Today: Get Messy Thursdays | Adventure, Week 5

This week I got got down to (messy) business a bit earlier than usual.  Most weeks, I spread out my art journaling over the better part of the week and wrap things up just in time for my Get Messy Thursdays post to go up.  With the holiday weekend upon us, however, I gave myself a time limit (1.5 hours on Tuesday) and let the creative vibes and liquid acrylics flow.

This is where the mess happens.  Believe it or not, all that crap tucks away neatly into a little handled container I found on clearance at Target.  It’s like the Transformers of art storage.  Except less cool.

Materials used: [left side] Sakura watercolor paints and a white gel pen (forever obsessed); [right side] Sakura watercolor paints, water brush, Sharpie pen

I made the right hand page on Friday afternoon, shortly after the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.  I cried happily as I listened to President Obama’s statement on the radio on my way home from working out (and man… later the same day, I would cry not so happily, listening to the President sing Amazing Grace in Charleston, South Carolina) and as soon as Grace went down for her nap, I broke out my watercolors and pens and started doodling.  What a powerful, moving day.  Love is love.

“God wants us to love.  And not a twisted , crabbed, narrow tolerance, which often comes in the guise of condemnations, instructions and admonitions that try to masquerade as love, but actual love… Love first.  Everything else later.  In fact, everything else is meaningless without love.” –Fr. James Martin, S.J.

I added the left hand page on Tuesday.  The quote is from a statement Fr. Jim Martin, S.J. made about the Catholic response to gay marriage.  For me, being Catholic is as much a part of my identity as my (mostly — sometimes I think I am more liberal than I really am) liberal social views– they go hand in hand.  And they’re rooted in a desire to see both God and good in all things, in all people.  So when I read Fr. Martin’s statement, I was like, Yessssssssss.

Materials used: Extra-sharp, extra-unsafe scissors; black gesso; magazine clippings(the letters are from an article about seaweed farming in Ireland… okay); Faber Castel gelatos; waterbrush; palette knife.

So it’s been a month since I left my job, and though they’ve been few and far between, I’m still fielding emails and calls from the office.  The other day it was one about a grant from 2007.  I wracked my brain, but could not (and still can’t) remember the last name of the development officer I worked with on that project.  Part of me was like, “Let it go, that was… how ever many years ago 2007 was.”  But another part of me was like, “OHMYWORD! You are suffering memory loss!  Your brain is disintegrating!  You are not playing enough Suduko!  You spend most of your day attempting to converse with a 17-month-old child and a six-year-old French bulldog!” 

One of this week’s Get Messy prompts was to use hand-cut letters from a magazine, photo, etc.  This seemed like a good exercise for my potentially aging brain.  I free cut them (no drawing letters ahead of time) and let me just say… not easy.  Once I got a few letters down, I tried to switch to my left hand, and managed to almost cut my other hand with the scissors… so I put a stop to that (safety first, brain health second).  

I filled in the gelato circles with a few adventurous bucket list items.  Is it weird that I really want to visit Mount Rushmore?

Materials used: Magazine clipping; Scotch masking tape with a ruler pattern (love this); Sakura watercolors; Micron pen

As sort of a foil to making plans and keeping a bucket list, I made this quick page using a photo of a man praying and a teaching from Buddha about dwelling in the present.  I could stand to work on being more mindful.  Like… a lot.

Materials used: Papernerd cutouts; Golden high flow acrylic paint; palette knife; white Faber Castell oil paint pen; blue Micron pen

This last page was really fun to make.  I used cutouts from Nina’s printable (she shared a little challenge on the Get Messy instagram account) and threw together an abstract background in response to one of this week’s art prompts.  I love how beautifully liquid acrylics blend.  I almost never use red (I once had a flaming red rental car and was all, Everyone is staring at me!), but really like how it turned out here.

Oh, and… red, white, blue… Happy Birthday, America.

Also On Tap for Today:

What colors (if any) do you avoid?  My wardrobe is black-on-black-on-black if that tells you anything.

 

Today: Ready for Action! (a preview and giveaway)

One of the many advantages to being home these days is the opportunity to take my workouts outside.  In addition to long walks and short runs at Castle Island (who can beat that view?), Grace and I recently started joining my sister-in-law and friends for a stroller-friendly bootcamp a few mornings a week. 

I am absolutely loving it.  It’s exactly the structure and community I’ve been craving.  I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun working out, and it certainly helps having a cute little spectator cheering me on.  After having spent most of the winter cooped up inside, though, it’s taken me a while to get my act together in prepping for these workouts.  From sunscreen and plenty of water, to diaper stuff, toys and snacks (Grace snacks while I work out… I think she has the right idea), to a yoga mat and resistance bands, I’m bound to forget something.

After falling for nearly every product inside the Hello, Beauty! bag from Whole Foods Market, I was so excited to hear that they would be releasing a second bag, filled with Whole Body products, just in time for summer…. and just in time for me to stop making a second or third trip back inside our condo before bootcamp.  

My lovely friends at Whole Foods Market River Street in Cambridge hooked me up with a complimentary Ready for Action bag to preview before they are available in stores on Saturday… aaaand I’ve got one for you, too!

Each Ready for Action bag contains a carefully curated collection: sunscreen, aloe, Toms of Maine deodorant, arnica gel, Nuun electrolyte tablets and superfood shake mixes, along with coupons for other great products.  And the bag itself is really cheery.  It is hand-printed bag by RIJI Green, a company committed to ending human trafficking.  It’s perfect for storing sunscreen and snacks (clearly, we are all about the snacks) in your beach or gym bag.

When it comes to active living, our local Whole Foods Market really is a one-stop shop.  I know the products and ingredients on the shelves are going to be safe and family-friendly, which I can’t necessarily say about so-called nutrition and supplement stores.  

I couldn’t wait to put the Goddess Garden Organics Natural Sunscreen and Boiron Arnicare Gel to good use during this week’s workouts, and I’m looking forward to mixing the Amazing Grass vanilla chai Amazing Meal into my next shake.

You can pick up a Ready for Action bag for just $12 (it is valued at $50) tomorrow, Saturday June 27th at 10 AM at your local U.S. Whole Foods Market store, in the Whole Body department.

Ready for Action giveaway

I’m excited to share a Ready for Action bag with one U.S. reader.  To enter, please comment below.  A winner (though… you’re, like, all winners… and don’t you forget it) will be randomly selected on Tuesday, June 30th.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your list of summer essentials?

Today: Get Messy Thursdays | Adventure, Week 4

On Wednesdays, we wear pink.  And on Thursdays, we get messy.

I tried to tackle, in some form or fashion, each of this week’s prompts from the Get Messy Art Journal program (it’s never too late to join!) while limiting the supplies I used– a couple pens, some watercolors, a few stamps and some old magazines.

After last week’s go at a new sketchbook, it’s clear the pages weren’t holding up to all that paint and water.  I decided to use up the last few pages in my original sketchbook… and then light a candle or sprinkle some crystals or maybe just search Amazon for an hour in search of a thick bound book of watercolor paper that can lay flat– preferably one that doesn’t have a spiral binding and isn’t ugly.  I’m putting that out into the Universe and will report back on whether or not the so-called Law of Attraction applies to paper.  On to this week’s pages (and… this week’s jams!).

Get Messy Thursdays | Adventure, Week 4

Materials used: Watercolor paper, Sakura watercolor paints, Sakura white gel pen (my favorite thing, like, ever), magazine tear-outs, a map from a recent Audubon sanctuary visit, tracing paper, glue stick 

So one of this week’s prompts called for writing a poem about wanderlust.  The last time I wrote a poem, it was in memory of my parents’ deceased parrot.  It was sort of a morbid joke, and it was really funny.  (I am the sort of person who ruins being funny, though, by being all… I’m so funny, right? Right?!)  Needless to say, my poetry skills are rusty, at best.  And I can’t say I’ve been feeling especially wanderlusty (not a word, going to use it regardless) lately.  So I wrote about that.  

If I end up growing very serious, wearing a beret and performing this piece of crap at the world championship poetry slam… you can say you knew me when.  Or whatever.  The accompanying page was in response for the prompt that called for no scissors + at least 5 piece of paper.  I started out by following the rules, and then carefully cut out a Taj Mahal and tucked it in between the rip-outs.  I sort of love how it turned out.

Materials used: Magazine clippings, washi tape, letter stamps (small letters are from the Dollar Spot at Target, larger letters are from a Studio Calico set), Micron pen (black, size 01), tracing paper, Sakura watercolors, 3M self-laminating pouch

I was sort of on a roll when it came to ripping pages out of magazines and quickly threw together this collage.  The stamped words are lyrics from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children.”  I read somewhere that Graham Nash wrote the song after seeing a photo of a child holding a toy grenade, and thinking about how susceptible children are to messages about violence and war.  And so as happy as this page feels, I wasn’t feeling especially happy when I made it.  Earlier this month, a sixteen-year-old in Dorchester was shot and killed while riding his bike — a sixteen-year-old and a fourteen-year-old have been charged with his murder.  These are children.  Even if we disagree about the need for gun control, I hope we can at least agree that enough is enough.  Our children deserve so much better.

When I think about what I want to teach Grace, I think about how I could be a better role model for her.  I think a lot about how I hope she will view and treat other people.  Above all, I want her to be compassionate.  I want her to have a generous spirit.  And I don’t want her to be afraid.

I tried to find a good photo of figures to trace for one of this week’s art prompts, but um… why are most magazine photos of people so awkward or provocative or weird?  There was a spread on bathing suits in Marie Claire that should have been perfect… but the models all looked mad.  And I got distracted by that.  And then I ate a bowl of popcorn.  After that, I quickly traced these eyes (from an article about adult acne products, of all things) and filled them in with some watercolors.  I didn’t really have any place to stick ’em, so (I am sure you know where this is going), I laminated them and made a bookmark.

Materials used: Gold vinyl stickers, green watercolor paint, magazine clipping, glue stick

My last page was fast and simple (and not fueled by any underlying rage against America’s gun lobby).  I’ve been making a running list of things I want to do this summer, places I want to visit, and projects I want to take on.  This was a little (metallic) note to self.  Just go.

This week’s jams

Oh, and because music is a key part of my creative process (alongside giant bowls of popcorn), I though you might like a peek at what I was listening to while making a mess:

If you’d like to see what my fellow Get Messy Thursday ladies are working on this week, you can find their links here.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where do you most want to wander these days?

Today: Get Messy Thursdays | Adventure, Week 3

So, I decided to crack open a new sketchbook this week.  I was running out of pages in my old one, and everything that I loved about it (namely, the scraps and things spilling over the pages and spiral binding) was sort of driving me mental.  The binding was making it difficult to create full page spreads, so I went after something that would lay flat.  

I love the minimalist cover (I added the E for good measure) and the page size is perfect.  Buuut…. as you’ll see, the paper’s not holding up well with all the paint and ink.  I’m tempted to try making my own with loose watercolor paper.  Trial and error, my friends.

Speaking of trial and error, I accidentally used a “u” stamp instead of an “n” stamp for my first spread.  And I’m strangely okay with that (Look! I’m becoming a reformed perfectionist!).

Materials used: Bubble wrap used as a stamp, with ink and watercolor paint (applied with a brayer); letter stamps from Studio Calico with black StazOn archival ink; Sakura white gel pen; black fine point Sharpie pen; Sakura watercolors

One of the Get Messy prompts this week involved our biggest or greatest or most adventurous (I can’t remember the specific wording) adventure.  I listed a few that immediately came to mind in the bubble wrap circles.  Some adventures would revisit in a heartbeat.  I loved swimming to the back of a dark, sort of creepy, fish-(and who knows what else) filled cave off Cooper’s Island in the British Virgin Islands.  I would marry Nick and become Grace’s mother again in a heartbeat.  I’d even climb a bunch of waterfalls wearing gold leather sandals.  

The whole skydiving thing?  I’d probably skip that.  The more I thought about that absurd day, though, the funnier it became to me.  Like, to the point that I was in tears laughing.  And so, I feel like that one’s worth sharing.  If you’ve already been skydiving, we likely watched the same terrifying training video, wore the same hideous leather helmet thing, and possibly experienced the same life-changing, harness-induced discomfort.  Seriously.  I could barely enjoy the view, because all I could think was, “I survived free fall, and will come back to Earth only to die of the world’s worst wedgie.” 

I decided I needed to make a conscious decision just to relax (this would be a once in a lifetime experience, after all) and enjoy the ride, but apparently I relaxed so much that the instructor I jumped tandem with thought I had passed out, and he started sort of slapping me on the cheek.  So that was weird.

Also, I went on this whole “adventure” with an ex-boyfriend (it was all very fresh… like… I think he dumped me a few days before we went).  That seems like an important detail.  After the slapping thing happened, the instructor tried to make small talk while we circled back toward the ground.  

It went something like this:

  • Instructor: So, what do you do?
  • Elizabeth: I am in college.  Um… what do you do?
  • Instructor: I am a skydiving instructor.
  • Elizabeth:  Right. (Duh.)
  • Instructor: Is that your boyfriend (pointing to parachute a bit ahead of us)?
  • Elizabeth: Ex-boyfriend.
  • Instructor: Whoaaaa, skydivin’ with your ex-boyfriend!  That’s a new one.  You must really trust him.
  • Elizabeth: Yeah.  No.  Not really.

Add 20 minutes of awkward silence between me and the person tethered to my back.  And then cut to the part where I forgot the most important segment of the training video (pull your legs up at landing) and tripped us both, causing me to be flattened like a pancake into the ground.

END SCENE

After that little trip down memory lane, I’ve decided that my greatest adventure is yet to come.  

Materials used: Magazine clipping (how gorgeous is that matte black place setting?); turquoise ink; Sakura watercolor paint (black and grey); Sakura white gel pen

As for adventures (hopefully) never to come, the list looks something like this:

  • I will never be an adventurous eater.
  • I will never get my nipples pierced (this is probably an overshare, but really… it only takes being bitten once while breastfeeding to know that even if I had an overwhelming desire to get pierced… this ain’t gonna happen) and I probably won’t get a face tattoo.  
  • I will never go bungee jumping.  
  • I will never get a cat.

Materials used: Magazine page; washi tape; glue stick; black Micron pens; Sakura watercolors; white acrylic paint

I didn’t have much in the way of “craft trash” to use for this week’s art prompt, but I did have this lovely tear-out from the most recent issue of Domino.  I painted in what was missing and added a quote (often mis-attributed to Audrey Hepburn).

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.” – Sam Levenson

Materials used: Black Pitt pens; mirrored geometric patterned paper from Studio Calico; Faber Castel gelatos; Sakura watercolor paint; bright pink ink; white acrylic paint; glue stick

And for my final page, I got a bit personal (because wedgies are so impersonal…).  I came across the expression “Your vibe attracts your tribe” at like, 4 in the morning earlier this week.  Grace was up and I was mentally willing her to go back to sleep, while simultaneously busying myself on the Instagram.

It struck a chord (mostly because everything strikes a chord when you’re overtired) because I feel a little bit tribe-less lately.  Being home with Grace has been such a wonderful change, but I’m finding myself really needing to make an effort to build new connections and fight my introverted desires to keep to myself all day.  We’ve got a few things lined up that I am looking forward to, and that I think will be a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, I am not totally sure what my vibe is… because our current tribe consists almost entirely of old men wearing Red Sox hats, enjoying the beautiful weather at Castle Island.  Bonus points if they’re walking dogs (Grace’s vibe is 900% “Bring me your puppy!”).  Making friends is an adventure.

Welp, that’s it for this week.  To check out what the rest of the Get Messy Thursdays crew is up to, you can find their links here.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your tribe looking like these days?

Today: The Weekend According to Instagram 33

We soaked up just enough sunshine this weekend to get us through a rainy start to the week. I hope you all had a lovely couple of days, too!  Here’s what we were up to (in reverse order, Sunday to Saturday…).

The Weekend According to Instagram 33

  1. We enjoyed quite a few walks out at Castle Island this week and weekend, watching the planes flyover and boats come in and out of the harbor.  Oh, and waving to dogs, which is one of Grace’s favorite things to do.  Someone painted this adorable alphabet on the sidewalk near the fort.
  2. My parents’ backyard is in full bloom!  
  3. One of the highlights of our weekend was definitely strawberry picking on Sunday morning at Ward’s Berry Farm.  Grace did some supervising while Nick, my younger brother and I picked nearly a quart of the most delicious strawberries.
  4. Boston was fully decked out for Pride this weekend.  I love this two-story flag hanging in the South End.
  5. This is what I plan to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner this summer.  The basil is from our little deck garden (soon enough we’ll have our own tomatoes, too!).  If only there was such thing as a cheese plant.  It’s important to have dreams.
  6. One of my friends was in town this weekend (yay!) and we met for breakfast and catching up at the Lawn on D.  Such a fun place!

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Get Messy Thursdays | Adventure, Week 2

This week’s prompt for the Get Messy Art Journal challenge has been, appropriately, an adventure.  We’ve received a new instruction each morning from Vanessa, and while I’ve never worked this way (and let’s be honest… I always loathed group projects), it’s been quite fun.

Materials used: Another page from Combray, Golden fluid acrylic paint in Maganese Blue Hue (applied with a palette knife), black ink in a tiny spray bottle thing (I am impatient and moved it across the page a bit by blowing through a straw), clear stamp from Studio Calico with black StazOn ink.

I used a page from Combray for an earlier prompt, and figured… why not rip out another page?  This one has more of my notes from college scribbled in the margins and lots of underlining.  I can’t help but wonder why the H. I underlined the lines and passages I did.  Like, part of me thinks I was underlining random things just to stay awake.  No offense to Proust… except, kind of offense to Proust.  I was never a fan.  (Also I can’t think of Proust without quoting all of Steve Carrell’s lines from Little Miss Sunshine.

  • Sheryl: Who’s Larry Sugarman?
  • Frank: Probably the second highest regarded Proust scholar in the US.
  • Richard: Who’s number 1?
  • Frank: That would be me Rich.
  • Richard: Really?

Still, I’m glad I hung on to some of those books.  I’ve been reading more in French lately (mostly the news), which seems like a good way to keep the ol’ brain challenged now that it’s not responsible for running an organization and office.  A better use would likely be remembering ordinary tasks, such as walking Clark and moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  

Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing how this page wraps up.   You can see what the rest of the group’s pages look like by checking out the #getmessygame hashtag on Instagram.  And for even more pages from the rest of the Get Messy Thursdays crew, you can find a full list of participants here.

Materials used: [Left side] Sakura watercolor paint (from this travel sketch box), black gesso, white vinyl mailbox letters, extremely tacky gold puffy stick-on letters [Right side] Black and pink watercolor paint, Sakura white gel pen, black micron pen 

True Life: Art journaling has revived my adolescent love of quotes.  But where did we find all those quotes before the Internet?  (Wait… Chicken Soup for the Soul… bahahaha) Trip down memory lane aside, I really like this quote.  And I really like how this side of the page (white on black!) turned out.  

The other side: not so much.  I ran out of mailbox letters and decided to make use of the puffy gold alphabet stickers I found in the dollar section at Target a while back.  As with all Dollar Spot items, these stickers could have been sort of fun/irreverent/quirky or OHMYWORDTHATISTACKY.  Unfortunately, in this case, ’twas the latter.  I will likely swap them out for white letters, and perhaps mail them to one of the RHONJ.  

Materials used: Watercolor paints, Faber Castell Pitt pen (XS), magazine cut outs, a plain old glue stick.

My last little project this week has nothing to do with adventure (I was going to make up some sort of connection, but got lazy).  I was inspired by a color of emotions chart I recently came across… and Whitney Houston (she continues to dominate my go-to Spotify playlist).  I get so emotional, baby, every time I… cut images of floral arrangements out of House Beautiful.  Or whatever.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you listening to right now? (Don’t hold back.  I need jams!).

Today: Cleaning up at the farmers market, Whole Foods and freshii.

I held off on our grocery shopping this week until we had a chance to swing by our neighborhood’s Farmers Market (on West Broadway on Mondays, 12-6PM — click here to find a farmers market in your ‘hood).  

Clearly someone was excited to get her hands on a summer tomato.

We ended up checking off quite a few items from our shopping list:

  • a pint of grape tomatoes, a head of speckled romaine lettuce, a pint of strawberries and a bunch of asparagus from Freitas Farm
  • a bunch of kale and a half dozen or so tomatoes from Wenger Farm in Bellingham   

After walking back home and unloading our haul (minus the tomato that Grace ate like an apple on the way home, and the half pint of strawberries we shared as soon as we got in the door), we finished up our shopping at Whole Foods Market in the South End.  

  • Dairy: organic whole milk yogurt for Grace, shredded mozzarella cheese, pepper jack cheese
  • Produce: raspberries, blueberries, English cucumber, green apples, garlic, red onion, bananas, carrots, celery, ginger root, grapes, watermelon
  • Staples: quinoa, pearled couscous, canned whole tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas
  • Non-vegetarian things for my non-vegetarian husband: two spicy Italian sausages (basically, this is how I buy meat: I go to the butcher’s counter, have a mild panic attack, point to something and say a random number… in this case, two)
  • Impulse purchase: Caprese salad from the antipasto bar 

After the longest… winter… ever…. during which we ordered more…. pizza… thanweshouldhave… we’ve been making a concerted effort to clean up our meals. Being home and having more flexibility and time to shop, prep and cook has certainly helped, but I think our efforts (and all that sunshine) are definitely paying off.  I’ve been sleeping better, have more energy, and look less zombie-ish (I think).  I’ve kicked my Diet Coke habit (though I did sneak a few sips at my brother and sister-in-law’s cookout after Sunday’s 5k), have fewer sugar cravings, and generally just feel… less like someone who ate too much pizza.

I recently had the chance to check out the new freshii location that opened in the Back Bay this spring.  Freshii generously offered me a gift card for my first visit, and I’ve been back several times (both to the Back Bay and Fort Point locations) since.  It’s so nice to have a convenient and affordable place nearby to stop in for a quick, healthy meal or pick-me-up.  Their juices and salads, in particular, are really fantastic and I love freshii’s commitment to sustainability and their “Mission Green.”

Oh, and their frozen yogurt?  It’s the perfect compliment to all those fruits and vegetables.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where is your favorite place to food shop?

 

Today: One tough mother and a Ziploc® brand giveaway.

 

This post is sponsored by Ziploc® brand. I received product and compensation, but as always, the opinions shared here are my own. I truly appreciate your support of the brands that, you know, support On Tap for Today.

While I couldn’t be more happy and proud to be a mom, motherhood can be tough. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by tough mothers who serve as role models, advisors and middle-of-the-night “Is anyone else awake?” text-mates. I would be lost without the close-knit community of mothers we’ve formed since Grace was born. 

We benefit from the fact that we’ve grown up differently, have our own parenting styles, and our little ones are at various stages of walking, running, climbing, talking and, yes… biting. One mom’s tough day might be someone else’s proverbial walk in the park, but we’re all in this together. In that spirit, I’ve partnered with Ziploc® brand to share a few lessons I’ve learned over the past 16 months (some from friends, others from trial and error…there’s been a lot of that).

Whenever possible, plan ahead

It only takes running out of diapers on the road once before over-planning and over-packing becomes second nature for even the most disorganized crew. Though it takes a bit of energy (which can be tough to find at the end of the day), I swear by this rule: Clean out, re-pack and re-stock before going to bed. This works wonders for a diaper bag, but it can be applied to your gym bag or handbag (Side bar: Is it true that fanny packs are making a comeback?).

 

Ziploc® brand Freezer Bags Quart with Easy Open Tabs are the perfect size to hold 3-4 of Grace’s tiny diapers and a few wipes. I can quickly stash this bag in any handbag or tote to run errands or take a quick trip. The new Easy Open Tabs make Ziploc® brand bags really easy to grip and open, which helps because so much of parenthood is spent with one hand full.

Available in freezer, storage, sandwich and snack varieties (in a number of sizes), the new Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs can store food, art supplies and other household items. These are great for keeping an extra change of clothes (one for me, one for the baby) and keeping dirty laundry separate in the event of spill, spit-up or other excitement.  All Ziploc® brand bags can be recycled at your local grocery store.

 

At 33, not only did I just discover the merits of our freezer, I’ve also (finally) started putting some real effort into meal planning. Nothing beats waking up to a pre-prepped breakfast, or coming home to an effortless dinner. Tossing ingredients for fresh juice in a Ziploc® brand bag with Easy Open Tabs at night makes sticking with a juicing routine so much easier. The same goes for chopped vegetables for a salad or for roasting, soup that can be frozen and reheated, and a cool summer treat.

Take notes

Lately, if you tell me something (especially if I am in the midst of multi-tasking), there’s a chance I may forget it. But, what if I write that same thing down (or see it written down)? It’s trapped in my brain forever. With multiple schedules and social security numbers to memorize (seriously, I still can’t remember my child’s number… is that normal?), I think we could all use a break. Figure out your learning style (you likely know this already, you’re a grown-up after all), and do what works for you.  For visual learners like myself, we’ve got to take notes.

Other times to take notes:

  • At the pediatrician’s office: Both before and during visits. Our doctor encourages us to come with a list of questions.
  • Future plans: I keep a running list of books I want to read, movies I want to watch, and museums I want to check out (the Eric Carle Museum is at the top of the list for a summer visit). I also take notes for paintings or art projects while I am out on the go (because this is when inspiration most often strikes… not when I am actually sitting down with a blank page). 
  • The daily routine: Sure, it’s routine for us, but having notes on your little one’s “schedule” (whatever that means, these days) is really helpful if you need someone to step in for the day. It’s also pretty amazing to look back and see how this routine has changed. I have an iPhone note from when Grace was 3 or 4 months old that details every waking and feeding…we’ve come a long way, baby.

In the spirit of staying organized, I attempted to pack light for a recent work trip and realized I could keep my flight info and plane-friendly toiletries (I had electronic boarding passes and wanted to be covered just in case I lost my phone or whatever other imaginary scenario I had dreamed up) stored in a Ziploc® brand bag with Easy Open Tabs. I thought I was a genius.

Take care of yourself

I think it’s possible to balance both the importance of self-care, and the realities of life.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I got a massage or manicure.  My “me” time often consists of a quick trip to the grocery store.  And that’s okay.  But it’s important to do something for yourself.  It’s important to make time for the things that you love to do.  And it’s important, above all, to take care of yourself.

For me, that means having a little sketchbook on hand, traveling with little luxuries like cuticle oil (it’s easy to apply in the car before you start a trip and so good for your nails) and light, natural roll-on fragrance in a Ziploc® brand Snack bag with Easy Open Tabs, always having a great playlist ready to go, and keeping a stash of magazines to enjoy during Grace’s nap time.

The best way I can think of to take care of yourself, though, is by asking for help when you need it. Lean on your family, friends and fellow tough mothers for support. We need each other, and that’s a good thing.

“Team Tough Mother” at Tough Mudder events

To celebrate the launch of their new bags, Ziploc® brand is partnering with one of the most challenging events around, Tough Mudder, in celebration of moms who are taking on a whole new level of strength. They’re creating Ziploc® Team Tough Mother to compete at Tough Mudder events across the country to honor tough mothers everywhere. By the way, I love this Ziploc® Tough Mother YouTube video created to mimic real-life motherhood; some days I really do feel like I am completing an obstacle course!

New England friends: It’s not too late to sign up for this year’s Tough Mudder on June 6-7 at Mount Snow. You’ll find Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs at bag drops to store your gear during and after the event.

You can find more inspiration from Ziploc® brand and other Tough Mothers by visiting www.Ziploc.com.

Giveaway

To win your own set of Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs, please leave a comment below. This giveaway is open to US residents and will close on Friday, June 12th.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Another great use for your plastic bags: printmaking with Alisa Burke
  • Working on our summer bucket list
  • Potting this year’s first tomatoes!

When the going gets tough… let’s hear your best tips!