On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog

April 15, 2014
by Elizabeth
0 comments

Today: Love is stronger.

Hurt can be strong.  Fear can be strong.  Violence can be strong.  But love is stronger.

It’s always stronger.

P.S. If you have a minute (and I hope you do!), please watch this incredibly moving speech from a family friend, fellow BC alum, bombing survivor, and all around good guy.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have something hopeful, inspiring, or lovely to share?

April 11, 2014
by Elizabeth
0 comments

Today: Fear is not productive.

For the record, this post is supposed to be suitable for all  humans.  It isn’t supposed to be about being a mom.  Or boobs.  Or CPR.  It just starts that way, so like… bear with me.

 We took a bunch of classes in an effort to prepare for Grace’s arrival.  Infant CPR felt both helpful and necessary.  Breastfeeding Basics was, well, basically useless.  None of it made sense until I actually started breastfeeding, and at that point, I had the invaluable support of lactation consultants in the hospital.  They helped me figure that cool stuff out.  During the class itself, we watched some weird slide shows (I have never seen so many boobs in my life, nor do I expect to, ever ever again), and a movie with credits that included a thank you “to the women of Bulgaria.”  I am still not sure what to make of that.  Our instructor for Child Safety went a bit rogue, so the class was more about how weird babies can look when their born, and less about… safety.

Fortunately, the gaps left by the safety class were more than filled in when I had an appointment with a Boston Police officer to have our car seat inspected, just two days before Grace made her early arrival.  What I thought would be a two minute check of our car seat (which Nick had expertly installed) turned into 90 minutes of me learning how to actually use our car seat (little did I know how soon I be putting this new found knowledge to work), how many air bags my car has, which items in the trunk could turn into projectiles if (God forbid) I got into an accident, how to safely flee an emergency by car with an infant in tow, how to use a car seat without a base if I were to flee an emergency by taxi, and the importance of actually reading safety manuals.

Our childbirth class was cut short by a blizzard, so while we learned a bit about labor, we never learned about delivery.  Needless to say, when it came time to deliver Grace… Nick and I both had a lot of questions.  And I am certain our attending midwife and nurses had several questions about us.

Anyway, in an ongoing effort to get my life together before going back to work in just a short time (don’t get me started, I am almost out of Kleenexes), I was sorting through various info packets from the aforementioned classes, and I came across a page of notes I had taken.  In all caps, I had written,

Fear is not productive.

I remember one of the instructors mentioning that fear (and anxiety and worry) can slow down labor.  I am pretty sure I wrote this sentence down so that I could remember it if I went into labor and we were stuck in traffic.  Or in an elevator.  Like, I would look at pictures of clowns (or something equally terrifying) and the fear would persuade our baby to wait until we were safely at the hospital.

I think, at the time, I missed the point.  The instructor meant that being informed, making preparations, and feeling a sense of control would have the opposite effect.  Fear is not productive.  Being empowered is.  With seemingly so much more to worry about, to be anxious about, and to feel doubtful about these days, I needed this reminder.

Sure, in certain cases, fear probably is quite productive.  Say, if I were a cavewoman and a lion came into my cave to eat my cheese doodles, and I saw the lion, and I felt afraid… and that fear caused me to take my doodles (you can’t leave them behind, I imagine they were really hard to come by in those days) and run?  Productive.  Or that time I went skydiving with my ex-boyfriend in college (that should totally be the name of a Lifetime move: Skydiving with My Ex…. and  maybe on the way to the airfield, before she actually skydives, the main character would find out that she had been switched at birth, just to keep things realistic interesting.  Feel free to steal and pitch this idea to the network.), and I felt fear overwhelm me as I prepared to jump.  That’s productive.  People really shouldn’t jump out of planes for no reason.  Fortunately, I survived, but I did lose a contact lens during free fall.

Real, physical fear — the kind that has helped us stay alive as a species for so long — aside, the kind of fear that has us trying to predict the future, or read others’ minds, or play out all possible scenarios, is not productive.  Worrying about whether or not Grace will be happy at day care is not going to make her any more or less happy.  Getting anxious about making time to fit everything into the day is not going to fold the laundry, preside over meetings, pick out a semi-normal outfit for me to wear, and finish a workout.  That kind of fear is just not productive.  It wastes time.  It wastes energy.  And it leads to more fear.

As much as I love cop shows (which is to say, a lot), I’ve always been squeamish when it comes to the violent parts.  I like the intrigue, the plotting, and the cool police lingo, but I’ve always tended to cover my eyes during any of the real action.  I got into the habit, jokingly, of covering Clark’s eyes, too and telling him to “guard his spirit.”  This has always made Nick laugh, but I’ve caught myself saying this hippy b.s. more and more… and sort of seriously.  And most often to, well, myself.

When that unproductive fear creeps in, we’ve got to guard our spirits.  And with that, I am off to legally change my name to Soleil Moon Frye Dreamcatcher Incense Flower.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have any unusual fears?  What was the caveperson version of cheese doodles?

April 8, 2014
by Elizabeth
1 Comment

Today: Floral Arranging 101 (Week 1)

I recently came across Nicole’s Classes, a selection of online video classes on topics like photography and design, while headed down a spiral of late night Internet consumption, when I should have been trying to get back to sleep.  Which reminds me, the next person who encourages me to “sleep when the baby sleeps,” … well, you don’t want to be that person.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Back on topic: I’ve always been enchanted by flowers.  I worked for a florist when I was younger and loved watching the designers carefully choose their flowers and artfully arrange them.  When I saw that a Floral Arranging 101 class was about to begin (and would wrap up just before I head back to work… cue all of the nervous, excited, conflicted and overwhelmed feelings), I bit the $125 bullet and signed up.

The class, taught by Chelsea Fuss, spans four weeks and features one project per week.  Each project is supported by video tutorials, recommended materials and flowers, and access to the instructor for feedback.  This week’s project was a hand-tied bouquet, along with an aqua pack for transporting the bouquet.

I’m having so much fun with the class, and figured I’d share my weekly progress here.  We like looking at pretty things, right?

After a few failed flower shopping trips, I found this selection at my favorite Whole Foods in Cambridge.  I would have loved a bit more greenery, but I’m happy with how it turned out.  And those tulips that could possibly pass for peonies or cabbage roses?  I am obsessed.

I really get so much satisfaction from seeing a project through to completion (I can’t tell you how many things I’ve started only to get distracted and stray… okay, I can: a lot.), having a chance to engage the creative part of my brain, and work with my hands (on something other than the ancient art of diapering) a bit.

Also On Tap for Today:

Got a favorite flower? 

April 7, 2014
by Elizabeth
3 Comments

Today: Floating through the week with Reebok Skyscape.

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

Remember those cotton tennis shoes we all wore in the early 90′s?  They were adorable, but by early summer, I had already worn through the soles.  And as good as they looked on (with three pairs of tube socks of varying colors, rolled down… why did we do that?), they felt even better… well, off.

While my running and CrossFit kicks are both comfortable and good looking, my everyday shoes all seem to be one… but not the other.  I have clogs so comfortable I could dance a jig (or just, like, do normal things) in them all day long, but they’re hideous.  And I have heels so beautiful they belong in a museum, but by the time I slip them off, I’m in so much pain that I Google things like “DIY foot amputation.”

I was able to back away from both my clogs and Google’s search results the minute I slipped into my pair of hot pink Reebok Skyscapes.  They’re comfortable and good looking, and I’ve barely taken them off since they arrived.

 Floating through the week with Reebok Skyscape

I tend to be a shoes off the second I walk in the door girl, but I’ve found this pair to be so comfortable and lightweight that I’ve kept them on long after a post-yoga coffee run, a visit to the market for flowers (I’m taking a floral arranging class this month), a walk along the water with Clark, a trip to the doctor’s with Grace, and a short road trip to my parents’ house.  I’ve been wearing them mostly with jeans or leggings (my maternity leave wardrobe), but I’ve seen more fashionable ladies wearing them with spring dresses, too.

Made with a seamless foam upper and a low profile, the Skyscape is designed to be flexible, supportive, and stylish.  And unlike the kicks of our childhood, you won’t need to stop at the drug store to stock up on various blister remedies.  Or multi-colored tube socks.  Reebok Skyscape is available online, in Reebok FitHub and Outlet locations, and in select Kohls stores.

Also On Tap for Today:

If you had to wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would they look like?

 

March 19, 2014
by Elizabeth
5 Comments

Today: Goodbye, Winter. Hello, Spring.

I wanted to be the first to wish you a happy spring.  Since I’m not above cheating (but I am over winter), I’m coming to you a day early.  Sneaky, I know.

Perhaps it’s a result of being cooped up in maternity pants since the fall (the season, not the time I slipped on my neighbor’s icy sidewalk… which reminds me, I still need to draw him a note expressing all of my emotions about his lack of shoveling using solely emoji), but I am done with winter.

I’m more than ready to spend some solid time outdoors (in regular pants).  I’m ready to wear pastels.  Just kidding, it’s still all black, all the time.  Even on Wednesdays.

I’m ready to keep the windows open.  I would be ready to keep our backdoor ajar, but Clark got so excited about the temperature reaching 40 this past weekend that he busted through our screen, Kool-Aid Man style (fortunately, he was totally fine… apparently the screen was on its last leg… or wire… or whatever that thing is made of).  I guess we could still keep the door open, but I don’t want, like… a squirrel or a theif coming in.

I’m ready to eat fresh fruit and vegetables grown somewhere closer to Boston than, say, Chile.  I’m ready to leave my jacket and my bad New England attitude at home.

I’m ready to drive around with my windows down, cranking Turn Down for What (I have no idea what the song means, and I am afraid to Google it.  If it turns out to be something perverted, well… I don’t want that in my search history) like the cool mom that I am (play along, all those sleepless nights have given me a fragile ego).

Bring on the flip-flops.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your current jam?

March 11, 2014
by Elizabeth
1 Comment

Today: Flywheelin’ with ClassPass.

My midwife cleared me for yoga and “brisk walking” (which sounded super fun until I briskly wiped out on my neighbor’s icy sidewalk) two weeks after Grace was born.  When I was still feeling (relatively) great two weeks later, she encouraged me to engage in “moderate exercise.”    My CrossFit Southie membership is on hold for another week or so (and as anxious as I am to be back, I want to be sure I am as careful about returning to CrossFit as I was about CrossFitting while pregnant), and though I love a good workout DVD as much as the next girl, it felt important to get out of the condo.  And see other people.  Like, other than the post office people.  I think they have grown weary of my chatty visits.

One of the upsides to being overtired is that I have much less energy to think rationally and/or talk myself out of things.  When I received an invitation to the ClassPass Boston launch at Flywheel, I probably should have asked myself the following questions:

  1. How might sitting on a spinning bike feel mere weeks after giving birth? (Don’t ask, I won’t tell…. Okay, I will.  The first minute or so felt like an atomic wedgie of death… and then I remembered to adjust the seat height on my bike and all was right in the world.  Obviously, the post-partum experience is different for everyone, but I am guessing there are more gentle re-entries into the world of exercise.)
  2. Do I have any business whatsoever at a place as cool as Flywheel?
  3. Can I ride a stationary bike? (It’s been ages.)
  4. What if I fall off?
  5. What will my mental state be at 7:30 PM, after being up all night and all day?  Safe for human interaction?  Acceptable for the public domain?
  6. Do I own clothes other than these three bathrobes I’ve been rotating and have become weirdly attached to?

Instead, I just RSVP’d Very much yes.

And I’m so glad I did.  In addition to the much needed normal (the others, not me) human  interaction with some of my favorite Boston girls (Caroline, Sarah and Sarah), I got a great workout and maaaaan, did that feel good.  I loved everything about Flywheel, from the friendly staff to the stadium-style set up, and the high-tech TorqBoard to the freedom to control how intense (or un-intense?) my workout would be.  Added bonus: I did not fall off anything.  Our instructor, Ann, had the best energy and chose the perfect soundtrack for our 45 minute ride.  I can’t wait to take another class with her.

Lucky for me, I don’t have to wait long.  Shortly after Tuesday’s event, the lovely Jenna at ClassPass reached out with the generous offer of a complimentary one month membership.  I immediately (after saying thank you, obviously) booked another class with Ann at Flywheel and checked out the other classes available in and around Boston.

ClassPass

For $99/month, members can take up to 10 classes at partnering studios and gyms (up to 3 classes at a given studio per month, for example: 3 of your 10 classes can be at Flywheel).  There is no long-term commitment required.  You can find all the details here, but here’s my take:

  • While $99 isn’t chump change, the $10/class you’d pay with ClassPass is often much less than the cost of individual or drop-in classes at the participating gyms and studios (a single ride at Flywheel is $28… a bit rich for my wallet… but to be fair, this includes amenities such as shoes and lockers). #chaching
  • The variety of classes available (spinning, yoga, HIIT, etc.) is fantastic, and the participating studios and gyms are some of the city’s most popular venues (I love a good map: Boston studios, New York studios).
  • I love that you have to reserve your classes in advance.  I know this will keep me accountable, while ensuring I am carving out time to take care of myself
  • ClassPass’ website is very user-friendly.  Members have access to information about each class, studio and instructor, as well as a review system for sharing post-workout tips and experiences.

In addition to scheduling Ann’s class, I took a post-baby fitness class in the Back Bay this morning, and may also fit in a restorative yoga class (which I am hoping amounts to adult nap time… so tired) for later this week.  In the meantime, I’m going to make a list of things normal people talk about (i.e. not diapers) and practice chitchatting with Clark.

Full monty disclosure: I attended a free class at Flywheel and received a complimentary month-long membership to ClassPass.  All opinions and thoughts shared are my own.  Especially the part about the wedgie.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who is your favorite fitness instructor?  Do you have a class to recommend?  What’s your favorite thing to talk about with other grown-ups?

March 10, 2014
by Elizabeth
1 Comment

Today: Organic patio gardening and can’t-wait-for-summer gazpacho.

This post brought to you by Organic Choice. All opinions are 100% mine.

When Nick and I started looking for a new condo (we were expecting Grace and I imagine she was expecting… to not share a room with her parents and dog), outdoor space was at the top of our wish list.  With spring in sight (sort of… right?), I can’t wait to make the most of our new patio, which is conveniently located just off the kitchen.  While bundled up in sweaters, layered with other sweaters, I’ve been day dreaming about growing our own herbs, vegetables and flowers.

Nothing says “Adios, polar vortex!” quite like homegrown produce.

I recently learned about Organic Choice, Scotts’ line of fully organic gardening products, and look forward to incorporating their products into my plans.  Better for the environment than conventional products, Organic Choice is perfect for edible gardening and is available at major retailers.

Organic Soil photo 72859510_22_zps758b34b4.jpg

 I can barely contain my excitement (it spilled over onto Pinterest, where I’ve started a board with all kinds of ideas for planting and potting) at the thought of fresh basil, ripe tomatoes, and fragrant salad greens growing just outside our door.  In little containers (we’re city folks, after all).

We’ve always taken advantage of my parents’ garden, making spicy gazpacho, salsa, polenta pizzas topped with fresh herbs, summer rolls and crisp salads with their tomatoes, greens, and vegetables.  I am hoping I can convince my dad to help keep our patio plants alive… perhaps in exchange for some of that gazpacho?

Can’t-wait-for-summer gazpacho

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add tomatoes to the bowl of your food processor or blender and pulse until nearly smooth.
  2. Add cucumber, onion, garlic, cilantro, and a drizzle each of olive oil and red wine vinegar and blend until you reach desired consistency.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Be thankful winter is nearly over.

Time to peel off a layer of sweaters, finish off a bowl of gazpacho, and start putting those gardening plans into action.

Visit Sponsor's Site

 

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have spring planting plans?  Or tips for city gardening?

March 3, 2014
by Elizabeth
1 Comment

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XXV

 

What happened this weekend ended up on Instagram.

Grace turned a month old and I turned 32.  Nick crushed 14.1, Clark discovered heating blankets.  Speaking of Clark (and Nick), a few people have asked how I switch back and forth between my Instagram account (@ElizabethEv) and Clark’s (@clarkthefrenchie).  The answer: I don’t.  Clark’s account (and his recent summer slim down plan…) is all my husband’s doing. They’re quite the pair.

The weekend according to Instagram XXV

  1. I spent my birthday morning the best way possible: curled up with my little family.
  2. Naturally, Clark wasn’t far away.  I love his squishy face and greying beard.  He’s like a distinguished old gentleman (if you ignore all the farting).
  3. Nick put together a lovely dinner (takeout from my favorite Mexican restaurant, grown up things like candles and place mats, a perfectly portioned cake) while Grace napped (hallelujah).  It’s been ages since we sat down together for a meal.  It was wonderful.  And so appreciated.
  4. I love wrapping paper.  Maybe when I am old and retired, I can get a part-time job merchandizing wrapping paper at Homegoods.  If you’re going to dream, dream big.
  5. I’m all for inspiring tea quotes, but the “warmth and love of my soul” has been no match for this frigid polar vortex nonsense.  It was, like -100 in the midwest this weekend, so 18 in Boston probably seems balmy, but enough already.  This lady needs some fresh air.
  6. My parents, sister and brother-in-law stopped by on Sunday after Mass with all kinds of treats (including a hundred CDs from my childhood bedroom… more on those gems later).  These macaroons are incredible.
  7. I channeled my inner Donna Meagle and treated myself to a new electric kettle.  I’ve been drinking quite a bit of tea lately, and have become paranoid about everything potentially unsafe.  Like boiling water and open flames and stoves.  I like that this kettle sits a safe distance from our counter ledge, promptly turns off when the water boils, and stays cool to the touch.  Also: I like cute things.
  8. You’ve heard this story before:  I’m attempting a full month of #fmsphotoaday.  Saturday’s prompt was yellow.  What’s the over/under on me making it past Tuesday?
  9. As I mentioned earlier, Clark recently discovered heating blankets.  He’s nothing if not resourceful.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

 

 

February 27, 2014
by Elizabeth
5 Comments

Today: Ten years of highlights and the nursery.

My ten year reunion from BC is coming up (Speaking of which, have you seen this video?  It’ll make you super happy, I promise.)  While it’s hard to believe it’s already been ten years, it’s even harder to believe how much has changed since 2004.

Ten years of highlights

I’ve worked for two organizations (I am pretty sure a speaker at our high school graduation claimed that our generation would have 912 different jobs before we turned 30.  Proof that grown-ups lie.  Or whatever.), lived with cool roommates (my parents) for a few years, and some slightly less cool roommates (not my parents) for a few years, met Nick and tricked him into falling in love with me, bought our first home, freed Clark from the home of a Russian dentist (true story, mostly), got married, bought our second home, and welcomed a beautiful baby girl.  And those are just the highlights.

Ten years ago, 2 AM was for getting my high heel stuck inside my pant leg and falling into a glass door (and living to tell of it).  It was for cab rides home and late night snacks.  It was for adding everyone with my last name as a “friend”on a just hatched Facebook, laughing hysterically with my actual friends, and then remembering I had a French presentation involving medieval puppets to finish.

These days, 2 AM is for nursing, diaper changing, swaddling, singing, cooing, and cuddling.  I have officially become one of those grown-ups that will talk about your generation.  And I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Though I do hope my daughter wears more sensible shoes, avoids those swinging glass doors, and maybe chooses a cooler major than French.  Maybe.

Here’s where Grace and I have been spending our early mornings.

A peek at the nursery

We tried to avoid picking a theme when putting together the baby’s room, but clearly I am a fan of grey.  Nick’s dad mixed the wall color for us (California Paints Cloud); it’s the perfect shade of cool, soft grey.

Rather than buy an actual changing table and a dresser, we opted for furniture that can grow with the baby, or be used elsewhere later on.  I fell in love with the clean, modern lines of both this dresser and Grace’s crib.  The chevron hamper (which matches one of our sheet sets) was a gift from my sister and has been invaluable.  How do such little babies produce such a large volume of laundry? And forgive me for talking shpoop, but I am pretty sure we found the world’s greatest diaper pail.  Not only does the Ubbi look sort of chic (I mean, as chic as a waste receptacle can look), but it doesn’t require special bags, which means we save a bit of money by using our regular garbage bags.  Plus it’s steel (doesn’t absorb, welp, odors), really easy to clean, and comes in a bunch of colors.  Including grey.

Enough about that.

Nick secured a changing pad to the back of the dresser, and I found the perfect sized basket at Homegoods to store the baby’s diapers, wipes, and other necessities.  We used a really helpful chart from our doctor during our first few days home to track feedings, diapers, etc., but also found the Eat Sleep app and this notebook helpful (in hindsight, a regular notebook would totally do the trick #clearlyfirsttimeparents).  I’ve forgotten my own name by 3 PM, so it’s been helpful to have various charts and lists and reminders scattered about the condo.

Nick grabbed the travel alarm clock from Target, likely after the 700th time I called from the nursery, “Honey, what time is it?”  The mysterious little bottle is infant vitamin D drops, and the sweet pink lamb was a gift from our niece.

We bought the crib, dresser, and glider from Jordan’s Furniture, and I think we ordered the crib mattress from Amazon.  Shopping for a baby (especially when we essentially had no idea what we were doing) was a bit overwhelming at times.  We wanted to make sure we had the best, most safe options… but we didn’t want to have to sell our dog to afford them.  I found Lucie’s List to be really helpful for sorting through what we’d need, when we’d need it, and what options were available.  No nonsense.  Just the way I like it (most of the time).  I highly recommend checking out their registry cheat sheet and weekly emails if you’re expecting.

For now, Grace is sleeping (sort of… mostly, she’s awake at night…) in a co-sleeper attached to our bed.   We also have a Moses basket from my parents (seen next to the crib in the photo above) for napping, and a Boppy infant lounger, welp, loungin’.  We’ll likely move her to the crib around three months… but who knows.

How adorable is this Frenchie pillow?  My sister brought this for Grace in the hospital.  Our real Frenchie has been so good with the baby so far.  I think all that practice (um… on other people’s children) as a therapy dog has paid off.

We took a class called “Barks and Babies” with Clark’s trainer early on in my pregnancy.  We implemented a lot of Jen’s suggestions as soon as we could, knowing it would be a big adjustment for the French fry to no longer be the (only) star of the day.  We put a bed for Clark in Grace’s room, installed our baby gates right away, and let him check out all the various swings, tiny clothes, and diaper bags coming into the condo.  So far, so good.  Really good.

I clearly need to work on a better book storage situation, but in the meantime, Grace’s growing collection is within arm’s reach of our glider… if I glide that thing just right.  I love reading to her, and will share some of our favorites soon.

We looked for a matching ottoman or pouf for the glider but came up empty.  Fortunately, the $20 nursing stool we got at Babies R Us approximately five minutes before I went into labor more than does the trick.  Side bar: Would it have been too much trouble to name the store Babies Are Us?  And what does that even mean?  Everyone working there seems, like, fully grown.

You might recognize the storage cabinet from our first condo (we have a pair, and used them as light/dark laundry storage).  A little Lysol and some shelves later, and it now holds bath supplies, extra books, and an infant silver set.  In other words: it holds the stuff I had no clue what to do with.  It looks good… and that sort of all that matters.  Sort of.

Nick installed blinds (which let in tons of light during the day, without giving the neighbors a direct shot of the changing table and/or my boobs) and blackout drapes this weekend to finish off the room.

I’m thrilled with how it all turned out.  And I’m thrilled to be a grown-up.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was your favorite book as a child?