True Life: Grocery shopping with a three-year-old and a one-year-old is (often) NUTS. It can also be really fun. Especially if no one manages to climb out of the cart, while still strapped in (that’s happened on three separate trips). Grace’s additions to the shopping list today: a pineapple, two avocados, string cheese, and blackberries.
Here’s this week’s meal and workout plan.
MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 3/20
Vegetarian burrito bowls (quinoa, black beans, corn, salsa, avocado)
…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.
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.
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.
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…
One-year-olds don’t do that. They just don’t.
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?
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
I recently received a complimentary set of beautiful, deep violet glass jars from Infinity Jars and immediately started scroll through Pinterest for DIY beauty gifts that I could make and share with loved ones with this holiday season (…or just, like… keep for myself).
There is no shortage of recipes out there for masks, scrubs, sprays and balms. And with such a variety of these beautiful jars to play with, I felt myself getting a bit carried away (I’m sure there’s an aromatherapy antidote for that). And then I remembered that I’m neither a chemist nor a particularly precise measurer. So I scrapped my grandest plans (think dried rose petals and edible glitter…) and simplified.
Here are a few basics that make for easy (and lovely) DIY beauty gifts.
4 Simple DIY Beauty Gifts
Notes: I purchased all the ingredients at my local Whole Foods Market or on Amazon; most are inexpensive and readily available. I’ve linked to many of these items (some are affiliate links). The jars and containers were provided by Infinity Jars. **Please use caution and do a bit of research before using essential oils.
Melt beeswax and shea butter in a double boiler (I used a Pyrex measuring cup in a saucepan of water), stirring frequently
Turn off heat and stir in peppermint essential oil
Carefully pour mixture into shallow containers and let sit for several minutes before covering
Balm will fully harden within several hours
Trust me when I say, this is a super easy and satisfying project. The recipe above makes enough balm for two small pots (I used the 5ml glass screw top jars from Infinity Jars) and the balm itself is really moisturizing, but not at all greasy.
Aromatherapy room + body mist
15 drops of essential oils for each 5ml bottle
Using your favorite single oil or blend, add 15 drops to your spray bottle (I used the 5ml glass fine mist bottle from Infinity Jars)
Top with distilled water and gently shake before using
Deck the Halls: 10 drops of citrus, 5 drops of cinnamon leaf
All is Calm: 10 drops of lavender, 5 drops of chamomile
I used a clean glass dropper (which I had on hand in my art supply stash, but hadn’t used yet) to add the distilled water to each spray. And if you don’t have distilled water on hand, rumor has it you can use vodka…
Combine salt and fractionated coconut oil in a bowl
Add oil and stir gently before storing in airtight jars
This gentle exfoliating scrub makes such a lovely gift. The recipe above filled 1 50ml glass wide mouth jar, 1 30 ml glass wide mouth jar (both from Infinity Jars) and two larger jars I had on hand.
You can easily customize this scrub with your favorite scent, substitute sugar for salt, and either of the oils mentioned above. I love fractionated coconut oil because it has virtually no scent, but has the same benefits of regular coconut oil. I use it daily as a moisturizer.
Add 3 drops of your favorite essential oil to a 5 ml roller applicator bottle
Top with carrier oil (being careful to not overfill)
I made two roller bottles using my favorite Rhada Beauty blends, Happy Citrus and Pure Healing. The glass roller bottles from Infinity Jars were perfect for this, and so easy to fill. I plan to give one to a friend and keep the other in my handbag for a quick aromatherapy pick-me-up. You can use whichever scent suits your mood, or customize blends for each family member’s stockings.
It took me less than an hour to make all four of these simple DIY beauty gifts (during baby Nick’s nap time), and I imagine it will take even less the second time around. When I don’t waste 15 minutes saying, “This was so easy!” and twirling around my kitchen. Perhaps you’ll consider treating yourself to one of these gifts?
Special thanks to Infinity Jars for supplying the jars and containers for these beauty gifts. Every glass bottle sold by Infinity Jars is guaranteed to have an airtight seal and ultra-violet filtering, be scent-proof, and naturally preserve the freshness of its contents.
This hand painted calendar is coming to you live and direct on October 3rd. So I suppose my number one goal for the month should be… punctuality?
PRINTABLE OCTOBER CALENDAR
Materials used: Two leaves, 8 x 10 Gelli Plate (for mono-printing — such a fun tool to have on hand!), brayer, various acrylic paints (Golden liquid + high flow acrylics, Dick Blick matte acrylics, Martha Stewart craft paint), cold press watercolor paper, Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor paint, #2 round brush (for the October hand lettering), calendar text added digitally (because it took 9 months for me to accept I can’t paint in a straight line, apparently)
I went in a bit of a different direction with this month’s calendar. My distaste for fall colors is well documented here (plus there was the time I almost committed a crime against our wedding caterer when she suggested decorating our wedding reception with fake pumpkins and leaves…). But I do love a good fallen leaf. Whatever that means.
Grace and I collected a few on our way home from this morning’s workout and used them in today’s art project (I haven’t been doing much painting on my own these days, but we’ve been killing the mom/toddler art scene. Again… whatever that means.). Using my Gelli Plate to pull prints of these leaves was a lot of fun, and the result was just fall-ish enough to be October appropriate… without being a fake pumpkin.
Regardless, we’ve got so much to look forward to this month — Nick’s birthday, my sister’s birthday, baby Nick’s baptism, dressing up Clark (and the children, obvi) for Halloween, football football snacks, and a really exciting thing I’ll tell you about later, because I seem to have become superstitious. And vague.
Keeping it basic. Like a PSL.
My primary wellness goal is, once again, consistency– consistent workouts, consistent hydration, consistent nutrition. (I’d say consistent sleep… but… #babiesdontsleep). The Mama Beasts fall challenge is underway, which gives me some much needed structure and motivation.
Make 1 new-to-me recipe each week. You know, in an effort to stop making the same three things over and over.
Be more intentional about our weekends. It’s often the only solid family time we have during the week. I’d prefer we not spend it buried under laundry and/or rushing around.
And on that note: laundry awaits. The glamor of my life continues to abound.
I missed an entire night of sleep this week (baby Nick were at the hospital– he was having a little respiratory trouble, but is much, much better). Remember when we were in college and did that on purpose, stay up all night? I’d like to travel back in time and give 2004 Elizabeth a real talkin’ to.
And while I’m at it, I might as well travel back even further and tell 1982-ish Elizabeth that staying up all night and skipping naps is just wrong. Plus, it’s a crime against your sleepy parents.
34-year-old me cannot hang on no sleep. And even on a good night, I could stand to catch a few more hours of sleep. I’m guessing you can relate.
September sunsets in South Boston are pretty great. As is sleeping for more than 2 hours and 12 minutes per night.
So I’ve become obsessed with learning how to prioritize sleep. How to fall asleep sooner. How to stay asleep longer. How sleep affects our brains and our bodies and our moods and how many plates of nachos we want to eat and/or actually eat.
Spoiler alert: If it works for you, do it. (Slight bummer: It doesn’t work for everyone.) A good soak definitely seems to help me quiet my mind and relax my body after a long week. I love this epsom soak, especially after a tough workout.
I really enjoyed this book (and it is little, relatively speaking, perfect for overtired readers). There’s an entire section devoted to sleep, one of the master keys of health, as Dr. LoGuidice calls it.
Sleep Like a Champion: Sleep Tips for Athletes from Casper
We’re big fans of Casper (even Clark, who has never missed a minute of sleep in his life and is currently cuddled up on the Casper dog bed Nick recently ordered for him), and I thought this info sleep stages, in particular, was interesting. I know my fellow Mama Beasts and I are likely years (decades?) away from getting 10 hours of sleep, but I like knowing that any increase in quality sleep could improve our speed, reaction time and overall athletic performance. And maybe it’s time I learn to nap when the babies nap.