Today: The best case scenario.

I’m a worrier.  And I have an overactive imagination.  It’s not a great combination.  The last thing you want to ask me is, “What’s the worst case scenario?” or “What’s the worst that could happen?” Because I will answer.  In exhaustive detail.  

It might be in my genes, or it might be a little bit by choice.  I’m starting to think it’s the latter.

I was traveling for work earlier this week when bam!  It hit me.  Or more accurately, bam! Another car hit my crappy rental car (and I’m sorry for saying crappy, but… it was crappy).  

When it comes to car accidents, what happened to me would certainly be considered the best case scenario.  I am fine (truly… I think my hairdo got flattened a tiny bit, but that’s really it), the other driver is fine.  Neither car had a speck of damage.  

And yet, long after the shock wore off, I found myself dwelling in what could have been. 


 What if one of us did get hurt?  What if the cars had been damaged and needed costly repairs?  What if I didn’t make my flight home?  What if I hadn’t left 9 car lengths between me and the car ahead of me (safety first, my friends), and then I hit that car?  And what if one of us were going somewhere really important, and we didn’t get there on time?  And what if when I got out to inspect our cars, I slipped in all that snow because I was wearing ridiculous shoes (which I was) and broke one of my legs and also lost my phone at the same time and maybe got amnesia and therefore couldn’t remember any phone numbers, and then wasn’t able to get in touch with Nick to tell him that I had a broken leg, needed to get a new phone, had forgotten my entire life story, and was stranded in Detroit? 


I’d like to say that falling into such a spiral of interesting, yet unproductive thoughts was a rare event.  But it’s not. While I genuinely believe in the good, I often catch myself expecting the bad.  The annoying.  The frustrating.  The ugly. 

I think it would be easy to point to all the proof around us that things aren’t perfect.  And there is so much we cannot control, and can’t choose.  But just like I can choose between boots and sparkly flats, I can choose my outlook.  I can choose my attitude (as challenging as that can be).  Having choices is a grace.  Having choices means we’re still empowered.  It means that we’re still doing okay.

This is my long winded way of telling you that it’s time for me to start focusing on the best case scenario.  The one where we all get home safely.  The one where our ridiculous but beautiful shoes serve us well.  The one where we treat each other kindly, even when our cars crash into one another.  The one where I have an empty seat next to me on one flight, and a nice person sitting next to me on the next (And yes!  That really happened!).  No amnesia, no broken legs, no missed flights.

What a nice place to dwell.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the best that could happen for you today?

 

Today: My favorite online classes.

I spend a lot of time in schools for work, which often makes me miss… being in school.  It also probably explains why I’ve had a cold for six months.  I’m pretty sure I always loved being a student.  Even in middle school, when I had a broken ankle and braces and glasses and an uggo haircut all at the same time.

My favorite online classes for art, photography and creativity

By the time I made it to college, got my math requirement out of the way (dark times), and had the freedom and flexibility to take classes that actually interested me… that’s when things got really good.  I studied French and Fine Arts, which means I did a lot of reading, a lot of writing, a lot of memorizing facts, a lot of dissecting other people’s artwork, and a tiny bit of drawing.  I went to museums and starred at microfiche.  I learned how to translate contracts, took a semester of Arabic, recited poems, and yes… performed a puppet show in Medieval French (probably both the worst and best moment of my years at BC).

As grown ups, there are plenty of opportunities to take classes in person (the BCAE comes to mind), but I really love the flexibility of online classes.  Here are a few of my favorites for those of you looking to infuse a bit of creativity into your day.  Or night.  Or train commute.  Or whatev.

Nicole’s Classes

You may remember my posts from last winter (here and here) when I took the Floral Arranging 101 class through Nicole’s Classes.  While I worked quite a bit while I was on maternity leave, I also found myself with both time to fill (namely, those 2 hour stints when Grace was sound asleep… and yes, I know, sleep when the baby sleeps) and a desire to keep my brain as engaged as possible.

 Their classes include photography, design, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, and each class runs live for 2-4 weeks.  For the 4 week floral arranging class, for example, we worked through one lesson and assignment each week.  What sets Nicole’s Classes apart, is that it is an app that you download and install on your computer.  Within the app, you’ll find the course(s) that you registered for, video lessons and a gallery to share your course work.  There is a high level of engagement in these galleries from both instructors and classmates, and I found the feedback on each project I posted to be so helpful.  

Classes range from $125-325, but there is also a lot of great free content on the Nicole’s Classes website, including these great tutorials.

Craftsy

I’m currently taking a self-paced DSLR basics class on Craftsy.  They roped me in with a New Year’s sale– I believe I paid $25 for Basics of Digital Photography, which includes 9 lessons and hours and hours of video instruction.  After years of shooting in manual (and… having lost my camera manual, despite downloading it, like, six times), I am trying to step up my game a bit.

In addition to photography classes, Craftsy has self-paced classes in:

  • Art (painting, drawing)
  • Cake decorating
  • Food and cooking
  • Home and garden
  • Jewelry
  • Paper crafts
  • Yarn and fiber arts

All classes are web-based, and you can jump back into your lesson whenever you have time.  I’ve found the class to be very user-friendly and love that, like Nicole’s Classes, there is a lot of interaction with other students and the instructor (there is a chat area on the class’ home screen) and a dedicated project gallery for the class.

Craftsy also features a community marketplace where you can buy patterns from independent designers, view projects from other classes and read articles on their blog (two recent posts: create a custom wirework heartbeat necklace and vegan caesar salad with roasted chickpeas and almonds).

Alisa Burke online classes

Alisa Burke is one of my go-to ladies for creative inspiration.  Her classes are fun, accessible and inexpensive and cover everything from technique (lots of watercolor and ink), to sketching prompts, to sourcing unexpected tools and materials. 

Alisa releases new classes each season (many of them with seasonal themes such as summer sketching) and each class includes video lessons, text and visual examples.  While most of her classes are for visual artists (of all levels, truly), she also offers several classes for those who own creative businesses.  

Oh, and her blog is definitely worth a visit — lots of stunning photography of the West Coast, tutorials, family art-making, interviews with other artists, etc.

Recommended reading

If an online class isn’t in the cards, here are a few of my favorite books that might help you make room for creativity:

You know what they say.  You’re never too old to get an awful middle school haircut to learn.

Also On Tap for Today:

Have you ever taken an online class?  Favorites/Wish list classes?

Today: A sneak peek at Whole Foods Market South End.

When I get THIS excited about a new grocery store, one of two things is going on:

  1. I need to get a life.
  2. This new grocery store is a really, really great grocery store.

In the case of Whole Foods Market South End opening minutes from our condo (and on my commute home!), it’s sort of both.  

I always need to get a life. And this is a really, really great grocery store.  

A sneak peek at Whole Foods Market South End

Whole Foods Market South End Ink Block

Tonight, I had the chance to get a sneak peek at the store before it opens this Friday, and couldn’t wait to share some of the highlights.  So I stayed up past my bedtime.  And delayed getting a life.

Whole Foods Market South End prepared foods

Whole Foods Market South End Ink Block

Let’s start with this: It’s big (like… 50,000 square feet big).  There’s parking.  It’s T accessible (Silver Line, Red Line/Broadway, and Orange Line/Tufts Medical Center).  

And it’s pretty.  

South End’s Ink Block

The store occupies the old Boston Herald site in the South End’s Ink Block development.  I love that Whole Foods acquired the old Herald sign and incorporated all sorts of newspapery (not a word, but hey) elements in the store’s decor.  

Boston Herald at Whole Foods Market South End

As a flagship store, Whole Foods Market South End features several new retail concepts, including a one-of-a-kind Fish Shack, just around the corner from a frozen yogurt bar (you now know where to find me…).

Juice and smoothie bar

The store’s juice and smoothie bar will serve menu options as well as just about any juice or smoothie customers can dream up (you now know where to find me, after I’ve moved on from the fro-yo).

Juice bar Whole Foods Market South End Ink Block

Bulk foods

The bulk food options go far beyond the usual nuts and seeds.  Offerings top 250 items and include bulk salad greens, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, bulk liquids such as aminos, and a special super foods bar.

Whole Foods Market South End bulk food

milk + honey at Whole Foods Market

Oh.  And there is a spa inside Whole Foods Market South End… yes, you read that correctly.  Just beyond the Whole Body department is a milk + honey spa (another first for Whole Foods), which will offer a range of services including facials, hot shaves, shoe shines, manicures and pedicures.

milk and honey at Whole Foods Market South End Ink Block

Wine, beer and spirits

In addition to a huge selection of wine and beer, Whole Foods Market South End Market will be the first Massachusetts Whole Foods Market to carry spirits.  I’m going to sit in this gorgeous leather chair while Nick explores 40 linear feet of craft beers (I don’t really even know what that means, but it sounds pretty cool).  

Whole Foods Market South End craft beer

A few unexpected treats

 

  • Kombucha on tap
  • A full service coffee counter featuring Boston’s first modbar, cold brew coffee on tap and single origin pourovers 
  • A Bikestock machine that sells bike parts (located outside, next to the bike racks)
  • An Art-o-mat (an old cigarette vending machine refurbished to vend… art!).

Grand opening details

If you’re in town this Friday, I highly recommend stopping by the Ink Block for Whole Foods Market South End’s Grand Opening.  5% of the day’s proceeds will benefit five local non-profits and Josiah Quincy Elementary School’s choir will perform before the store’s bread breaking ceremony (much tastier than a ribbon cutting).

Whole Foods Market South End opening day

Meet me at the frozen yogurt.  Or the juice bar.  Or the spa.  Or by the cheese… let’s meet at the cheese.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s new in your ‘hood this week?

Today: The Weekend According to Instagram #30

Happy New Year, my friends.  I hope you all had a beautiful holiday season. We had such a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends, but the best part was watching Grace enjoying it all.  Everything just seemed more magic.

We were lucky enough to have a few days off between Christmas and New Year’s, so I spent this weekend easing back into reality and getting ready for the workweek ahead by doing glamorous things like food shopping.  And searching through my closet for pants that weren’t stretchy pants.

Since I haven’t posted one of these since, like… October, I’m going all in with 12 Instagram photos from the weekend, instead of the usual 9.  Brace yourself.

The Weekend According to Instagram

The Weekend According to Instagram 30

  1. Clark‘s just being Miley Clarkie.
  2. Granted, there have only been 5 days in 2015, but I’ve been a real meal planning and prep champ this year.  Hence the 9,000 photos of food.  I didn’t set any resolutions (I think they’re sort of unproductive), but I do love the chance to reset, recommit… and reheat a bunch of food I made two days ago.  Being lazy and eating popcorn for dinner at 8 PM is so 2014.  On Sunday night, I made a big bowl of vegan roasted sweet potato salad, along with a bunch of chopped vegetables, juice, beans, etc.
  3. That looks like a photo of nothing, but I assure you, it’s a photo of something.  (You can squint, or maybe just click over to the original here)  Grace and I went out for a foggy 5k run on Sunday and I took this photo as we turned around and headed back home.  I love living across from the ocean.
  4. So many books, such tiny hands.
  5. Saturday breakfast: almond milk + gluten free granola + a side of Greek yogurt with berries + every spice from our cabinet that smells like Christmas (cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon).
  6. My go-to snack (and evidence that I love playing with my food): Red bell peppers and Tribe’s 40 spices hummus.  
  7. I’m guessing I would feel differently were I not the member of the household who was exempt from shoveling duties last winter (thank you, pregnancy and new motherhood)… but I love when it snows! (…but then it all melted.)
  8. Jess recently recommended I check out Oh Canada from David’s Tea (Instagram is where all the good tea recommendations go down), so I picked up a few ounces while Nick, Grace and I were running errands this weekend.  It’s really, really good.  Very maple-ly.  Bonus points for being caffeine free.
  9. There’s a huge Lego place across from the David’s Tea at Assembly Row, so we popped in there, thinking we might see some cool things made out of Legos (there is a giant giraffe outside), but um… it was super crowded in there.  And I am claustrophobic. 
  10. Juice!  I made a few glasses of juice to start the week — beets, carrots, cranberries, cucumbers, green apples, ginger, tumeric, blood oranges, and a lemon.  Or twelve.
  11. Is it just me, or are those photo-a-day challenges actually cleverly disguised vortexes of guilt?  I almost always start the month all, “I’m totally in! Yay!” but by the 3rd, I’m more like, “I have lost my grip on life and its responsibilities.  I can’t even remember to take a single, specifically themed photo.”  I love having some creative direction (I feel like it helps me pay attention to life a bit more), but I hate that I inevitably forget a day and it all goes out the window.  Fortunately, this year, the FMS Photo a Day challenge is week-by-week.  That seems more manageable.  Find the details for this week (week 2) here.  The prompt for this day was “something yellow.”
  12. One more food photo:  We made a quinoa enchilada bake for dinner on Friday night (we followed this recipe on Damn Delicious… and frankly, all of her recipes look, welp, damn delicious).  

I hope your week and your year is off to a lovely start!

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Ginger and mint lemonade.

I’m one of those people whose feelings end up in their stomach.

If I’m feeling nervous, excited, anxious, worried, anxious, afraid, unsettled, or irritated, my stomach has its own corresponding dance.  Your feelings may turn into headaches or that weird eyelid twitch, but regardless, our emotional things almost always manifest themselves as physical things.

With so much to see and do and wrap and taste and smell and feel (so much exciiiiiitement!) during the holiday season, I start to notice a pattern of my stomach feeling off more days than it’s on.  Once I’ve spent at least an hour on WebMD ruling out a very rare and very deadly parasite, I find that a cup of tea and little quiet time often does the trick.

When that’s not enough, I hit up nature’s medicine cabinet.  

Side bar: That would be such a cute name for a store. I would sell flowers and tea and make people happy. Except… never mind… “nature’s medicine cabinet” might be the name of a medical marijuana dispensary I saw on 60 Minutes.  Who knows.  

Back on topic: A little ginger, some citrus, a bit of mint… et voila

Ginger and mint lemonade - a delicious and refreshing drink perfect for soothing upset stomachs

Ginger and mint lemonade

While this ginger and mint lemonade serves as a fantastic stomach soother (and it’s sort of the perfect antidote the entire bowl of M&Ms I ate last night), it’s just as delicious and refreshing on those days when all is right in your world and in your body.

Oh, and (you know this already): Numbers are not my strong suit, so don’t worry too much about measuring.  As with just about every recipe I share, you’ll get by with some good estimating and tasting along the way.

Recipe yields approximately 4 servings and will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup loose mint tea leaves (I used organic spearmint from David’s Tea)
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped ginger
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Directions:

  1. Mix tea leaves, agave nectar and grated ginger in a large bowl.
  2. Add boiling water and allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain tea mixture using a fine mesh strainer* into a large measuring cup (or bowl with a pouring spout thing) and press firmly to extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Add lemon juice and cold water.
  5. Divide and store in covered glass jars.
  6. Refrigerate and shake well before serving.

*As you can see in the photo above, I used a fairly loose strainer and some errant tea leaves snuck in (all good in my book).  If you’d prefer to not have the feeling that something’s stuck between your two front teeth all day, I recommend a fine mesh strainer for Step 3.

Okay!  Back to the candy bowl excitement!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your home remedy of choice?

Today: Lighting a candle (and an Old Factory Candles giveaway)

While I imagine candles were invented out of necessity (you know, like, before an old person invented the Clapper to clap on all the lights in the house), these days, they do more than help us read once the sun’s gone down.  For me, lighting a candle is the perfect daily ritual.

lighting a candle

We light candles atop cakes to celebrate birthdays.  We light a candle in the window for those far away.  We light pine scented candles in our first apartments when there’s no room for a real Christmas tree (just me?).  We light candles to offer prayers.  We light candles to set the mood (for the record, I was thinking of dinnertime and the “it’s time to eat” mood, not the other kind of mood… though I supposed that counts, too). We light candles at weddings, at baptisms and at funerals.

Lighting a candle is such an easy way to bring some of that celebration or ritual into a regular Tuesday.  Or Wednesday.  (You catch my drift.)  That small, simple act marks the start of something.  It could be the beginning of a great meal, or five minutes of prayer or meditation, or time to get lost in your thoughts.

Lighting a candle is how I come back to Earth, so to speak, on wild days.  Once the match is carefully discarded (safety first, mindfulness second, people!) and I see that brightly burning wick, the rest of my day seems to come into focus.  Few small rituals enable me to turn my thoughts off, while at the same time, turning my attention on, so effectively.  Bonus points for the added benefits of aromatherapy (and let’s be real: what smells better than a Christmas tree?).

Old Factory Candles giveaway

I recently received a complimentary gift set of Old Factory Candles and am thrilled to be hosting a giveaway today.  Each set includes three 2 oz. scented, natural soy candles in a range of themes.  I chose Spa Day (you know how people have those “I’d rather be golfing” bumper stickers? I want one that says “I’d rather be getting a manicure”), and have been enjoying scents of cucumber, green tea and (my favorite) lemongrass.  I like that these candles are small and come in unobtrusive packaging (the labels peeled easily off each jar); the scents are subtle and not at all overpowering.

One randomly chosen reader will receive a gift set of their choice (you can find all 11 themed sets online) courtesy of Old Factory Candles.  Here are a few of my recommendations for the lucky winner:

  • Winter Wonderland (hot cocoa, roasted chestnut, first snow)
  • Fresh and Clean (lemongrass, olive blossom, fresh linen)
  • Newborn Baby (baby powder, first blanket, baby shampoo)
  • Man Cave (straight razor, leather, mahogany… very Ron Burgandy)
  • Coffee Shop (coffee bean, hazelnut, chai tea)

To enter, please leave a comment below.  A winner will be chosen and notified on Friday, December 19th. Many thanks for entering!  The winner (Kim R.) has been notified.

Also On Tap for Today:

What daily (or occasional) ritual helps you wind down?

Today: Baby’s first 5k.

Yesterday morning, I ran around our condo trying to remember what one wears for a December 5k in New England.  I haven’t run much at all since starting physical therapy in September, and haven’t run in the cold since last November.  Totally off my game.  I couldn’t find a hat nor gloves, but did locate pants and shoes– and those seem like the critical elements.  Fortunately, Grace was better prepared and better trained (she’s been sitting for, like, months).

We got to my brother and sister-in-law’s house five minutes before we needed to head to the starting line, and we reached the starting line two minutes before the race started.  Just typing that sentence made me anxious.  Yesterday, though, there was nothing to be anxious about.  My expectations for any sort of quality athletic performance were nil.  I hoped to run as much as I could (and pain-free, at that) but ultimately, girls just wanna have fun I just wanted to enjoy my first 5k with Grace and our family.

Smiling is my favorite.

My parents took that photo of me about half-way through the race and as you can see, I’m all smiles.  I took a short walking break after Mile 1 and again at each hill, but was able to run most of the course.  Being able to skip the water stop because I had a bottle in my handy stroller console thing sort of offset the challenge of actually, you know, pushing the stroller.  Sort of.  Being able to see Grace and how much she was enjoying herself made up for the rest.

Grace waved and blew kisses to all the girls in purple sweatshirts and tutus, running their first 5k with Girls on the Run.  I loved listening to the girls chat with their coaches and be cheered on by volunteers on the course. I encourage you to learn more about the great work GOTR is doing in Greater Boston (and likely, in your community, too) and how you can get involved.

By the time the finish line was in sight, Grace was sound asleep (strollin’ ain’t easy), but I was still smiling from ear to ear.  As I ran from the finish line back to meet my family I couldn’t help but think, I’m baaaaaaaaack.

This has been an incredible and wonderful year, but it hasn’t been an easy year.  From sheer exhaustion and an overflowing of emotion, to broken toes and back pain, to managing work life and home life… there have been stretches during this first year of motherhood where I’ve felt like I’m doing the best I can, but simultaneously waiting for the next mini-crisis to crop up.  It’s easy to get a little lost in all of that.

And so something like finishing a race– something that used to seem so easy and insignificant– feels like a huge win.  One that I really needed.  One that I really appreciate.

We haven’t seen the end of sleepless nights or foggy brains.  There will likely be more broken toes (if there is a toy on the floor, I will trip over it — I think there is a reason my parents did not name me Grace), lost keys, forgotten appointments and wonky back pain.  There is no such thing as work/life balance (sorry, but there’s just not), but it’s still worth trying.  And I may never be as thin or fast or fit as I used to be.  And that’s okay.

It took me nearly 40 minutes to reach the finish line, but I felt like I had won the whole thing (for the record, I am fairly certain Grace did come in first in her age group). Having our beautiful girl with me made this victory all the more worth celebrating.

We’re in this together, baby.  You’re stuck with me.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • 5 tips for running with a stroller via Active
  • Making my list (but, um… there’s no time left for checking it twice)
  • Getting my act together with two more giveaways this week (promise)

What little victory are you celebrating?

 

Today: A slow and quiet Christmas (and a David’s Tea giveaway!)

If I had it my way, we would have a (childproof) Christmas tree up all year long and we’d live next door to the kind of people who leave a plastic Santa on the roof well into the Spring.  There would be an Advent calendar for every month (which, I know, doesn’t vibe with the story of Christmas… but, um, God wants us to be happy).  We’d listen to O, Holy Night every night.  We would say “Happy Holidays” to strangers (and mean it).  We’d always be on the hunt for the perfect gift and everything would smell like peppermint.  On cinnamon.  Oh, and we’d can our nasty ‘tudes (something that seems to magically happen this time of year, albeit temporarily).

More simply put: If I had it my way, it would always be December.  Because, you know, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

A slow and quiet Christmas

With all the energy that goes into baking and shopping, wrapping presents and decking the halls, finding that one broken bulb and hanging up the mistletoe… this can also be an overwhelming time of year.  I leave Thanksgiving dinner with grand Pinterest-fueled plans for the month of December, but by mid-month, what I really need is a nap.

Follow Elizabeth’s board Christmas On Tap on Pinterest.

This year, all I want is a slow and quiet Christmas.

I’m dialing back the decorations (generally speaking, neither lit candles nor glitter are baby-friendly), laying low, and soaking up as much of that Christmas spirit as possible.  Oh, and I’m drinking lots of tea.

a slow and quiet Christmas and a David's Tea giveaway

Growing up, we always had an advent calendar hanging in our kitchen.  It’s a tradition Nick and I have adopted — one I look forward to sharing with Grace.  In the meantime, she’s happy to be crawling here, there, and everywhere with one of the Wise Men from her Little People Nativity. This year, in addition to our traditional advent calendar, I picked up one of the coveted David’s Tea 24 Days of Tea sets.

I can’t wait to open the day’s tea and share a cup with Nick and take stock of the day.  I can see why this set sells out year after year (I lucked out in the Chestnut Hill store) and has become a tradition for so many families.  It’s exactly the quiet and slow I’ve been craving.

While on the hunt for the set, I went on a bit of a shopping tea spree (can we make that a thing, or at the very least, a hashtag?).  I picked up a few gifts for family and friends, some loose tea for yours truly aaaaand I also bought something for one of you, too.

David’s Tea giveaway (closed)

One lovely On Tap for Today reader will receive the Healthy Collection from David’s Tea.  Why?  Because I like you all a lot, and want you to stay healthy and enjoy your own slow and quiet holiday season.  This set includes three teas/infusions and ten filters for steeping your loose tea.  To enter, simply leave a comment below and share your favorite holiday tradition.  A random winner will be chosen and notified on Saturday, December 13th.  Thanks for entering!  Megan B. was chosen and has been notified.

Disclaimer: Don’t get it twisted.  This is not a sponsored post.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • New to the calm and serene world of tea drinking?  Here’s a little Tea 101
  • 21 homemade gift ideas from The Kitchn
  • Stay tuned for two more giveaways this week #tistheseason #partyonwayne

What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Are you having a wild or mild December?

Today: Really thankful.

If you are really thankful, what do you do?  You share.

Wishing you and yours a very happy (American) Thanksgiving.  I am grateful to and for each of you.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most thankful for this year?

Today: With a little time and a little space.

I used to be a morning exerciser.  I’d wake up before my alarm rang, head to bootcamp or the gym at our old condo.  It would still be dark and quiet when I returned from my workout, and I’d be ready to take on the day.

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

And then I traded morning workouts to become an evening exerciser.  I’d rush home and get changed, and Nick and I would head to CrossFit Southie together.  Like my morning workouts, evening workouts became part of our routine.  

And then I became a parent, and the only thing routine about our routine… is that everything changes from one day to the next.  There have been countless days when I’ve thought, “I’ll get up early and workout before work,” only to find myself up most of the night, nursing Grace and singing made up words to made up songs until she fell back to sleep.  There have been just as many days when I’ve thought, “I’ll workout when I get home.”  But when six o’clock rolls around, what I really need is a nap. 

These days, plans to workout don’t always pan out.  In fact, it seems they rarely do.  What does work, though, is fitting in a little fitness when I can, where I can.  I may not be able to count on an hour at the gym each night, but I can count on a 15 minute walk during lunch, some yoga in Grace’s room while she plays with her Little Tikes piano (not exactly ambient music, but I love it), a little balance work in line at the grocery store, and five minutes of weights while dinner cooks.  

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

Things I love: a little understated flair on my running tights and some pink laces.

I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for a few months for back and hip pain, and she has given me a series of exercises that, as she says, you can do pretty much anywhere and not look like a weirdo.  I like not looking like a weirdo.  And like a quick yoga flow in the nursery or some squats in the kitchen, they require only a little time and a little space.  

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

I’m no longer a solid morning or evening exerciser.  A workout is only going to happen if it’s easy and accessible.  (And if I don’t find or make excuses, but hey.)  In the interest of ease and accessibility, I’ve started laying out my workout gear again and even put together a little home gym in a bin.

CS by City Sports for women

City Sports recently sent me a few items from their CS by City Sports fall line, including the See Me Go 1/2 zip top (on sale for $38), Sporty long sleeve (on sale for $18), and Dual Fashion tight (on sale for $38).   I’ve always loved City Sports and used to walk down to the Chestnut Hill store (which got even better when it reopened last March) when I was in college for new running gear.  Their CS line is an affordable, well-made and well-designed alternative to, welp… the alternatives.  

The See Me Go top is great for layering (and it has thumb holes, yaaaaaasss!), as is the long sleeve tee.  I’ve worn the tights for both workouts and for running errands (paired with a black tunic and ballet flats).  CS by City Sports comes extended sizes (something I think all fitness companies should get on board with), and their apparel is flattering, functional and unfussy.  In other words: exactly what I’m looking for.  

CS by City Sports for women

Speaking of functional and unfussy, here’s my home gym in a bin.  I pulled together the things I use most often, or that could motivate me to fit in a quick workout without much (or any) planning.  

Home gym in a bin

In the bin (which, for bonus points, is paisley and adorable):

Other home gym essentials that didn’t fit in the bin, but that hang out nearby:

  • Foam roller
  • Yoga mat
  • Exercise ball (which doubles as the most amazing way to soothe or rock bounce our baby to sleep — seriously, all parents should have one)

While this little home gym in a bin is cute enough to leave out, it fits perfectly in our front hall closet (safely tucked away from curious babies and Frenchies) and can be pulled out whenever I have a few minutes to fit in a quick workout.  Easy and accessible, functional and unfussy.  

Obvious disclaimer: I received complimentary apparel from City Sports.  As always, thoughts and opinions shared on these items are my own.  Oh, and here’s something timely: City Sports’ Black Friday deals include 30% off CS apparel.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your workout style?