Category Archives: Home

On our walls | at the Cape

After three or four consecutive weekends in the city, we are back at the Cape, enjoying the peace and quiet of the off season.  Since closing on the house here in mid-October, we’ve been down as many weekends as possible.  We’ve made a lot of progress in some areas, but in other areas, maybe not so much… both kids’ rooms sort of look like the second child’s room in this hilarious BuzzFeed post that I can’t stop scrolling through. 

We have some really fun things up on our walls, though, so I figured we could start there. It’s been so fun to start from scratch, building an inexpensive collection of pieces we truly love. I think that’s really the only rule that matters when building an art collection: Buy what you love.

I’ve linked to products when possible, mostly because I think everyone needs at least one of Elizabeth May’s seagulls in their home.  Please note that some links are referral or affiliate links.

KITCHEN

on our walls kitchen

The first things to grace our walls were these Elizabeth May seagull prints (Seagull 15 + Seagull 16).  I absolutely love her style, and just saw that she has new Barack Obama and Joe Biden prints for sale in her Etsy shop so…. they will be joining us soon, along with her Maya Angelou and Susan B. Anthony portraits.  

Cool/important people art party at the Cape!

I used these brass matted Target frames throughout the house.  I am obsessed.

LIVING ROOM

living room on our walls

  • Photos of Grace, Nick + Clark,  all taken at the Cape
  • Minted signed print (Mid-summertime by Emily Jeffords) + a photo of Grace birdwatching with “the giant ‘noculars'” at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History 

*You can use your Ebates account for cash back at Minted (PSA for those not already using Ebates: sign up for an Ebates account and go to their website when shopping online– by going through them first, you’ll earn cash back at many of the sites you usually shop.  For me, that’s diapers.com, LOFT, Nordstrom, Minted, Athleta, etc.)

CapeAbilities flag

We have this Cape Cod flag, made by Cape Abilities participants, hanging on the wall heading upstairs.  Proceeds from these flags (this size was $35) support the organization, which serves individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod through a range of programs.  If you’re on the Cape, I highly recommend a trip to their farm in Dennis and store in Yarmouth.  They do wonderful work.

GUEST ROOM/DEN

guest room on our walls

I normally wouldn’t paint over someone else’s work… but I figured a mass market paint-by-number is fair game, right?  You can find similar vintage paintings at thrift stores and on Etsy or ebay, often with wooden frames, for $20 or so.  I used leftover paint from another project and simply blocked off a third of the image with blue painters tape and added a single coat of paint so that the original painting is still visible up close.

OUR BEDROOM

our bedroom on our walls

I hadn’t planned to hang the tapestry and Top Knot print together, or even in the same room… but then I saw them side by side and loved the repetition of those red stripes. The rest of our room is super white and restful, so these pieces punch things up a bit.

The tapestry is from the Pillowfort kids line at Target, but it totally works in a grown-up room.  Kids decor is often less expensive… and more cool.

GRACE’S ROOM

Grace on our walls

Grace fell in love with this swan (and her tutu), and who could blame her?  The framed print is actually a Valentine’s Day card that cost $3 ($15 including the frame). Framing greeting cards is an easy, low commitment way to add a little something to your walls.

NICK’S ROOM

Nick on our walls

One of the artists for Modern Map Art generously sent us this print, which I thought would work perfectly in Nick’s room (I’m going for a mostly navy vibe in there).  There are several options for Boston, all in local team color ways.  My photo doesn’t do the print justice, so I recommend checking out their website to see more detailed shots.  They sell similar prints for cities all over the globe, as well as some really cool ski maps.

I love how major and local streets have been painted over the map in red.  It’s really bold and graphic and I think it pairs well with the anchor tapestry (another kids department find).  

Plus, it’s nice to have a little Southie with us at the Cape. 

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite piece of art or inexpensive decor tip?

 

 

Today: April goals (and a printable calendar).

I didn’t feel like painting April showers, so I skipped right to the May flowers.  Hope you don’t mind.

April goals (and a printable calendar)

april calendar printable

Materials used: Winsor + Newton professional watercolors and gouache; round brushes (4 and 8), liner brush (0); super-inexpensive mixed media paper (from the kids’ craft aisle at Target)

click here to download your free, hand painted April calendar

April goals

Family

  • Set plans for Nick’s baptism
  • Pick a new Audubon sanctuary to visit this month
  • Make a “warmer weather” bucket list (because I never did this in March… semi-related, it’s going to snow next week…)
  • Day trip to the Cape

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world and twice at home (per week) and increase weekly mileage
  • Increase low plank hold to 45 seconds, high plank to 2 minutes (gettin’ there!)
  • Continue to keep food diary (this is something I got back into a few weeks ago — it’s been really helpful… and eye-opening)

Home

  • Donate newborn and baby clothes (seeing as both my children are toddler-sized, including the four-month-old)
  • Consign or sell our single running stroller
  • Get the deck ready for spring/summer
  • Continue to meal plan on Sundays (it’s really helping to cut down food waste)

Bring on the April showers.  So we can cut to the May flowers.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your April?

Today: March goals (and a printable calendar).

It’s March 1st, which means

march goals printable calendar

Materials used: Zig Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors, Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen (black), round brushes (sizes 2 and 4)

You can download your March calendar here.

March goals 

Family

  • This is mortifying… but I still need to make Nick’s birth announcement…
  • Date night afternoon at the museum
  • Make a few playdates for Grace
  • Make a “warmer weather” bucket list

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world and twice at home (per week)
  • Meet my fitbit goals (10,000 steps/30 minutes of activity/10 floors climbed) 5 days a week
  • Increase low plank hold to 45 seconds, high plank to 1 minute 
  • Register for 2 spring races
  • Less TV, more reading

Home

  • Organize and donate Nick’s too-small baby clothes 
  • Wash deck windows
  • Limit food waste

Community

  • Make plans with friends
  • Win March Madness (or whatever)
  • Enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Southie

I hope your March is… super.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on tap for your March?

Today: Happy Weekend.

It finally feels like winter in Boston.  Time to trade the flip-flops for boots, and break out the pom-pom hats.

A few things to check out if you’re staying in this weekend:

Wishing you and yours a cozy, happy weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Shopping for a new (non-maternity) winter jacket
  • Ignoring the laundry
  • Sharing the January love

What are you up to this weekend?

Today: Happy Weekend.

This was a short, fast week.  We’re easing into a fall-ish routine… which means fun things like a new bootcamp session, apple picking, gymnastics class for Grace, morning walks at Castle Island and (dare I admit my excitement?) a new season of Scandal.  

Summer slipping away also means less fun things like fewer trips to the beach.   And wearing pants. Not interested.

In addition to wearing pants, it also dawned on me that I should probably start being responsible in other ways.  Like, say… by getting ready for this baby boy of ours to arrive.  My current mission is to get rid of as much excess as humanly possible.  As you can see above, I started with our bookshelves.  We’ve got 60-70 books to donate, and I’m slowly (that’s sort of my only speed these days) making my way through every drawer, cabinet and closet in the condo.  

What can I say?  The glamour of life abounds.  (And I sort of hope you’re doing something less functional and more fun.)

Happy Weekend, friends.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your fun or functional fall to-do list?

Today: Happy Humpday.

I really don’t like the expression humpday…  But it’s Wednesday.  And I just poured a cup of tea from a camel teapot.  So.  Happy Humpday, my friends.

P.S. Very, very important question:  Why are there TWO camel emojis but ZERO cheese emojis?  I’ve got a cup of tea for anyone who can solve that mystery.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your default emoji?  Red dress dancing lady?  Face with eyes but no mouth?  Camel 1?  Camel 2?  Single ear (not attached to head)?  White orthopedic-looking shoe?  Do share.

Today: Spring spruce-up.

I’ve been putting off spring cleaning (and Lord, do those closets need to be addressed) for weeks, but now that it’s finally warm enough to open the windows and let some fresh air in, I’m running out of excuses.  It’s time to step away from the spring cleaning Pinterest boards and actually, well… do some cleaning.

Unless, of course… I come up with some other way to procrastinate.  The lovely folks at Minted reached out at the perfect time with the opportunity to do a little window wall art shopping.  I’ve ordered all kinds of holiday cards and invitations from Minted, but hadn’t ordered any prints or photos from them before.  

After a few minutes, it became clear I could spend hours scrolling through their art section.  And maybe I did.  Instead of washing windows.  

Spring Spruce-up with Minted

gallery wall

We’ve been adding to this little collection of photos and prints here and there, and I’m excited to add a few new pieces this spring.  Minted offered me a credit to my account to do a little shopping and sprucing up, in exchange for sharing some of my favorite items here.  

I’m eyeing the constellation and birthstone prints for Grace’s room.  I like that they’re personal, without being childish.  So many of their art prints would make lovely gifts for spring birthdays, weddings and showers.  Oh, and Mother’s Day (hint, hint). 

Alright.  Time to clean.  Just kidding… it’s time to decorate Easter eggs.  And then make up 900 other things to do when I’m done.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your spring to-do list?

Today: 2015 Boston Flower and Garden Show

For the past four or five years, I’ve looked forward to the Boston Flower and Garden Show as sort of an unofficial start to spring.  And given the wild winter we’ve endured, I practically counted down the days to this year’s show.

I took fewer photos than past years, mostly because I had my hands full protecting Grace from flying elbows.  We didn’t make it in until Saturday (word to the wise: go during the week) and had to battle the crowds a bit, but man.  It felt good to see some flowers.  In the pretend outdoors.  

I can’t wait until spring is really here.  In the meantime, I’m dreaming up all kinds of things I want to plant and grow on our deck.  My parents gave me a tomato grow bag kit for my birthday and I plan to plant a few containers of herbs, as well.  While it will be nice to have more space to work with some day (I am swooning over the outdoor living spaces we saw this weekend), there really is so much you can do with a few square feet and some sunshine.

Here are a few of my favorites from the 2014 Boston Flower and Garden Show for your own spring daydreaming:

I love a good water feature.

How pretty are these seed packets?

Love a good living roof, too.

I think Southie could use a fairy house.  Or twelve.

 

An unexpected, but super cool sand sculpture

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Want more flowers?  Here are my Flower Show posts from 20102011 and 2012… who knows where 2013 and 2014 ended up…
  • Oh, good.  We broke the snow record.  Now please come clean off my car.
  • Happy Parade Day!

What are you looking forward to this spring?

Today: Scenes from the snowiest winter in South Boston.

snowy South Boston

I am not sure which is more unbelievable:

  • It has snowed 7 feet during the last 3 weeks here in Boston
  • I am about to quote a Florida Republican and member of the NRA (on the topic of winter, of all things)  

It has come to this.  My ability to use my own words is buried, along with my car, under all that snow.  However, the former Congressman’s words (in this instance, at least) felt spot on.

After Nick cleared out the SUV and picked up some iced coffees (always iced, even when the thermometer iPhone weather app thing reads 4 degrees), we bundled up Grace and took a quick drive around the neighborhood.

I’m not a betting girl, but if I were, I’d say there will still be snow on the ground come Marathon Monday. [Side note: our friend Sarah is running Boston in support of the MGH Emergency Response Team.  If you’re wondering what marathon training during this historic winter is like… welp, she’ll tell you.]

South Boston Emergency Transportation Reconfiguration

With no room for both cars and snowbanks, driving around here has felt a bit like living in a (mostly super-dangerous) video game.  Last Thursday, it took me two hours to get from the South End to Southie.  I was an hour late for daycare pick-up (fortunately, Nick was able to get there in time).  Most of those two hours were spent in my own neighborhood, trying to navigate too narrow streets, while attempting to neither hit a pedestrian nor get hit by a bus.

Hopefully this weekend’s Emergency Transportation Reconfiguration (doesn’t that sound so… serious?) will help.  Most numbered streets are now one-way (odd numbers head east, even numbers head west), through April 1st.  Ahh, April. That sounds nice.

While I lose my mind keep busy with glamorous things like laundry and pretend a heat wave is moving through, a few photos from our tour of the neighborhood:

Sully's Castle Island snow

Oh.  I saved the best for last.  How awesome (and unsafe, yes, but awesome) is this tunnel at the corner of K & 8th?  I like when people make the most of things.

snow tunnel south boston

With more snow on the way, that’s really all we can do.  Make the most of things.  Hang in there.  And be grateful that we’re warm and safe.  We’re going a little stir-crazy, sure.  

But spring is coming.  Eventually.

Also On Tap for Today:

Share something bright, sunny, warm, tropical, pink, lovely and/or Mean Girls related.  Please.

 

Today: Lighting a candle (and an Old Factory Candles giveaway)

While I imagine candles were invented out of necessity (you know, like, before an old person invented the Clapper to clap on all the lights in the house), these days, they do more than help us read once the sun’s gone down.  For me, lighting a candle is the perfect daily ritual.

lighting a candle

We light candles atop cakes to celebrate birthdays.  We light a candle in the window for those far away.  We light pine scented candles in our first apartments when there’s no room for a real Christmas tree (just me?).  We light candles to offer prayers.  We light candles to set the mood (for the record, I was thinking of dinnertime and the “it’s time to eat” mood, not the other kind of mood… though I supposed that counts, too). We light candles at weddings, at baptisms and at funerals.

Lighting a candle is such an easy way to bring some of that celebration or ritual into a regular Tuesday.  Or Wednesday.  (You catch my drift.)  That small, simple act marks the start of something.  It could be the beginning of a great meal, or five minutes of prayer or meditation, or time to get lost in your thoughts.

Lighting a candle is how I come back to Earth, so to speak, on wild days.  Once the match is carefully discarded (safety first, mindfulness second, people!) and I see that brightly burning wick, the rest of my day seems to come into focus.  Few small rituals enable me to turn my thoughts off, while at the same time, turning my attention on, so effectively.  Bonus points for the added benefits of aromatherapy (and let’s be real: what smells better than a Christmas tree?).

Old Factory Candles giveaway

I recently received a complimentary gift set of Old Factory Candles and am thrilled to be hosting a giveaway today.  Each set includes three 2 oz. scented, natural soy candles in a range of themes.  I chose Spa Day (you know how people have those “I’d rather be golfing” bumper stickers? I want one that says “I’d rather be getting a manicure”), and have been enjoying scents of cucumber, green tea and (my favorite) lemongrass.  I like that these candles are small and come in unobtrusive packaging (the labels peeled easily off each jar); the scents are subtle and not at all overpowering.

One randomly chosen reader will receive a gift set of their choice (you can find all 11 themed sets online) courtesy of Old Factory Candles.  Here are a few of my recommendations for the lucky winner:

  • Winter Wonderland (hot cocoa, roasted chestnut, first snow)
  • Fresh and Clean (lemongrass, olive blossom, fresh linen)
  • Newborn Baby (baby powder, first blanket, baby shampoo)
  • Man Cave (straight razor, leather, mahogany… very Ron Burgandy)
  • Coffee Shop (coffee bean, hazelnut, chai tea)

To enter, please leave a comment below.  A winner will be chosen and notified on Friday, December 19th. Many thanks for entering!  The winner (Kim R.) has been notified.

Also On Tap for Today:

What daily (or occasional) ritual helps you wind down?