When we closed on our beach house last fall, I was longing for summer. I looked forward to long days at the beach, warm evenings on the deck, and starry nights with our family. While I know this coming summer will be wonderful, I can’t tell you how much joy and peace winter on Cape Cod has brought us. It has been the best surprise.
We’ve spent nearly every weekend down the Cape since October, escaping the busy-ness of our (equally wonderful, albeit noisier) lives in the city. There is something so calm and lovely about the off season.
What better day than a snow day to daydream of sun dresses? While Stella’s outside doing what she does best (snow + wind), I’m inside attempting to keep the babes entertained + looking forward to spring’s return.
I had a chance to visit The Paper Store‘s headquarters west of Boston earlier this year (on the eve of our last big snowstorm), along with some of my favorite blogging pals, to get a preview of spring fashion trends from their lovely buyers. We were treated to Champagne, Sugarfina treats, macarons and a peek at several racks full of beautiful spring dresses and tops.
Those of you in the Northeast are likely familiar with The Paper Store (it’s my go-to for cards, gifts and Alex + Ani jewelry). They have a really great fashion section as well, and many of their items (including their new private fashion and jewelry line, Mia & Tess) are available online.
Here are a few of the spring fashion tips The Paper Store buyers shared with us:
Off the shoulder tops and dresses continue to be on trend this year (and are universally flattering!)
Look for delicate chokers that can be worn alone or layered
Floral prints are updated in pale, dusty pinks, bold mints, china blues and pair perfectly with denim
Speaking of which, you’ll find denim dresses, footwear, scarves, hats, jackets and tops in store
Layer a longer lace or crochet trimmed tank under sweaters and tops to add some visual interest and update an old favorite
…Coming to you live from snowy Cape Cod with this week’s meal plan + workouts. The babes are napping, so I figured I’d make an attempt to get my act together for the week before we head back to the city.
Note to the entire internet self: I need to figure out if Tuesday’s storm is the real deal or not and plan my grocery shopping accordingly. My favorite meteorologist (yes, I have one of those) seems to be on vacation, so I am essentially lost.
Breakfasts will likely be some combination of yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, English muffins and/or a porridge made from my children’s table scraps… Lunch is usually a giant salad. I expect these dinners will make for really good leftovers to tag along with my greens. And my peasant parent porridge.
Time to Google the weather. Catch you on the other side… of the Sagamore.
Over the years, including the 8 I’ve spent blogging here (making me essentially an Internet senior citizen), my understanding of words like fitness and healthy and wellness have changed and evolved. From running marathons to training to being able to run a 5k again, from getting “wedding ready” (whatever that means) to becoming a mother, from learning to eat mindfully to managing stress, I’ve found that health and wellness is not a linear journey.
There is no one path to wellness. We all make our way.
One of my favorite things about being in this community is learning from the paths and experience of others. For that reason, I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Day of W.E.L.L.ness in Boston on 3/18. For those of you living in the New England area (or looking to make a weekend trip!), you might want to check it out, too!
Where: Wyndham Beacon Hill (a short walk from the Charles Street/MGH T stop on the Red Line)
Discount: Use code ELIZABETH to receive $20 off your ticket order
This Day of W.E.L.L.ness is sort of an off shoot of the annual W.E.L.L. Summit (hosted in New York City) and showcases wellness from a 360 degree viewpoint. Breakout session topics include Ayurveda, meditation, nutrition, fitness, financial health and building a wellness business. The day also includes a DIY breakfast oatmeal bar from Thirst Juice Co., a custom tea bar and healthy snacks, an incredible gift bag, an afternoon yoga class, access to New England based exhibitors and more.
I’d love to see you there!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket for this event and this post contains referral links.
After three or four consecutive weekends in the city, we are back at the Cape, enjoying the peace and quiet of the off season. Since closing on the house here in mid-October, we’ve been down as many weekends as possible. We’ve made a lot of progress in some areas, but in other areas, maybe not so much… both kids’ rooms sort of look like the second child’s room in this hilarious BuzzFeed post that I can’t stop scrolling through.
We have some really fun things up on our walls, though, so I figured we could start there. It’s been so fun to start from scratch, building an inexpensive collection of pieces we truly love. I think that’s really the only rule that matters when building an art collection: Buy what you love.
I’ve linked to products when possible, mostly because I think everyone needs at least one of Elizabeth May’s seagulls in their home. Please note that some links are referral or affiliate links.
The first things to grace our walls were these Elizabeth May seagull prints (Seagull 15 + Seagull 16). I absolutely love her style, and just saw that she has new Barack Obama and Joe Biden prints for sale in her Etsy shop so…. they will be joining us soon, along with her Maya Angelou and Susan B. Anthony portraits.
Photos of Grace, Nick + Clark, all taken at the Cape
Minted signed print (Mid-summertime by Emily Jeffords) + a photo of Grace birdwatching with “the giant ‘noculars'” at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
*You can use your Ebates account for cash back at Minted (PSA for those not already using Ebates: sign up for an Ebates account and go to their website when shopping online– by going through them first, you’ll earn cash back at many of the sites you usually shop. For me, that’s diapers.com, LOFT, Nordstrom, Minted, Athleta, etc.)
We have this Cape Cod flag, made by Cape Abilities participants, hanging on the wall heading upstairs. Proceeds from these flags (this size was $35) support the organization, which serves individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod through a range of programs. If you’re on the Cape, I highly recommend a trip to their farm in Dennis and store in Yarmouth. They do wonderful work.
I normally wouldn’t paint over someone else’s work… but I figured a mass market paint-by-number is fair game, right? You can find similar vintage paintings at thrift stores and on Etsy or ebay, often with wooden frames, for $20 or so. I used leftover paint from another project and simply blocked off a third of the image with blue painters tape and added a single coat of paint so that the original painting is still visible up close.
I hadn’t planned to hang the tapestry and Top Knot print together, or even in the same room… but then I saw them side by side and loved the repetition of those red stripes. The rest of our room is super white and restful, so these pieces punch things up a bit.
The tapestry is from the Pillowfort kids line at Target, but it totally works in a grown-up room. Kids decor is often less expensive… and more cool.
Grace fell in love with this swan (and her tutu), and who could blame her? The framed print is actually a Valentine’s Day card that cost $3 ($15 including the frame). Framing greeting cards is an easy, low commitment way to add a little something to your walls.
One of the artists for Modern Map Art generously sent us this print, which I thought would work perfectly in Nick’s room (I’m going for a mostly navy vibe in there). There are several options for Boston, all in local team color ways. My photo doesn’t do the print justice, so I recommend checking out their website to see more detailed shots. They sell similar prints for cities all over the globe, as well as some really cool ski maps.
I love how major and local streets have been painted over the map in red. It’s really bold and graphic and I think it pairs well with the anchor tapestry (another kids department find).
Plus, it’s nice to have a little Southie with us at the Cape.
February is wrapping up. And no, it’s not a leap year. Consider this a friendly PSA that my birthday is basically moments away (March 1st always seems to sneak up on people). I’m not always so clear on how timezones work, but I think I’m already 35 on the other side of the world. Meanwhile, Grace keeps asking if I’m 45 yet. So there’s that.
But I don’t want to rush February out the door just yet. Despite the country imploding, I’m grateful we had things like my nephew’s baptism, Valentine’s Day, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, Hillary’s message to the people and 70 degree weather to celebrate. We left our jackets at home and walked on the beach. We spotted the first plants sprouting. Spring is coming.
CURRENTLY | February 2017
…like summer has already arrived. Tacos, tomatoes, salads and strawberries.
…dinner with Nick most nights after the kids go to bed (as opposed to snacking from the babes’ plates at 5 o’clock). It’s been such a nice change.
So we watched like 5 minutes of a PBS special featuring various spy cameras disguised as animals, both because it sounded cool and it was not about the government. The idea is that you get to see animals behaving as if they were not being spied on. Unfortunately we caught the part where the baby monkey spy camera fell, and the real monkeys thought it had died and were, like, mourning. It was devastating. Did I mention that I am generally an emotional basket case?
Superstore + Homeland (they sort of balance each other out)
…plans for a meaningful Lenten exercise. In the past I’ve given up Diet Coke, snacking, sugar and swearing (but not all in the same year… I’m neither a saint nor a martyr). Other years, I’ve added more prayer, more intentional acts of kindness and more time away from technology. For me, Lent is the ultimate lesson in patience. In waiting. In remaining hopeful. Perhaps I’ll simply meditate on that lesson. While not drinking a Diet Coke.
A set of mini, mono-printed art journals. It was a random Tuesday night project, but I am thrilled with the results. I’ll share photos later this week.
A “good behavior” jar. I am semi-mortified and semi-amazed at how well it’s working. (To clarify: We are rewarding Grace’s good behavior, not mine…)
Currently listening to
“Call on Me” (Ryan Riback Remix) by Starley — it’s the perfect windows down in February song
This Irish Flute & Tin Whistle playlist on Spotify… baby Nick and I had music class this morning and the teacher broke out his tin whistle (apparently we missed the Irish flute last week). Nick was mesmerized in class and keeps dancing and clapping along to this lively mix. I think it’ll do wonders, too, for those times we are nearrrrrrly home and one or both kids is starting to nod off in the car.
I hope you’re enjoying these last bits of February and looking forward to a lovely March.
Because why start a week on Sunday or Monday… when you can start it on Tuesday? I’m including my workout plan along with this week’s meal plan to make up for my lateness. Or whatever.
Temps are supposed to reach 50 degrees in the city today and 70 this weekend. It’s February, mind you (but don’t worry, guys, global warming is totally a sham…). I’ve got the back door open, and a nice, big, summery salad on the table. Is it me, or is it easier to eat well (and like, be a better human in general) when the weather’s nice?
You can find more meal ideas (and basically see what I am craving at 3 AM while feeding baby Nick…) on this Pinterest board.
As for workouts, I decided to try something new last week (or maybe it was the week before?) after my plans had been derailed by a broken washing machine, a carsick toddler, two snowstorms and a visit from the washing machine repair person. I think I may have only made it to Mama Beasts class twice (pssst: new session starts on 2/27, Boston area moms…) in the span of two weeks. It was 2.5 times if you count making it half way there before the aforementioned bout of carsickness… A for effort, C- for basically everything else. The sidewalks were too icy for a run/stroll, and I was feeling both cooped up and cranky, so I knew I needed a backup plan for days and weeks like this.
I’d heard great things about Daily Burn(referral link) and decided to sign up for their free 30 day trial after seeing their Instagram ad for the 8 millionth time. I was completely hooked after my first workout. The programming is great (they recommend a program for you, but you can jump around and try various workouts with different trainers) and totally do-able in a small condo with small children crawling, running, and jumping across your mat. I’m following the Cardio Sculpt program which is a great mix of cardio, strength and flexibility/mobility.
I went full-on nerd and printed out a blank calendar to schedule in my workouts for the next month or so, and think Daily Burn will be a great compliment to both Mama Beast classes and my running plans (I registered for a few upcoming races and listed them on the Fitness On Tap tab). I’ve also pinned a bunch of free, at home workouts as further backup — feel free to check those out.
Though I’m not always the best practitioner, I’ll be the first to remind you to treat yourself. And not just to a manicure or an episode of Hunted (the UK version is really fun) while the kids nap. I really want you to treat yourself well.
For me, this feels more important than ever as I seem to have taken up several new part-time jobs (worrying, calling my senators’ offices, writing letters and trying to stay both informed and stable) in addition to keeping the rest of our lives afloat.
Treating yourself well may look differently from one person to the next, but it shouldn’t be complicated, time consuming or costly. Here are a few ways to treat yourself well… and fairly easily, at that (regardless of how many days we’ve been snowed in or the current state of the Union).
Hunted and the Super Bowl (oh, and bits of the Grammys last night) aside, I haven’t been watching much TV at all lately. While I’m left in the dark about plenty of things (namely the weather), the lack of television news seems to be keeping my blood pressure in check. It also gives me more time to paint, more time to read, and more time to learn (of particular interest at the moment: reading an illustrated atlas with Grace each day, catching up on Get Messy tutorials for watercolor and all kinds of other lovely things, reading about how to streamline meal prep + hoping to figure out how to explain the sun and moon to three-year-olds).
I’ve also been limiting my small screen time, tucking away my phone for hours at a time when the kids and I are home during the day. It’s admittedly much more challenging for me to drop the phone than the TV, but hey. Working on it.
SIMPLIFY YOUR MEALS + SAVE YOURSELF AN HOUR
When you eat well, you feel well. Simple as that… but not so simply accomplished, I realize. I’ve gotten back in the habit of prepping my meals and snacks ahead of time, and ensuring I have plenty of nutritious, whole options on hand (and fewer, you know, Cheez-Its options on hand).
I also take advantage of grocery delivery services like Instacart (they deliver to Southie from our local Whole Foods Market in the South End) every now and then. It saves me an hour (or however long it takes to wrangle two toddlers, get to the store, get home, find parking, and get the babes + groceries upstairs) and also keeps me on plan and on budget, eliminating the risk of impulse purchases.
RETHINK YOUR HEALTH PRODUCTS + CONNECT WITH OTHERS
These days (thankfully!) there are plenty of options when it comes to safe and clean beauty products. I’ve been making a conscious effort to make the best choices I can when it comes to make up and bath products (shoutout to my wonderful cousin who is a Beauty Counter consultant <3), but hadn’t really considered what was in my feminine care products until someone from LOLA recently reached out and shared a complimentary sample.
Yes, I’m talking tampons. Did you know there are no FDA requirements when it comes to disclosing what your tampons, pads and liners are made of? And there have been precisely zero studies conducted on the long-term effects of using artificial fibers in tampons. And yes, I get that buying different feminine care products might seem like a bizarre way to treat yourself well. But I hope you know I wouldn’t mention this if I didn’t think it was worth your consideration.
And that brings me to this: Caring for and connecting with others can be such a powerful way to treat ourselves well. Reaching out (especially when I’d prefer to draw inward) always leaves me feeling more hopeful, less isolated and more prepared to tackle what lies ahead.
Go on and treat yourself (well). And maybe buy yourself some flowers, too. Oh, and happy almost Valentine’s Day!
Disclosure: I received complimentary product from LOLA, but all opinions are my own. This post contains referral links. As always, I truly appreciate your support.