Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Today: The Weekend According to Instagram 34

I can’t help but think this beautiful stretch of weather we’re having in Boston is reward for the winter that nearly did us all in.  We certainly earned our beach days this year.  Here’s how we spent some of that sunshine this weekend.

The Weekend According to Instagram 34

  1. Technically… this was from this morning.  Also true: The days sort of blend together now that I’m at home.  Bootcamp was canceled this morning, so Grace and I logged a few miles at Castle Island.  Boats, puppies and old people are our jam.
  2. We’ve been living out of a beach bag lately.  I’ll share a few of our essentials later this week, but I wanted to be sure to share a little offer from the lovely folks at Block Island Organics.  Use the code ‘elizabeth’ to save 15% on their site this week.  With so many options available for sunscreen and sunblock, I’ve been making an extra effort this summer to make better choices for me and our family.  To learn more about sun safety and how to choose the best sunscreen for you, I recommend checking out their Smart Suncare section. [P.S. I can’t type “Block Island Organics” without singing the Sail away on the Block Island Ferry jingle…]
  3. Fresh mozzarella + summer tomatoes + basil from the deck = Every, single meal.
  4. Nick has been giving our usual green juice a summer kick by topping each jar off with coconut water.  It’s really, really good (go do it).
  5. Speaking of drinks, I was super excited (and yes… this is the kind of thing that excites me these days) to find Crescent Ridge milk at Whole Foods Market in the South End this weekend.  Growing up, we had Crescent Ridge delivered to our house each week.  The milk man would leave the same glass bottles in a refrigerator box outside our house.  Oh and for the record: I am 33, not 103… and grew up in a suburb outside the city, not in a little house on the prairie.  I promise this sort of thing really did (and still does, I think?) happen.  Regardless, I had my Sunday morning chai latte with a little Crescent Ridge and a trip down memory lane.  Also: I love those glass bottles.
  6. This little lady is my heart in a hat.
  7. My younger brother (and one of Grace’s four favorite uncles) celebrated his birthday this weekend.  We love you, little buddy!
  8. You can see the full (3 second) video on Instagram, but essentially… this is dog jumping into a pool at a competition across the street from our house.  After seeing the tents and stands set up on Friday for the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge, I knew we needed to check it out.  It was super entertaining… and sort of like Best in Show IRL.
  9. Our deck herb plants are officially out of control.  We’ve got Italian basil, purple basil, spicy basil, chives, rosemary and lemon thyme to put to good use this week.  I’m starting with a little green goddess dressing and roasted potatoes with thyme.
  10. A little nap time project in the works.  I didn’t get much drawing or painting done this week, but have been sneaking in little bouts of creativity when the mood (and 10 minutes) strikes.
  11. When there are giant inflatable bunnies in your ‘hood, you visit them.  No questions asked.
  12. Same goes for most animals (real or not, in our neighborhood or not).  Grace loves just about anything with four legs, especially all the friendly farm animals at Drumlin Farm.   I swear our Audubon membership was some of the best money I’ve spent.

Needless to say, we are in love with summer.

Also On Tap for Today:

How would you use an overabundance of fresh herbs?

Today: Ready for Action! (a preview and giveaway)

One of the many advantages to being home these days is the opportunity to take my workouts outside.  In addition to long walks and short runs at Castle Island (who can beat that view?), Grace and I recently started joining my sister-in-law and friends for a stroller-friendly bootcamp a few mornings a week. 

I am absolutely loving it.  It’s exactly the structure and community I’ve been craving.  I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun working out, and it certainly helps having a cute little spectator cheering me on.  After having spent most of the winter cooped up inside, though, it’s taken me a while to get my act together in prepping for these workouts.  From sunscreen and plenty of water, to diaper stuff, toys and snacks (Grace snacks while I work out… I think she has the right idea), to a yoga mat and resistance bands, I’m bound to forget something.

After falling for nearly every product inside the Hello, Beauty! bag from Whole Foods Market, I was so excited to hear that they would be releasing a second bag, filled with Whole Body products, just in time for summer…. and just in time for me to stop making a second or third trip back inside our condo before bootcamp.  

My lovely friends at Whole Foods Market River Street in Cambridge hooked me up with a complimentary Ready for Action bag to preview before they are available in stores on Saturday… aaaand I’ve got one for you, too!

Each Ready for Action bag contains a carefully curated collection: sunscreen, aloe, Toms of Maine deodorant, arnica gel, Nuun electrolyte tablets and superfood shake mixes, along with coupons for other great products.  And the bag itself is really cheery.  It is hand-printed bag by RIJI Green, a company committed to ending human trafficking.  It’s perfect for storing sunscreen and snacks (clearly, we are all about the snacks) in your beach or gym bag.

When it comes to active living, our local Whole Foods Market really is a one-stop shop.  I know the products and ingredients on the shelves are going to be safe and family-friendly, which I can’t necessarily say about so-called nutrition and supplement stores.  

I couldn’t wait to put the Goddess Garden Organics Natural Sunscreen and Boiron Arnicare Gel to good use during this week’s workouts, and I’m looking forward to mixing the Amazing Grass vanilla chai Amazing Meal into my next shake.

You can pick up a Ready for Action bag for just $12 (it is valued at $50) tomorrow, Saturday June 27th at 10 AM at your local U.S. Whole Foods Market store, in the Whole Body department.

Ready for Action giveaway

I’m excited to share a Ready for Action bag with one U.S. reader.  To enter, please comment below.  A winner (though… you’re, like, all winners… and don’t you forget it) will be randomly selected on Tuesday, June 30th.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your list of summer essentials?

Today: Cleaning up at the farmers market, Whole Foods and freshii.

I held off on our grocery shopping this week until we had a chance to swing by our neighborhood’s Farmers Market (on West Broadway on Mondays, 12-6PM — click here to find a farmers market in your ‘hood).  

Clearly someone was excited to get her hands on a summer tomato.

We ended up checking off quite a few items from our shopping list:

  • a pint of grape tomatoes, a head of speckled romaine lettuce, a pint of strawberries and a bunch of asparagus from Freitas Farm
  • a bunch of kale and a half dozen or so tomatoes from Wenger Farm in Bellingham   

After walking back home and unloading our haul (minus the tomato that Grace ate like an apple on the way home, and the half pint of strawberries we shared as soon as we got in the door), we finished up our shopping at Whole Foods Market in the South End.  

  • Dairy: organic whole milk yogurt for Grace, shredded mozzarella cheese, pepper jack cheese
  • Produce: raspberries, blueberries, English cucumber, green apples, garlic, red onion, bananas, carrots, celery, ginger root, grapes, watermelon
  • Staples: quinoa, pearled couscous, canned whole tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas
  • Non-vegetarian things for my non-vegetarian husband: two spicy Italian sausages (basically, this is how I buy meat: I go to the butcher’s counter, have a mild panic attack, point to something and say a random number… in this case, two)
  • Impulse purchase: Caprese salad from the antipasto bar 

After the longest… winter… ever…. during which we ordered more…. pizza… thanweshouldhave… we’ve been making a concerted effort to clean up our meals. Being home and having more flexibility and time to shop, prep and cook has certainly helped, but I think our efforts (and all that sunshine) are definitely paying off.  I’ve been sleeping better, have more energy, and look less zombie-ish (I think).  I’ve kicked my Diet Coke habit (though I did sneak a few sips at my brother and sister-in-law’s cookout after Sunday’s 5k), have fewer sugar cravings, and generally just feel… less like someone who ate too much pizza.

I recently had the chance to check out the new freshii location that opened in the Back Bay this spring.  Freshii generously offered me a gift card for my first visit, and I’ve been back several times (both to the Back Bay and Fort Point locations) since.  It’s so nice to have a convenient and affordable place nearby to stop in for a quick, healthy meal or pick-me-up.  Their juices and salads, in particular, are really fantastic and I love freshii’s commitment to sustainability and their “Mission Green.”

Oh, and their frozen yogurt?  It’s the perfect compliment to all those fruits and vegetables.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where is your favorite place to food shop?


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


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: My morning reading list.

If it’s morning and you’re in bed, and you’re reading this on your phone… thank you. I always appreciate your being here. But please, put the phone down.  Let’s meet back here in a few hours.

One of my worst habits?  Letting other people decide what I am going to think about in the morning.  And by other people, I mean my phone.  If you’re looking to get up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed, grab your phone as soon as you wake up and get flooded by such things as:

  • Tweets about chemicals in your favorite foods
  • An Instagram post informing you that the Frenchie you insta-stalk died of a mysterious illness (True Life: This is why I don’t follow random dogs anymore.  At least 5 dogs I followed have died in the last year.  Which is both weird and sad.  Also, I am convinced I cursed them all.)
  • Emails from your boss sent at 11:44 PM, 2:06 AM, and 4:18 AM
  • Facebook pictures of your friend’s cousin’s college roommate’s ultrasound
  • “Breaking news!” about Taylor Swift’s most recent break-up
  • Actual news about any of the upsetting things going on in our world
  • Weather reports about 900 feet of snow

It’s a tough habit to break (tougher than Diet Coke, I think… still working on that one… again), but if you can hold off on the Insties and Twitters for even a few minutes — just enough time to choose what you first consume — it can work wonders.  It can set your day on a happier, calmer, more inspired course.  I was going to type, “It will change your life!” (and I kind of believe that), but I don’t have proof.  So let’s just stick with this: Choosing what you read in the morning can have a really wonderful affect on your day.

You might already have something in mind.  A mantra, a prayer, a favorite quote, or line from a movie.  It doesn’t have to be complicated (and given that this is likely pre-coffee, perhaps it shouldn’t be complicated).  I keep a few scraps of paper in my bathroom cabinet and in a notebook in my dresser drawers– my favorite things to read are right there when I wake up, ready to keep me from the glow of my iPhone.

Looking for somewhere to start tomorrow morning?  Here are a few of my favorites.  You’ll find the full text by clicking each title.  Oh, and feel free to print any of the images and stick them to your mirror.

My morning reading list

Mary Oliver’s Five A.M. In the Pinewoods: I love everything Mary Oliver has written.  This poem, in particular, feels very meditative to me.  

A Precious Human Life, His Holiness the Dalai Lama: I’ve read this one so many times, I know it by heart (I love that expression).  It is such a beautiful way to start the day — mindful, kind and well-intentioned.

Dr. King’s “Life’s Blueprint” speech: Last spring, I heard this speech recited by a group of eighth grade students in Washington, D.C.  It was their middle school graduation ceremony and each student had memorized a few lines of the speech.  While I’d read it before, I felt like I was hearing certain parts for the first time.  It was moving and beautiful.  By the time they got to “I would say to you, don’t drop out of school,” I was crying.  The speech ends like this: “Be the best of whatever you are.”  Yes.

The Guest House by Rumi: You have to read the full poem.  It’s a perfect reminder in the morning (and in the afternoon and the evening) that we may not be able to control what or who comes into our lives, but we can choose our response and attitudes.

Okay.  It’s safe to pick up your phone again.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you start your days?

Today: A sneak peek at Whole Foods Market South End.

When I get THIS excited about a new grocery store, one of two things is going on:

  1. I need to get a life.
  2. This new grocery store is a really, really great grocery store.

In the case of Whole Foods Market South End opening minutes from our condo (and on my commute home!), it’s sort of both.  

I always need to get a life. And this is a really, really great grocery store.  

A sneak peek at Whole Foods Market South End

Whole Foods Market South End Ink Block

Tonight, I had the chance to get a sneak peek at the store before it opens this Friday, and couldn’t wait to share some of the highlights.  So I stayed up past my bedtime.  And delayed getting a life.

Whole Foods Market South End prepared foods

Whole Foods Market South End Ink Block

Let’s start with this: It’s big (like… 50,000 square feet big).  There’s parking.  It’s T accessible (Silver Line, Red Line/Broadway, and Orange Line/Tufts Medical Center).  

And it’s pretty.  

South End’s Ink Block

The store occupies the old Boston Herald site in the South End’s Ink Block development.  I love that Whole Foods acquired the old Herald sign and incorporated all sorts of newspapery (not a word, but hey) elements in the store’s decor.  

Boston Herald at Whole Foods Market South End

As a flagship store, Whole Foods Market South End features several new retail concepts, including a one-of-a-kind Fish Shack, just around the corner from a frozen yogurt bar (you now know where to find me…).

Juice and smoothie bar

The store’s juice and smoothie bar will serve menu options as well as just about any juice or smoothie customers can dream up (you now know where to find me, after I’ve moved on from the fro-yo).

Juice bar Whole Foods Market South End Ink Block

Bulk foods

The bulk food options go far beyond the usual nuts and seeds.  Offerings top 250 items and include bulk salad greens, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, bulk liquids such as aminos, and a special super foods bar.

Whole Foods Market South End bulk food

milk + honey at Whole Foods Market

Oh.  And there is a spa inside Whole Foods Market South End… yes, you read that correctly.  Just beyond the Whole Body department is a milk + honey spa (another first for Whole Foods), which will offer a range of services including facials, hot shaves, shoe shines, manicures and pedicures.

milk and honey at Whole Foods Market South End Ink Block

Wine, beer and spirits

In addition to a huge selection of wine and beer, Whole Foods Market South End Market will be the first Massachusetts Whole Foods Market to carry spirits.  I’m going to sit in this gorgeous leather chair while Nick explores 40 linear feet of craft beers (I don’t really even know what that means, but it sounds pretty cool).  

Whole Foods Market South End craft beer

A few unexpected treats


  • Kombucha on tap
  • A full service coffee counter featuring Boston’s first modbar, cold brew coffee on tap and single origin pourovers 
  • A Bikestock machine that sells bike parts (located outside, next to the bike racks)
  • An Art-o-mat (an old cigarette vending machine refurbished to vend… art!).

Grand opening details

If you’re in town this Friday, I highly recommend stopping by the Ink Block for Whole Foods Market South End’s Grand Opening.  5% of the day’s proceeds will benefit five local non-profits and Josiah Quincy Elementary School’s choir will perform before the store’s bread breaking ceremony (much tastier than a ribbon cutting).

Whole Foods Market South End opening day

Meet me at the frozen yogurt.  Or the juice bar.  Or the spa.  Or by the cheese… let’s meet at the cheese.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s new in your ‘hood this week?

Today: Ginger and mint lemonade.

I’m one of those people whose feelings end up in their stomach.

If I’m feeling nervous, excited, anxious, worried, anxious, afraid, unsettled, or irritated, my stomach has its own corresponding dance.  Your feelings may turn into headaches or that weird eyelid twitch, but regardless, our emotional things almost always manifest themselves as physical things.

With so much to see and do and wrap and taste and smell and feel (so much exciiiiiitement!) during the holiday season, I start to notice a pattern of my stomach feeling off more days than it’s on.  Once I’ve spent at least an hour on WebMD ruling out a very rare and very deadly parasite, I find that a cup of tea and little quiet time often does the trick.

When that’s not enough, I hit up nature’s medicine cabinet.  

Side bar: That would be such a cute name for a store. I would sell flowers and tea and make people happy. Except… never mind… “nature’s medicine cabinet” might be the name of a medical marijuana dispensary I saw on 60 Minutes.  Who knows.  

Back on topic: A little ginger, some citrus, a bit of mint… et voila

Ginger and mint lemonade - a delicious and refreshing drink perfect for soothing upset stomachs

Ginger and mint lemonade

While this ginger and mint lemonade serves as a fantastic stomach soother (and it’s sort of the perfect antidote the entire bowl of M&Ms I ate last night), it’s just as delicious and refreshing on those days when all is right in your world and in your body.

Oh, and (you know this already): Numbers are not my strong suit, so don’t worry too much about measuring.  As with just about every recipe I share, you’ll get by with some good estimating and tasting along the way.

Recipe yields approximately 4 servings and will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days


  • 1/4 cup loose mint tea leaves (I used organic spearmint from David’s Tea)
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped ginger
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slices for garnish


  1. Mix tea leaves, agave nectar and grated ginger in a large bowl.
  2. Add boiling water and allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain tea mixture using a fine mesh strainer* into a large measuring cup (or bowl with a pouring spout thing) and press firmly to extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Add lemon juice and cold water.
  5. Divide and store in covered glass jars.
  6. Refrigerate and shake well before serving.

*As you can see in the photo above, I used a fairly loose strainer and some errant tea leaves snuck in (all good in my book).  If you’d prefer to not have the feeling that something’s stuck between your two front teeth all day, I recommend a fine mesh strainer for Step 3.

Okay!  Back to the candy bowl excitement!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your home remedy of choice?

Today: Baby’s first 5k.

Yesterday morning, I ran around our condo trying to remember what one wears for a December 5k in New England.  I haven’t run much at all since starting physical therapy in September, and haven’t run in the cold since last November.  Totally off my game.  I couldn’t find a hat nor gloves, but did locate pants and shoes– and those seem like the critical elements.  Fortunately, Grace was better prepared and better trained (she’s been sitting for, like, months).

We got to my brother and sister-in-law’s house five minutes before we needed to head to the starting line, and we reached the starting line two minutes before the race started.  Just typing that sentence made me anxious.  Yesterday, though, there was nothing to be anxious about.  My expectations for any sort of quality athletic performance were nil.  I hoped to run as much as I could (and pain-free, at that) but ultimately, girls just wanna have fun I just wanted to enjoy my first 5k with Grace and our family.

Smiling is my favorite.

My parents took that photo of me about half-way through the race and as you can see, I’m all smiles.  I took a short walking break after Mile 1 and again at each hill, but was able to run most of the course.  Being able to skip the water stop because I had a bottle in my handy stroller console thing sort of offset the challenge of actually, you know, pushing the stroller.  Sort of.  Being able to see Grace and how much she was enjoying herself made up for the rest.

Grace waved and blew kisses to all the girls in purple sweatshirts and tutus, running their first 5k with Girls on the Run.  I loved listening to the girls chat with their coaches and be cheered on by volunteers on the course. I encourage you to learn more about the great work GOTR is doing in Greater Boston (and likely, in your community, too) and how you can get involved.

By the time the finish line was in sight, Grace was sound asleep (strollin’ ain’t easy), but I was still smiling from ear to ear.  As I ran from the finish line back to meet my family I couldn’t help but think, I’m baaaaaaaaack.

This has been an incredible and wonderful year, but it hasn’t been an easy year.  From sheer exhaustion and an overflowing of emotion, to broken toes and back pain, to managing work life and home life… there have been stretches during this first year of motherhood where I’ve felt like I’m doing the best I can, but simultaneously waiting for the next mini-crisis to crop up.  It’s easy to get a little lost in all of that.

And so something like finishing a race– something that used to seem so easy and insignificant– feels like a huge win.  One that I really needed.  One that I really appreciate.

We haven’t seen the end of sleepless nights or foggy brains.  There will likely be more broken toes (if there is a toy on the floor, I will trip over it — I think there is a reason my parents did not name me Grace), lost keys, forgotten appointments and wonky back pain.  There is no such thing as work/life balance (sorry, but there’s just not), but it’s still worth trying.  And I may never be as thin or fast or fit as I used to be.  And that’s okay.

It took me nearly 40 minutes to reach the finish line, but I felt like I had won the whole thing (for the record, I am fairly certain Grace did come in first in her age group). Having our beautiful girl with me made this victory all the more worth celebrating.

We’re in this together, baby.  You’re stuck with me.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • 5 tips for running with a stroller via Active
  • Making my list (but, um… there’s no time left for checking it twice)
  • Getting my act together with two more giveaways this week (promise)

What little victory are you celebrating?


Today: A slow and quiet Christmas (and a David’s Tea giveaway!)

If I had it my way, we would have a (childproof) Christmas tree up all year long and we’d live next door to the kind of people who leave a plastic Santa on the roof well into the Spring.  There would be an Advent calendar for every month (which, I know, doesn’t vibe with the story of Christmas… but, um, God wants us to be happy).  We’d listen to O, Holy Night every night.  We would say “Happy Holidays” to strangers (and mean it).  We’d always be on the hunt for the perfect gift and everything would smell like peppermint.  On cinnamon.  Oh, and we’d can our nasty ‘tudes (something that seems to magically happen this time of year, albeit temporarily).

More simply put: If I had it my way, it would always be December.  Because, you know, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

A slow and quiet Christmas

With all the energy that goes into baking and shopping, wrapping presents and decking the halls, finding that one broken bulb and hanging up the mistletoe… this can also be an overwhelming time of year.  I leave Thanksgiving dinner with grand Pinterest-fueled plans for the month of December, but by mid-month, what I really need is a nap.

Follow Elizabeth’s board Christmas On Tap on Pinterest.

This year, all I want is a slow and quiet Christmas.

I’m dialing back the decorations (generally speaking, neither lit candles nor glitter are baby-friendly), laying low, and soaking up as much of that Christmas spirit as possible.  Oh, and I’m drinking lots of tea.

a slow and quiet Christmas and a David's Tea giveaway

Growing up, we always had an advent calendar hanging in our kitchen.  It’s a tradition Nick and I have adopted — one I look forward to sharing with Grace.  In the meantime, she’s happy to be crawling here, there, and everywhere with one of the Wise Men from her Little People Nativity. This year, in addition to our traditional advent calendar, I picked up one of the coveted David’s Tea 24 Days of Tea sets.

I can’t wait to open the day’s tea and share a cup with Nick and take stock of the day.  I can see why this set sells out year after year (I lucked out in the Chestnut Hill store) and has become a tradition for so many families.  It’s exactly the quiet and slow I’ve been craving.

While on the hunt for the set, I went on a bit of a shopping tea spree (can we make that a thing, or at the very least, a hashtag?).  I picked up a few gifts for family and friends, some loose tea for yours truly aaaaand I also bought something for one of you, too.

David’s Tea giveaway (closed)

One lovely On Tap for Today reader will receive the Healthy Collection from David’s Tea.  Why?  Because I like you all a lot, and want you to stay healthy and enjoy your own slow and quiet holiday season.  This set includes three teas/infusions and ten filters for steeping your loose tea.  To enter, simply leave a comment below and share your favorite holiday tradition.  A random winner will be chosen and notified on Saturday, December 13th.  Thanks for entering!  Megan B. was chosen and has been notified.

Disclaimer: Don’t get it twisted.  This is not a sponsored post.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • New to the calm and serene world of tea drinking?  Here’s a little Tea 101
  • 21 homemade gift ideas from The Kitchn
  • Stay tuned for two more giveaways this week #tistheseason #partyonwayne

What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Are you having a wild or mild December?

Today: With a little time and a little space.

I used to be a morning exerciser.  I’d wake up before my alarm rang, head to bootcamp or the gym at our old condo.  It would still be dark and quiet when I returned from my workout, and I’d be ready to take on the day.

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

And then I traded morning workouts to become an evening exerciser.  I’d rush home and get changed, and Nick and I would head to CrossFit Southie together.  Like my morning workouts, evening workouts became part of our routine.  

And then I became a parent, and the only thing routine about our routine… is that everything changes from one day to the next.  There have been countless days when I’ve thought, “I’ll get up early and workout before work,” only to find myself up most of the night, nursing Grace and singing made up words to made up songs until she fell back to sleep.  There have been just as many days when I’ve thought, “I’ll workout when I get home.”  But when six o’clock rolls around, what I really need is a nap. 

These days, plans to workout don’t always pan out.  In fact, it seems they rarely do.  What does work, though, is fitting in a little fitness when I can, where I can.  I may not be able to count on an hour at the gym each night, but I can count on a 15 minute walk during lunch, some yoga in Grace’s room while she plays with her Little Tikes piano (not exactly ambient music, but I love it), a little balance work in line at the grocery store, and five minutes of weights while dinner cooks.  

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

Things I love: a little understated flair on my running tights and some pink laces.

I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for a few months for back and hip pain, and she has given me a series of exercises that, as she says, you can do pretty much anywhere and not look like a weirdo.  I like not looking like a weirdo.  And like a quick yoga flow in the nursery or some squats in the kitchen, they require only a little time and a little space.  

Fitting in fitness when you have a little time, and a little space

I’m no longer a solid morning or evening exerciser.  A workout is only going to happen if it’s easy and accessible.  (And if I don’t find or make excuses, but hey.)  In the interest of ease and accessibility, I’ve started laying out my workout gear again and even put together a little home gym in a bin.

CS by City Sports for women

City Sports recently sent me a few items from their CS by City Sports fall line, including the See Me Go 1/2 zip top (on sale for $38), Sporty long sleeve (on sale for $18), and Dual Fashion tight (on sale for $38).   I’ve always loved City Sports and used to walk down to the Chestnut Hill store (which got even better when it reopened last March) when I was in college for new running gear.  Their CS line is an affordable, well-made and well-designed alternative to, welp… the alternatives.  

The See Me Go top is great for layering (and it has thumb holes, yaaaaaasss!), as is the long sleeve tee.  I’ve worn the tights for both workouts and for running errands (paired with a black tunic and ballet flats).  CS by City Sports comes extended sizes (something I think all fitness companies should get on board with), and their apparel is flattering, functional and unfussy.  In other words: exactly what I’m looking for.  

CS by City Sports for women

Speaking of functional and unfussy, here’s my home gym in a bin.  I pulled together the things I use most often, or that could motivate me to fit in a quick workout without much (or any) planning.  

Home gym in a bin

In the bin (which, for bonus points, is paisley and adorable):

Other home gym essentials that didn’t fit in the bin, but that hang out nearby:

  • Foam roller
  • Yoga mat
  • Exercise ball (which doubles as the most amazing way to soothe or rock bounce our baby to sleep — seriously, all parents should have one)

While this little home gym in a bin is cute enough to leave out, it fits perfectly in our front hall closet (safely tucked away from curious babies and Frenchies) and can be pulled out whenever I have a few minutes to fit in a quick workout.  Easy and accessible, functional and unfussy.  

Obvious disclaimer: I received complimentary apparel from City Sports.  As always, thoughts and opinions shared on these items are my own.  Oh, and here’s something timely: City Sports’ Black Friday deals include 30% off CS apparel.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your workout style?