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Random Acts of Kindness Update!

Saturday my mother in law, Cissie, and I finally set out to do our 30 random acts of kindness.  It was so wonderful to see the responses from everyone- there’s nothing like it.  Watching them go from skeptical, to thankful, to overwhelmed is really something.

We started at the fire and rescue in North Yarmouth where a local landmark had been lost to a tragic fire.  We went to deliver them cookies and a note of gratitude.  No one was there- so we just left the note.  I’ll have to pop by another time with the cookies.

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Next we did the same for the Prince Public library and caught the ladies just as they were on their way out.  They were very appreciative.  Then we ventured out to the Hannaford and donated about $12 to the Animal Refuge League via the Coinstar machine they have.

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This is a really nifty device because they normally charge 9% to change your coins to cash, but if you donate the money it all goes to the charity.

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Cissie then gave out five Lotto tickets to mothers with children and an older gentleman.  One woman with two very “vocal” children gave Cissie a hug as her smile grew bigger.  That was a special sight.

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Our next stop was to the laundromat where everyone seemed to be finishing up, but we left some change for each person there to compensate for some of what they’d just spent.  We visited the Dunkin Donuts next door and I caught a lady before she paid for her coffee and told her that I’d like to buy it for her.  She was caught off guard, but once she realized I was serious she was so thankful and said she had chills from the shock of it all.  She said was headed to the grocery store and wanted to pay the kindness forward.

We visited another coffee shop up the street, The Royal Bean, and did the same thing.  The woman was so shocked.  I told her that I was inspired to do 30 random acts of kindness for my 30th birthday.  She said that she would do the same on her next birthday.

We also visited another library with cookies and dropped off some cookies with a note at the Yarmouth Town Hall.

We stopped there for the day with our random acts and decided to do a few things on our own for the “cause.”  Here are a few we plan to do:

Write to an old friend we’ve lost touch with,  give a box of doggie treats an animal shelter, go to Walmart or Renys to pay off someone’s layaway toys for Christmas, tape change to a vending machine, dress up as Batman and Robin and visit the children’s hospital (that one will be for my husband and me to do), etc.

Hope you’re inspired to pay it forward!  It doesn’t have to be a day or event- just little acts here and there work wonders to brighten someone else’s day.

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‘Tis the Season

The day after turkey day, we went to Hanscome’s Christmas Tree Farm in North Yarmouth to pick out and cut down any tree of our choosing.  I have always wanted to do that and was happy to find a place in our own backyard.

Upon arrival we picked up a saw and headed out into the field.  I was hoping for a tall wide one like I had last year, but it wasn’t going to work out this year.  We finally happened upon a very nice, sturdy, tall, dependable tree – just like my husband 🙂 .  After playing around a bit we committed to it by chopping it down and carrying it through the village of trees.

  

Whenever I’ve put up a tree in the past, I’ve always put up all the ornaments I’ve collected as a child and as I grew up.  I’ve noticed other people creating trees with a theme and I thought for our first year in the house that I would try a collected look as well.

I decided to go with something beachy, silver and blue, and snowy- kind of like a Maine winter. Here’s what I came up with:

Here are a few examples of what I used:

A clear ornament with sand from our Honeymoon…

An assortment of scented balls from a potpourri set from Michaels…

Some funky disco balls to bring out the shine…

Coastal themed potpourri sets…

A bunch of little icicles…

And, of course, some sentimental items:

An ornament given to us by Scott and Ruth of the Brewster House.  We’ve stayed there every New Year’s Eve since the night we were engaged.

The ornament my mom gave us last year in honor of our first Christmas in Maine with the Lears…

And a his and hers first Christmas ornament from my mother in law, Cissie.

I hope you all have fun decorating for the season ahead.

Cheers!

Lauren

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Alex and I regularly dress up for any occasion that may present itself, sometimes we just do it for fun.  For the past 3 years we have dressed as Batman and Robin for Halloween.  We’ve made it a tradition to dress as the crime fighting duo a week before Halloween in Portland because we always spend the designated Halloween party night in Hallowell, Maine with his extended family.

Here are a few pics of the past few years:

  

2010

 2011

2012

And here are our costumes for the party nights:

2010

Joan and Don- Mad Men 2011

The Hulk and Black Widow – The Avengers 2012

Here we are as young trick-or-treaters:

🙂

And just for fun, here are a few of our other costumes from the years:

March 2012

May 2012

August 2012 (1 week before the wedding)

These are the best costumes yet! 😉

Our Wedding August 2012

Oktoberfest 2012

And here are two videos to leave you with:

Another fun part of Halloween is that Alex’s birthday is always the day before, and I always make him a superhero dessert.

Happy Birthday, Hunny!

Hulk cake and Spider-Man cake

Avengers cupcakes

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

~Lauren

Pin Worthy Tips

Here are a few tips and tricks that I have either created or found:

Summer Tips

1)  Fill a small empty perfume spritzer with cold water and stick it in your cooler for the beach.

This is great for in between dips- especially in Maine when it takes 20 minutes to muster the courage to enter the icy water.

2) Blondes only- in between dyes, use a bronzer and brush to magically dust away your black roots- tada!

 

3)  For a quick cool down, try keeping your makeup remover wipes in the fridge.  I use the grapefruit scented ones shown here- it’s an extra boost with an energizing scent!

Household Tips

1) Use hand sanitizer to remove unwanted paint drips from baseboards- very quick and easy for the less than tidy painter

2) This is one I borrowed from Pinterest.  Best method for trapping fruit flies: Put and inch of apple cider vinegar and banana slices into a clear vase.

Wrap an 8.5 x11 piece of paper into a cone and place into vase so that it fits snuggly into the bottle neck area.

The fruit flies fly in and cannot escape.  I take mine outside each week to let them go.

This tip has become quite handy of late due to my new plethora of fruit and veggie waste from my raw diet.

Computer Tips

1)  This one might be obvious, however, it is so useful I just had to share.

Type “unsubscribe” into your email search space to bring up every email list you are on and easily unsubscribe from all that you want.

It even highlights the word “unsubscribe” in yellow to make it easy to find.

Hope you find these helpful!

~Lauren

 

Homeowners!

Yesterday Alex and I closed on our first home.  We are both in quite a daze, but also very excited.  I have not officially had a home to call my own since I was 18 and was preparing to leave for college.  Since then I have bounced around from dorm rooms to part time stays in Atlanta, Indiana, Virginia, New York, and Maine.  In each of those places I made a huge effort to create a domestic environment around me, but it always lacked a certain something- permanence.  I am proud to say that after years of moving around- that I have found a home in Maine with with my almost husband (10 days!).

This is a huge step for Alex as well.  He has lived in his same apartment for the last 11 years.  At one point he even worked at a newspaper located directly under his apartment.  It is now a sandwich shop and there are kids drinking soda where he once wrote under deadline.

We’ve looked for about a year and a half now and I was starting to give up hope that “our house” was out there.  We came close to perfect with one a few months ago only to discover it was under contract and hadn’t had the status changed.  That was heartbreaking until we found this home.  Nothing had even come close to this home and it has all the features we wanted.  He wanted a man cave, I wanted him to have a man cave, I wanted a 2 car garage- saves on scrape down time in the morning- December to April ;), we both wanted offices, a place for his comic collection and a place for my photo studio (www.lola-studios.com, more on that later).

So here we are during the first moments of realizing ownership.

We camped out there for our first night!

~ Lauren

Eating RAW

Today signifies the end of my first week on my new raw diet.  I couldn’t have done it without the help of Elizabeth Fraser of Girl Gone Raw.  She is our local raw food enthusiast and helps others in the community reach their raw potential.

Elizabeth and her Veggie Maki Rolls

I have had many stomach issues since I was young and have tried many different avenues to help ease my pain.  It wasn’t until recently when my symptoms were spiraling that I decided to try something drastic.  I’d heard great things about raw food and Elizabeth in particular and decided to sign up for her 6 Weeks to a Healthier You program.  I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision.  In just one week, not only have my symptoms have gone away, but I’m actually feeling great!

I was a little nervous about diving in and leaving all my hot, greasy, fatty, cheesy foods behind.  But, now I actually crave my raw creations.  Its unbelieveable! Elizabeth has been very helpful each step of the way.  We meet once a week to cook an entire meal complete with dessert and she also introduced me to all the raw food goodies at Whole Foods.  So far, I’ve learned how to make my own almond milk, nut cheese, yummy cashew burgers, and even a chocolate bars!

I’ve just come home from another wonderful evening of raw food making with Elizabeth and want to share all the goodies we created.

Veggie Maki Rolls

You’ll need:

-4 sheets of Nori

Filling:

1 cup of cashews, soaked for 2 hours

1 carrot

1 minced scallion

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

sea salt to taste (1/4 tsp)

Veggies to Roll:

1 carrot

1 avocado

1 cucumber

8 sprigs cilantro

1/2 cup of sprouts

Dipping Sauce:

3 Tbs nama shoyu

1 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs tahini

grated garlic or ginger


1. Chop and mix filling ingredients in food processor

2. Julienne carrot & cucumber, slice avocado & mango into strips.

 

3.  Arrange filling an inch from bottom of nori.  Place veggies on top.

4.  With dry hands, roll the nori up and over the filling, keeping the roll as tight as possible.  As you roll and see a half an inch left, wet the end like and envelope and seal the roll.  Set aside.

5.  Whisk your dip together. Slice roll into half inch slices and enjoy with dip.  YUM!

This might be my favorite recipe so far, the dipping sauce is so flavorful and a great compliment to the rolls!

Veggie Stir Fry

Rice:

2 medium parsnips

1 clove garlic

Veggies:

1 1/2 cups broccoli

1 1/2 cups mushrooms

1 cup snap peas

1 carrot julienned

black sesame seeds

Marinade:

1/3 cup of olive oil

2 Tbs nama shoyu

1 Tbs agave

1. Place broccoli, mushrooms, and marinade in a bowl. Stir to coat.  Let it sit for 1/2 hour.

 2.  Peel parsnips, chop, and place in food processor with cashews and garlic.  Blend until mixture has the texture of cous cous.

 3.  Julienne carrots and chop snap peas in half.

4.  Mix cous cous, veggies, and broccoli mixture in a bowl.  Enjoy!

(Modified from Rawmazing.com stir fry recipe)

Frozen Fruit Sorbet

2 frozen bananas

1 cup frozen mango

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/4-1/2 cup water or almond milk

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth & creamy- approx 1 minute.

Serve right away and top with fruit, nuts, coconut, or agave.

Thanks Elizabeth for guiding me in my raw food journey and for letting me share these great recipes!

You can find Elizabeth at http://www.girlgoneraw.com

~Lauren

DIY votive jars

Today’s post goes out to all the DIY brides out there.  I’m only a partial DIY bride, but I did find some fun projects along the way.  This idea came from Pinterest, from Mark Montano, the pin is no longer available though.  So, I will walk you through what I did.  This craft can also be used for non brides for a fun picnic project, or to do with the kiddies.

My mom and I worked on this on in April when she came to visit.  I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.

1.  Collect and wash jars of various sizes and make sure all the gunky label mess is off of them.

2.  Soak yarn in 1 part water, 2 parts glue.  Just swirl it around until its all covered.

3.  Carefully wrap the yarn around one jar.  You can play with different designs or keep it more organized in parallel lines.  Repeat with remaining jars.

4.  When yarn has dried, take jars outside to spray paint.  You can try mixing colors too.

5.  Let the paint dry.

6.  Remove yarn and attach ribbon.

7.  Enjoy your new accent piece with a votive.

Let me know how this works out for you!

~ Lauren

Happy New Lear?

I’m new to the blogging scene and I will be new to a lot of things pretty soon.  In less than 5 weeks I will be a newlywed, a new wife, new home owner, and newly honeymooned.  On top of all that I’ve just started a 6 week RAW/VEGAN diet.  I love to try new things, so I thought I’d try blogging as well.

I took some time to think of the best name for my blog and I was hoping for newly.com for awhile, however, it was not available.  Just as I was about to purchase newlyblog.com, I thought of newlylear.com, Lear being my soon to be surname.  So, it hit me, happynewlear!  My betrothed, Alex, proposed to me on New Year’s Eve at midnight 2010.  Not only was that a Happy New Year, but I will soon be a happy new Lear 🙂  Yea!

Alex and Lauren 12/31/10

I hope to prove to be someone you look forward to hearing from weekly, whether it be about wedding prep, marital bliss, conquering new home chores/projects, DIYing, my new adventures with my raw diet, and cooking for my veggie loathing other half.

See you soon!

~Lauren

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