Category Archives: Lifestyle

June 2017 | Currently

True Life: I meant to post this last month.  In May.  But I forgot.  So here we are… pretending I have my act together.  The more things change, the more I stay the same  (consistently inconsistent).

june 2017 currently

JUNE 2017 | CURRENTLY

May 2017 Currently

CURRENTLY MAKING

  • …moves on my soon-to-be-launched Etsy shop.  This was/is one of my major goals for 2017.  I’ve got the behind-the-scenes and initial concept (functional art) down, and plan to have about a dozen or so pieces finished this weekend.  I hope to be totally up and running before the end of this month.  My fingers are crossed that you’ll like it!
  • …a concerted effort to consume media carefully.  It’s such a careful balance between living under a rock and being entirely overwhelmed, especially given the current political happenings.  And by happenings… I mean… God help us.
  • …a summer bucket list.  We’ll be spending as much time as possible down the Cape, and I’m excited to share some of my childhood favorites (flying kites, mini golf, watching for whales at Race Point, um… ice cream, looking for sand dollars) with Grace + Nick.

CURRENTLY WATCHING

  • …the Stanley Cup finals.
  • …video from James Comey’s hearing today (can’t help myself).

may 2017 currently

CURRENTLY EATING

  • …a bunch of delicious smoothies (thanks to Molly for a few new recipes — local friends, check out her smoothie and meal prep parties!).  With the requisite cute straw, obvi.  
  • …more mindfully + thoughtfully.  Now that I am no longer breastfeeding (and bonus: baby Nick is sleeping so much better!), I’ve been doing my best to reset my diet a bit.  It’s been a month and a half or so, but I feel like my body is still sort of like… what are we doing here?  I wasn’t expecting the transition to be so rough, but here I am.  Trucking along.  I’ve eliminated most sugars (a wild craving for me while nursing) and yes… I’ve been caffeine + Diet Coke-free for 3 weeks.  I’m not doing anything revolutionary, just getting back to basics and re-learning how to treat myself as well as I can.

CURRENTLY READING

june 2017 currently

CURRENTLY ENJOYING

  • …the life-changing magic of tidying up sleeping.  I’m still waking up a few times each night, but still.  I am sleeping more (and hopefully better) than I have in years.  The credit goes largely to my children for (finally) getting with the program, but Nick gets points for the new blackout curtains, too.  The rest of my secrets will remain secrets until I share them here (ASAP #sharingiscaring).  I went to a great workshop at the WELL Summit Day of WELLness on sleep, and so much of what Sara DiVello shared really resonated with me.
  • …Grace’s end of the year gymnastics routine.  I could watch her dance and tumble and jump all day.  And some days, I’m lucky enough to do just that.
  • …how special old Clark is.  He’s the best dog and sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve him.  I’m so glad he promised me he’d live forever.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO

  • Elastic Heart (Piano Version) – Sia
  • Team – Lorde
  • Breaking the Law – Emeli Sandé
  • Living in Twilight – The Weepies
  • Slow Dancer – Noah Gundersen
  • Buckets of Rain – Neko Case
  • Romeo and Juliet – The Indigo Girls
  • Dust to Dust – The Civil Wars
  • Wish You Were Here – The Milk Carton Kids

june 2017 currently

CURRENTLY FEELING

  • …proud for growing this sweet pea plant from seed.  And keeping it alive (so far).  
  • …grateful that it didn’t rain today.  For the first time in 800 years (or so it feels).  My hair looks like a poodle moved in and plans to stay.   And all my shoes are permanently damp.  But one day of sun, man, and it’s all good.
  • …deep regret for not putting that folded laundry away sooner.  ‘Tis now 10 PM and well… ain’t gonna happen.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your current playlist or reading list? 

Mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

Sunday seems like the most popular day to meal prep, but I seem to get my best work done on Tuesdays or Wednesdays or Thursdays… or days that aren’t Sunday.  Mid-week meal prep suits our current schedule, as Sunday nights are often reserved for commutes back to the city from the Cape, frantic searches for missing lunch boxes, and dining on popcorn and apple sauce (for me… don’t worry, the kids are always well fed) while I stare into a nearly empty fridge.  

I got all of this (fairly simple, hardly impressive) prep done during baby Nick’s hour and a half nap on Wednesday, with the exception of the muffins, which Grace and I made together this afternoon.

And with that… here’s what I prepped this week, along with a few (non-popcorn) menu ideas.

MID-WEEK MEAL PREP + MENU IDEAS

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

In the pot: My 900th batch of Sprouted Kitchen’s everyday lentil soup.  I’m pretty sure it’s called everyday lentil soup because you’ll want to eat it every day (eternal thanks to my friend Laura for sharing the recipe).  If you’re in the market for some lemon pepper, I use Frontier Co-Op (found it at WFM) and love it.  (You know, as much as one could love lemon pepper… or whatever.)  Other things I love: this cast iron dutch oven.

For breakfasts and snacks, I made a few jars of Lee Holmes’ Energizing Chai Chia Breakfast Pudding from the Naturally, Danny Seo website (scroll down on this link for the recipe).  I skipped the stevia and used almonds and walnuts (no cashews in the house… that’s going to be the title of my next jam).  Semi-related: this magazine is so beautifully designed.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

These are my usual (meal prep) suspects: chopped vegetables, cooked quinoa + a salad (cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, Crave Brothers perline mozzarella, fresh basil).  I stocked up on these glass, 4 cup Pyrex containers at Target in February, but I believe they’re still available online.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

While the soup was simmering and I was chopping vegetables, I threw a few sweet potatoes in the oven (pierce with a fork, bake at 400 degrees F for 45-ish minutes). I like to reheat these and top with lentils and/or black beans, salsa and some shredded pepper jack for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner.  The kids love them mashed up a bit with a pinch of cinnamon.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

And last, but not least, best my mini chef and I made a batch of mini flourless banana and chocolate chip muffins (and a half batch with blueberries instead of chocolate).  I goofed around with the recipe a bit and forgot to take notes, but I have a feeling we’ll be making these again very soon.  Like… maybe tomorrow.  In the meantime, I’ve heard good things about these recipes from Clean Food Crush and Averie Cooks (both are gluten free).

Oh… and popcorn.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite make-ahead meal?

April 2017 | Currently

This is what life feels like at the moment, as I realize May is less than a week away:

  • Press 1 if you’d like time to slow down.  
  • Press 2 if you’d like to time to speed up to the part of the day when both kids are asleep and you can hear yourself think.
  • Press 3 if you have no idea what you want.

Now imagine me pressing 1-2-3 over and over again on the imaginary keypad of an imaginary phone.  Basically, that’s April in a nutshell.

april 2017 currently

APRIL 2017 | CURRENTLY

Currently enjoying

currently april 2017

  • What I’m calling a gentle return to consistent running (as gentle as things can get while pushing the beast that is a double running stroller).  No pressure, just getting out there.  Granted, I am registered for a few upcoming races, but in the interim, I’m enjoying getting back in the groove.
  • A turn for the better, weather-wise.  We spent this past Sunday visiting the baby animals (including two lambs that were only 3 days old!), checking out the plants, and enjoying a picnic lunch at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon (about 30 minutes from the city).  It’s remarkable what good weather and fresh air can do.  Like, it practically makes me a nice, normal person.

Currently watching

currently april 2017

  • Nick and Clark follow each other around, looking for adventure.  And snacks.
  • This Heineken ad, which seems like a masterful foil to Pepsi’s faux protest nonsense.
  • The last few episodes of The West Wing.  I must have inadvertently and magically saved them for times like these.  Imagine if CJ was Press Secretary in real life?

Currently reading

currently april 2017

Currently listening to

  • An old Ben Folds playlist. Nick and I danced to The Luckiest as our first dance at our wedding, and I think I played it thirty-seven times this week.  Grace asked me to turn it off all thirty-seven times.  Whatever, kid. Also on the playlist: Still Fighting It, Fred Jones – Pt. 2, and Philosophy… that intro always makes me wish I could jam on the piano. 
  • A whole slew of podcasts.  Current favorites: Pod Save America, With Friends Like These, Body Kindness, From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl, Call Your Girlfriend, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Up First, and Book Club Appetizer.  I’m also looking forward to DeRay Mckesson’s new podcast, which launches next week.  I’ve all but sworn off TV news (I can’t quit political rantings on Twitter, however… old habits), and find that a lot of these podcasts fill the void nicely.  Without driving me insane.  

Currently feeling

currently april 2017

  • Grateful for moments of solitude here and there, not to mention a loving + supportive family.  I found this piece of “almost sea glass” (in cobalt glass, no less) while taking a solo beach walk at the Cape towards the beginning of the month.  It wasn’t sharp enough to worry about someone’s safety, so I’m certain the right thing to do would have been to throw it back into the surf so it could become actual sea glass… but I kept it.  In a lot of ways, I’m feeling like the human version of somewhere between almost sea glass and actual sea glass.  As I shared in an earlier post, this month has felt like a real time of transition.  Having quiet time to reflect has been really good.  Life is amazing and strange and weird and wonderful.  Also, if I write a memoir, please talk me out of titling it “Almost Sea Glass: The Elizabeth Story.”  And more importantly, talk anyone and everyone out of publishing it.
  • Excited for the next few weeks.  Full schedules, full hearts, can’t lose.  Or whatever they used to say on that football show. (JK…Friday Night Lights was the best.)

OK.  Time to turn into sea glass.  Or maybe, like, put on real pants.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • All about Comic Sans (aka the font that burns my eyes) from The Guardian
  • Painting “magic beans” with Grace (in reality: they are seeds we found on the sidewalk and maybe this isn’t the safest idea… but regardless, we are painting them with sparkly neon paint)
  • The Benefits of Solitude from The Walrus

What has been the highlight of your April?

 

 

Hopeful waiting.

It’s the day before Easter and I’m sitting at our kitchen table at the Cape.  The house is quiet in a way that it is almost never quiet.  

hopeful waiting

Nick and Grace went to run errands, picking up bird seed and putting air in our running stroller tires.  Baby Nick is napping.  And Clark is perched on a side table (definitely not allowed, but I’m not in a rule enforcing mood), keeping watch over the neighborhood.

As soon as Nick was asleep, I started checking items off my list.  We have family coming down for the holiday and I am buzzing with excitement.  I set out our dishes and started thinking about what would go where.  I rearranged items in the fridge and pretended like I had functioning spacial relations skills (I don’t).  I contemplated ironing the tablecloths, but

  1.  LOL, NO. 
  2. I don’t think we have an iron at this house

I was four or five items in on the list when something grabbed my attention– a bird chirping in the yard or a neighbor out walking (our weekend life on the Cape is so different from our regular life in the city).

I decided to scrap the list (for now) and just listen.  

There are so many pieces (big and small) of the Easter story to meditate and pray on that I think I could start and never be done (and for sure, my list would remain unfinished).  But it’s the hopeful waiting that I’m feeling especially aware of today– the way that faith can carry us forward because we know there is good to be found (and celebrated), the way it can help us transform times of worry, anxiety, stress or restlessness.

I have such a tendency to fill the time, as if doing, doing, doing would speed us along to the next thing.  (Though most often, it feels as if life is speeding ahead and I’m hanging on to the tailgate… and not in a cool, like, stunt-person-on-a-skateboard way.)  When was the last time you really sat still?  It seems like a luxury, I know.  But is it?

I sat in that place of hopeful waiting for some time (I lost track… mostly because I had also lost my phone, which also serves as my clock… and like 900 other things).

The baby will be waking up soon, and Grace and Nick will be bounding in the door shortly.  Clark may or may not fall off the side table in excitement.  My sister, brother-in-law and nephew will be arriving soon too, and the house will be filled with happy noise.  It will be even more full tomorrow.

Eventually I’ll get around to labeling which food goes on which platter (I’m not ready to show my entire deck of neurotic cards just yet).  I’ll head out to the store, finish stuffing the eggs for tomorrow’s hunt, and go for a run.  We will help Grace dye her eggs (they’ve finally cooled down) and watch her attempt to play fetch with Clark as Nick trails behind them.

I might feel the day getting ahead of (or away from) me, but there is still so much to look forward to… so I will come back to that place of hopeful waiting.  And the place of no ironing, too.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy Passover, Easter + Springtime.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your mind today?

 

Currently | March 2017

I love March.  And not just because it starts with my birthday (though it does).  It always feels like an important transition month.  Usually that transition is winter to spring, but hey… there’s always April for that.

CURRENTLY | MARCH 2017

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY EATING

  • …by myself.  I went out on a solo date of sorts this month.  I went to the Boston Flower + Garden Show, and then for a walk through the Seaport, grabbing lunch at the newly opened (and extra Instagram-able) byChloe.  Their chia pudding had me revisiting a bunch of old vegan recipes I’d sort of forgotten about.
  • …with my husband.  We’ve gotten into a really good routine of eating together once he gets home from work (a nice change from my previous habit of 5 PM dinners with the babes).  
  • …lots of really good salads (including an A+ version I’ll share on Friday).

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY MAKING

  • …garden plans for the Cape.  
  • …things with my new sewing machine (a birthday gift from Nick).  So far, I made matching tote bags for Grace and one of her stuffed animals (the smaller of the two totes was supposed to be a dress for the bear, but I accidentally sewed the arm holes closed… so…), 3 zippered pouches, and several hair bows.
  • …a few new paintings and art journal spreads.
  • …brunch.  And any excuse to use (and eat) edible flowers.  

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO

  • …Grace’s amazing stories, imaginings and jokes.
  • S-Town, the new podcast from Serial Productions + This American Life.  The whole series was released this week, and I’m already on Chapter 3.  Completely hooked.
  • …the crashing waves.  Whenever possible.

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY WATCHING

  • …Homeland + Superstore, still.  
  • Sing with the kids.
  • Clark roll around on one of our sofa cushions.  He’s a weird dude.  But he’s our weird dude.
  • …the baby monitor.  (Why do my children hate sleeping?)

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY READING

Also On Tap for Today:

Let’s hear your March highlights.

A little word of encouragement.

Just a little word of encouragement.  And a really cute tide marker.

word of encouragement

Saquatucket Harbor, Harwich

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

–Harriet Beecher Stowe

Where ever you are… Hang in there.

Also On Tap for Today:

Got your own little word of encouragement to share?

5 Things to do this spring

Toodles, winter.  Hello, spring.  

things to do this spring

These vases were a 3 AM online find (children who don’t let their mothers sleep are really good for the economy) + I picked up ALL the flowers at Whole Foods in Dedham this weekend.

Remember when it felt like spring a few weeks ago?  It will feel like that again soon.  I think.  In the meantime, let’s make some plans.

5 THINGS TO DO THIS SPRING

Now we just need Mother Nature to get on board.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your spring bucket list?

Weekend musings

Spring is just on the other side of this weekend.  We are almost there, my friends.  Pay no attention to the snow storm in the forecast.   With the Well Summit’s Day of WELLness, the parade and a mind full of weekend musings, I’ve got plenty to keep me preoccupied (and my weather app closed).  

weekend musings

WEEKEND MUSINGS

  • I love how this mini sketchbook (above) I made turned out.  I cut down some 140lb. hot press watercolor, painted and mono printed several sheets and then bound them using a simple pamphlet stitch.  I ended up having enough paper to make four mini books, and each one (painting aside) took less than 5 minutes to assemble– it was a surprisingly simple + meditative process.  I’ve been using them for daily sketching and jotting down notes.  
  • Related: My friend and fellow Get Messy creative team member Vanessa just released a wonderful online class called Basic Bookbinding.  It’s a steal for $15 and covers 4 different methods (I am really excited to try the more complicated coptic stitch) for making your own sketchbooks and art journals.  
  • Unrelated: March Madness is here.  I came in third (I think?) in my sister’s office pool last year, and have high hopes for this year’s bracket too.  It should be noted that there is essentially no method to my (March… lololol) madness.
  • I’m only half-way through this Guardian story, but I think it’s worth a read: ‘London Bridge is down’: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death. It’s partly morbid, but fully interesting.
  • The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade route has been shortened (again).  We would normally watch from the top of our street where it’s fairly quiet and far less crowded than Broadway.  Grace has basically been looking forward to the parade… since last year’s parade, so I expect we’ll be braving the circus.  Seeing her enthusiastically shake hands with politicians is sort of the best thing ever.
  • A little meal plan inspiration from The Kitchn: 5 No-Brainer Dinners for the Week Ahead… I have a feeling you’ll see a number of these in my plan on Sunday night, mostly because No-Brainer is one of my current life keywords.
  • And because I know I’ll be taking notes at Day of WELLness, here’s a fascinating post on taking more efficient notes from Rescue Time.

Catch you (and spring) soon.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Making plans for this year’s flower + garden show 
  • Taking a quick stroll through Beacon Hill (one of my favorites)
  • Researching “how to talk basketball tournament smack” or whatever

What are you musing over this weekend?

 

Thinking spring fashion.

What better day than a snow day to daydream of sun dresses?  While Stella’s outside doing what she does best (snow + wind), I’m inside attempting to keep the babes entertained  + looking forward to spring’s return.

I had a chance to visit The Paper Store‘s headquarters west of Boston earlier this year (on the eve of our last big snowstorm), along with some of my favorite blogging pals, to get a preview of spring fashion trends from their lovely buyers.  We were treated to Champagne, Sugarfina treats, macarons and a peek at several racks full of beautiful spring dresses and tops.  

Those of you in the Northeast are likely familiar with The Paper Store (it’s my go-to for cards, gifts and Alex + Ani jewelry).  They have a really great fashion section as well, and many of their items (including their new private fashion and jewelry line, Mia & Tess) are available online.

spring fashion The Paper Store

Here are a few of the spring fashion tips The Paper Store buyers shared with us:

  • Off the shoulder tops and dresses continue to be on trend this year (and are universally flattering!)
  • Look for delicate chokers that can be worn alone or layered
  • Floral prints are updated in pale, dusty pinks, bold mints, china blues and pair perfectly with denim
  • Speaking of which, you’ll find denim dresses, footwear, scarves, hats, jackets and tops in store
  • Layer a longer lace or crochet trimmed tank under sweaters and tops to add some visual interest and update an old favorite

I visited the Legacy Place store after the event and picked up this adorable canvas sleeveless dress with the gift card we were given (in our adorable Scout swag bags!). 

I’ve been wearing the dress with with leggings and a cardigan (and snow pants and a parka and two scarves and giant mittens) for now, but I can see it being a spring and summer staple.

A few of my other favorites:

You can view their full spring fashion catalog here… much more fun than shoveling.

I received complimentary product from The Paper Store, but as always, thoughts + opinions are my own.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who’s ready to break out the sundresses?

Currently | February 2017

February is wrapping up.  And no, it’s not a leap year.  Consider this a friendly PSA that my birthday is basically moments away (March 1st always seems to sneak up on people).  I’m not always so clear on how timezones work, but I think I’m already 35 on the other side of the world.  Meanwhile, Grace keeps asking if I’m 45 yet.  So there’s that.  

But I don’t want to rush February out the door just yet.  Despite the country imploding, I’m grateful we had things like my nephew’s baptism, Valentine’s Day, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, Hillary’s message to the people and 70 degree weather to celebrate.  We left our jackets at home and walked on the beach.  We spotted the first plants sprouting.  Spring is coming.

CURRENTLY | February 2017

currently february 2017

Currently eating

  • …like summer has already arrived.  Tacos, tomatoes, salads and strawberries.
  • …dinner with Nick most nights after the kids go to bed (as opposed to snacking from the babes’ plates at 5 o’clock).  It’s been such a nice change.

Currently watching

  • So we watched like 5 minutes of a PBS special featuring various spy cameras disguised as animals, both because it sounded cool and it was not about the government.  The idea is that you get to see animals behaving as if they were not being spied on.  Unfortunately we caught the part where the baby monkey spy camera fell, and the real monkeys thought it had died and were, like, mourning.  It was devastating.  Did I mention that I am generally an emotional basket case?
  • Superstore + Homeland (they sort of balance each other out)
  • 900 “how to sew” YouTube videos 

Currently reading

Currently making

  • …plans for a meaningful Lenten exercise.  In the past I’ve given up Diet Coke, snacking, sugar and swearing (but not all in the same year… I’m neither a saint nor a martyr).  Other years, I’ve added more prayer, more intentional acts of kindness and more time away from technology.  For me, Lent is the ultimate lesson in patience.  In waiting.  In remaining hopeful.  Perhaps I’ll simply meditate on that lesson.  While not drinking a Diet Coke. 
  • A set of mini, mono-printed art journals.  It was a random Tuesday night project, but I am thrilled with the results.  I’ll share photos later this week.
  • A “good behavior” jar.  I am semi-mortified and semi-amazed at how well it’s working.  (To clarify: We are rewarding Grace’s good behavior, not mine…)

Currently listening to

  • “Call on Me” (Ryan Riback Remix) by Starley — it’s the perfect windows down in February song
  • Call Your Girlfriend (podcast)
  • This Irish Flute & Tin Whistle playlist on Spotify… baby Nick and I had music class this morning and the teacher broke out his tin whistle (apparently we missed the Irish flute last week).  Nick was mesmerized in class and keeps dancing and clapping along to this lively mix.  I think it’ll do wonders, too, for those times we are nearrrrrrly home and one or both kids is starting to nod off in the car.  

I hope you’re enjoying these last bits of February and looking forward to a lovely March.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your February?