Today: Get Messy Thursdays | Serenity, Weeks 4 + 5

I did a little bit of painting last week, but very little art journaling, so I decided to throw together a combination post for Weeks 4 + 5 of the Get Messy Art Journal challenge, Season of Serenity.  

Several of these pages feature poems from Hãfez.  I’m basically obsessed.  I also drew inspiration from the gorgeous views at the Cape, my favorite podcast, beachside yoga, and a nearly-empty tube of gold gouache.

Get Messy Thursdays | Serenity, Weeks 4 + 5

Materials used: Sakura KOI watercolor (Prussian Blue), detail brush, clear alphabet stamps, fuschia StazOn ink (plus the black ink I never washed off the stamps… oops… plus a bit more blue watercolor to round things out).

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Krista Tippett’s On Being podcast.  I recently listened to an episode with Rami Nashashibi, a Palestinian-American who uses graffiti, calligraphy, and hip-hop in his work as a healing force on the South Side of Chicago.  Something that really struck me from this episode is how much of the good and powerful and beautiful we never hear about when it comes to other religions and cultures and ways of life.  Media loves the bad, the upsetting and the ugly.  I found myself thinking about this teaching from the Koran, which Mr. Nashashibi shared in the interview, for days.

Those quick flower sketches sort of reminded me of blue and white china.  I think I will likely keep working on this page and fill it up a bit more.  

Materials used: The aforementioned gold gouache, neon acrylic paint (pink and yellow), gesso, black Faber Castell Artist PITT pen (1.5)

I made the gold and neon background a few weeks ago, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it.  I covered up a bit of the paint with gesso and started scribbling on a favorite Hãfez quote, just as inspiration struck… I started writing in lines from the poem atop the neon, regretting having slapped down that gesso sort of haphazardly.

 I love the neon/writing bits, but sort of loathe the gesso/writing monstrosity.  The upside: I’m excited to try this made up method on a new page soon.  Please remind me of it when I’m fresh out of ideas.  

Materials used: Rolled strips of magazine cut-outs (rolled on a toothpick and sealed with matte Mod Podge), Faber Castell gelattos (sealed with matte medium), magazine cut-out (adhered with a plain old glue stick), Sakura KOI watercolor (Prussian blue)

One of this week’s prompts called for incorporating “paper rolling.”  I had no idea what that was.  So at 4 o’clock one morning (I have reached the point in this pregnancy where I just don’t sleep) I took to Google for a tutorial.  Word to the wise: “rolling papers” is different than “paper rolling.”  I now know a lot about weed, and a tiny bit about rolling up strips of magazine paper for art projects.

I like the simplicity of this spread and was definitely craving white space.  Probably literally and figuratively.  It’s been a go-go-go few days.  Sometimes less is more.  And that’s more than enough.

Materials used:  Magazine cut-outs and tissue paper (applied with matte Mod Podge), black Micron.

More Hãfez.  I love this poem.  The collage is sort of mosaic-ish and came together quickly.  The writing is kind of messy and I kind of want to re-do it.  But hey… 

Materials used:  Watercolor, gouache, silver and white washi tape, white gel pen and a super cheap letter stencil, ink spray, purple paper, magazine cut-out

And lastly, my favorite of the week.  Purple and grey are one of my favorite pairings.  After applying a wash of purple watercolor, a strip of paper and washi tape, I filled in the page with grey gouache.  I love the chalky finish of gouache.  

I had such a wonderful time at beach yoga last week and loved the teacher’s cues for staying mindful and present (focus on now… nothing from before…).  I added the “nothing for after,” because my worrying tends to be about what could come next.  This brain of mine can come up with all kinds of worrisome scenarios for tomorrow.  And the day after that.  And the day after that.

Meanwhile, the well dressed lady is from an ad for bathroom fixtures, so there’s that.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s got you feeling inspired this week?

Today: Drink Good. Do Good.

Nick, Grace and I spent last week at the Cape doing a whole lot of nothing together and it was perfect.  (Meanwhile, Clark was in the city enjoying the peace and quiet that comes from not being chased by a toddler all day long.)  With Nick back in the office come Monday, Grace and I snuck down to see my parents and soak up a few more days of swimming and walking around the neighborhood looking for poodles.  

For the record: there are nine standard poodles in the ‘hood.  I don’t think that’s normal. 

Before leaving Boston for the beach, though, we hit up the grocery store so that Nick wouldn’t go hungry without us… and so that we’d have no shortage of beach snacks.

 Grace is so much fun to shop with lately.  She can name most foods (zucchinis are still cucumbers to her, and lettuce is sometimes a flower… but hey) and loves make loud, enthusiastic requests for yogurt and bananas and strawberries and Popsicles.  

We make our way up and down each aisle as I double- and triple-check our list, filling our cart with the best options available for our little family.  With several markets so close by, safe and reliable transportation to get us there, and money to spend… those options are both healthy and plentiful.  

We don’t have to choose between what is heathy and what we can afford.  And if we do find ourselves with limited options… we can shop somewhere else.  This is something I take for granted all too often.

Drink Good.  Do Good

Meanwhile, nearly 24 million Americans are living in food deserts– urban neighborhoods or rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.  In Boston alone, nearly 71,000 residents live without ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  

In an effort to raise awareness for food deserts and to take action in making fresh fruits and vegetables accessible to everyone, Naked Juice has teamed up with the non-profit Wholesome Wave on the Drink Good. Do Good campaign.  I’d love for you to join me in this important effort.

How you can help

It’s as easy as hopping on Instagram or Twitter.  To help raise awareness about food deserts and the initiative…

  • Take a photo holding a fruit or vegetable
  • Share it using #DrinkGoodDoGood
  • And tag a friend to do the same

For every photo shared, Naked Juice will donate 10 pounds of produce (or the monetary equivalent) to Wholesome Wave.  

For more information about food deserts, how they affect our communities, and how you can help, please visit Drink Good.  Do Good.

I am grateful to partner with Naked Juice on this sponsored post and hope you will consider doing good by sharing a photo or two today.  

Also On Tap for Today:

How many poodles live in your neighborhood are you spending these last, beautiful weeks of summer?

 

 

 

 

 

Today: Yoga on the beach.

One surefire way to make yoga more enjoyable? Take it to the beach.

Nick, Grace and I are enjoying a few days of R + R at the Cape, and so when Charlotte, who heads up marketing for the new Boston-based startup MoveWith invited me to check out their classes and take one for free, I assumed I’d have to put that off until we were back in the city.

horseshoe crab

However, I was thrilled to find a beach yoga class just a few jetties away in Harwich Port.  I snuck out of the house early on Monday and had time to collect a few treasures before the hour-long class with Katelyn Gleason started.  Katelyn was so friendly and welcoming and quick to offer pregnancy-friendly modifications and lots of encouragement.  And all that sun, sand and crashing waves meant, basically, the best quick nap savasana ever.

Katelyn teaches this vinyasa flow twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays– check MoveWith for more details) and plans to teach in the Boston area this fall.  Class was so wonderful Monday that I quickly recruited a friend, signed up and paid for today’s class online.  I left my yoga mat at home and just used a beach towel, which was perfect (live and learn).  It was another beautiful way to start the day.   Just when I thought the Cape could get more relaxing…yoga on the beach.

A few other classes I have my eye on for upcoming workouts:

Most MoveWith classes are $10-15 and there is no monthly or long-term commitment, which I love, and they are currently working with instructors in Boston and San Francisco.  Check ’em out.

And the meet me at the beach?

Also On Tap for Today:

When was the last time you took a good savasana or nap or zone-out?

 

Today: Happy Weekend.

If you’re reading this, I’m already gone… to the beach.  These are the days to soak up as much of this New England summer as we can, commit every moment possible to memory, get lots of sand stuck in the bottom of our canvas bags, spring for the medium large sundae and just simply enjoy life above 70 degrees.  

Because, like these incredible summer sunsets Mother Nature has been painting for us lately, these days are all too fleeting.

Happy Weekend, my friends.

Also On Tap for Today

  • Why you should bury your cooler from The Kitchn
  • Pretending to underpack (I always panic and overpack at the last second)
  • Looking forward to some beach yoga

What On Tap for the rest of your summer?

Today: Get Messy Thursdays | Serenity, Week 3

So I got a tiny bit brave today and made my first Periscope broadcast, doing a little flip-through of my sketchbooks and art journals.  You can watch it here… until it expires and vanishes… or whatever happens to Periscopes?  Clearly I have a lot to learn — most specifically about positioning my tripod and iPhone and sketchbooks and so on.  Oh, and about not rambling.

I got a few art journal pages done in response to this week’s Get Messy Art Journal Challenge, and since it’s Thursday… here’s a peek at what I’ve been working on.

Get Messy Thursdays | Serenity, Week 3

Materials used: Tissue paper (applied with matte gel medium), magazine cut-outs (letters and a lovely lady), black ink, Micron pens, gold ink spray.

I’ve learned so much from the rest of the Get Messy crew and love scrolling through their images on Instagram (check out the hashtag #getmessyartjournal) and on individual members’ blogs.  I was channeling the talented Julia when I drew on that magazine cut-out and love how the whole spread came together.

I was sort of thinking about divinity and an appreciation and value for self when working on these pages, and how those may lead to serenity.

Materials used: Watercolors (applied with a small round brush), magazine tear out, brush pen, black Micron (size XS, I think), glue stick

A sort of different approach to serenity (and one I think is critical), is bearing a sense of humor.  There’s so much we can’t control.  Big things and little things.  It helps to laugh.

I think I was having one of those days while working on this page.

Materials used: Magazine cut-out, black watercolor paint, white Sakura Gelly Roll pen, gel medium.

I like to think of these next two pages as sisters.  For the first, I dug into my stash of floral arrangement cut-outs (there is something oddly soothing about cutting out flowers, and I’ve quickly amassed quite the collection) and paired one with a really beautiful quote about the passage of time.  

Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs.  And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven.  You will go away with old, good friends.  And don’t forget when you leave why you came.

–Adlai E. Stevenson

Aren’t flowers the perfect reminder that life is fleeting and meant to be both beautiful and appreciated?

Materials used: Black Micron pen (XS), Sakura watercolors (applied with a detail brush), purple and yellow gouache

Using the magazine cut-out above for guidance, I quickly sketched an imperfect version of that same floral arrangement and pulled an excerpt from the Stevenson quote to practice a bit of lettering.  I really like working with watercolors and gouache on the same page — the finishes are so different.

I love how the pages look side by side. (If I do say so myself… yikes.)

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s something you’re learning or working on this week?

Today: Beach bag upgrades.

The sign of a great summer: My beach bag is getting more use than my handbag.

Whether you’re toting around a beach bag, a pool bag, a gym bag or a something-else bag, I’ve got a few upgrades to share.  Things that make my life a little bit easier and a little less messy.  

Beach bag upgrades

Some of these beach bag upgrades are technically baby items, but don’t let that scare you off.  And if you find yourself childless yet running to Babies ‘R Us after reading this post, allow me to either 1. talk you out of it (with one child and another on the way, that place still terrifies me) 2. offer you one of the 19 about-to-expire 20% off coupons I have crammed in my wallet.

A wet bag

This should really be called “a prevent everything else in your beach bag from getting wet… bag.”  We use this one from Skip Hop, which is on the small side, but is perfect for storing my wet bathing suit, Grace’s wet bathing suit, and at least one towel.  If you’re heading to the pool or a friend’s house, wet bags are a great place to store your change of clothes (which can be swapped out for wet suits).  This also works for sweaty gym gear.

I like the mesh pocket on the outside of the Skip Hop bag — it’s perfect for stashing keys and a few dollars, or an extra swim diaper or two.  The snap handle is great too — I often attach it to the outside of our beach bag if we need a little extra room.

A giant carabiner

I sort of wonder what life was like before I discovered stroller hooks. I also sort of wonder what I would get done if I weren’t wondering about things like life before stroller hooks. This thing is essentially a giant, glorified carabiner.  It’s padded on one side, allowing you to comfortably carry a bunch of bags or items that have been clipped together.  

During the non-summer (I’m just not ready to say winter, or fall even), I use our hook most often when trying to make a single trip into our condo with the groceries and Grace.  I keep one in my car, and another in or attached to whichever bag I am carrying.  In the summer, however, it’s perfect for securing extra items to our beach bag (sand toys, towels) or keeping multiple sets of keys from getting lost.

Reusable snack bags

I use these reusable snack bags to store small items that, like keys, have a tendency to go missing in the very bottom of our beach bag– my phone, lip balm, hair elastics, band-aids, and sunblock sticks.  Again, these work for your gym bag, too.  The larger size can take the place of my wallet (because who wants to bring their entire wallet… 20% off coupons and all… to the beach?) and the smaller sizes are great for collecting shells and other treasures.  They can be easily washed or wiped clean.  

Also: I am obsessed with the patterns on these bags.  They make me want to start designing fabric.  If I had any clue how to do that.  Which I don’t.  Mostly because I am busy thinking about life before stroller hooks.

A waterproof camera

This is a bit of a splurge, but I bought a waterproof camera before our honeymoon to St. John and I’m so glad I did.  We’ve been able to capture photos from amazing snorkeling trips and swimming in tropical caves to Grace’s first swimming lessons and days spent at the Cape with our family.  In my dreams, I am the sort of person who swims under waterfalls and regularly partakes in SUP yoga in the harbor… but um, it’s perfect for my less cool, less adventurous (real) life.

We have an older version of the Nikon Coolpix Waterproof AW100 series.  It is waterproof up to 100 feet, is shockproof and has built in GPS/world map.  It seems like there are more options available (and at better prices) these days, and the new Nikons have built in wifi to easily transfer images to your smart phones.  If you’re going to invest in a camera, I highly recommend getting a waterproof camera float, too.  This can be used to carry the camera… but also lessens the chance of your camera disappearing, sinking, or sneakily bodysurfing ashore without you.  

Speaking of bodysurfing, I’ve got a wave to catch.  Toodles!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post, but this post does contain several Amazon affiliate links.  As always, I greatly appreciate your support.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you upgrading these days?  Has anyone figured out how to make laundry do itself?

Today: Get Messy Thursdays | Serenity, Week 2

This season, the Get Messy group (join the challenge here!) is focusing on serenity.  I couldn’t help but laugh as I sat down tonight (eleventh hour, for life) to start another round of pages for this week’s Get Messy Thursdays post.  This week has me craving some serenity.  But hey.  So life goes.

get messy art journal

This photo was taken before the sun set… the others, not so much.  In fact, if I get my act together, I’ll replace them tomorrow with ones less likely to give you a migraine.

Get Messy Thursdays | Serenity, Week 2

Materials used: Tissue paper (pale purple and black + white striped), alphabet stamps, black archival ink, Mod Podge (applied with an old gift card), black + white striped washi tape, white gel pen, super old magazine clipping.

Today was sort of the ultimate Throwback Thursday.  I spent the morning helping my mom clean out my childhood bedroom and Lord, have mercy, did I have a lot to toss.  There were a few things worth saving (I can’t wait until Grace fits into my kindergarten and grammar school sweatshirts), a few things I understood why I kept at the time (there was a whole box dedicated to things I thought I needed when applying for my first job), a few things I am glad I kept (a paper from a philosophy class I took with like, the worst professor ever…  His comment below the grade was, “but as you know, I disagree with you.” Hahahahaha. Yep.).  And there were things I thought I threw out (literally and emotionally) years ago. Stuff has such a way of bringing up… well, stuff.

I saved a few things that seemed perfect for art journaling, including a few magazine tear outs (including the one used above), photo prints from years ago, and drawings from a studio art class I took during my senior year at BC.  I did not, however, save a piece I drew and titled “4 cups of water: a study.”  More like, 4 pieces of crap.

I love how these first pages came out.  The tissue paper was really fun to play with — I am looking forward to adding a few more colors and layers to future pages.  The white stripes sort of disappeared into the white background, making the black stripes perfect for writing on with white pen.  I quickly listed a few reasons why I am not feeling so serene (a lovely, but teething child…) and a few ways to bring some serenity into my day.

Materials used: The sérénité page from an old French dictionary, an Instax photo taken at Castle Island in Southie, a photo I took years ago of the Brewster flats at low tide, liquid acrylic paint, white gesso, Sakura watercolors, Faber Castel PITT artist pens (sizes XS and 1.5), gold ink, white gel pen, good ol’ glue stick

This turned out a little more scrapbook-y and collage-y than intended, but I think you get the gist: I feel most serene by the ocean.  It must be the mermaid pisces in me.  Also: I just realized I don’t know how to draw a fish.

Materials used: Black gesso (applied with a palette knife), white acrylic paint (applied with a small round brush), white gel pen, magazine clipping, grey paper, vinyl mailbox letters, plastic moon overlay (from a Studio Calico kit, I think), glue stick

I like this quick, little page, but after I finished, I was like… um, gazing at the moon for hours sounds both lovely and… kind of weird.  I do love the moon, though.  I am always excited to see it hanging up there.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the most wonderful thing you’ve held onto since childhood?

Today: Six minute hummus plate.

I promise, there is hummus under all that goodness.

When it’s approximately 9,012 degrees out, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven or serve something hot ‘n heavy to friends and family.  These super easy hummus plates look gorgeous, they’re the perfect way to incorporate all the fresh produce available this time of year, and… they take, like six minutes to make.  

Granted, you could make your own hummus… but that’s more time spent in the kitchen and less time spent floating on a pool noodle.

Six minute hummus plate

Vegetarian, gluten free (contains dairy); Serves 1 pregnant woman named Elizabeth, or up to 6 people… sort of depends on the crowd.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 oz. container of hummus (I used a zingy lemon hummus from Whole Foods Market)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 (small) red onion, chopped
  • 2 (small) sweet bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest

Directions:

  • Minute one: Wash your hands.  Safety first, hummus second.
  • Minutes two-four: Chop your vegetables as instructed above.
  • Minute five: Evenly spread hummus in a shallow serving plate or platter (I used a ceramic tart pan).
  • Minute six: Artfully (or haphazardly, it’s totally up to you) top your hummus with feta, vegetables, dill, a little more feta, and some lemon zest.

It’s summer.  Everything should be this easy.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made with a pool noodle?  I’m personally a big fan of tying one in a knot (so it looks like a pretzel), sitting on it, and pretending I can float upright.  So… there’s that.

 

Today: Happy Weekend.

From my tomatoes to yours, Happy Weekend.

I hope you’re keeping cool and eating Caprese salads for every meal.  Unless you’re lactose intolerant… or, like, allergic to basil… obvi.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your weekend?

Today: Currently | July 2015

If I see or hear one more back to school commercial…  Lord, help me.  Because of all that snow, the last day of school in Boston this year was June 29th, which was basically five minutes ago.  So, please… let’s keep those school supplies out of sight for at least another month.  

[Also, this is the first time since I was in kindergarten that my life doesn’t essentially revolve around an academic calendar.  So that’s kind of weird.  After graduating, my work was largely tied to school partnerships and while I never had a summer break, things always really ramped up in September.  Now that I’m home, I think Grace, Clark and I will spend September at the beach.  Or, like… doing laundry.]

This isn’t a post about graphing calculators (do kids still use those?), though… right?  Right.

Currently | July 2015

Currently feeling…

  • Thrilled to have shared our news with you and grateful for all the love and support
  • Like it’s 95 degrees and I am pregnant (because it is, and I am)
  • Excited about our upcoming vacation
  • Like life has changed so much in the past two months.  “Clean out the pantry” has been on my to do list since June, I sometimes forget to shower, and I caught myself having a semi-serious (albeit one-sided) conversation with my dog yesterday.  But I don’t think I could be happier being home with Grace. 

Currently eating…

  • As much fresh produce as I can get my hands on– tomatoes and berries, especially.  I loved our trips to the farmers market (here and here) this month.
  • 900 popsicles a day

Currently watching…

  • “On the Way to School,” a beautiful documentary about several children and the challenges the overcome (in most cases, daily) to get to school.  It’s surprisingly uplifting.  And I want everyone to watch it. (It’s available on Netflix.)
  • File these next two under much less enlightened: Candidly Nicole on Hulu+ (fellow Simple Life fans, rejoice!) and Naked and Afraid XL on Discovery.  Both make me laugh, like, a lot.

Currently creating…

  • Some fun little sketches and paintings in my new sketchbook (details here).  I got out of the habit of painting daily this month, but have started to get back on track this week.
  • Playlists galore.  We’ve been in the car a lot (going from one fun thing to the next), and making good use of that Spotify subscription.
  • A plan for the second half of the summer and a list of everything I’d love to do, see, and enjoy
  • Lots of Chatbooks (they’re 20% through today with the code HOLDON) — I am officially obsessed after making a little book of photos from our 4th of July on the Cape.

Currently enjoying…

  • Lots of great workouts.  I absolutely love the outdoor bootcamp (yes, even in the blazing heat) I’ve been attending and have started working in prenatal yoga videos a couple times a week.  
  • Swimming as much as possible.  We’ve been in the water a lot this month, from swimming class with Grace to pool days at my parents’ house and dips in the ocean in Southie and on the Cape.
  • An unusual (but welcomed) desire to make plans.  No one would mistake me for a social butterfly, but maaaaan, I love spending time with our friends and family.

Also On Tap for Today:

What were some of your July highlights?