All posts by Elizabeth

The aforementioned purple chair.

Here’s the aforementioned purple chair I painted earlier this week.

aforementioned purple chair

Materials: Gouache, giant new square sketchbook (Seawhite Hardback Artists Sketchbook)

I imagine this is what Prince sits in while chilling in Heaven (and can we talk, solemnly, about the all star jam band Jesus formed in 2016…).  I got carried away with the cushion tufting, but hey. 

That’s one of the (many?) good things about imaginary purple-rain-inspired chairs.  You can get carried away with the cushion tufting and just pretend that’s how you intended it to look.  And then you can blow up your own spot and tell the internet that it was actually a mistake.  Because you were distracted by Bridget Jones’s Baby.

Please don’t be too intimidated by my high brow taste in movies films.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • I’m thrilled to share that I am on the 2017 Creative Team for the Get Messy Art Journal Community – – if you’re looking for a warm + enthusiastic crew and inspiration for regular art-making… check ’em out (all are welcome!)
  • For the record: the movie was cute, but generally… just okay (same goes for the chair…)
  • Why Being Warm is Better Than Just Being Polite from lifehacker

Who would you want in your all star jam band (on Earth, or otherwise)?

Things to do in January

I don’t know about you, but putting away the holiday decorations nearly does me in every January.  The gloomy weather and a cold I can’t seem to kick (kids and their germs, I tell ya) aren’t helping.  

Winter Elizabeth is a lot less fun than Summer Elizabeth.

things to do in january

Semi-related: Winter Elizabeth somehow lost one of her children’s birth certificates. Not my finest work.  Hence, baby Nick and I made our way to the registry office at City Hall today.  As much as I would have rather stayed home, curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a book…

  1. One-year-olds don’t do that.  They just don’t.
  2. An object in motion stays in motion… while staying put is a great way to lose momentum.  And I’d already lost the birth certificate, so…

I couldn’t help but brighten up a bit as we approached City Hall, though.  I love the juxtaposition of old and new less old buildings.  I like seeing tourists milling about. I like the buzz of it all.  

Once we finished the grown-up business part of our outing, I figured we may as well embrace a bit of adventure, too.  We were bundled up and had plenty of snacks, why not?

mother juice unicorn blood

We split a cup of Unicorn Blood (yes, really… it’s a delicious mix of beet, carrot, celery, watermelon + pineapple) from Mother Juice at the Boston Public Market, walked along the Greenway and did some people watching at Faneuil Hall.  A little adventure was the perfect antidote to my winter mood.

matthew hoffman greenway art

So good, right?  Click to learn more about MAY THIS NEVER END by artist Matthew Hoffman currently installed along the Greenway.

For me, keeping busy (especially with good, fun, interesting things… not just boring, necessary things) goes a long way in keeping the winter blues at bay.  In that vain, here are a few things to do in January.

THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

  • Get outside for a walk to improve your mood + overall health.
  • Take an art class. (Creative Bug is my favorite source for online classes– I gravitate toward the painting and drawing classes, but you’ll find really accessible courses on knitting, sewing, collage, drawing, etc.)
  • Or take a yoga class.
  • Join in a day of service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  You can find projects in your community here.
  • Put together a new playlist (Stevie Wonder on repeat here currently).
  • Celebrate an obscure January holiday (I’ve got big plans for National Popcorn Day on the 19th… mostly, my plans involve me + eating popcorn).
  • Unpack your holiday decorations.  No one can deny the magic of twinkle lights.
  • Ride the subway (i.e. the T) sans pants… or don’t. 
  • Spend an afternoon at a museum.  The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and The Clark Art Institute are my (Massachusetts) favorites and I’ve been dying to take the kids to the Children’s Museum.  
  • Refresh your walls with some new (or DIY) artwork.  What you look at all day matters, obvi.
  • Get outside for another walk.

P.S. While the acronym SAD is sort of laughable, Seasonal Affectedness Disorder and winter depression are no joke.  Please don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. <3

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your January to do list?

Oh buoy.

Oh buoy.

oh buoy

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

These beauties are on the side of Capt. Cass Seafood, at Rock Harbor in Orleans.  I think this would be a fun scene to paint… one of these days.  In the meantime, I’ve cracked open a new sketchbook + some gouache and painted a wonky purple chair.  It’s the first time I’ve painted something start to finish in ages.  But both babes were asleep and our condo was mostly under control and I’m sure there were 40 other things I should have been doing, but I chose to paint instead.

Because when creative inspiration strikes, it’s best to *seas* the moment… get it?  Seas…. buoys… Lord, help me.  

I spent 10 or so minutes earlier this week brainstorming things I wanted to paint, write about, cook, read, watch, learn more about, listen to and create.  I’m hoping that list will help ward off my next creative low tide (there I go again).  

Perhaps you’ll think about making a similar list?

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s inspiring you today?

 

Grocery haul + meal plan

Current forecast: Soup weather.

grocery haul meal plan

Baby Nick and I broke from our usual routine (mid-week shopping at Whole Foods) and hit up Wegman’s on our way home from our first Mama Beast workout of the year.  He was very interested in the samples and the train set that is suspended over the hummus area. I was mostly overwhelmed by the crowds and had trouble finding, basically, everything.  True Life: I am intensely a creature of habit.  

Here’s what we picked up.

GROCERY HAUL

  • Produce: Baby spinach, 2 seedless cucumbers, 4 apples, 2 lemons, 1 lime, cilantro, flat leaf parsley, 2 sweet potatoes, shredded carrots, normal carrots, riced cauliflower, 3 bell peppers, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, spring mix with herbs, cherry tomatoes, 2 avocados, garlic, yellow onion, red onion
  • Frozen: Brown rice, Ezekiel bread + tortillas
  • Dairy: Milk for baby Nick, Stonyfield organic yogurt for Nick and Grace, unsweetened vanilla almond milk for me, Chobani yogurt dip, fresh mozzarella 
  • Grocery: 2 cans of organic black beans, Cheerios for the babes, Erewhon g/f rice cereal for me, dried lentils, apple sauce, almonds, walnuts
  • Random: Lemon + dill hummus, 1 salt bagel (see also: shopping while hungry), g/f pretzels for me, pretzel sticks for Grace
  • Meat: Grass-fed beef for Nick 

And here’s what I plan to make this week…

MEAL PLAN

  • Cauliflower rice + beans (made this tonight — super easy and satisfying): sautéed cauliflower with a tsp of olive oil, plus salt + pepper, topped with black beans, sautéed onion + garlic with Cajun spices, cherry tomatoes + cilantro.
  • Baked stuffed sweet potatoes (with black beans, simple homemade salsa + guacamole)
  • Salads and veggie wraps for lunch
  • This delicious lentil soup from Sprouted Kitchen (h/t to my friend Laura for sharing the recipe) – I’ve made it twice in the last week (pictured above) and cannot get enough of it.  
  • Apple + sharp cheddar quesadillas on sprouted tortillas

Oh, and avocado toast… because I catch on to trends six months late.  At the earliest. 

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you cooking up this week?

 

A worthy resolution

You know when it’s 10:04 PM on New Year’s Eve and you’re in bed Googling “New Year’s resolutions”…?  

The thing is, I can’t really remember ever keeping a resolution past February (mostly, I am drinking a Diet Coke as I type this… sorry, 2012.  And 2014.  And 2015.).  

And those I do remember making were ones I didn’t feel terribly about breaking (hence the lack of motivation for keeping them).  So I set out (at nearly the 11th hour) to find a worthy resolution — one I could really work on keeping– for 2017.

a worthy resolution

Grace is basically a tiny fashion blogger. Minus the fashion blog.

This struck a chord for me:

“Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” 

–Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden

A worthy resolution, indeed.

I still plan to set monthly goals and intentions, but as we head into 2017, I want to more fully embrace our connectedness.  I want to put more energy towards service than I do towards cynicism and fear.  I want to be a more compassionate, gentle, kind + openhearted person.

And ideally, I’d like to stop eating Cheez-Its for dinner.  

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you setting goals/intentions/Harry Potter spells/resolutions?

Winter rest

This time between Christmas and the New Year has turned into the perfect little winter rest.  Nick had a few days off from work, we let Grace play preschool hooky for the week, and welp… baby Nick, Clark and I live on a very flexible schedule that revolves around naps and snack time.  And laundry.  But mostly snack time.

winter rest

We’ve been hiding out (but not really, because everyone knows we’re here) down the Cape, watching the birds.  And eating soup.  Hanging up some artwork and setting up a basement gym.  Reading my favorite Wendell Berry poem and resting.  Binge-watching Super Store once the kids are in bed.  Coloring and playing trains.  Trying to perfect my recycling system.  Hunkering down and staying in.

The largest part of me is an optimist and is fed by hope.  But there’s that tiny part of me that is cynical and practical and maybe even a little wary.  So I’m grateful for this week, this winter rest, both because it seems like the perfect end to an imperfect year… and because I know that time like this will give me a deeper well to draw from in the future. 

That favorite poem I mentioned (you can hear Wendell Berry read it here) starts like this, “When despair for the world grows in me…”

And it ends like this, “For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

So that’s where I will be until 2017.  Resting.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Spending a few hours at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History before it closes for the winter
  • 5 heart-opening yoga poses for the new year from mindbodygreen
  • Performing a very scientific experiment involving a waffle maker + cinnamon rolls

How do you keep your well of sanity/balance/happiness/gratitude/Cheez-Its full (or at least, not empty)?

O Holy Night

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m listening to O Holy Night on repeat (this is my absolute favorite version, one I’ve shared the last few years, I think).  Granted, I’ve sort of been doing that since before Halloween… but whatever.  Some years you just need more Christmas music than others.

o holy night

I took this photo at a lovely vintage shop on the Cape called Gatherings by the Sea (isn’t that a great name?).  I’m pretending that’s why my current elf workshop situation looks like.  

Amidst the toys and socks and sink full of dishes and errant wrapping paper tubes, baby Nick is peacefully napping (safely, like, in his crib… not under piles of laundry).  And Grace is talking about how camels probably don’t fit in the manger, but they should try to come in any way, because baby Jesus loves camels.  And I’m listening to O Holy Night with the fullest heart.

Wishing you a similarly perfectly unperfect Christmas.  And a happy first night of Hanukkah.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Cookie butter rolls: sounds like Christmas breakfast to me from Food52
  • Looking forward to lots of family time!
  • Trying to find the Christmas pjs…

What is your Christmas looking like?

What to eat when it’s freezing.

The Polar Vortex is baaaa-aaack.  So I made it some chili (vegetarian, obvi).  In my opinion, it’s what to eat when it’s freezing.

what to eat when its freezing

You can find my original recipe (a term I use lightly, mostly because it’s just like… sauté onions and garlic, add beans, add tomatoes, add whatever spices you have on hand, simmer, eat) here: vegetarian chili for lazy people.  

I topped today’s piping hot bowl with a handful of tortilla chips, some Fire Roasted Corn + Black Bean Salsa from Nola’s Fresh Foods.  Nola’s is made minutes from our place in Southie and is a 2015 Martha Stewart American Made award winner.  After receiving a complimentary sample a few weeks ago (delivered to my doorstep, no less), their salsa keeps ending up in our shopping cart.

As for the lime wedge and the useless miniature wooden spoon… they’re mostly there because chili looks like, you know… chili.  And I wanted to distract you from this.  Did it work?

But seriously.  Make yourself a bowl.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you showing the Polar Vortex who’s boss?  Or like… what’s for dinner tonight?

 

All is calm. (Sort of.)

All is calm, all is bright.

This is what I’ve been singing to myself as Duplos fly through the air, dishes pile up in the sink, Clark runs through the living room with a plastic ear of corn from the play kitchen in his mouth, and I realize that I forgot (for the 33rd time) that we are (still) out of olive oil.

all is calm

In a rare quiet moment this week, I found myself listening to Silent Night and wondering if Christmas Eve (like, the real one… which is to say, the first one) truly was calm and bright.  Having given birth twice, I sort of feel like “sweaty and weird” would be much higher on the list than “calm and bright.”  

But hey, miracles are miracles.  

Speaking of miracles, I’ve started wearing something other than black leggings every now and then (an occasion that needed to be photo-documented, obvi)… granted, they’re still leggings.  {I couldn’t find the exact match online, but they are Align II pants, which I live in, in sort of an aubergine.  Or like, purple.}

Back to the calm and brightness.  I find myself so easily distracted, so easily swept up in glitter and garland, so easily carried away this time of year.  There’s this weird tension of wanting to do everything (especially if Christmas lights are involved), and also wanting to hibernate.  Of having more, knowing others have less.  Of counting down the days, but also wishing time would slow.  

And I think about how moments of calm, moments of brightness can exist amidst all this tension.  (See: that first Christmas Eve, right?)

I’ve just got to pay better attention.

Children, despite seeming to have the attention span of a whatever (I’m at a loss here… and also, not a scientist… what has a tiny attention span?), are really good at noticing and creating these moments.  

We’ve been spending most of our weekends on the Cape and after a meltdown related to a donut being too big (…really), Grace asked if we could “go inside that windmill house.”  We pulled over and went to check it out, while the Nicks (I should probably get that trademarked) waited in the car.

We did not go inside (decidedly against the rules) and to Grace’s disappointment, the “windmill house” was just a windmill.  But we admired the shell pathway around it.  We read the sign next to it.  We talked about the nativity and the menorah nearby.  We held hands.  The wind whipped and cars flew by on Route 6 and the donut was still too big, but all was calm.  All was bright.  My pants weren’t black.  And my heart felt full.

Here’s to more calm + bright this holiday season.

Also On Tap for Today:

What words are you channeling this season? Please don’t say sweaty and weird.  

Nick’s 1st Birthday

Today is baby Nick’s 1st birthday.  

In the fastest, most wonderful year, he’s traded this hat:

Nick's 1st Birthday

for this (ridiculous, but I couldn’t help myself) hat:

Nick's 1st Birthday

I love this beautiful, curious, adventurous, and sweet boy with all my heart.  

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you a hat person?