Scottsdale Weekend Getaway

A couple months ago I was feeling a little overwhelmed with life and I shot a quick text to my best friend, Kyla. 


Haven't met Kyla? Well, that's a bummer because you would probably love her - most people do. She doesn't really love having her picture taken, she would rather not take risks with her food, she's friendly to (literally) everyone who crosses her path, and is one of the most self-sacrificial, compassionate people I've ever met. She isn't necessarily the opposite of me, but maybe pretty close. We've known each other since the 3rd grade, and even when I lived in Canada, we somehow found a way to see each other a couple times a year. Now that we live closer though, we're able to get together every couple months. 


People would ask me what I was planning on doing on this trip, and my answers were usually along the lines of "I don't know, not have to be back home by naptime? Enjoy not changing any diapers and not worrying about making dinner?" Well, guess what?! That's exactly what we did! We soaked up the lifestyle of walking everywhere since we had an Airbnb near the main square. We ate wonderfully, hit up the spa, saw a couple movies and enjoyed just being together for a couple days. Overall, it was just what I wanted, but a few things stood out from the rest. 

The view of Camelback from our door

The view of Camelback from our door

This is a living art exhibit that picks up and moves with the wind. 

This is a living art exhibit that picks up and moves with the wind. 


When I started researching places to eat (because that's what I usually start with when it comes to vacation planning), I ran across Diego Pops all over Instagram and knew we would need to try it out. Every corner of this place is an Instagrammer's dream - the decor was so fun. Plus, the food was awesome! We sat by the fireplace outside, had a good round of watermelon mint margaritas and enjoyed the atmosphere, people and food. This place was all about tacos, and they were great, but the real winner at this place were the Brussels Sprouts Nachos. With corn, all kinds of queso, chilis, pickled onion (which you know I love), and topped with a roasted garlic beet cream sauce and a fried egg, it was an absolute work of art. 


The second highlight was the first place we went to after landing, Berdenas Cafe. We got coffee on our first visit, which was very much needed since we got up at 4am to head out for our flight. The next time we stopped by, we had to try their "Smashed" Avocado Toast which won the title of Best Avocado Toast in Phoenix in 2017 by the Phoenix New Times. Turns out, the title fits. It was so good. It seems relatively simple enough that I think i could try to replicate it at home. I didn't expect to see it topped with cold-pressed olive oil. That's definitely a little avocado toast secret I took home with me! Anyway, we stopped by to try this out along with a couple cute lattes and the "Banana Breadosaurus" which, even though we clearly only got it because it was adorable, tasted fantastic. Berdenas delivered good coffee, good food, a friendly staff and the environment was spot on! 


When I started asking for suggestions on where to go when we were here, I had a huge number of people all say the same place: The Mission. I feel pretty confident that I can speak for both me and Kyla in that this was the best meal we had while in town. It's a very dimly lit restaurant which was made more apparent by the guy next to us using his phone's flashlight to read the menu. The decor isn't my thing, but since it was so dark and the food was fantastic, I was easily willing to overlook the number of borderline kitschy chandeliers that were hanging from the ceiling. That night was a real win because I was also able to push Kyla out of her comfort zone a bit and try some new foods.

We started off with the Duck Carnitas Empanada appetizer which consisted of a duck confit, foie gras, orange habanero glaze, oregano, mushroom & queso Oaxaca. Kyla and I both agreed that this was definitely the best part of the vacation. 

The margaritas were fantastic. I stuck with their signature margarita, "The Mission" for the night. It had tequila, lime, OJ, agave nectar, egg white and a little splash of Grand Marnier. It was fabulous. For entrees, I went with the Chorizo Porchetta and Kyla had the Marinated Jidori Chicken. Both were phenomenal, but honestly, after the appetizer, it was just a bonus. Oh, and I can't forget when they surprised us with a massive pink Himalayan salt block which held our extra tortillas. We ended up sharing the Pumpkin Bread Pudding topped with pomegranate seeds for dessert. I make mention of the pomegranate because it isn't a pairing I would have considered, but goodness, it somehow came together beautifully. Overall, this restaurant was every bit deserving of the hype around it and I'm now one of those people who will make sure to suggest it to anyone who heads that way!

The big salt block! When they brought it out, we were told to be very careful because it was hot. Of course, the moment their back was turned, we each tested that out. It was indeed, very hot.

The big salt block! When they brought it out, we were told to be very careful because it was hot. Of course, the moment their back was turned, we each tested that out. It was indeed, very hot.


Ok, ok, I promise we did more than just eat while we were there. Scottsdale is known for their spas, and it was difficult to choose which one we would end up at. We eventually chose to spend our afternoon at The Sanctuary on Camelback Spa, part of the stunningly beautiful and luxurious Sanctuary Resort. It was such a wonderful experience and that unwinding was a huge part of what we came to town for. After our treatments, we wandered the grounds and soaked up the views for a bit. The only thing that could have made it better would be if the weather had been warm enough to swim! 


On our last day there, we got up extra early to hit up The Desert Botanical Garden. I can't really express how excited I was for this. The sun hadn't fully come up yet, so we were bundled up in the 38-40F weather. Every bit of this was so fun and stunningly beautiful. We learned about all kinds of cacti that we didn't know even existed, got to learn a little bit more about agave plants when one of the guides offered up some fun facts, and stumbled on the rosemary bush of my dreams. We walked the garden as long as we could before we had to head out for the day but we could have stayed there all day.

My rosemary dreams coming true

My rosemary dreams coming true

We left with some candy made from cacti like these! 

We left with some candy made from cacti like these! 

The last thing that we did may not seem like anything that exciting, but it was pretty huge to us. We went and saw two movies - definitely something I can't do with a toddler. We saw I, Tonya which was was great, but I wanted to love it more. We also saw Call Me By Your Name which is one of the best movies I've seen in recent history. I just can't get over what a beautiful experience it was. If you're able to catch me, I'd love to talk more in detail about each movie, but I wont spend the last bit of my blog about a weekend away doing a film review. 

Forkville Supper Club


Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the first event by the Forkville Super Club. Put together by our friends, Monte and Melanie Davis and held within their own home, it was a fun night of extravagant eating! Having it in their own home added a cozy vibe, plus we had the added benefit of watching Monte do his thing within his own kitchen and his element. Half of the fun was watching what he did next and how he prepared the food. 

It took me a little longer than I would have liked to get this on the blog because as some of you know, I was out of commission for most of last month because I got sick and didn't listen to my body enough to rest when I needed to. I had no voice at this party, as in, none. Even though I couldn't really join in on conversations in the way I wanted to, I found myself surrounded by such a fun, eclectic and friendly crowd! We drank an assortment of beer and wine, some provided by Silver Ghost Cellars and we all sort of instantly became friends. 

I found myself, even in my state, to be one of the last guests hanging around. Then, as we headed out, Monte surprised all the guests with a package of his homemade bacon! 

The menu was out of this world. Check it out and let me know what your favorite would be! Keep scrolling to see what was my favorite dish was! 


Cold Dishes:

Tuna Tartare with Wasabi-Avocado Aioli and Sesame Seeds in a Wonton Cup

Spicy Crab Salad with Sriracha Mayonnaise in a Fried Wonton

Shrimp Tostada with a Spanish Coleslaw, Cilantro-Lime Crema on a Fried Tortilla

Duck Prosciutto with Mustard Melons

Hummus and Grilled Pita with Spiced Olives


Hot Dishes:

Fried Arancini Balls with a Spicy Marinara

Baked Brie and Cranberry Sauce Wrapped in a Puff Pastry

Bacon Wrapped Jalepenos with Cream Cheese and Chorizo



Truffle Chicken Liver Mousse with Sherry and Caramelized Onions

Peppered Beef Tenderloin with Horshradish Sour Cream

Goat Cheese Mousse with Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar



Seared Scallop with Creamed Corn and Chorizo

Sauteed Shrimp with Cheddar Grits and Andouille Tomato Sauce

Seared Foie Gras with Maciere Potato, Aged Cheddarand Duck Jus



Wondering what my favorite bit from the evening was? All of it was great, but my favorite was without a doubt the Foie Gras that we ended the night with. Granted, Foie Gras is something that you either love or hate. In this case, I absolutely loved it. You can see above, Monte posing proudly with the Foie Gras he made, and he had every right to be proud of it! 

If you're interested in jumping in on their next party or having a private event with Forkville Cuisine, you can find them on Facebook or email them at to get on their email list for the next event! Their next party is in a couple weeks and they're already added a second date and are still running out of room, so make sure you get in the know ASAP on when they will be hosting! 

Fort Worth Fav: Handmade Cleanser/Moisturizer from Little Bits for You

I'm rolling out my Fort Worth Favs! Each month, I'll be highlighting a local place, product or small business that I love in an effort to focus on shopping small and local. I'm kicking it off just in time for any last minute Christmas orders! 

The owner of Little Bits For You, Jennifer gave me this little jar of all-in-one everything to try out and I felt like it was more than deserving to be the first of my Fort Worth Favs. It's listed as a cleanser and moisturizer, but this stuff can be used for pretty much everything. Since my skin has become unusually sensitive over the past year, I used it in place of my shaving cream and really loved it (which is a big deal). 

I've also found myself dabbing a little here and there on my knuckles since the cooler weather has made them a little dry. The fact that I can use this in so many ways really makes it stand out among my skincare products. I have the unscented version, but you can get a scented one here.  

At a whoppin' $8, this is a fun and affordable idea. So, if you're on the hunt for a last minute "little something" or a stocking stuffer, this is definitely something to consider. Plus, it's always nice to know that you're supporting a small and local business. The last day to order is for local delivery is the 23rd! You can contact her and order the product through her Etsy shop! 


Holiday Review: JORD Watches

I received this beautiful JORD watch in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 


Every year around this time, I’m stuck going through gift guide after gift guide, trying to find something for Kyle. I’m a big gift giver. It’s something I actually enjoy. But after almost 7 years of marriage, I feel like I'm running out of ideas. This year, JORD watches came to my rescue. JORD makes hand-crafted, wooden watches that make the perfect gift! 

Kyle is rocking a custom fitted watch from the Hyde series. Crafted with Olive wood stacked on top of Sandalwood, it’s a beautiful accessory to tie any of his looks together. Yes, I’m even including his computer programmer “work uniform” of jeans and a sweatshirt. Also, can we just take a minute and appreciate the fact that these wood watches are splash proof? This makes it all kinds of perfect for any parent who is constantly dealing with a child who seems to have a sort of magnetic pull towards puddles and spills. I really love that I can give Kyle a quality gift that is not only stylish but also practical. 

The unique watches come beautifully packaged and will be perfect under any tree this Christmas! You can also get the backplate of the watch and the cedar watch box engraved with a personal message. I’m seriously considering getting one for myself and just having “you made it through the holidays” on the back. 

If you're feeling a little stuck this year or looking for something that stands out from the usual gifts, check out what JORD has to offer. Make sure to use this link to recieve 25% off your purchase!


1 Year of Homeownership - Before and After Shots

We did it guys! As of today, we've officially been homeowners for one year! To celebrate, I wanted to show off some of the changes we made. Not every room is shown in these before/after shots, but each room had a bit of a transformation. Almost every surface in the house was painted, some new light fixtures installed and we started making it into our home!


Living Room





Dining Room





We opted to turn what was the formal dining room into a colorful play room. Worth mentioning is that between the carpet and concrete, there is a layer of foam tiles so that the floor is a little safer for bouncing around. The carpet is by FLOR. We're long time fans of FLOR, and love that each of the triangles is a separate tile, so that when spills happen, we wont have to replace the entire carpet. Instead, we can just get a replacement tile. 







Master Bed & Bath





The Nursery





Our NYC Food Tour

When we realized we would be exploring NYC on a toddler's schedule, we figured that meant most museums, large crowds and late nights were out. However, food is a must, regardless. So, why not eat well while exploring?  The city is beautiful, eccentric, quirky and rooted in so much rich history and diversity. All of that bleeds over into the culture surrounding food and I was so excited to be able to jump into it for a short time. One of our good friends, Jaselle, lives there and we were lucky enough to have her as our local guide during her free time. I'm fully aware that we didn't even scratch the surface of all that was available, but here's what all we ate and what we thought of it. 

Pizza at Parkside Brooklyn

When we got into town, we were starving. 

We walked a few blocks to Parkside Brooklyn, a bar and brick oven pizza place. Thin crust is my jam, so I was on board immediately. Pictured is a lamb sausage pizza with mozzarella, onions and mint. It was seriously the best way to start the trip. We also got an order of the veal meatballs which were again, so so good.

I loved this spot. I wish I had been in a better mindset (not exhausted from dealing with tiny human temper tantrums 30,000 feet in the air) so that I could fully enjoy it. The staff didn't blink an eye and handled James perfectly who was essentially a ticking time bomb at this point. The menu was small, simple and didn't feel overwhelming which was what had us ordering some meatballs along with the pizza. Quality was fantastic, vibe was exactly what we needed and the drinks were jussssst stiff enough.

Lape Rating: A+

Cookie Dough at DŌ

The next day was pretty open, as most of our days were. We walked around SOHO past all kinds of bakeries knowing what I was headed for: . They scoop cookie dough like ice cream, and it's kind of genius. I've heard from friends who planned on visiting this spot that they had to skip it due to wait lines that were around 4 hours. We didn't wait 4 hours, but we did wait around 45 minutes. There was a baby/toddler  park right across the street (where the line was) so it was the perfect opportunity to keep James cool with waiting. It's located in an adorable area that makes waiting a lot more fun than some other places in Manhattan. 

DO is definitely quirky, fun, and original! The main reason it doesn't get an A is really just because, as great as it sounds, there's really no time where eating a heavy-handed scoop of cookie dough settles well. It's not a light snack, hard to walk with and not very cold, which, again isn't a fault of the business but more a fault of the food item they've centered the business around. Kyle and Sharon weren't huge fans of their cookie dough choices and everyone agreed that my "unicorn sugar cookie" flavor was the best by a landslide. Although it was tasty, it was also super rich (as expected, I guess). I ate a couple bites, even posed for pictures with tourists (who weren't willing to wait the 45 min to an hour ), then immediately got a to-go box, guzzled my entire water bottle and put it away until later in the evening. 

Lape Rating: B+

Avocaderia Avocado Bar

Sunday morning, we were relatively well rested and had our hearts set on some avocado. We stopped by "the world's first avocado bar," Avocaderia, to check it out! Jaselle and I went with the "Avoburger", which uses two halves of avocado as the buns on a burger of smoked salmon, herb yogurt, watermelon radish, arugula, black sesame seeds and lime "citronette." We also each picked up some cold pressed juice to sort of detox from the cookie dough extravaganza we had finished the night before.

It was really good! To be fair, I ate the avoburger like an actual burger once for a photo and then continued eating it as a salad. Kyle got a beautiful spread of avocado toast with smoked salmon which didn't even make it into a photo. The food was great, the service was friendly and it was just out there enough to get me to drop by. Kyle also asked that I specify that the coffee was much better than he was expecting. 

Lape Rating: A+

The Rainbow Bagel

Jaselle and I hopped up early the next day to head out without Kyle and James to pick up what I was probably most excited about for the trip . . . the rainbow bagel from The Bagel Store. Sure enough, they had a bagel combo that pretty much screamed "I'm here from out of town ready to join in on the rainbow bagel hype!" The store was smaller than I expected but going on a Monday morning was an awesome decision because there was no line. It seemed to genuinely shock Jaselle to see no one waiting. The staff seemed nice and it was hard to hide my excitement when they brought out a freshly made batch of rainbow bagels. I got the "Rainbow Bagel Supreme" which was a "rainbow bagel with generous amounts of rainbowfetti cream cheese, topped with cotton candy and fairy dust." Sure, it all kind of clogged up the image of the bagel itself but goodness was it so good. We got two savory bagel sandwiches (still on the signature rainbow bagels) and one that had the rainbowfetti cream cheese without the cotton candy or sprinkles. 

I obviously have a sweet tooth so while others may shake their head and dry heave, I loved it. Super fun, original, sweet and my new standard for a bagel. Plus, it's really cool to know how much work goes into each bagel. These people really care about the craft. Sure, the rainbow supreme bagel is a little gimmicky, but the rainbow bagel as a whole isn't. 

Lape Rating: A+ 


The Unicorn Latte

When the Starbucks Unicorn Frappe frenzy hit, I was holding out for this Unicorn Latte from The End Brooklyn. We picked up 3 lattes all labeled under "Healing Lattes" on the menu which immediately had me intrigued. We went with the Unicorn, Merbabe and Purple Amethyst Latte having no clue which one would be the cutest or the best tasting. 

Turns out the Purple Amethyst (top right) was the best tasting. It was really cool to try and I loved knowing that all of the ingredients would actually do my body good, unlike pretty much anything else I consumed on the trip. Regardless, they weren't the tastiest drinks in the world and although the place was cool, it felt like we went through a lot of effort to get there with not much of a payoff. 

Lape Rating: A-

Traditional Khachapuri

Dinner rolled around and off we headed to the traditional Georgian restaurant in the East Village, Oda House. While researching NYC food spots, khachapuri quickly hopped towards the top of our list. It's essentially a hand made bread boat with really good cheese. The video below describes it in better detail, but one of the cool things about it is that before it is served, and egg and a slab of butter are put into the cheese boat o' awesomeness and then mixed together before eating. We started off with some Georgian wine and khinkali, oversized, hand-rolled lamb and herb dumplings. They were so good. Insanely good. The main attraction is obviously the khachapuri so it was a great treat to see that we were starting off with another dish that was so great. After dumplings and the khachapuri, we ordered satsivi and chanakhi. The satsivi was organic, grass-fed chicken cooked in walnut sauce and Georgian spices and served cold alongside ghomi, Georgian grits topped with sulguni cheese. We loved it! The chanakhi (seared organic, grass-fed lamb baked in a clay pot with grilled eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and garlic) really wasn't our favorite, but operating under a sort of tourist's vow, we didn't regret trying it out. 

Had James not been up late and clearly not thrilled about it, we would have stayed longer and tried some sulguni cheeses as a dessert, but we'll leave that for next time, because we will definitely be back to this spot. 

Lape Rating: A+

Israeli Hummus at Chelsea Market


One of our last stops was Chelsea Market where we planned to casually stroll through, but after getting there, we quickly realized we were reaching some serious hangry levels. We stopped at a spot known for Israeli street food, Dizengoff

There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of options to choose from in the market. It felt good to stop and grab something that was healthy and good quality. 

Lape Rating: A+

Mashmallow Ice Cream at Ample Hills

Last but not least, we had to hit up Ample Hills Creamery. Being just a couple stops over from where we were staying, it felt like a no brainer. Jaselle was insistent that we try it and let's get real, as if you have to twist our arms to try ice cream. 

Immediately when you walk in, it feels cozy. The names of each ice cream are clever and hand drawn, some with a little cartoon beside it. My personal favorite would have to be "Churned This Way" with a parade of happy animals dancing and waving the pride flag. I went with Snap Mallow Pop, the famous marshmallow ice cream and loved every bite. Also, for the record, I ordered a small, so, as you can see from the photo below, they are heavy-handed with the scoops.

The ice cream was great, the service was great, but our favorite part had to be the children's play area towards the back of the building. With only a couple tables and bar seating, they could have easily chosen to use this space for anything but I really loved that they chose this. It gave James an opportunity to get out of the stroller and play! Sure, we brought some toys with us, but nothing like this. It was such a great end to the day being able to relax and watch him play, all while enjoying some seriously tasty ice cream.

Lape Rating: A+

Honorable Mention

  • Eataly: We knew this famous spot was a must. It's just that we didn't realize they opened a new location. Jaselle was meeting us and although we were all at Eataly, we got our wires crossed and ended up at different locations. She came to us since we had James. We may have missed out on the vibe, variety and experience from the original location, but it was a wonderful view as we ate across the street from the Freedom Tower and memorial. I was still pretty tired from traveling and our first big day on the town, and didn't take many pictures. I did get a sweet tote bag though.

Magnolia Bakery: Obviously we had to stop here. At the time, we weren't loving the crowded area around NBC studios but I happened to spot Magnolia and insisted I get something. I went with a simple vanilla cupcake. I saw the famous banana pudding and I guess I can blame it on being flustered by the crowd, or just not in the mood for banana pudding, but I passed it up for the cupcake. In retrospect, I regret it a little, but the cupcake was still fabulous! I wish I had gotten more!

Great Gifts Under $40

My favorite time of year is Christmas. Sure, the eggnog is great, the lights are beautiful and there is something special about afternoon naps with carols playing in the background, but I love searching for the perfect gift for friends and family. I thought I might put together a quick look at some of my favorite go to gifts for under $40.


  1. 9oz Swell Bottle in Peridot // Small enough to it into almost any purse, cute and crazy convenient, this is the ultimate gift for the girl on the go.

  2. Popcorn Lip Scrub from LUSH // Salty and sweet is the best combination out there and this lip scrub encompasses all of it. It’s so tasty that you may forget to notice how well it works!

  3. Custom Banner from Hanging with Lucy // This is such a cute way to tell someone you love them, miss them, wish them a Merry Christmas or really . . . whatever you want! Jess does an incredible job making adorable felt banners and will work with you on whatever you want written on them. Just think of the possibilities! She goes above and beyond to make it perfect and right now, if you use the coupon code CHRISTMASWITHLAURA checkout, you’ll get 10% off through the end of January.

  4. Paradise Gardens 2017 Wall Calendar from Paper Source // Paper Source has an excellent collection of calendars that would double as wall art if you don’t look closely. It’s a great grab for the friend who is always organized!

  5. Reversible Dainty Earrings by Kate Spade // Ever want to buy a friend jewelry but get lost second guessing your decisions? This is the solution. A beautiful and simple pair of earrings that can be worn either way. It fits all styles and looks good with pretty much anything making it a winner.

  6. Oh Joy! Book // What an overall perfect book. With super cute tutorials and crafting ideas, it feels like the best kind of Pinterest board come to life. It also makes a great coffee table book in that it’s big, beautifully laid out and overall, such a fun book to flip through.

  7. Clear Rosa Case by Rifle Paper Co. // Phones may change, but we still need cute cases to make them better. Enough said.

  8. Sugar Lip Treatment // I can’t say enough about this. I recently ditched almost all of my lipstick in favor of a few of these. My absolute favorite is the Rose (pictured). It’s pink but sheer (and that’s showing up as sheer on my very fair skin). It’s just enough color to add on for a quick run to the store, an early class or even a night out. An added bonus is that it has SPF 15 so it’s great for your lips all year long.

  9. Soy Nail Polish Remover from Ella + Mila // I can’t get enough of this polish remover and recommend it to pretty much everyone I see wearing nail polish. If you do your nails often, you know how acetone dries out your nails and makes your hands feel all kinds of yucky. This remover is oil based and includes the best kind of ingredients that leave your nails and cuticles actually feeling better than before. If you’ve got a friend who loves doing her nails, do her a favor and pick this up for her.

  10. Fake’n Bake Candle // Sometimes, candles feel like a not so personal gift. This candle is hilarious and perfect for that friend who always burns the cookies and laugh it off.

  1. Personalized Plaid Scarf by Land’s End // This scarf is part of the Cashtouch collection which means it is insanely soft. Sometimes scarves don’t seem like the obvious gift for the guy in your life, but even the grizzliest of men can’t deny how good it feels to be wrapped in a super soft scarf while you’re out braving the elements.

  2. Oxford Colorblock Phone Case by Jack Spade // This classic colorblocking never goes out of style. Show him you care about both him and his phone.

  3. The Mac + Cheese Cookbook // Because every guy should know how to make one killer dish. Why not make it macaroni and cheese?

  4. Old Fashioned Carry-On Cocktail Kit from J.Crew // Traveling for the holidays? What a perfect gift to help your buddy get through the flight and all the stress that goes along with traveling, holidays and visiting the family. It comes with everything you could need (including a recipe card and coaster). All you need to do is provide the hard stuff.

  5. Stranger Things T-Shirt // When you’re not in the upside down, fan-made shirts that are well done can be hard to come by. This one is fantastic and a great gift for anyone still wondering about Barb.

  6. New Mac Candle from Twelve South // Smells just like the real thing. Clever candles never go out of style.

  7. Keysmart // Kyle got this as a groomsmen gift two years ago and still uses it everyday. It may not be for every guy, but it holds up well and is a fun gadget for someone who needs some key organization.

  8. Kalamazoo by LUSH // I’m a huge fan of LUSH as a company and as an excellent place to find great gifts. Great skin is always in style and LUSH delivers just that, not to mention this contains apricot kernel oil which helps condition, making prickly beards softer and stronger.

  9. Chapter Travel Kit by Herschel Supply Co. // Herschel Supply Co. is a brand I love that makes all kind of bags and accessories. Kyle and I both have laptop sleeves by them and swear by them. This may or may not end up under our own tree so that Kyle can keep his toiletries in more than just a giant pocket for future travels.

  10. Sneakers from H&M // I love the masculine contrast on these. There’s always room for one more pair of shoes, right?

5 Things I’ve Learned in 5 Years of Marriage

One of the questions we get asked the most often is “when did you know he/she was the one?” Usually people are either super moved or pretty let down with our answer, which is “we didn’t.” Both of us agree that life is a risk, love is a risk and marriage is a risk. There was no gleaming moment when we looked at each other and just knew that it would all work out. We both really loved each other and could see successfully doing life together. Five years later and we still love life together!

When we went out for dinner on our anniversary, we talked about our highs, our lows, our life changing decisions, and all of the craziness that we’ve walked through. We’ve been through a lot and while I recognize that I’m no pro in this whole marriage thing, I thought I would share some of my takeaways from the past few years.


1)   Marriage is designed to make you grow.

Marriage is designed to be a blast, and being married to someone just like me would be a total snore! Over time, we’ve learned that it’s way more common than we expected to see “complete opposite couples.” I remember when Kyle and I announced we were dating; we were met with multiple “is this a joke” responses (talk about encouraging, right?). Kyle’s mind works in ways mine doesn’t (and wont ever) and because of that, he challenges me to see things differently on a daily basis. A few years ago, I remember him looking at me out of nowhere and asking, “do you ever wonder how calendars were created?” – uh no. Like, never. That thought had never entered my mind and almost immediately jumped right back out. I love to use that example because, if you are around Kyle, you’re probably familiar with these kind of random thoughts that just pop into his head. He thinks about things I don’t give a second glance to, he questions things I don’t, and wants to learn things I’ve never even considered an option. It’s these differences that challenge me to become not only a better person, but also a better version myself, and I try to do the same for him. That’s essentially marriage in a nutshell. (PSA: if you’re looking for a partner and you’ve got a list of their ideal interests, quirks and possibly an entire personality, you may want to consider scrapping that list and keeping your eyes peeled for the opposite.) When people say something along the lines of their partner needing to be their best friend first, I roll my eyes so hard. My best friend is my cheerleader; she’s always in my corner, tells me pretty much everything I do is awesome, she’ll back me up no matter what and she'll let me rant/cry for as long as I need. My husband tells me when I’m wrong, he tells me how to make it better and is impressed with me only when I’ve done something worthy of being impressive. He sees my potential and will tell me when I’m shrugging it off. He constantly calls out the best in me and challenges me to grow in ways I never expected.


2)   “Outserve One Another”

This is one of our favorite little sayings that actually help us out a lot, no matter how cliché it might seem. You really don’t realize how selfish you are until you’re in a serious relationship. Learning how to do things for each other is hard. Not the big things where you’re clearly supporting your spouse, but the mundane, day-to-day things. Things like getting a refill without a “are your legs broken,” or giving your spouse the last piece of cake (or at least splitting it) can sometimes go a long way. Marriage is really all about learning how to put someone before you and building that relationship. Starting each day with the mindset that you’re going to do everything in your power to help make life a little more enjoyable, easier and more fun, not only allows you to practice selflessness, but also helps you build an important level of trust. When Kyle makes a big decision, I wholeheartedly trust that he has my best interest at heart. Likewise, if I make a decision, he can trust that I am thinking of him. “Outserving one another” isn’t easy, and there are definitely days where we don’t get it right. Learning how to serve anyone other than yourself is a process, and sometimes it’s a messy one, but when you get it right, it’s incredibly rewarding.


3)   Conflict is hard. Hyperbolic language makes it harder.

Just steer clear! Absolutes like “all, never, always, ever” are trouble and usually derail the conversation and likely turn what was a simple chat into a heated argument. Examples include “you never listen,” “you always do this,” and “dumbest thing ever.” If you’re talking to your spouse about anything remotely serious, drop any exaggerated words from your vocabulary. Tensions are high, and all it takes is one casual drop of “this always happens” to snowball it into an all night brawl.

It should also be noted that you can’t shirttail this one by throwing in “you make me feel like ________ “ and then inserting one of these key snowball phrases/words. Just because you say it makes you feel like that doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

Here is a quick list of words to stay away from:

  •       Constantly
  •       Always
  •       Never
  •       Ever/Every
  •       None/All
  •       Impossible


4)   Finding your Identity is Important

This goes for both you as an individual and you as a couple. About a year after we moved to Vancouver, suddenly, we were forced to think about who we really were. What were our interests outside of school, outside of a job and outside of our marriage? We were forced to take a step back to analyze who we were and found ourselves questioning political beliefs, spiritual beliefs and essentially our outlooks on life. We also had to think about what our passions were as well as what we just weren’t into. For example, Kyle learned that he likes coffee . . . as in, really likes coffee. He enjoys learning about the brewing techniques, how the country of origin affects its flavor and other details that many people tend to gloss over. I was able to find myself as well and became so confident in my individuality that I started rocking the pink hair I had been talking about for (no joke) three years. We had taken all of the personality tests and knew what they all had to say about us, but to dive deep within ourselves and find out what dreams, beliefs, interests and passions we both had was a totally different process. For us, it took us going to a place where we knew no one and becoming accustomed to a lifestyle we had never known. It’s a different process for everyone but when you know who you are and you’re able to confidentially embrace it, you’ll find yourself freer and more secure in yourself and consequently, your marriage.


5) Communication is Key

Ok, this sounds crazy cliché but it’s the truth. Sure, you definitely need to be communicating about big decisions like where to live, whether or not to take or quit a job, and children, but I am really talking more about the day-to-day stuff. I heard once that a healthy relationship has 3 little “tufts” every week and 1 bigger argument a month. Seems about right. But how do you make it through the couple little “conversations” as we call them without them blowing up? Over-communicate. It sometimes feels super awkward to bring up something small, but that’s just part of building a life with someone. You're no longer living with just a roommate where you can just passively interact for who knows how long. We’ve been shown in tv/film that something as small as maybe taking tone, some snark that was taken a little too far, or even just an unfortunate phrasing is something that will usually result in a big blowup. That’s just not true. Bringing up small things that annoy you when you’re calm (emphasis on being calm) has been super important for us. It allows you both to air out something in a mature way. Plus, you don’t have to worry about it all building up and then jumping into a “you always do this” mindset. Most of the time, the other person didn’t even realize that they were even doing something that could be considered offensive. Just as important and definitely worth noting is being open to these conversations and not shutting them or your partner down. Choosing not to talk is still communicating; it’s just not what you want to be saying.


So there it is. It may not be flashy, it may not be fun and heck, it may not even be useful to you, but those are the top tips I’ve learned in the past 5 years. Now that we have a baby, who knows what’s to come!

Ikea Hacked Patchwork Dresser

A few years ago I fell in love with West Elm's Patchwork Collection. Eventually we got a hold of two nightstands, but our apartment in Vancouver didn't have enough room for the dresser, so we put it off. Have you seen these nightstands?! How can you not fall in love with that design?

After our big move back to the US, we figured it would be the perfect time to finally get the dresser of my dreams to match the set. So, I start checking out the price online and I find out that it's been discontinued. Cue the heartbreak. Next step, call the nearest store (Dallas) to get a quote on any that they may have in stock or try to track down one nearby me and get a quote for shipping. Well, that turned out to be a bust too because they didn't have any of the patchwork woodgrain but they did have simple white . . . for a sale price of around $1200. 

Cue Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." 

Cue Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." 

Since we made the decision not to bring in any Canadian dollars because of the super awful conversation rate, we were pretty much stuck. 

Until I ran across PANYL. They make a wide variety of contact paper (for lack of a better description) that are custom cut to certain IKEA product dimensions. After going through their Instagram and seeing a couple bang on options to recreate this exact dresser, I figured it was worth a try.  

We decided to go with the Malm Dresser. If you're familiar with IKEA, you know this dresser. It's the run of the mill, most boring dresser ever. Seriously, it's almost an eyesore of how bland it is. Just look at this. But, for just over $150 and a great amount of storage space, we sucked it up and made it part of our bedroom collection.

Then, we ordered the PANYL samples. They came within the week and we were pleasantly surprised. It's definitely worth ordering the samples, because the woodgrain options look pretty differently from the online site than in real life. Also, we were impressed with the texture of the woodgrain samples. It sold us on the whole thing even more knowing it wasn't going to just be a crappy sticker and that it would actually look and feel nice. 

We were able to design the dresser online and ordered the strips that day. It blew our mind that they came in just a couple days later.

Next step was the handles. I had a rough experience with some wind and spray paint (I am apparently still getting used to the fact that the wind here is significantly stronger than what we experienced in Vancouver), and had to find new and cheap handles that didn't require spray paint. I actually thought it was going to be a huge issue and hold off the project for another few weeks when I ran across these brass handles on Amazon for a whoppin' $1.12 per handle. I ordered 6 of them and fully expected them to be super crappy. Maybe use them until we find the handles of our dreams and then replace them. Turns out, they looked surprisingly good, especially for about $7 total. 

Next step was drilling the holes, then installing the PANYL strips. We ordered 5 woodgrain and one color option. I wanted to include a dark grey in it and was really pleased with their color sections. Our nightstands have a dark grey wood on it that matched the shade perfectly. The woodgrain strips were a piece of cake to install. Definitely a two person job, but not bad at all. It wasn't until we got to the grey strip that it became an ordeal. I'm not sure if it's like that with all of the PANYL color options, but it was not nearly as easy as the woodgrains were. 

Here's the final product! There were a couple bumps along the way, which is expected since we're pretty new to DIY projects. But, the entire project cost us well under $300 in comparison to the $1200 West Elm dresser. Plus, we are trying to remind ourselves that we're about to have a kid who will probably write all over, spill stuff, and stick play dough to every piece of furniture that we own. Maybe it's ok that we chose the cheaper route this time. 

Overall, we love the piece! It adds a lot to the very blank space. If I was doing the nursery in a woodland themed, this would be perfect on the Hemnes dresser that we have. I would totally use PANYL again. I'm more inclined to do the wood grained strips just because they were so much easier than the color strip that we applied. Regardless of the extra work, the savings payed off. 

Here is a list of the colors we used.

Top Left: Teak

Top Right: Rosewood

Middle Left: Pale Oak

Middle Right: Teak

Bottom Left: Rosewood

Bottom Right: Slate

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower

Over the weekend, we headed to Northwest Arkansas for our first baby shower. My mom graciously held it for us in her home and flew my sister in from DC for the event! It had been a while since we had been back there and even longer since we had seen some of our friends in town. It was the perfect excuse to reconnect with some friends that we missed while simultaneously celebrating little Lape

Kyle and I are overwhelmed with thanks for all of the things we walked away with. Maybe we can blame it on hormones, but it really chokes me up to know how loved our little one already is and what a great life he already has awaiting him out here in the world. We're so excited for him to arrive and so thankful that those around us are too! 


We're not a family that's really into shower games. We didn't have any at my wedding shower so it felt appropriate not to have any for this shower. Plus, there's something so refreshing about coming to a shower without having to taste test baby food or pick out the melted candy bars that look like poop. No thanks. Let's just eat, drink and open some gifts.

Afterwards, we broke out the antique crystal (it should be noted I've never in my life seen anyone drink from them.) and toasted to our newest edition and throwing a successful baby shower. Here's to you Little Lape! 


* Cake is from our favorite local bakery, Shelby Lynn's Cake Shoppe

* Place card holders from Original Animal Magnet

* Thank You cookies from Anna Lees Cookies

The Lapes are Heading to DFW!

Big news! 

One of the first big decisions as parents and thinking of another person other than ourselves, we are making the decision to move to DFW before the baby is born. This may seem like a pretty crazy decision, but we feel it makes the most sense. 

We absolutely love Vancouver and if it were just Kyle and I, it would be our forever home. However, when we take into consideration family, the relationship our son will have with his grandparents and extended family plus the impracticality of the Vancouver housing market, we feel very at peace with the decision to be closer. 

So, expect us to be rolling into Fort Worth before the New Year!

Alaskan Cruise

Oh my goodness we've had such a great time over the past couple weeks! We took a family vacation of sorts and hopped on an Alaskan cruise that took off from just down the street in Vancouver! We had done so much research on what to pack and on every list was a huge amount of rain gear. So, we packed it all and prepped for the worst. Turned out that we had the most incredible weather around every turn! Here are some highlights!