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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

a good night's sleep

ryan and i keep odd hours.  our schedules are ever changing and inconsistent.  waking up feeling rested is easier said than done and i'm the type of person who really requires sleep.  therefore doing what we can to get a good night's sleep is important to us.  whether we're getting only a few hours or a long night's rest, we try to make sure we're set up for optimal sleep.  here are a few simple things we added recently that have made a difference . . .

1. serta absolute comfort 2-in-1 pillow - we loved the pillows we had been sleeping on, but they were older than i care to admit and had completely broken down.  when we decided to purchase new pillows, we searched high and low, looking at every brand and style imaginable.  we finally settled on the serta absolute comfort pillows.  they are made from memory foam and are considered 2-in-1 because one side is soft and the other side is firm.  i find that i tend to use the soft side a majority of the time, but it is nice to have the opposite firm side as an option when i need it.

helpful tip: no doubt, these pillows are expensive.  we found that our local kohl's store carried them.  we waited until they went on sale and then used a few coupons on our purchase to get them down to a reasonable price.

2. calm sleep stories - ryan sometimes has a hard time falling asleep, other times he's out within minutes.  for those nights when his brain won't shut off, he started listening to sleep stories on the calm app on his iphone.  the app has a bunch of different bedtime stories for adults to choose from, some free and some paid.  since he has started using this app, he hasn't made it all the way through one of the stories yet.  he always falls asleep before they are over, so i guess they are working.

helpful tip: to save money, we just listen to the free stories.  ryan has also found a bunch of bedtime stories for free on youtube too.

3. pure spa oil diffuser - for months, ryan has been asking for an essential oil diffuser.  after a lot of comparison of different types, we purchased the pure spa oil diffuser and we are obsessed.  we both love the wood-look finish on the outside and the optional color-changing light rim around the middle.  it lasts up to 10 hours and covers 250 square feet.  it's also an ionizer and we can sleep comfortably knowing that it never gets hot and has an automatic shut off.  we love the smell of peppermint oil in our diffuser, and recently added lavender and eucalyptus to our collection too.

helpful tip: this diffuser can be purchased online, but we found it for a deep discount at our local marshalls store.  we also saw them at t.j.maxx and they come in other color options too.

4. aura cacia peppermint essential oil - even before we started using the oil diffuser, we started using essential oil, specifically peppermint.  we put a little dab behind each ear before we go to bed and it really helps us fall asleep.  ryan says he notices a difference on nights when he forgets to put it on.  a plus is that it smells great too!

helpful tip: when buying essential oil, not all are the same.  make sure you are purchasing 100% pure essential oil. 

love, laurie

*please note: this is not a sponsored post, these are products we have used and loved.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

award winning kitten nap

last night i sat down to watch the grammy awards which i had recorded sunday night on our dvr.  leko rarely misses an opportunity to cuddle and curled up on my lap on a blanket to watch with me.  i always laugh at the cute positions he gets into whenever he is on our laps.  i just couldn't resist taking pictures on my phone to show ryan who was at work.  this kitten sure gets an award for best nap positions.

love, laurie

Monday, January 29, 2018

lunch in the 1950s

ryan's parents came up for a little bit on saturday, and we grabbed lunch at a 1950s-themed restaurant in our area.  ryan and i were only there once about 7 years ago, so it was nice to go back.  the whole restaurant is themed so cute and the food was really good.  it was like stepping back in time for a little bit with the jukebox playing and a poodle skirt-wearing waitress.

love, laurie

Friday, January 26, 2018

hooray for friday!

today started off with me waking up thinking it was saturday, spilling my cereal, and slamming my middle finger in a door.  we're off of a great start.  but, it's friday and there's this guy who makes everything better!  (including the fact that i placed my clothes for work this morning on the bed, went into the other room to brush my teeth before getting dressed, and then came back to find that leko had claimed my sweater as a nest for the day.  needless to say, i had to find a different outfit to wear to work today!)

have a great weekend
love, laurie

Thursday, January 25, 2018

5 products we are currently loving this winter

this winter has been an odd one.  temperatures and precipitation have been all over the place.  all of the back-and-forth with the weather leaves our skin aggravated.  three winters ago, i shared my top 5 winter skin care must-have products.  we still use and love all of those, but since then we have added a few more to our routine which have become favorites too.  here's what we are currently giving two thumbs up . . .

1. everyone 3-in-1 soap in citrus mint - ryan came across this in the grocery store and we decided to give it a try based on the way the bottle read and the fact that the smell was great.  this soap is a shampoo, body wash, and bubble bath, but we just use it as a shampoo.  every time we use it we feel like we are at a spa.  the smell is amazing, it has a nice tingle, and it cleans our hair without leaving any residue behind like other shampoos.

2. yes to paper face masks in cucumber calming - i first found these face masks a few months ago in ulta beauty and decided to give them a try.  ryan and i both fell in love with them.  the first one we used was the cucumber calming and it was the perfect way to give our dry skin a moisturizing boost in the winter.  it was like having an inexpensive 10 minute facial at home in our pjs!  since then, we've tried other scents too.

3. tom's of main deodorant in north woods - in an effort to stay as natural as possible, ryan gave tom's deodorant a try.  he was surprised how much he liked it and how great it smelled (like lavender)!  i tried it too and fell in love with the smell.

4. the post lip butter in peppermint - my mom first discovered this lip balm which is made by a local company in our area.  she liked it and bought it for us for christmas this year.  we have been absolutely loving it and it's ingredients!

5. aveeno daily moisturizing body wash - in an effort to change up our body wash routine, we tried this body wash to help moisturize our dry winter skin.  it works great and the smell is so nice and mild.

love, laurie

*please note: this is not a sponsored post, these are products we have used and loved.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

lunch date

over the weekend, after running some errands we ended up at a new-to-us seafood restaurant for some lunch.  we shared a grilled fish sandwich and grilled fish tacos.  both were so good.  it was a nice little weekend lunch date together.

love, laurie

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

the "lion" in our living room

last night we had a little bit of time to sit down and watch something on tv after work.  we came across the documentary the lion in your living room and couldn't resist.  it was cute and we learned a few things too.  leko joined us to watch all about house cats and he liked learning about his ancestry (especially the part about ancient egyptians worshiping cats)!

love, laurie

Monday, January 22, 2018

saturday festivities

saturday was a packed day.  we started off the day with a cpr / aed training class for our theatre stagehands union and ended the day with a party for one of our stagehands who has retired after 55 years in the industry.  i didn't take many photos on saturday, but i did get two snapshots on my phone of the ice sculpture and the cake from the party.

love, laurie

Friday, January 19, 2018

snow day cuddles

tuesday and wednesday brought us a nasty snow storm with a ton of ice and snow.  it was gross.  work was cancelled on wednesday for the first time in a very long time because the weather was so bad.  i didn't complain because it gave me time to cuddle at home with leko.  he took full advantage of it and kept warm by curling up on my lap on a fleece blanket.  i think i wore him out by having him help me take down the christmas tree and ornaments earlier that day.

stay warm and have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, January 18, 2018

blast from the past

recently, ryan was sorting through a bunch of old clothes from high school and college that he had stored at his parents' house.  among his college t-shirts, he found a shirt we both got when we participated in the "make a difference day" service day in college.  he brought it home to show me because he knew that i wear mine frequently.  it's one of those t-shirts that has been so well worn and washed that it's so comfortable.  when ryan brought his home i pulled mine out of the drawer for comparison.  we both stood there in disbelief looking at the two shirts.  i knew that mine had been certainly well worn, but ryan's looked like it was preserved in a time vault!  i actually didn't even remember that the shirt was originally that dark blue!  ha!

it's really hard to believe that these shirts are 14.5 years old!  we just couldn't resist taking a comparison picture because the difference between the two shirts was so crazy.  what a blast from the past!

love, laurie

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

dad, is that you in there?

on saturday morning, we woke up to snow on top of a ton of ice.  it was disgusting.  after breakfast, we went out to clear our driveway and sidewalks.  before heading out into the winter tundra, ryan got our our plastic bin of winter hats, gloves, scarfs, etc. in order to dig out his goggles.  he put them on and leko immediately sprang into action checking out the goggles.  it was so funny because his expression was like "dad, i can't see you in there, but it smells like you!"

what a cute kitten!
love, laurie

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

a celebratory cheesecake date

we both ended up with a day off on sunday so we decided to make the most of it.  we took a little day trip to the rockaway mall in new jersey and had a lunch date at the cheesecake factory.  we have been to other cheesecake factory locations before, but never that one, and ryan had never been to the rockaway mall.  we had a certificate for two free slices of cheesecake that we wanted to use before it expired and we wanted to celebrate some recent work-related good news too, so a celebratory cheesecake date was in order.

for lunch i had the grilled fish tacos and ryan had the bang-bang chicken and shrimp.  both were so good.  for dessert, we split a slice of the coffee and cream chocolate supreme and a slice of the toasted marshmallow s'mores galore.  our lunches were so filling that we ended up taking our cheesecakes home which was great because we got to enjoy them for a few more days because the portions are so humongous! 

since our schedules have been so bizarre, we haven't had much free time to spend together lately, so it was a really nice little date and a fun celebration too!  a few terrible phone pictures from sunday . . .

love, laurie

Monday, January 15, 2018

a day off

we are ecstatic to have a monday off together and hope to spend it soaking up some quality time with this beauty!

love, laurie

Friday, January 12, 2018

fun links

wow, what a week!  2018 sure is off to a crazy start!  i'm grateful that it's only a few more hours until a three-day weekend!  since it's friday, here are a few fun links i found around the internet recently . . .

1. wild life photos that will make you laugh

2. impressive drone photography

3. one leak left a big mess

4. epic kitchen fails

5. totally random facts

6. this looks like a yummy take on tuna

7. a delicious looking cheesecake

8. cute winter polar bear nail art

9. an abandoned disneyland knock off amusement park in japan

have a wonderful long weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, January 11, 2018


it's only thursday but somehow it feels like it should be friday.  this certainly has been a power-packed week filled with a lot of stress.  i have lost track of the amount of times this week that i have heard someone say "is it a full moon or something?" because everything and everyone seems to be just a little extra crazy.  i think i'll attribute it to the fact that it was the first full work week back after the christmas break and everyone is trying to get settled into the new year.  even our sweet kitten has seemed a little off this week.  the three of us are hoping to get ourselves back on track asap.

only one more day before a three-day weekend!
love, laurie

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

shop my closet on instagram!

i have a bunch of old clothes that no longer fit since i have lost weight over the last several years.  as i changed sizes and no longer fit into different pieces, i would either keep them or donate them.  the ones i decided to keep were ones that i wasn't ready to part with even though i knew they no longer fit.  over the weekend, i decided that i have been storing these pieces for too long and want to make some room in our house.

i'm hoping that the pieces that i no longer can wear will be able to find new life again in other people's closets, so i decided to start an instagram closet sale!  i took some pictures over the weekend of items that i'm ready to part with and posted them on instagram on @lauriesclosetsale.  

i just got started by posting 24 items but will post more as i have time.  right now, there are jackets, tops, shorts, skirts, dresses, and some accessories . . .

i've always taken great care of my clothes, so many pieces look "like new" and everything comes from a clean, non-smoking home.  i've listed a price for each item, but feel free to make an offer if there's something that you like!

love, laurie

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

custom birthday cake topper from forever wedding crafts

i love baking and cake decorating, especially for family birthdays, so i'm always on the look out for fun ways to decorate our cakes.

for my birthday party this past weekend, i made a hummingbird cake.  i went with a gold decorating theme and covered the cake in gold sanding sugar and sprinkled edible gold stars around the top and bottom edges.  instead of piping writing on the top of the cake, i decorated it with a gold birthday cake topper from forever wedding crafts of american sign letters.

all of the cake toppers from forever wedding crafts are made to order.  you select your size and color and they are custom made for you.

i went with a simple "happy birthday" made out of acrylic.  the cake topper was easy to insert into the cake, and held up all day long.  i especially liked the fact that i was able to simply wash the cake topper off after the party to be able to save it and use it again!

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.

Monday, January 8, 2018

"golden" birthday celebrations

on saturday we got together with our families to celebrate my birthday!  we had a party hosted by a family friend at her house and we ate, played games, relaxed, had cake, and opened gifts.

i made this hummingbird cake recipe for my birthday cake.  i went with a gold theme this year and treated this birthday as my "golden birthday."  your golden birthday is the one where you turn the age of your birth date, so my golden birthday would have been when i turned 6 on the 6th.  since i didn't know about golden birthdays back then, i decided that 33 would be my golden birthday because 3 + 3 = 6 . . . (close enough for me)!

after the party we came back to our house and i opened presents from my parents.  before bed, i opened presents from ryan and leko, and we capped off the night by curling up on the couch with leko to watch some tv.

a few photos from satuday's party . . .

 love, laurie

Saturday, January 6, 2018

it's my birthday!

fingers crossed for 33!
love, laurie

Friday, January 5, 2018

baby, it's freaking cold outside!

the weather outside is downright frightful.  good lord, i hate this time of year beyond measure.  roads are covered in crunchy frozen snow which make driving dangerous and temperatures have plummeted to lows that are literally setting records.  the wind chills are so far below zero that the national weather service has issued numerous warnings about getting frostbite in a matter of a few minutes to any exposed skin.  the local news said last night that we haven't seen this many consecutive days below freezing for ages.  when we get back up to double digits it's going to feel "warmer."

at work, i have been bundled up in a blanket hovered over a space heater to stay close to room temperature, let alone "warm."  at home, our furnace has been working overtime trying to keep our house warm and our poor kitten warm.  i've been doing my best to leave lots of fleece blankets strategically around the house for him to stay warm in different rooms throughout the day.

i'm terrified to see the heating bill at the end of this cold stretch.  i fear that it will be so high that the gas company will send me a thank you card.

stay warm and stay safe!
love, laurie

Thursday, January 4, 2018

six years with leko!

today marks six years since we adopted leko!!!  our hearts are bursting today because we love our little fur baby so much!  he's going to be spoiled today with extra kisses and tuna!  here are a few of the many, many pictures that we took of our little love this past year . . .

love, laurie

. . .

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

a birthday (veggie) burger date

it's january, and that means it's my birthday month!  yesterday, we took advantage of my free birthday burger coupon at red robin and made a little date out of it.  (you just can't beat all of the deals that restaurants offer during the month of your birthday!)  we both ordered the new veggie burger which was delicious.  it was a tasty (and cheap) little date to kick off the new year and my birthday month!

love, laurie

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

ringing in the new year

on sunday we celebrated new year's eve with my parents.  we got together before dinner to see the movie the greatest showman.  after the movie, we had an indian-themed dinner at our house complete with naan, rice, paneer, chickpeas, potatoes, lentils, eggplant, spinach, and mango lassi drinks.  my mom made an indian fruit salad for dessert and we made chocolate chip cookies in mini cast-iron skillets too.  we capped off the night by curling up on the couch in our pajamas with leko to watch the times square ball drop on tv.

on monday we celebrated new year's day at my parents' house.  my mom made her traditional pork and sauerkraut dinner.  we had a great time ringing in the new year this weekend!  although there were certainly pleasant memories sprinkled throughout the year, both 2016 and 2017 weren't great years for us, so we're hoping that 2018 is a lot better!

love, laurie