirrel through the window.  the squirrel was sitting on top of our porch railing and apparently that bothered leko to no end.  sometimes i'm convinced that the creatures outside (squirrels, chipmunks, birds, etc.) purposely taunt leko through the windows!

love, laurie

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

saturday dinner at formosa

on saturday, we got together with my parents for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, formosa.  ryan and i have been to formosa tons of times, but my parents had never been there before so we were excited for them to try it.  it's such a great restaurant with a unique asian fusion style.  we all loved our dinners.  my parents and i tried three different salmon dishes and ryan had an eggplant and veggie dish.  for dessert, we all shared a fried banana in a wonton wrapper served with a scoop of homemade coconut ice cream topped with crushed peanuts.  everything was so good, we left the restaurant totally stuffed!

after dinner, we headed back to our house and cuddled up on the couch to watch the movie sully.

love, laurie

Monday, February 6, 2017

super bowl sunday 2017

it's no secret that we're not into sports, but we really enjoy sitting down with some good food (and leko) every year to watch the super bowl.  my absolute favorite way to watch the super bowl is at home, in my pajamas, with those two boys!  on sunday evening, we threw together a few little super bowl snacks (cast-iron skillet vegetarian nachos with lots of toppings and boneless wings for ryan).  for dessert, we made a cast-iron chocolate chip cookie, which we served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate syrup, and sprinkles.

of course leko joined in on the action.  we kicked off the night by watching the kitten bowl on the hallmark channel with him, and then after leko fell asleep on ryan's lap, we switched over to the real super bowl.

the commercials were horrible this year.  if i had to pick two favorites, i'd say mr. clean's "cleaner of your dreams" commercial and kia's "hero's journey" commercial were probably my favorites.

hands down, the best part of the night was lady gaga's half-time performance.  she killed it!!!  we were mesmerized by the 300 drones in the air flying in sync and by the fact that she actually sang live and danced the whole time.  no matter what you think of lady gaga, you have to hand it to her, she did an awesome job!

a few photos from our little super bowl party (via my phone because i was way to lazy to grab my camera!) . . .

love, laurie

Friday, February 3, 2017

snapshots of life lately, according to my iphone pictures

a few photos of . . . sunday morning french toast for breakfast, leko sleeping all over the house, a really great veggie pizza, thai food for dinner one night in between work calls, our trip to the turkey hill experience, and a few of my little dancers at the studio this week.

love, laurie