Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Treat yourself well.

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.  

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).

STAY HYDRATED + TAKE A BATH

treat yourself well hydrate bath

True Life: I am still guzzling from the giant (28 oz.) water bottle they gave me in the delivery room before Nick was born.  Semi related: Crushed ice is the best ice.  I’m sure you’ve heard plenty regarding the benefits of staying hydrated and drinking enough water.  If you’re looking for an easy way to up your intake, stick a straw in your glass.  According to Runner’s World, you’re likely to drink more water through a straw than simply by sipping.  

Baths take more effort, but the benefits of a good soak are significant.  I love using one of these inexpensive fizzing epsom bath bombs from Whole Foods (find them in the Whole Body section) and then treating my skin to Organic Bath’s Nourish night balm (completely obsessed).

TRADE SCREEN TIME FOR CREATIVE TIME

treat yourself well creativity

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

treat yourself well food

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 

treat yourself well LOLA

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.

You can learn more about LOLA products (and use the code OnTap for 60% off your purchases through 2/14) and their impressive charitable work on their website.  LOLA allows you to easily customize your products (tampons, liners, pads), assortment and delivery frequency.  New customers get 2 boxes for the price of 1, or 3 boxes for the price of 2 (discount is applied automatically).  Perhaps you’ll consider donating your free box to a local women’s shelter?  Menstrual care products are often the most requested but least donated items at shelters.

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.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • If I had an extra hour and an extra 100 balloons, I‘d be making this right now from Oh Happy Day!
  • Running out of indoor activities…
  • Crafting the ultimate Gaga/Beyonce/Adele playlist (hoping there are enough songs to make it 4 years long)

When was the last time you treated yourself?

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?

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)?

4 Simple DIY Beauty Gifts

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).

4 simple diy beauty gifts

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.  

No one wants a rash for the holidays.

Soothing peppermint lip balm

soothing peppermint lip balm

Ingredients:

How to:

  1. Melt beeswax and shea butter in a double boiler (I used a Pyrex measuring cup in a saucepan of water), stirring frequently
  2. Turn off heat and stir in peppermint essential oil
  3. Carefully pour mixture into shallow containers and let sit for several minutes before covering
  4. 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

aromatherapy room body mist

Ingredients:

  • 15 drops of essential oils for each 5ml bottle 
  • Distilled water

How to:

  • 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

Suggested blends:

  • 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… 

Lemon eucalyptus exfoliating scrub

lemon eucalyptus exfoliating scrub

Ingredients:

How to:

  1. Combine salt and fractionated coconut oil in a bowl
  2. 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.

Let the good times roll… roll-on scent

roll on scent

Ingredients:

  • 3 drops of essential oil (single or blend) 
  • Carrier oil (ex. fractionated coconut oil, grape seed oil)

How to:

  1. Add 3 drops of your favorite essential oil to a 5 ml roller applicator bottle
  2. 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.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite handmade gift to give or receive?

 

 

 

October goals + a printable calendar

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

october goals printable 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)

You can download your free, printable October calendar here.

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.

OCTOBER GOALS

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.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most looking forward to this October?

Prioritize sleep.

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 are pretty great. So is sleeping for more than 2 hours and 12 minutes per night.

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.

PRIORITIZE SLEEP

A few things that have caught my attention:

prioritize sleep bath

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.

prioritize sleep book

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

prioritize sleep 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.

This gentle, nighttime flow is heaven.

prioritize sleep smoothie

Kale, check. Yogurt, check. Banana, check.  Seasonally inappropriate glass, check.

Even better: Most of these are already in my kitchen — tart cherry juice (also great for workout recovery), yogurt, whole grains, kale, bananas… even Cheerios.

This is one my go-to tricks for falling asleep quickly.  It’s sort of like counting sheep, but with, like… breathing.  It seems a little weird, but trust me.  Try it.

On that note… time for a responsibly early bedtime.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a bedtime routine?  

 

Guard your spirit.

“Guard your spirit” is something I used to jokingly say to my dog, covering his eyes if there was violence on the evening news.  I would tell Nick that our little Frenchie was very sensitive and needed to be protected from things like swear words and fighting and pizzas that have mini hotdogs where the crust should be (I still can’t believe that’s a thing.  And we wonder why people think Americans are not okay.).

guard your spirit clark

My (spirit) guard dog

I think I’ve always been a somewhat sensitive person.  But I’ve gotten considerably more sensitive with age.  And ever more so as a mother.  I chalk some of this up to the fact that I haven’t slept since May of 2012, but I sort believe that the older we get, the more ourselves we become.  (Please don’t check my grammar on that last sentence.  We’ll both be disappointed.)  

I used to be able to watch six documentaries on serial killers in a row without needing to booby trap my own house.  I could listen to the baddest, most inappropriate music on the dial without flinching.  I could (for the most part– we all have our limits) hang with negative, bossy, rude people and not turn too awful myself.  And I could watch the evening news without covering Clark’s eyes, and plotting to lock everyone that I love in a closet (with plenty of snacks and a good ventilation system, obvi) so that nothing bad could ever happen to them.  Besides the whole being locked in a closet thing.  Speaking of which, add claustrophobia to my growing list of issues sensitivities.  

So these days, when I say Guard your spirit (most often to myself), I actually mean it.  And what I mean is this:  I am the person who I am.  And that person is part-sponge.  And that’s okay.  And I can do things to avoid becoming wrung out or water logged.  Here are a few of those things (I’m pretty sure they work for all types of people).

GUARD YOUR SPIRIT

Be picky in the best way possible

guard your spirit plants

My best friends are self-sufficient plants.

  • Choose to spend time with people who bring out the best in you.  People who are kind, motivating, and encouraging.  (And be that sort of person for other people.)
  • Take advantage when opportunities present themselves.  For me, this means embracing even a tiny bit of alone time. There are days when I sort of want to yell, “No one talk to me, no one touch me, no one look at me, no one stick a Duplo in my bra, no one breathe near me!” But that would be rude.  So instead, I pretend I have to use the bathroom… and just hide in there for 3 whole minutes.  For more civilized people, this might mean prioritizing a last minute coffee date with a friend over some other obligation.
  • Be mindful of your goals and work to ensure your priorities (and like, daily behaviors) are aligned with these goals.  Don’t do things that work in opposition to these goals.  (Easier typed than done, I know.)  Your time and energy are not endless in supply.  Use ’em wisely.

Be careful about what you consume

guard your spirit waves

  • This goes for food and drink and things you put on your body (like clothes and make-up and glitter gel from the 90’s and dogs that demand to sit directly on your chest whilst you try to relax).
  • …But it’s equally important when it comes to media.  You don’t need to follow everyone and their grandmother (and let’s be serious, the grandmothers are present and accounted for on Facebook).  If what someone shares– tweets, photos, commentary, what have you– affects you negatively, unfollow.  And don’t feel guilty.  Think of it this way: our mental and emotional feeds are limited.  Don’t waste that space on pictures of cats eating steak or racist Facebook rants. Save it for waves gently crashing onto the shore.  Or whatever floats your proverbial boat.  Get it… waves… boats…. cool.
  • Know what works for you.  I don’t read fiction or watch shows or movies that contain much violence (especially if it involves violence against women or children).  This is not entertaining for me, and doesn’t make me a more informed or helpful person.  YouTube videos featuring baby pigs eating tiny cupcakes do entertain me.  Jury’s still out on whether or not they make me better informed or more helpful.  
  • Have a stash of treasured books, music, poems, artwork, movies, podcasts, drawings, pig videos, plants etc. at the ready when you need a little (or big) boost.  Some of my favorites: Mary Oliver, Hafez, Rumi, the On Being podcast, Wendell BerryParis to the Moon, Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure.

Default to kindness

  • On my worst days, I default to giving people the finger as they cut me off in the Columbia Rd. rotary.  But on my best days, I default to kindness.  It’s a habit that takes work.  I try to practice in little ways, like saying hello to strangers (but not in a creepy or unsafe way).  Or being truly patient (rather than pretending to be patient, but actually being annoyed) while people cross the street.  Or giving people the benefit of the doubt, that they’re doing their best for the moment.
  • So much of being a parent to two young children feels reactionary.  And prior to being at home with Grace and baby Nick, I worked in a very reactionary, which-fire-should-I-extinguish-first, kind of field.  I’m (very) slowly learning to react with less stress, less need to be right, less authority… and more kindness.  I think it’s sort of like when robots are re-programed so that they are, like, friendly robots instead of war robots in those war robot movies that you couldn’t pay me a trillion dollars to watch.  Just a guess.

Take care of yourself

guard your spirit salad

  • There are going to be plenty of times when we miss an opportunity to guard our spirits (like when you try to not watch the debate, but then you have to take your sick baby– he’s fine!– to the ER and all the TVs are tuned to CNN… WHY?). And there will be times when life goes sideways, in tiny or tragic ways.  And the better we’ve cared for ourselves, the better prepared we will be for those unexpected, unwelcome, unhappy or un-whatever times.
  • So take care of yourself.  Eat well.  Drink plenty of water.  And then a little more.  Sleep well (assuming that’s an option and you don’t have a tiny human yelling at you all night).  Exercise.  Pray.  Meditate.  Paint.  Hold a sleeping baby.  Hold an awake baby.  Do hula hooping in the park.  Let a dog sit on your chest for no apparent reason other than that’s what he wants to do.  

Be a nice person to yourself, and a nice person to other people.  And don’t watch recaps of the presidential debate.  Just kidding… kind of.

P.S. Happy Birthday to the best mother and grandmother we could ever hope for!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever said to your dog?  How do you guard your spirit?

 

Make your mornings amazing.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think we’re finally at a point where I can wake up and start the day at a reasonable time (say, 6 AM), on my own terms (i.e. not to feed a small babe), at least a few days a week.  On those days, I do my best to embrace a few quiet moments, be even a tiny bit more productive than usual, and set the tone for an amazing day.  

Or, like… maybe just an average, mostly normal one.  But why not aim for amazing?

MAKE YOUR MORNING AMAZING

make your mornings amazing

Step 1: Do not look at your phone.  I repeat: Do not look at your phone.  This is your chance to start your day with your thoughts, your ideas, your plans.  The easiest way to derail these thoughts, ideas and plans… is to be consumed by someone else’s thoughts, ideas and plans.  Or, like, emails and tweets and news stories.  You might sneak in a quick meditation, read your favorite poem, start a morning pages habit, or simply say to yourself, “Today’s gonna be a good day.”  I like think over the Dalai Lama’s morning prayer… but sometimes, I just simply say, “Be good.”  Here are a few more morning reading recommendations.

making your mornings amazing

Step 2: Make a quick, easy and nourishing breakfast.  I used to be a breakfast skipper, mostly because I “didn’t have time.”  I’ve learned to prioritize my morning meal, though, and find myself feeling way less hungry (read: cranky) and way more energized.  My go-to lately: A bowl of fruit, a rice cake and a Protein Superfood smoothie using Amazing Grass’ new chocolate peanut butter powder, some ice and skim milk.  The plant-based powder is a mix of peas, chia, quinoa and hemp, along with 7 alkalizing greens and 9 nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.

Step 3: Move a little.  You might go for a run, you might do some gentle stretching (I love this 10 minute sequence from MindBodyGreen).  Either way, there are definite perks (and research to back them up) to working out in the morning.

make your mornings amazing

Step 4: Match your manicure to your marble countertops.  Step 4 is purely optional.

Want to win some Amazing Grass Protein Superfood powder (your choice of Original, Vanilla or Peanut Butter Chocolate)? Leave a comment below!  One winner will be chosen on Saturday, August 6th. (Giveaway is open to US residents.)

As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I am happy to partner with Amazing Grass on this sponsored post.  

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you make your mornings amazing?

August goals + a printable calendar

Current mysteries of my life:

  • How did I get poison ivy on both feet and between all of my toes?
  • What is the point of a shirt that looks like a decent bum-covering tunic, but then has slits on both sides that go all the way up to your armpits?
  • Why is it August already?

I just don’t know.  I don’t.  Here’s a calendar.

AUGUST PRINTABLE CALENDAR

august goals printable calendar

One day I will use a ruler and paint those numbers in a straight line for you.  That day is not today.  But maybe it’s September 1st?  Only time will tell.

Click here to download your free, printable August calendar

AUGUST GOALS

  • Log an average of 20 miles a week for Charity Miles
  • Complete as many summer bucket list items as possible
  • Make it to all 3 Mama Beasts classes each week
  • Follow up on a volunteer opportunity for the fall
  • Share my “streamline everything” progress (believe it or not, there has been some progress!)
  • Watch as much of the Olympics as humanly possible

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH HOLLAR

back to school hollar

And because it’s nearly back-to-school time (I know, I know), I have something extra cute to share today.  Grace starts preschool in just a few weeks and our friends at Hollar (our new go-to spot for gifts and goodies) hooked her up with an Elmo backpack and all kinds of art supplies and learning tools.  Check out Grace’s feature on the Hollar blog here.  We’re really grateful to have partnered with them on this fun project.

Hope your month is off to a lovely start, friends.  And that you don’t step in any poison ivy.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your August?

Open browser tabs | 3 AM edition

I was trying to get back to sleep after feeding Nick a few nights ago and should have done just that (sleep), but instead I scrolled through the approximately 900 open browser tabs on my iPhone.  

Obvious disclaimer: We all know screens and sleep don’t mix.

open browser tabs

Of these 900 (give or take) browser tabs, there were articles I had started to read (and thought maybe, eventually I’d finish), recipes I hoped to make, and Frenchies I would like to sneak into our home.  The usual.  Plus, like, the unusual.  

If it’s 3 AM and you’re reading this, maybe… put down your phone, sniff some lavender and try to do some sort of sleep visualization.  But if it’s the middle of the day and you’re wondering what on Earth I find interesting enough to keep floating around on my phone for days (or in some cases, months), you’re in luck.

OPEN BROWSER TABS | 3 AM EDITION

  • Find a friend (a.k.a. The tab I will keep open forever and always): Every few months, I spot a Frenchie that I am certain is related to Clark and I try to convince Nick that we need to reunite them.  In our home.  Forever.  I’m selfishly not hyperlinking this one because I want first dibs on our next puppy… and because I think there’s much to be said for adopting pets rather than buying from breeders.  
  • Adele on ’25’: Song by Song//The New York Times:  I thought it was interesting to get the back story to each song on her most recent album.  …Interesting enough that this tab has been open since last November.  
  • 6 Stretches for a Lean, Limber Body//Fitness Magazine: Love the emphasis on hips, hamstrings, glutes and ye olde pelvic floor.
  • Thug Life Shirts: I love a witty workout tee.
  • Farmer’s Choice Boxes from Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, MA: We haven’t been home enough this summer to justify a full CSA share, but I’ve been keeping my eye on the weekly box offerings from one of our favorite local farms.  New lists are posted each Monday and you have until Wednesday evening to purchase the week’s box if you’re interested.  This week’s box is $23 and includes blueberries, carrots, tatsoi*, summer squash, red beets, lettuce, onions, mint and fava beans.
  • Seasoned Roasted Corn Salad Cups//Martha Stewart:  Looks like summer perfection.  Maybe sharing will motivate me to give this recipe a try.  Or maybe you can make it for me?
  • The Ultimate Manual Photography Cheat Sheet//PicMonkey: A great (and comprehensive) reference guide.  I love PicMonkey for simple photo editing and design, and their blog features helpful tips and tutorials like this one.
  • Edible Flowers//Gourmet Sweet Botanicals: For an upcoming project.  Or just a tasty, pretty snack.
  • 26 Phrases to Calm an Angry Child//The Huffington Post:  These are the things I read at 3 AM and wish I remembered to say at 3 PM.
  • Mary Ann Moss’ Oh My Gouache class: This is easily my favorite painting class I’ve taken in ages.  I revisit Mary Ann’s posts and videos whenever I get the chance.
  • My traveling postcards//Postcrossing: It’s been a few months since I joined Postcrossing and I’m really enjoying finding something other than Gold’s Gym advertisements in our mailbox.  I found a bunch of really cute vintage postcards on the Cape that I’m itching to send to Germany.  Or Thailand.  Or wherever.

*And… I just opened a new tab:  Google search results for “What the heck is tatsoi?”

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Picking out matching hoodies for the babes (I’ve developed a passion for matching baby/toddler fashion)
  • 18 charts for better, healthier snacking via BuzzFeed
  • Watching the Olympic trials (and getting so excited for the Games)

Alright, spill.  What tab(s) is always open on your phone?