You might have heard that technology is keeping you up at night. Don’t sleep with the TV on. Get off the computer at least an hour before bedtime. Don’t scroll your Facebook newsfeed in bed. While all of these are great tips, technology can also help ensure that you get a great night of sleep. Here are my favorites:
1. White noise apps. THE BEST. I don’t understand how people sleep without one. Most of these apps have a variety of sounds to choose from—waves, a thunderstorm, a fan, a jet engine—and some apps let you mix and blend the different options to create a custom mix just for you. Having one on tends to quiet the mind so that your own thoughts don’t keep you awake and also helps me sleep soundly in different environments while traveling. Also works wonders if you have a partner and dog who both snore (*cough*). We love the Noisli App for iPhone ($1.99). Their website is also amazing while you’re working.
2. Ideal sleep temperature. Did you know that 65-72 degrees is the ideal temperature for sleeping? Programmable thermostats can learn your routine so that they know when to drop the temperature and help you drift into a deep sleep, that way you don’t have to remember to adjust the temperature before you hop into bed, your smart thermostat will do it all for you. You can also adjust the temperature remotely using your phone—so no worries the next time you leave for the weekend and forget to turn off the air! Upgrading to a smart thermostat is definitely on this winter’s to-do list. Check out the Nest Thermostat ($249.00).
3. Mattress Technology. Mattresses have come a long way and can now play a vital role in how well you sleep. Our new Beautyrest Black Mattress has advanced Pocketed Coil technology to help deliver back support and pressure relief along with TWO types of technology that help regulate our body temperature throughout the night so that we’re never too hot or two cold. Sleep Climate Technology integrates a layer of vertically oriented TENCEL fibers that dissipate body heat to keep you cool in warm conditions and warm in cool conditions, and the Micro Diamond Infused Aircool Memory Foam is infused with diamonds—this technology uses the conductive properties of diamonds to move heat away from the body to keep you cool while you sleep. Check out the Beautyrest Black Collection for some of the most advanced mattress technology currently available (prices vary by size and model).
4. Fitbit and other Fitness Trackers. Aside from tracking your steps and activity throughout the day, most activity trackers are also watching you while you sleep (creepers!) and can report back to tell you how you slept. My Fitbit Flex tells me how long I slept, how much of the night was spent “restless” or moving around, and how many times I got up out of bed. This technology can help you see your sleep habits and perhaps help you identify and correct the things that are interrupting your sleep. Fitbit also has a vibrating alarm—nice because it eases you out of sleep much more gently than an alarm clock, and also doesn’t disturb your partner if you get up at different times. Fitbit ($99.95).
5. Wake Up Lamps. We don’t have one of these but I actually really want one. Especially because I work at 5AM—which isn’t hard now, but when fall settles in and it’s completely dark until 7AM I know that this would help me get out of bed a little faster. Wake up lamps imitate the light of the rising sun to prepare your body for waking up—about an hour before you need to wake up the lamp will slowly start to brighten. Bonus: most of these also have white noise technology integrated into them. Check out the Philips Wake Up Lamps ($69.99-$169.00)
6. SmartThings. Ever been kept awake worrying about whether or not you locked the door? Ever awoke in the morning to discover that you slept all night with the garage door wide open (we’ve totally been there, oops). We’ve just started automating our home with SmartThings….we can easily turn lights on and off from our smartphones or check the app to ensure that all doors and windows are secured. Whether we’re lying in bed or vacationing 2,000 miles away, we can rest easy knowing everything is secured. SmartThings System (prices vary).
It’s been a while since I hit the internet with some Good Jams (by a while I mean like 6 months). So, this edition is a pretty eclectic mix of recent favorites. Toss them on your holiday weekend playlist. Enjoy!
1. Destination by Nickel Creek (listen on Spotify, YouTube) – Wish I would have caught these guys reunited on their most recent tour! This song is amazing. Their Tiny Desk Concert is so worth watching.
2. All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor (listen on Spotify, YouTube) – I love the lyrics and the bass (obviously).
3. I Love You Madly by Irene Diaz (listen on Spotify, YouTube) – Her voice is incredible and the entire EP is amazing. She did a Kickstarter Campaign to record the tracks, pretty awesome.
4. Long White Line by Sturgill Simpson (listen on Spotify, YouTube) – We found him earlier this summer and were lucky enough to catch him on stage at Mile of Music. He has a classic country vibe and I can’t get enough.
5. 1936 by Phox (listen on Spotify, YouTube) – Anxiously awaited this album release and it didn’t disappoint! Phox is from Baraboo, WI and we’ve caught them a few times locally—jacked that their album is getting tons of recognition.
6. Retrograde by James Blake (listen on Spotify, YouTube) – James was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy’s and this song has made a few appearances in recent TV shows. Always grabs my attention.
LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE TAPE HERE:
Hey, look at me! It’s like 3 months after our anniversary trip to South Bass Island, Ohio, and I’m just getting around to this handy travel guide. To be fair I prepped this image like a month ago but I have so much to say about this place that I kept putting off writing the content.
If you didn’t know, we have a Great Lakes theme going with our wedding anniversary trips. We were married on the shores of Lake Superior, so when our first anniversary rolled around it seemed natural to visit Door County, Washington Island and Lake Michigan. Year two we visited Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Mackinac Island and Lake Huron. This year we headed to Sandusky Ohio, South Bass Island and Lake Erie. I don’t think we knew quite what we were getting into with South Bass Island—-it’s called the Key West of the Midwest and for good reason. Our trip was quite the adrenaline rush!
A bit of pre-trip info: we road-tripped to Sandusky from Madison, WI. We spent one night at Indiana Dunes State Park (amazing! Here’s a picture of us on the beach, it was foggy). The next day we walked around Notre Dame’s campus and arrived in Sandusky, Ohio. We spent the afternoon and early evening at Cedar Point Amusement Park and rode some of the biggest coasters in the world! That night we biked around Sandusky and visited some local establishments—-don’t miss Volstead Bar (definitely a trip highlight!). The next morning we visited Miller Ferry and took the ferry from Sandusky to Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island….you can take your car, or leave it. It will cost you $7 per person, $2 per bike and $15 per car. When you get to the island you’ll be able to rent bikes or golf carts to get around (we brought our own bikes). The entire island is very small and you can easily get around without a car. Also, don’t make a fuss about where your lodging is, as everything has a great location!
We got a room at the Islander Inn. This place is definitely the party epicenter of the Island. If you want a spring break scene with bikini contests, pool DJs, the world’s largest swim up bar (literally) and a non-stop party, this is where to find it. The rooms are pretty expensive at the height of summer (around $399 per night) but you won’t be bored. The quality of the hotel is decent—-you can tell it takes a beating from being constantly filled with rowdy party-goers, but overall it’s a nice place. Just don’t expect peace and quiet or a tranquil setting! I think if we went back we would probably opt for a bed and breakfast or maybe renting a vacation home, but I’m glad we had this experience for our first visit! It was a hoot. Most hotels on the island are expensive and it seems like you’re mostly paying for the atmosphere and party scene. If you’re not planning to just sit at your hotel’s swim up bar I would definitely explore different lodging options (maybe even the state park) and just plan to visit the island’s public party pools (there’s no shortage).
EAT + DRINK
For the most part all of the bars and restaurants on South Bass Island are located one one main street, and there are tons of them. The party scene on this island is honestly unlike anything I have experienced before. Everyone is there to enjoy the beautiful Midwestern summer and have a great time! We didn’t encounter any bad places on the island and these were just a few of our favorites:
1. Share a bowl of lobster bisque at the Boardwalk. The boardwalk has a great view of the marina and you can see the huge yachts coming and going.
2. Visit The Keys and enjoy a margarita on their amazing patio (great views of Lake Erie’s clear blue waters) they have a pretty impressive margarita bar with lots of flavors to choose from!
3. Spend an afternoon or happy hour at any of the island’s swim-up bars. Our hotel (The Island Inn) was home to the world’s largest swim-up bar and we went every evening for happy hour and to people watch.
4. Visit Mojito Bay! It’s this little tiki bar themed place with sand floors and SWINGS to sit on at the bar. “Swing” on in for a cocktail and some live music.
5. Visit Goat Soup and Whiskey! It’s located just outside of the “downtown” area but is a short bike ride away! Their 2nd floor patio (pictured) is beautiful. We had our official anniversary dinner here and really loved it!
SEE + DO
You will not be bored while you’re on the island. You could show up with just a swimsuit and have a fantastic time without ever leaving your hotel. But, I’d urge you to get out and experience some of the activities available on the island.
1. We had perfect weather during our visit so we rented kayaks and kayaked out to two nearby islands: Gibralter Island and Middle Bass Island. There are beautiful rock formations and beaches to explore! I recommend using Kayak the Bay.
2. You also shouldn’t miss the opportunity to bike around the island—-visit some of the bars and restaurants that are off the beaten path, check out the Perry Memorial, snap your picture at the EVOLVE sign and the state park located on the south side of the island.
3. Run to the local liquor store and get sandwiches to go from one of the bakeries, delis or grocery stores and pack up a cooler for the afternoon! There are several hidden beaches on South Bass Island that you can discover and enjoy! It’s so fun to swim in the water and lay on the crushed shell beaches. For the most part we had the beaches all to ourselves!
4. Bar hop the island. There are so many bars that you probably won’t get to all of them in one night….but over the course of a weekend you might get close!
If you’re looking for a little getaway in the Midwest that packs a lot of punch into a few days definitely consider Put in Bay on South Bass Island!
The bed has been the major focus of our Master Bedroom Revamp. After transforming the walls from dark blue to white, we got busy with some serious mattress research. Our new BeautyRest Black Sidney Mattress finally arrived and now it’s time for bedding and finishing all the little details in the room. Below are some tips for creating your ultimate dream bed:
1. New Mattress! What first attracted us to the Beatyrest Black Collection was the overall appearance of the mattress—-these things are thick (14-18 inches depending on the model) and the fabrics and materials stand out from the rest. Since we have a platform bed that doesn’t require a box spring, a thick, sturdy mattress is ideal and we found that in the Beautyrest Black Sidney ($3,500-$5,599. We were won over by the Micro Diamond Infused AirCool Memory Foam Technology. We are literally sleeping on diamonds. Beautyrest has utilized the conductive properties of diamonds to help move body heat away from the body and help regulate your temperature throughout the night. The amazing pillowtop on this thing was amazing enough, but the idea of sleeping atop of diamonds really sealed the deal! We are completely loving our Beautyrest Black experience so far, and I’ll do a follow-up in a couple weeks! The Beautyrest Black Collection is definitely luxury at it’s finest. Sleep is the ultimate luxury, afterall, dream in black.
2. Bedding! West Elm is my go-to resource for home decor—especially when it comes to bedding or shower curtains. I just haven’t found anyone else who offers the great color and patterns that West Elm does. However, bedding was not an easy decision for me. I actually purchased and returned 3 comforters before finally falling in love with West Elm’s Stamped Duvet ($119.oo). With the clean white walls and our large wooden bed frame the simple black and white pattern of this duvet ended up being the perfect balance. We choose the Standard Down Alternative Insert ($179.00) to go inside the duvet. It’s fluffy, but not overly thick or warm.
3. Sheets! Sheets were another tough decision for me. I really wanted to go all out and get 1000 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets. Afterall, that seemed like the perfect compliment to our extremely luxurious mattress. But you guys, they do *not* make Egyptian cotton sheets in fun colors or patterns. And I’ll admit it, I totally wanted sheets that were a little crazy. I ended up ordering these Striped Celery Root ($49) sheets from West Elm. At 200 TC I was kind of nervous that they wouldn’t be that soft—-but you know what? They totally are. And the smile they put on my face every time I pull back the duvet and see those bright green stripes is priceless. (plus, they were totally on sale). Other options pictured: West Elm Dot Sheet Set ($99.00, king), West Elm Organic Harmony Sheet Set ($79.99, king).
4. Pillows! Oh man. This is going to be a long post. Because I also have way too much to say about pillows. I have always been a huge fan of throw pillows. Stacking our throw pillows to the side of our bed has been a nightly ritual for years and has always reminded me of that scene in Along Came Polly (you know, this one). But for some reason I am just totally undecided in the throw pillow department this time. When I ordered our bedding I ordered three West Elm Euro Pillows ($49.00 each) with the matching Stamped Euro Covers ($29.00 each) and so far I am just really loving the simplicity of how it looks and how fast we can make (and unmake) the bed. Not to mention, Euro pillows are so much more comfortable than throw pillows when it comes to snuggling up and reading or watching a movie in bed. I think we’re gonna buck tradition and skip the throw pillows. Options pictured: West Elm Silk Cayenne Cover ($35.00), West Elm Steven Alan Pillow Cover ($35.00), West Elm Embroidered Lattice Pillow Cover ($39.0o).
5. Accent Blanket or throw! I’m a big fan of having an extra blanket layered across the foot of the bed. Not only does it provide a pop of color and some extra texture…but it also comes in handy when you need some extra warmth. Which for me is all the time. Right now we have added a bright green IKEA blanket that we already owned, but I might upgrade it if we find the right color and size. Options pictured: West Elm Jacquard Key Throw ($47.00), West Elm Softest Throw ($39.00), West Elm Steven Alan Alpaca Throw ($103.00).
So there you have it. That is my process for putting together a bed and I am so happy with our final result! I can’t wait to share pictures of our completely redone bedroom (coming soon) along with a follow-up review after 1-month on our Beautyrest Black Sidney mattress!
Please note that we were provided with a Beautyrest Black Sidney Mattress courtesy of Simmons Beautyrest for review, but all opinions shared within this post are my own. As always, I aim to share the products and experiences that I truly love + enjoy.
I have a lot to say today. I’ll start by saying that I’m a HUGE Harry Potter nerd. I read all the books twice and the last book came out when I was like a senior in college and I had no shame carrying around that 800 page young adult novel. Obviously when I spotted this sweatshirt from Tees and Tank You I had to have it. I’d also like to say a word (or ten) about these GAP jeans. They’ve been on constant rotation the past month and look like $250 designer denim. They’re prefect with a 4″ cuff and a pair of TOMS, but I also know they are going to transition perfectly with booties for fall. I’m contemplating a second pair. I also once again have to say how obsessed I am with RocksBox. Rocksbox is a monthly service that sends you a box full of gorgeous designer jewelry for only $15. When you’re sick of wearing it, you send it back for new stuff. Or if you love it, you can buy it and keep it (I’m keeping this one). I did a full post about it here if you want to learn more (and get one month free!). And lastly, this Dior Healthy Glow Awakening Blush has totally blown my mind. It’s this obnoxious shade of bubblegum pink that ends up looking absolutely perfect once applied.
Today’s Outfit: LeviOsa Sweatshirt via TeesAndTankYou on Etsy ($27.99), GAP Destructed Real Straight Jeans ($69.95), Report Simba Flat ($39.95), RocksBox Necklace (monthly service), Dior Healthy Glow Awakening Blush ($44.00), Dior Addict Extreme 479 in Holiday ($33.00).