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Annnnnd, we’re back!

2015 January 13
by Laura

Sorry for the interruption, folks! Not sure what happened there but my trusty friend Doni set us straight and we’re good to go.

What’s been going on?

The rest of the proposal story is coming, I promise, but in the meantime, here’s some January for you.


Rennie likes it. She enjoys the snow, which fell somewhat unexpectedly last week, making a monster of a commute and sending local news teams into the ER to ask us, seriously, “Do more people fall when it’s icy?”


Yes. Yes they do.


I went home for a spell to celebrate my Mama and her brilliance. Happy birthday, favorite lady! Your birthday helps make January a happy month.


Rennie loves the grandparents’ yard and house. And them. They give a lot of treats.


After heading home, we came back to celebrate…oh yeah. Nothing. Because January is cold and stupid and dumb and awful. Last weekend we decided to get over ourselves and actually leave our house on a Friday night, and then got accidentally too drunk and had to have the Big Gulp Sprite Hangover Cure.


Oops! Tequila strikes again.

Off to the library to read the days by.


To make the afternoons less long (or short? because of how early it gets dark?), I’ve started to watch The Bachelor again (only while I’m cooking or cleaning, I swearsies). I’ve decided why it’s great: everyone is drunk. All the time. And now? THEY’RE ALL YOUNGER THAN ME.

Look at this chick’s hair!


Also, this year’s bachelor is kind of…dumb. Sorry not sorry.

Moving on to what else I’m watching: Breaking Bad. I told Someone once that I wouldn’t watch it until we were engaged, so lo and behold, he pulled out the DVDs on December 21st with a smile. I couldn’t resist. So far, halfway through season 2, I am less bored than I was during season 1 and I hate Walt. Team Skyler 4 Life.


Someone and I have been cozying up with pho this winter. The first time I ate a bowl, I was like “hmm, what the crap is this?” It grew on me, however, and by the end of the evening I was basically face-in-bowl. The basil, the broth, the lime, the chili sauce and noodles. It’s delicious. Also good for hangovers, cold rainy nights, and feeling very cultured.


Wait, a quick pic of Rennie and Riggy…



OK, we’re back on track. Tonight I’m making a big pot of Chicken and Wild Rice soup and perhaps some crackers.


I hit my personal best day on FitBit yesterday: a busy Monday in the ER = crazy number of steps.


And I’ll definitely be snuggling it up with Ren a bit more tonight, too.


Stay warm and dry, friends! I’ve missed you.

The proposal, part 1.

2014 December 30
by Laura

[Ed note: Yup, I’m making this two parts. Sorry not sorry.]

Simple. Private. Romantic. Perfect.

I’m not going to lie: There have been several times during the past few months when I thought Someone might be proposing.

There was one moment in Bar Harbor when he gazed out at the coastline of Maine and across the ocean, and then turned back to me and told me he was staring at something only half as beautiful as me. The romance… and the look in his eye… I got super nervous, bracing for the question…and then he walked away toward some rocks and that moment was over.

Ha! Oh well. During a Thanksgiving toast at my parents’ house, he lamented, “Some really exciting things are coming up, and I wish things had gone a little differently…but anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, so much to be thankful for.” (I found out later that the jeweler designing my ring had fallen ill, delaying the processing of my darling precious diamond and frustrating everyone involved. At the time, I just confusedly cheers!-ed and then bottomed my wine.)

One day in December, we met up with his family at a fundraiser in Annapolis, and I just had a feeling that everyone was acting a little strangely. Someone seemed on edge, and he insisted on retrieving “ornaments” from his parents’ car but wouldn’t let me help him. (He carried three large containers and refused my assistance at all. Chivalry or secrecy?!) He was whispering a lot with other people. Hmmm.

But no proposal. And when I looked at the December calendar, it seemed the only free time possible—a day when neither of us had work the next day and when we had nothing else planned—was Christmas itself. I figured it would be a Christmas proposal, if anything. Perhaps even something in 2015.

The 19th of December was a great day. I cleaned for a Christmas party we were hosting, I made sangria and several appetizers. I walked Rennie and listened to Christmas music. I wrapped presents and hung lights. I youtubed “holiday makeup tutorials” and then didn’t do anything differently with my face. You know, a typical day.

Random selfie I took (the only photo of me from the party!) because my mom said, "What are you wearing?" I even happened to capture my little naked ring finger in the shot, not knowing this was the last ring-less day of my life!

Random selfie I took (the only photo of me from the party!) because my mom said, “What are you wearing?” 

I even happened to capture my little naked ring finger in the shot, not knowing this was the last ring-less day of my life!

My friends arrived around 7, and we ate, told stories, laughed, and drank. Coming off a string of up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-day shifts, I was exhausted around midnight. I finally shouted “last call!” so as not to fall asleep on the couch in front of my guests.

I started doing dishes and cleaning up the apartment, replacing pillows and collecting solo cups. Someone ran out to his car to “get the groceries” he left in there earlier. He returned empty-handed and said, “Oh, I guess I didn’t leave the strawberries in the car after all.” I thought nothing of this.

I was changing into ugly PJs when I heard him call me from the living room. He was petting Rennie, who was sitting on his lap.

“Laur? Can you come here a second?”


To be continued…

Can I interest you in a sensual massage?

2014 December 29
by Laura

Today I did something I’ve never done before: I massaged some kale.

I’ve made some kale salads before, but I have to be honest: the texture was a turn-off and I hated the bitterness of the greens. But kale! We’re supposed to love it and eat so much of it we turn green! Especially in the post-holiday detox in which I find myself.

I asked Facebook today, “Must I really massage the kale?” And the answer was an overwhelming, “yes, you must.”

OK, fine. I youtubed it (because how the hell did I know how to do this? Do you do them one leaf at a time? How do you do this?) and found a video of a woman digging her hands into the kale bowl to squeeze it all up. Kind of like kneading bread.

I massaged the kale with a little olive oil, a drizzle of lemon juice, and a dash of kosher salt:


It’s interesting — the kale gets kind of wilty, it really decreases in bulk. It gets tender and soft, and when you eat it, the bitterness is totally gone.

I took the liberty of modifying this recipe from A Hint of Honey. This recipe below will make 2 big kale salads.

  • 4 cups raw kale
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1/2 of one honeycrisp apple, chopped
  • 4 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remove the stems from the kale and break with fingers into bite-sized pieces, put into large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and lemon juice. With your hands, “massage” the kale for about 2 minutes, until the kale seems more tender and the color has noticeably changed. (See photo above.)

Portion the kale into two salad bowls. Top each salad with 1 tbsp each of the red onion, cranberries, and half of the apple and pumpkin seeds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and red wine vinegar. The dressing will be way too much for the salad, so just sprinkle a tiny bit over each bowl and mix it together. Top with the crumbled feta and freshly ground pepper.


Ryan said, “Hey — this is the best kale salad you’ve ever made me.”



Christmas recap, 2014

2014 December 29
by Laura

Anyone who knows me knows that a Christmas proposal was right up my alley. I love Christmas and family more than anything, and Ryan was able to pull off a perfect, fabulous surprise. I will tell the whole proposal story in an upcoming post, but I first wanted to share some photographs and my favorite gifts from Christmas this year.



Favorite gifts I gave: A sign with my mom’s favorite hymn on it, It Is Well with My Soul (by Horatio Spafford, the story behind which is heartbreaking), made by my friend Kathryn and her shop Ava Berry Lane.



Kathryn makes custom signs and will work with you to choose the perfect hymn, word, image, whatever!

I got to give Ryan some new clothing (yay! that’s what girlfriends do best) including a sporty vest from Eddie Bauer for walking Rennie.



Ryan also got a book of untranslateable words from other languages (he is obsessed with this) as well as a special Nike super-absorbing sweat towel. (So romantic!)

I managed to get my Dad two books he hasn’t yet read (this never happens): Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival…


 and In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette.



Overall, it was certainly the best Christmas ever. My favorite gifts included my new FitBit, several new gorgeous sweaters, and a Sonos player that is revolutionizing the way I listen to music in the house.

Get anything good this year?

Christmas photos, oops.

2014 December 29
by Laura

Well, I made it on the blog posting 25 Days of Christmas photos until Day 19.

Go me! That’s more than I would have expected. I got engaged on Day 20, and we just gave up the rest of those.

If you want to catch up on the remaining days of Christmas (which we’re all sick of now anyway, right?) please just follow me on Instagram: @sullivator.

Will you marry me?

2014 December 27
by Laura

He asked, and I said yes.

For the first time on this blog, please allow me to introduce Someone: My fiancé, Ryan!





I haven’t stopped looking at my hand since he put the ring on it on 12/20!

Laura’s Holly Jolly Sangria (day 19!)

2014 December 19
by Laura

I’m calling this Holly Jolly sangria, but just know that this can make any situation jollier. One time, Hols and I made this sangria for my brother’s graduation party, and everyone got smashed. It was GREAT! Inebriated family members always make great memories.

I’m making a big batch of this for a little holiday gathering this evening, so I used a magnum bottle of wine and also a smaller bottle. If you’re making this for 4, use just one small bottle of wine, and double accordingly. This sangria is awesome because it’s super easy and you can make it the morning of your event.

You’ll need just one secret ingredient: GIN.



Ingredients (for one small batch serving 4-5)

  • 1 bottle red wine (cabernet, merlot, shiraz, malbec, whatever you want)
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 1 navel orange, cut into wedges
  • splash of orange juice
  • 2-4 shots of gin, depending on how wild you want to make your party ;)
  • 1 tbsp sugar, optional (I don’t add sugar to mine, because I don’t like sickly sweet sangria, but it’s up to you!)
  • ginger ale to add just before serving

Pour the bottle of wine into a large pitcher and squeeze the fruit wedges into the wine, throwing the wedges into the pitcher as you go. (Squeeze the lemon through your hands to catch any seeds.)

Add the gin and a splash of orange juice and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight. When serving, pour the sangria mix into a glass and top it off with ginger ale. (You can also pour the ginger ale into the pitchers, but I don’t like carbonated beverages to go flat.)



Disclaimer/WARNING: This is very deadly, very dangerous sangria. You will be drunker than you think you are when you stand up for the first time off the couch after having a glass. BE CAREFUL!

25 Days of Christmas photos: Day 18

2014 December 19
by Laura

Day 18: One of my favorite new ornaments from Crate and Barrel: a llama face!! (Anyone see The Emperor’s New Groove? Anyone?)



25 Days of Christmas photos: Day 17

2014 December 19
by Laura



Day 17: Christmas drinks at The Hamilton.

25 Days of Christmas photos: Day 16

2014 December 16
by Laura

[Ed note: It’s December 16th?!?!??!]

Caught this rare moment of quietude for the Big Guy at the mall last Friday.