Category Archives: Beauty

2017 Limited Edition Whole Foods Beauty Bag

Hi, beauties.  

One of my favorite Whole Foods Market promotions, their limited edition Beauty Bag, comes out Friday, 3/24.  My friends at Whole Foods Market North Shore sent me a bag to preview this week, and I’ve got to say… this is a good one.  

whole foods beauty bag

Whole Foods Market partnered with Piece & Co. on this organic cotton bag, handcrafted by artisans in India.  It is literally brimming with some of the best natural, clean beauty products on the market (all meet WFM’s rigorous body care quality standards).  The bag retails for $18, but is valued at over $90.  

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • Andalou Natural Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk | 1.7 oz
  • Weleda Soothing Facial Lotion | .23 oz (yessssssssss)
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive | .26 oz (excited to try this)
  • Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner | 1 oz
  • Acure Pore Clarifying Red Clay Facial Mask | 1.7 oz (wearing this as I type…)
  • evanhealy Wild Carrot Nourishing Eye Balm | .5 oz (comes in a very cool tube)
  • Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil | .17 oz
  • Whole Foods Market Dry Skin Hand Cream Peony, Mint & Blackberry | 1 oz (one of my favorites — it smells like summer)
  • Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara Jet | .57 oz (another favorite)
  • DERMA E Hydrating Night Cream | .5 oz
  • Pacifica Devocean Lipstick Tenderness | .07 oz 

You can find all the Beauty Bag product details here.

whole foods beauty bag

Along with the Beauty Bag release, Whole Foods is hosting a huge sale in their Whole Body department.  All facial care, cosmetics, cosmetic brushes, nail color are 25% off through 3/28.  

whole foods beauty bag

Spotted at Legacy Place today while the kids and I dropped in for yogurt, smoothies, and our fourth pint of raspberries this week…

These beauty bags would make great Easter (who wouldn’t like a basket full of beauty?) or Mother’s Day gifts, and they’re one of my favorite ways to discover new clean and natural beauty products each year.  Quantities are limited, so I recommend stopping in to your local Whole Foods Market soon.  

…You can stock up on those insanely good garlic + lemon olives while you’re there.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your favorite clean beauty products?

A beautiful Black Friday

It’s Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and the hunt for the perfect holiday gifts is officially underway.  The only door I plan to bust, however, is the one that leads to a walk on the beach.  As much as I love the holiday rush, I find myself craving calm and quiet more and more lately.  I think this is true for many of us.

organic bath co black friday

Fortunately, the lovely people at Organic Bath Co. are taking both the guesswork (beautiful bath products and gift sets) and the legwork (easy online ordering, curled up in pjs with a cup of tea) out of gift giving this year.  If you’re looking for gifts that will encourage your loved ones to take a bit of time for themselves, while supporting a small business doing great work, I think you’ll enjoy this brand (and this sale!) as much as I do.

Organic Bath Co. is a women-owned business founded in Boston on the principle that taking care of yourself is tantamount to taking care of others and the planet we all inhabit.  You can learn more about their work and philosophy here, and check them out on Instagram for a healthy dose of inspiration.

I‘m completely hooked on their Nourish Night Face Balm (I swear it’s a godsend) and PeaceFull body butter, and can’t wait to share some of their other self-care products with family and friends this Christmas and holiday season.

ORGANIC BATH CO. HOLIDAY SALE

  • Organic Bath Co. is hosting their biggest sale of the year today (Black Friday) through midnight EST on Tuesday, November 29th.  You can save 25% site wide using the code THANKS25.
  • In addition, friends who place orders over $75 and enter ELIZABETH in the notes section at checkout will receive one of my favorite products, Zesty Morning Organic Body Scrub.
  • For every purchase made, Organic Bath Co. donates to 1% for the Planet and other charitable organizations.  

Wishing you a beautiful Black Friday and peaceful and happy start to the holiday season.

I received complimentary products from Organic Bath Co.  All opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting brands that I believe in.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite type of gift to give?

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

Whenever possible, plan ahead

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

 

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

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

 

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

Take notes

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

Other times to take notes:

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

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

Take care of yourself

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

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

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

“Team Tough Mother” at Tough Mudder events

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

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

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

Giveaway

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

Also On Tap for Today:

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

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

Today: Floral Arranging 101 (Week 2)

Our assigned project for the second week of Nicole’s Classes Floral Arranging 101 was a “wild English garden” arrangement.  I fell a bit short when it came to sourcing flowers and greens (hello… bamboo?), but I tried to follow directions as best I could to create an arrangement with an effortless, not so structured look.

During week 2, I learned about “S” composition in flower arranging, how to make a floral frog out of twigs, and the value of having neighbors who will let you forage in their gardens (I, um… live next door to a bar).

While I’m fairly certain I did not ace the assignment, I am happy with the finished product.  I especially love the bright blue campanula and how it spills over the vase.

For week 3 (you can find my week 1 project here), we made floral head wreaths, perfect for Grace’s first Coachella Easter.  More on that soon.

Also On Tap for Today:

What have you been working on lately?

Today: An interview with the Boston Ballet’s Erica Cornejo.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Erica Cornejo, a Principal Dancer with the Boston Ballet and a new mother to a wonderful baby boy.  I have long loved ballet, and as a mother-to-be, I was curious about how the roles of dancer and parent compliment one another.

 Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Erica Cornejo and her husband, Carlos Molina, performing in Balanchine’s Emeralds © The George Balanchine Trust. The Boston Ballet will be performing Jewels (which includes the ballet Emeralds) in May.  

Photo credit: Gene Schiavone

I am truly grateful to Erica for generously sharing her time and responses, and to the Boston Ballet for the opportunity to get to know one of their talented performers better.  I especially loved Erica’s comments about knowing at such a young age that she was born to dance.  That passion certainly shows through on stage.

When did you first start dancing?

EC: I was 4 years old when I started ballet.

When (or how) did you know you belonged in the Ballet?

EC: From the first day, I knew I wanted to do ballet. I was very little, but somehow I felt that passion for ballet inside of me at very early age.

Do you hope your child will pursue dance?  Why or why not?

EC: My husband, my brother, and I are dancers – for sure our child will be around ballet, music, and all kind of art because we love all that, but he will be what he desires to be. We love to do many things besides ballet and we would like to expose our child to try different things.

How has your routine changed since becoming a mother?  How has this affected your dancing?

EC: Well I guess the routine of everyone who is a parent changes. Now I have to adjust my schedule to my baby’s schedule, to be able to be with him as much as I can and do all the care for my baby. He is my number one priority and I will do my best to be a good mom.  As for the moment, I haven’t start dancing yet but what I feel already that my baby’s happiness brings more strength to me and just thinking about him makes my day more special.  I’m a lucky person, I have the most wonderful husband, the best family and now my miracle, my son who is my life.

What do you love most about ballet?

EC: What I love the most about ballet is that I’m able to transport myself and became a different character in each ballet I do. Being able to express my emotion through my dancing and make the audience experience what I feel is the best feeling.

If you had a full day to yourself, how would you spend it?

EC: With my loved ones always!

What is one misconception about ballet dancers you’d like to dispel?

EC: I say it all the time, dancers are humans, we have our good and bad moments like everyone else. Sometimes people tend  to think that we are like machines, that everything has to be perfect all the time.

Which performance are you most looking forward to this year? 

EC: Because I just had a baby, I was not able to be around to learn some of the new ballets. But I’m looking forward to whatever I will be cast in when I come back. I will try to be the best of myself.

Many thanks, again, to Erica and the Boston Ballet.  And my sincere congratulations to you and your family!

Would you like to read more?  Here’s my earlier interview with Boston Ballet dancer Emily Mistretta (added incentive: that post includes a photo of me waiting to go on stage as a two and a half year old ballerina-in-training).

Also On Tap for Today:

When you were little, what did you aspire to be? 

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XIX.

We had quite the lovely weekend.  We started with an exciting doctor’s appointment, followed with lots of time spent with family and friends, and ended with paying attention to football a nap on the sofa.

The weekend according to Instagram XIX

  1. You likely already saw the news (mostly because I can’t keep anything good and exciting to myself), but Nick and I found out Friday afternoon that we are expecting a girl.  And I am expecting her to have her father wrapped around her little finger.  Clark is excited because (among other reasons) they’ll be able to share clothes.  He loves ruffles.
  2. I found this little guy beneath our stoop early Saturday, just as the rain was clearing.  I like when nature visits the city.  And isn’t that shell gorgeous?
  3. I whipped up two batches of this easy, football-friendly black bean dip this weekend.  You can find the vegan, gluten-free recipe (along with a tour of our new kitchen) here.  (And thank you, Emily, for catching the #2 pun…)
  4. We spent Friday night laughing, eating, and more laughing with friends.  Our new place is really feeling like home, especially with friends and family there to share the space.  Matt and Pam brought us this cheery pink begonia plant.  I have a feeling there’s going to be more and more pink coming our way.
  5. I don’t know if I should tell you this or not… so naturally, I am going to tell you.  Clark got peed on by another dog this weekend.  He was standing on one side of a chain link fence, and the perp was on the other, attempting to mark the fence post (presumably).  Instead, he decorated my dog (who seemed oddly oblivious to the whole thing).  Next stop: the longest, most thorough bath of Clark’s life.
  6. We enjoyed this gorgeous view of the city from my sister and brother-in-law’s new apartment on Saturday night.  I love having our family just minutes away.  The next day, we had dinner with my brother, sister-in-law and niece.  We’re spoiled.
  7. Who ever said you don’t win friends with salad has never eaten salad with me.  I love making a big salad to enjoy on Sunday night, with enough to pack for lunch on Monday.  Because I am both lazy and a forward thinker.
  8. It wouldn’t be the end of the weekend without a polish change.  I went from dark (essie no more film) to light (essie pilates hottie).
  9. Meanwhile, at the other end of the sofa, Clark was down for the count.  That’s what a weekend of fun with do to a Frenchie.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Boston Ballet’s Night of Stars.

Looking for something fun (and free!) to do in Boston on Saturday night?  Boston Ballet is presenting a special, one night only performance of Night of Stars on the Common.  The event is open to the public and begins at 7 pm, with a total running time of 2.5 hours, which includes a 25 minute intermission.  This performance will kick off the Ballet’s 50th season and promises to be a very special event.

I love that the Boston Ballet is bringing this performance to the public, making their beautiful work easily accessible, and hope that you’ll consider attending if you’re free Saturday night.

I used to think ballet performances were reserved for extra sophisticated and fancy people (I’m sometimes both… but often neither), but over the past couple of years I’ve had the chance to see these talented dancers perform and know that when something is good and beautiful… you just get it.  At Night of Stars, the Company will perform a range of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary favorites, including George Balanchine’s Serenade and Symphony in Three Movements and Jorma Elo’s Brake the Eyes, so you’ll get a chance to see a little of everything.

The Boston Ballet was kind enough to share a preview of Saturday’s performance:

Whitney Jensen and Jeffrey Cirio in Boston Ballet’s Plan to B, photo by Gene Schiavone

Balanchine’s Serenade © The George Balanchine Trust, photo by Gene Schiavone

Joseph Gatti in Boston Ballet’s La Bayadère, photo by Gene Schiavone

If you’d like to soak up more of this gorgeous imagery, Rachel Cossar, Boston Ballet dancer and all around lovely person, is sharing behind-the-scenes updates (including rehearsal photos and a sneak peek of the stage being built) on the Ballet’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The weather looks like it plans to cooperate, and I can think of few better ways to spend the last evening of summer than enjoying an outdoor performance.  (If it does rain, Night of Stars will be held the following day, Sunday, the 22nd at 7 PM).

Grab a few friends (and maybe a picnic dinner) and meet me there.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you plan to spend the last day of summer?

 

Today: What’s beautiful? Making progress and building community.

As I shared a few weeks ago,  my measurable goal for Under Amour’s What’s Beautiful campaign is to complete an unassisted pull-up.  This is something I’ve been working towards since joining CrossFit Southie just over a year ago, but only when they came up in workouts.  In other words… it was time to put forth some real effort.  

I started with jumping pull-ups.  Then I moved on to a green band for assistance and, starting out, I remember how challenging that felt.  Eventually I could crank out sets of 10 with relative ease.  Then we added weight (either a 5lb plate between my knees or ankles, or a chain across my shoulders… which made me feel like a bad ass rapper… sort of).

Having a set of bands and a portable pull-up bar at home has helped me sneak in sets before and after work, and in the last few weeks I’ve been able to ditch the green band for the blue band.  I’ve succeeded in doing 3 pull-ups with the red band (which provides the least assistance and is often referred to as the placebo band), but they haven’t been pretty, so I’m sticking to blue for a bit and reminding myself that…

Practice leads to progress.

I am thrilled by the progress I’ve made toward my goal, but in some ways my focus has shifted more toward the community aspect of the campaign, and how participating is a reward in itself.  I thought about this a lot lately.  While I can’t wait to finally get above that bar on my own, it’s important to enjoy and celebrate the process (and progress) along the way.

I have gained so much inspiration from the other women participating in Under Armour’s third round of What’s Beautiful.  From Twitter chats and blog posts, to posts on the #whatsbeautiful website, to Pinterest boards and Instagram check-ins, there is a wealth of incredible content, motivation, and encouragement being shared.

An incredible bonus?  This bag full of Under Armour goodies (including the new Armour39 fitness tracker), a prize for participating in a recent Twitter chat, that arrived last week.  Thank you, Under Armour Women!

If you’re looking to score some UA Women gear (a tank, crops and shoes) of your own, several of my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors are hosting giveaways:

Under Armour recently announced the 10 What’s Beautiful finalists: 10 strong, accomplished, ambitious women.  See their stories in the video below (or click here if viewing in a feed reader):

I can’t wait until the winner is announced!  Looking to make progress towards your own goals?   I highly recommend logging onto the What’s Beautiful site to share your plans and aspirations and gain inspiration from the rest of the community.

This post is part of an ongoing campaign with Under Armour and FitFluential.  I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Also On Tap for Today:

  •  Looking for a local farmers market in MA?
  • Enjoying this cooler weather 🙂
  • Brainstorming summer day trips (I need more beach.)

Where do you find community?

 

 

Today: The Supermoon (and other super things).

You know you’re important busy when your can’t even lazy blog the weekend (i.e. The Weekend According to Instagram), because you only posted 3 Instagrams all weekend.  One of which was of your husband freeing his Mini Cooper from the tow lot, which would likely only appeal to fellow Parking Wars fans (I might be alone on that one).  This is the last week of both the school year in Boston and the fiscal year, so come Friday evening (after a long nap), I expect to be back and better than ever.  Or at least, back and mostly the same as ever.

I had already crawled into bed last night, running through my mental to do list for the week (which, when attempting to have a stress-free Sunday night, is kind of a to don’t…) when Nick texted me from outside our building.  “You may want to come outside, this supermoon is so cool,” he said.  No need to twist this nerd’s arm.

While things might be a bit harried around here lately, I’m never too busy to witness the super things in life.  Like this supermoon.

It was so super that we were compelled to drive down to the water to get a better look.

I have a tendency to get wrapped up in the stressful and worrisome, so these few quiet minutes by the ocean were such a welcome way to bring in the new week.  I went to sleep focused on the super good things going on in my life, rather than the aforementioned stresses and worries.

Super things on my mind (in addition to the moon):

  • We made an offer (and it was accepted!) on a new condo… right by the water.  While I’ve come to learn that when it comes to real estate deals, it ain’t over ’til it’s over, life couldn’t get much better.  Next up: home inspection.
  • My niece turns one this week (on my parents’ anniversary).  We celebrated with our family this weekend; watching a baby smear frosting all over her face is quite fun.
  • Summer (and summer weather) has arrived.
  • We are Maine bound shortly!
  • Two more Stanley Cup championship games to go…

I don’t really like the word super.   I do like that list, though.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your mind at the start of the week?

Today: The weekend according to Instagram X.

The theme of this weekend was finding peace in the routine.  And feeling as grateful as ever.

The weekend according to Instagram X

  1. Words fail to describe Friday in Boston and neighboring cities and towns.  I am proud of our leadership, our law enforcement, and our fellow citizens.  And I never, ever want to see another day like that.  At a loss for words, I offered a hand to hold.  
  2. With the “shelter in place” order lifted, one suspect dead and another in custody, it felt important to get out of our condo and try to restore some semblance of normalcy.  Our box, CrossFit Southie, was hosting a special Marathon Monday workout and fundraiser for the Richard family.  The WOD (with a rep scheme of 4-15-13 followed by a half mile sprint) was sent to boxes across the country.  Feeling flat out exhausted, I choked up multiple times during the workout, just trying to wrap by head around the week.
  3. We are just so lucky to be safe and sound.
  4. The three of us headed out for some fresh, ocean air.  I love this little fishing boat (it’s named Success), and living so close to the water.  Clark and I went straight for the shoreline, and he took his first dip of the season.
  5. A good workout, some fresh air… and some sparkle.  I wore these flats on my wedding day, and love breaking them out on a regular ol’ Saturday.
  6. After a week of waffling between emotional eating giant bowls of popcorn and forgetting to eat altogether, we showed up for a verrrrrrrry early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Franklin Cafe, before they even had a chance to unlock their door.  I felt like one of those people who shows up for door buster sales.  Or a very elderly person.  I would have been embarrassed  but I was too hungry for that.
  7. If you’re wondering who the biggest goofball on the planet is, look no further.  How did I possibly manage to hit myself in the head with a loaded barbell on Sunday morning and still get a 10 lb PR on the snatch?  Sometimes I think I should be monitored by scientists, or something.
  8. After CrossFit (and a shower, obvi), I scooped up the Frenchie and headed to the hospital for pet therapy.  Clark cannot get into the car fast enough once he has that vest on.  We spent a little over an hour hanging out with the kids and when we left, my heart and head felt a million pounds lighter.  Clark, on the other hand, felt six pounds heavier.  He can’t say no to treats.
  9. We rounded out the weekend with a beautiful Mass at St. Cecilia.  As we listened to Fr. Unni’s sermon, I knew that I was hearing what I needed to hear.   We need to be gentle with ourselves, and with one another.  There will always be more light than darkness.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you looking forward to this week?