Love: A Marine Engagement

Photos.

Photos have a special place in my heart – especially when it’s a military couple. Seriously, you might as well be tugging on my heartstings if you show me one. I get kind of sappy, sentimental and happy all at the same time. I blame it on having a common bond with the couple in the photo. As military spouses, we sign up for the possible months of deployments ahead, the weeks of them being gone out at training and the constant ups and downs of them serving. And even if they are away, if you stop and look at the photos, memories quickly rush back into thought. That’s what I love about photos.

So, a couple of weeks ago it was Blair’s and my turn to capture some memories. Getting excited, I started to look around at what adorable military couple photos are out there. And before I knew it, I stumbled upon a photo shoot that a fellow high school classmate of mine had taken. I instantly “oohed” and “aahed” over them. Lauren Going, the photographer of this Marine couple, captured their engagement to a tee. Take a look below to see what the talented Going captured!

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To see more of Lauren’s photos, head over to L’amour Fou Photography’s page! And stay tuned for a sneak peek of some of Blair’s and my photos done by the talented Marjorie at Sugar Lilies Photography –  hopefully to be posted sometime this week! 🙂

Lauren

*Please note the watermarks on Lauren’s photos. Lots of love and time goes into each photo and deserves to be respected. To find out more on photo copyrights, check out Marjorie’s latest blog post , “Copywhat!?“.

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Canker Sore Treatments

Canker Sores.

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For those of you that have been lucky enough not to have one, this is what Canker Sores look like. Canker Sores are commonly confused for Cold Sores. However, while they are both mouth sores, Canker Sores are not contagious like Cold Sores are and only appear inside the mouth. *Note: do not use any Cold Sore treatments like Abreva on Canker Sores! Again, they are not the same, hence do not use the same treatments.

So this is kind of embarrassing… I’ve never quite done a post like this, but I figure that I might as well pass along the information on treating these little devils since I know I’m not the only person in the world to get them. Currently, I have three Canker Sores. One is on my tongue, another on the side of my mouth and the last one is on my gum line. So my life is pretty miserable at the moment… There is literally no “safety zone” in my mouth. Last night when I ate a Klamata olive I practically punched the wall due to the saltiness hitting all three of them at once. It hurt big time.

I am lucky to say I’m part of the 30-40% of the world that got this gene passed down to me from my parents – being sarcastic of course! Since I was little, I have gotten them. And while I may not have them for a month or so, when I do get one (or two, or three) they always end up being the deep, extremely painful ones that won’t go away until 3 weeks later.

I’ve seen doctors and dentists, on top of doing my own research online, about treating them throughout the years. Below is a list of several different treatments that I’ve found, the pros and cons to them and my personal vote (thumbs up or thumbs down). I hope this helps some out there, so here it goes! (By the way, I do have a favorite so definitely read through till the end!)

1. Hydrogen Peroxide: swish a tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide in your mouth for a minute

Pros: you can feel it “cleaning” the sore, whitens teeth

Cons: you have to do it multiple times a day, Hydrogen Peroxide is harsh on teeth enamel causing sensitivity

My vote: Thumbs down – this made my canker sores feel better after the first swish, but I didn’t feel that it really helped treat them.

2. Warm Salt Water: swish a 3:1 warm water and salt ratio around your mouth for a minute or two

Pros: you can feel the “cleaning” sensation, numbs the sores

Cons: it STINGS way too much.

My vote: Thumbs down – the best part of doing this is the numbing you get from it. Other than that, the stinging feels like your are pouring alcohol on a cut. Not worth it for the little amount of treatment it provides.

3. Canker Cover: a naturally medicated patch you place over your Canker Sore to help protect and heal it

Pros: covers the sore making it easier to eat and drink, relieves the pain, lasts for 24 hours, dissolves on its own

Cons: doesn’t cover some sores all the way, starts to peel up after a while, painful to take it off before it dissolves on its own it

My vote: In between – my Canker Sores are often on the longer side so this circular patch doesn’t cover them too well. However, I would imagine that if your Canker Sore is small and a circular shape, the protective cover and pain relieving this patch provides would be extremely helpful.

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4. B12 and Folic Acid: take the recommended amount of vitamins the bottle directs you to 

Pros: taking vitamins that are good for you

Cons: unless taken regularly for over a month, you won’t see any benefits

My vote: Thumbs down – two weeks before Blair and I got married, I got a Canker Sore. This was one of the things I tried to desperately get rid of it with. I didn’t notice any change in the Canker Sore. In fact, it probably got even worse…

5. Laser treatments: a dental laser “zaps” your sore

Pros: kills the bateria that hangs out in the Canker Sore to promote healing, doesn’t hurt

Cons: you need to do this as soon as it pops up, need to go to your dentist

My vote: In between – this really does work wonders if you know your body really well and are able to catch your Canker Sore before it gets too bad. This was another treatment I tried to get rid of the sore I had before I got married. Since my dentist at the time knew me very well, he had no problem doing the treatment, but the Canker Sore was way too bad to treat it by the time I got to come in.

6. Silver Nitrate: a medical swab covered in silver nitrate used by a doctor to cauterize the sore

Pros: straight up kills the Canker Sore

Cons: STRAIGHT UP BURNS THE LIVING HECK OUT OF YOUR CANKER SORE AND MOUTH

My vote: Thumbs down – I almost want to say in between for this one because it does work in healing the sore. However, it is chemically burning the sore which is extremely painful and makes it not worth it. When I had braces and was constantly having my Canker Sores torn back open by them, this treatment was the only way I could force the sores to start healing.

7. Oil Pulling: swish sunflower or sesame oil around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes

Pros: ehhh….. I didn’t notice anything.

Cons: mouth tastes nasty (and oily), jaw begins to hurt after a while, didn’t relieve the pain, numb it or help treat the sores

My vote: Thumbs down – now maybe if you did this on a daily basis you might notice the prevention of Canker Sores, but the actual treatment of the sores by doing this was nonexistent.

8. Numbing Gels: a gel you place directly on the sore to numb the pain

Pros: relieves the pain

Cons: doesn’t help kill the bacteria that could be in the sore

My vote: In between – just numbs, but helps by giving you a break from the pain to make eating possible

9. Gly-Oxide: swish 20 drops around your mouth for a minute or drop 2-3 drops directly onto the sore for 3 minutes

Pros: you can feel it cleaning, promotes a fast healing, small packaging allows you to take it with you wherever you go

Cons: Can’t think of any…

My vote: Thumbs up!!!! – this is by far my favorite. Two days before the wedding, and being my last resort, I tried Gly-Oxide out and by the time I was putting my wedding dress on, my sore was virtually no more. Thank goodness!!

10. Orajel Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse: swish a tablespoon amount around your mouth for a minute

Pros: promotes healing, has a slight numbing ability, taste is appealing unlike many other oral rinses

Cons: Can’t think of any…

My vote: Thumbs up – I don’t love this rinse as much as the Gly-Oxide, but when using this together, I’ve found them to be quite productive in healing my Canker Sores quickly and effectively! P.S. I’ve also heard Colgate’s Peroxyl rinse is quite similar to Orajel’s.

*While I know most of these don’t promise to get rid of the Canker Sores quickly, but rather relieve the pain associated with them, I personally know that relieving the pain plays a huge part in the healing process for me.

Okay, so I know that was a lot, but honestly any information or other personal experiences help when looking into relieving and healing Canker Sores. For me, occasionally I have to switch up my “typical” Canker Sore healing routine and try out some of the other ways again as it seems I’ve become somewhat immune to the Gly-Oxide and Orajel. But for the most part those two are the MVPs of successfully getting rid of a Canker Sore. Best of luck to any of you out there with one and happy healing!

Lauren

P.S. Give yogurt a try as well! It may not help immediately, but it helps neutralize the PH in your body. While it’s non-medicinal, it still definitely helps! 🙂

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Easy Soda Bread Recipe

Soda Bread.

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We had a combined Saint Patrick’s Day celebration and birthday dinner for my dad on Sunday. Both he and Blair loved the Soda Bread!

I don’t know about you guys, but Saint Patrick’s Day is a big deal in our household. We go all out. Corned beef & cabbage, red potatoes & carrots, Guinness chocolate cake and homemade Soda Bread. It’s seriously all too delicious.

Now I’ve been watching the women in my life make corned beef since I can remember, but it was when I was in elementary school that I can first remember having Soda Bread. I went to a private Catholic school and there was an Irish family that went there – like really really Irish! Since the school was small, we were always doing cool little activities. And this one year Alexandra’s dad, Mr. Dent, came in and told us how to make Soda Bread in his Irish accent. I must of been in first grade, but I still tell people about that day. Now married, it was my turn to make Soda Bread on my own and it was quite the daunting task!

I searched around for the perfect recipe. However, most of them had raisins or were sweet and I was just wanting a classic Soda Bread recipe. In the end, I tweaked a couple of recipes to make the perfect one for us.

Our recipe calls for these four ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 12 ounces of Buttermilk
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Right before I bake the bread, I like to sprinkle some flour on top to create an even more rustic looking bread!

Then you:

  1. Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
  2. Create a “well” in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk into it.
  3. Use your hands (cover with flour first!) and fold the buttermilk in with dry ingredients. *It will create a biscuit-like dough.
  4. Wash and re-flour your hands.
  5. Pick up the dough and place it on a floured cookie sheet.
  6. Going from the outside in, fold the dough together into a ball shape. *As you can see in the picture, the dough ball won’t be fluffy like other yeast risen doughs.
  7. Flatten the dough ball till it is 1 1/2 inches tall and cut a deep cross shape into the top to allow the dough to “breathe”.
  8. Cook for 20 minutes at 450°, then for another 20 minutes at 400°.
  9. Place on a cooling rack and enjoy!

Since I doubled the amount corned beef and cabbage we had, I knew we were going to have leftovers. The great thing about this bread is that it takes practically 5 minutes to throw together. So even though the first loaf disappeared on Sunday, I could quickly whip up another one for leftovers on Monday. Definitely a “must keep” recipe that will be added to the rest of the Draper household traditions!

Lauren

Steam Cleaning: The Only Way to Clean a Fridge

The Fridge.

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I purposely made this photo smaller… Not only does the dirty spot gross me out, but it’s also just straight up embarrassing!

It was nasty. Something spilled and it was a terrible sticky mess to clean up. At first, I scrubbed with a sponge to get the residue picked up, but after having no success at doing so I pulled out my handy dandy Steamer.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be posting this for people to see unless I really truly believed in Steam Cleaning. It works wonders while sanitizing and I’m not too sure why it didn’t click until now to use it on and in my fridge. After all, I use it on everything else in the kitchen, bathroom and practically the whole rest of the apartment… I even use a Shark Steam Mop on our floors!

Anywho, the first thing you’ll need is a reliable steamer. I use a Scunci Steamer and I love it, but there are plenty of others on the market for less. Just make sure to read the ratings before you invest in one!

Some other supplies you’ll want are:

  • Old rag *Used to pick up the residue
  • Spray bottle filled with equal parts vinegar and warm water
  • Couple of clean rags *Used to wipe the vinegar & water cleaning solution up
  • Glad Press’n Seal *Optional – used to line any flat solid shelves for quick and easy clean-ups in the future!

Now, Let’s get started:

  1. Get your steamer filled with water and warming up.
  2. While the steamer is warming up, clear your fridge and get rid of any bad food.
  3. Remove any shelves and drawers that you are able to. *You essentially want a blank slate so you can get into every nook and cranny.
  4. Get to steaming! Steam any spills or touch residue first and wipe up with your old rag then get into the tight spots!

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    Reason 1,687,392,735,084 why you need to steam clean. This is nasty and it totally brought out the OCD in me. We rent our apartment so I can only imagine what this fridge has been through…

  5. Once most of the loose residue is steamed and picked up, spray your cleaning solution all around and let it sit for a minute. Wipe up with your clean rags.
  6. Since I had a solid shelf, I lined the top of it with Glad Press’n Seal to help quickly clean up spills in the future.

And you are done!

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Nice clean fridge! P.S. Glad Press’n Seal is shown in the bottom right photo!

 

Now that I’ve cleaned my fridge this way I can’t imagine doing it any other way. This is a must do for anyone! It makes cleaning the fridge no longer a hassle, but rather quite therapeutic – now, I don’t know about everyone else, but that’s my type of cleaning!

Lauren

A Lovely Treat – Beignets

Beignets.

It’s decided. Beignets in the Draper household are going to become a staple Valentine’s Day tradition. They were delicious, simple and a blast to make and eat with the love of my life.

And when I say simple, I mean they were RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE. I’m pretty sure I’m going to offend some beignet fanatics out there by what I’m going to tell you next. But… they were actually made out of Pillsbury’s biscuits. Yes, I said it – those store-bought biscuits that frighteningly pop open a little too loudly.

I originally saw this idea on Pinterest but since there were no step by step directions, I figured I would post my own. So…

beignets

What you’re going to need to make these lil’ devils are:

  • 1 can of Pillsbury’s Grands! Flaky Layers – Honey Butter
  • Vegetable oil – enough to fill the pot halfway or an inch deep
  • Pot/pan – it just needs to be at least 3 inches deep *I used a taller pot.
  • Instant thermometer *Tip Below!
  • Powdered suger & sifter
  • Honey – optional, but delicious!

Then:

  1. Get your oil heated up to 360° *If you don’t have a thermometer, take a small piece of bread and place it in the oil. Watch how it fries up. When it is fried to your liking, get to frying! A close Army friend taught me this and I think it is genius! Thank you, McNally!
  2. Open the biscuits and cut each one into quarters. *We used a heart cookie cutter on some of ours
  3. Place three at a time into the oil
  4. After two minutes, flip them over to the other side for another two minutes
  5. Place fried beignets onto a paper towel covered plate
  6. Top with powdered sugar and honey and enjoy!

*A good thing to keep in mind when frying foods is that the oil will continue to get hotter. After your first batch, keep an eye on how the oil is frying things up. They may be browning a lot faster than you want so just turn the stove heat down a little!

When last night came to an end, Blair and I were literally licking the powdered sugar off our fingers. I’m so happy I bought two containers of biscuits – I might just have to make these again here soon! Right after I go to the gym first, of course…

Lauren

DIY: Mickey & Minnie Valentine’s Day Card

Valentine’s Day.

After searching the last couple of weeks for the perfect Valentine’s Day card for Blair, I gave up. I couldn’t find one… I know there are tons of cards out there, but most of them are too cheesy or just dumb, so I decided to make one myself.

Now, Blair and I are HUGE Disney fans. We love everything Disney – Blair even proposed to me at Disneyland! So it made sense to me to make something Mickey and Minnie related for Valentine’s Day…

To make a Mickey and Minnie Valentine’s Day Card, you’ll need:

  • A blank white card with an envelope *You can buy a pack of them at Walmart.
  • Black Sharpie
  • Red scrapbook paper
  • Scissor
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick
  • Images of a Mickey Mouse silhouette and a Minnie Mouse bow *I used simple ones I found off of Google – You’re just tracing the basic shape so they don’t need to look wonderful.
Valentine Card

Simply adorable!

To make the Mickey Card, just:

  1. Trace the Mickey silhouette onto the blank card with a pencil
  2. Carefully cut along the tracing

Then, to make the Minnie Bow:

  1. Trace the bow shape onto the piece of red paper
  2. Cut out
  3. Outline the bow shape with a Sharpie *Time to get creative! My bow is far from perfect, but I looked at a few bows online and just mimicked the outlines I saw.
  4. Glue the bow onto the inside right ear

Finally:

  1. Put your special message inside the card. Just make sure it is something from the heart!

After finishing this project, I literally got butterflies in my stomach. It makes me beyond happy and I’m so excited to watch Blair open the envelope and see this. I know he’ll LOVE it and I can’t wait to give it to him!

Lauren

Update: He LOVED it!

How To: Foam Soap Refill

Cheap.

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Top: Refill ready to use!
Bottom: Water and soap in the bottle almost ready to shake together.

Okay, I’m not cheap. I’m frugal. Or as my mom used to tell me, “Lauren, you have a lobster taste on a beer budget.” And I’m proud to say I’ve lived up to that phrase my whole life. So, when I went to Target the other day to buy a foam soap refill, I was blown away at how much it cost.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Target and all of their wonderful treasures. However, I figured why should I buy a refill if I could make it myself for pretty much nada. So I came back home, did some research and dug around underneath the sink to make my own. One bottle of soap, an empty foam soap container and some water later, and voilà – a foam soap refill for practically nothing!

What you’ll need to make a Foam Soap Refill is:

  • 1 Tablespoon of liquid soap, any kind
  • An empty and clean foam soap container
  • Warm water (the amount of water will depend on the size of your bottle)

Then:

  1. Fill the foam soap container with warm water – I used about a cup, but you can just fill it up so the container is 75%-ish full
  2. Add a tablespoon of soap
  3. And shake!

*If you want your refill to more “soapy”, just use some more soap in the mixture.

Since the bottle of soap I had on hand was 10 fluid ounces, I’m able to make 20 refills from it. Now, let’s do some math real fast – if one bottle of foam soap refill costs $3.50, 20 refills would add up to $70. Or you could buy one 10 fl. oz.  bottle of soap for $3.50 or less and have 20 refills for just how much it cost you to buy that bottle of soap.

Makes sense just to make it on your own right? So go ahead and try it!

Lauren