Category Archives: Lifestyle

My happy Valentines.

Pretend these two aren’t sitting in the middle of our glass coffee table (strictly off limits).  Precious moments first, safety second.

my happy valentines

I look at my husband and our two happy Valentines and I could just gush about how I love them so.  On and on.  And on some more.  

Instead I’ll leave you with a line of Hafīz:

“And Love says, ‘I will, I will take care of you,’ to everything that is near.”

…And a wish for lots of love + care today.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you spending Valentine’s Day?

Grace is 3

Grace is 3… and what an incredible three years it has been.

Grace is 3

I could not be more grateful to be her mother. She is kind, sensitive, and endlessly curious. She is full of spirit and compassion.

She loves trucks, farms, creatures, stickers, rocks, art projects, gymnastics, grocery shopping and adventures. She speaks up for others (often suggesting that Clark needs some “peace and quiet from our noisy fun”). She is observant and remembers everything.  She captures the smallest details and delights in things I might completely miss if it weren’t for her wonderful declarations about birds nests and police cars and seagulls.  

Grace is 3

Without fail on our morning drives to school, she tells me she will “be a good friend, a good listener… and not take a nap.” She recently told me she couldn’t eat beans because she “is a human bean!”

She favors rules, routines and order. She loves her brother and wishes he wouldn’t do “tricky, dangerous things” like climbing on the table.  

Grace is 3

Grace wears a size XXS leotard, but her heart is so big it fills the whole house.

She is the best motivation for speaking kindly, clearly and honestly. She is the best motivation for seeing good + God in all things, and in all people. She is the best motivation for doing what I can, when I can to make this world worthy of her, her brother and all children.

Happy Birthday, Grace! I love you beyond measure.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who motivates you most? And how?

Currently | January 2017

 

CURRENTLY | JANUARY 2017

currently january 2017

I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I’ve finally recovered from President Obama’s Farewell Address… which was Tuesday night (i.e. nearly 48 hours ago).  

Baby Nick woke up bawling just seconds after the President said “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side…”  I was bawling at that point too, cradling my sweet child, grateful that both our children were born at a time when such an incredibly smart, respectful, kind and caring family lived in our nation’s White House.  I am doing my best during these remaining days of Barack Obama’s presidency to watch every video of the President + kids, the President + dogs, and the President + VP (especially today’s Medal of Freedom presentation) as humanly possible… rather than give into the sadness and anger simmering below the surface (real talk).

Also, it was snowing and single digits this weekend… but it’s 55 degrees in Boston today.  The world is ending.

On that uplifting note…

CURRENTLY EATING

currently eating

  • Variations of the Sprouted Kitchen lentil soup I raved about a couple weeks ago
  • Simple snacks to share with Baby Nick… because these days, he has major food FOMO and needs to sample any/everything on my plate.  Blackberries and cottage cheese have been a big hit this week.
  • All the winter citrus, all the winter citrus, all the winter citrus… put your stems up. (Or whatever.) I especially love satsumas, and not just because you can buy them with the leaves and stems still attached.

CURRENTLY DRINKING

currently drinking

  • Water (obvi)
  • Not a single Diet Coke today (not so obvi)
  • Fiveway Veggie Broth (definitely unexpected) – I received a complimentary sample right before the holidays and am totally hooked on this incredibly flavorful broth, which you can straight up drink from the bottle.  I like warming it up on the stove and drinking from my beloved “BC Grandpa” mug, it’s both delcious and fortifying.  Non-vegetarians will likely dig their bone broths.  Fiveway products can be found locally in Massachusetts + New Hampshire.

CURRENTLY MAKING

currently making

  • More gouache chairs
  • Plans for Grace’s “unicorns doing gymnastics” birthday party 
  • Finishing my tutorial for the upcoming Get Messy Art Journal season (***stay tuned for a membership giveaway coming soon!)

CURRENTLY WEARING

currently wearing

  • Bean boots (the ones without laces, because I’m lazy stylish) + Bean boots socks (so cozy) + a smug smile for having ordered them early enough in the year to beat the inevitable selling out (at last check, there were still sizes 9 + 10 available)
  • My new FitBit (a Christmas present from Nick), the Charge 2 special edition (lavender + rose gold, so pretty) — I really liked the Charge HR, but there are so many design/functional improvements in this version.  I especially like the 2 minute guided breathing program.  People like me need tiny wrist computers to remind them to breathe.  

CURRENTLY WATCHING

currently watching

  • The babes enjoy winter… it’s just the best.  Nick, Grace, Baby Nick, Clark and I had so much fun being snowed in down the Cape last weekend.  I love watching the kids and Clark explore in the yard. I’m so grateful that we have an escape from the city (and that we have the city to return to, as well).

 

CURRENTLY LOVING

currently loving

We’re only two weeks into the year… but things are good.  And so are you.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Playing “You have a skunk in your clothes! Get the shovel!” with Grace (I don’t really know how to play, I just follow her lead and yell those two sentences over and over)
  • Busting some behind closed doors clutter with Apartment Therapy
  • Looking for a new book to read

What’ve you been up to this month?

A worthy resolution

You know when it’s 10:04 PM on New Year’s Eve and you’re in bed Googling “New Year’s resolutions”…?  

The thing is, I can’t really remember ever keeping a resolution past February (mostly, I am drinking a Diet Coke as I type this… sorry, 2012.  And 2014.  And 2015.).  

And those I do remember making were ones I didn’t feel terribly about breaking (hence the lack of motivation for keeping them).  So I set out (at nearly the 11th hour) to find a worthy resolution — one I could really work on keeping– for 2017.

a worthy resolution

Grace is basically a tiny fashion blogger. Minus the fashion blog.

This struck a chord for me:

“Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” 

–Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden

A worthy resolution, indeed.

I still plan to set monthly goals and intentions, but as we head into 2017, I want to more fully embrace our connectedness.  I want to put more energy towards service than I do towards cynicism and fear.  I want to be a more compassionate, gentle, kind + openhearted person.

And ideally, I’d like to stop eating Cheez-Its for dinner.  

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you setting goals/intentions/Harry Potter spells/resolutions?

O Holy Night

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m listening to O Holy Night on repeat (this is my absolute favorite version, one I’ve shared the last few years, I think).  Granted, I’ve sort of been doing that since before Halloween… but whatever.  Some years you just need more Christmas music than others.

o holy night

I took this photo at a lovely vintage shop on the Cape called Gatherings by the Sea (isn’t that a great name?).  I’m pretending that’s why my current elf workshop situation looks like.  

Amidst the toys and socks and sink full of dishes and errant wrapping paper tubes, baby Nick is peacefully napping (safely, like, in his crib… not under piles of laundry).  And Grace is talking about how camels probably don’t fit in the manger, but they should try to come in any way, because baby Jesus loves camels.  And I’m listening to O Holy Night with the fullest heart.

Wishing you a similarly perfectly unperfect Christmas.  And a happy first night of Hanukkah.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Cookie butter rolls: sounds like Christmas breakfast to me from Food52
  • Looking forward to lots of family time!
  • Trying to find the Christmas pjs…

What is your Christmas looking like?

All is calm. (Sort of.)

All is calm, all is bright.

This is what I’ve been singing to myself as Duplos fly through the air, dishes pile up in the sink, Clark runs through the living room with a plastic ear of corn from the play kitchen in his mouth, and I realize that I forgot (for the 33rd time) that we are (still) out of olive oil.

all is calm

In a rare quiet moment this week, I found myself listening to Silent Night and wondering if Christmas Eve (like, the real one… which is to say, the first one) truly was calm and bright.  Having given birth twice, I sort of feel like “sweaty and weird” would be much higher on the list than “calm and bright.”  

But hey, miracles are miracles.  

Speaking of miracles, I’ve started wearing something other than black leggings every now and then (an occasion that needed to be photo-documented, obvi)… granted, they’re still leggings.  {I couldn’t find the exact match online, but they are Align II pants, which I live in, in sort of an aubergine.  Or like, purple.}

Back to the calm and brightness.  I find myself so easily distracted, so easily swept up in glitter and garland, so easily carried away this time of year.  There’s this weird tension of wanting to do everything (especially if Christmas lights are involved), and also wanting to hibernate.  Of having more, knowing others have less.  Of counting down the days, but also wishing time would slow.  

And I think about how moments of calm, moments of brightness can exist amidst all this tension.  (See: that first Christmas Eve, right?)

I’ve just got to pay better attention.

Children, despite seeming to have the attention span of a whatever (I’m at a loss here… and also, not a scientist… what has a tiny attention span?), are really good at noticing and creating these moments.  

We’ve been spending most of our weekends on the Cape and after a meltdown related to a donut being too big (…really), Grace asked if we could “go inside that windmill house.”  We pulled over and went to check it out, while the Nicks (I should probably get that trademarked) waited in the car.

We did not go inside (decidedly against the rules) and to Grace’s disappointment, the “windmill house” was just a windmill.  But we admired the shell pathway around it.  We read the sign next to it.  We talked about the nativity and the menorah nearby.  We held hands.  The wind whipped and cars flew by on Route 6 and the donut was still too big, but all was calm.  All was bright.  My pants weren’t black.  And my heart felt full.

Here’s to more calm + bright this holiday season.

Also On Tap for Today:

What words are you channeling this season? Please don’t say sweaty and weird.  

November 2016 | Currently

Holy Toledo.  Tomorrow is December.

This time last year I was a very pregnant, mostly cranky lady.  Currently, I’m in disbelief that baby Nick is nearly a year old.  I was grabbing a few things at Whole Foods on Wednesday (yes, the day before the holiday #lastminutelarry) and someone asked if this was Nick’s first Thanksgiving.  

And it hit me that this was his last first holiday.  So I started, like, sort of crying by the pomegranates.  As you do… when you’re an overtired basket case.  

november 2016 currently

Anyway… let’s talk November.  

Reading

  • I think I mentioned Nature Anatomy last month, but Grace and I have become enamoured with all three of artist Julia Rothman’s anatomy books: Nature Anatomy, Farm Anatomy and Food Anatomy.  They are so beautifully illustrated (in gouache, my favorite medium of late) and full of the most interesting information.  And Grace loves that they are “grown-up books.”
  • Anything Dan Rather posts on Facebook (honesty, I’ve come this close to quitting FB entirely this month, but I’d miss Dan Rather too much… also, photos of kids and babies and dogs); his take on the election and aftermath gives me hope that clearer heads will prevail (or at the very least, remain vigilant).
  • The Old Farmer’s Almanac, because this mostly-young non-farmer is obsessed with weather and seasons and moon phases and tides.  I have no clue how any of these things work, but I like reading about them and couldn’t resist grabbing a copy at the supermarket last weekend.

Listening to

  • The Weepies, Indigo Girls, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder (separately… though with their powers combined, they would make the most amazing super group).  I think I’ve been using music (and maybe weird crafts?) to cope with the election and every day stress.  Listening to old favorites has been very comforting.  And as much as I feel like swearing (or listening to other people swear) some days, the aforementioned artists are totally mom-approved for driving around with children who are prone to repeating everything.
  • Christmas music.  I need to make my own Spotify playlist, though, because the Christmas station in Boston seems to play 12 different versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (and sort of creepy inside?…) a day.
  • The ocean (so many walks on the beach this month!)

Watching

  • Very unoriginal, but… Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (I stayed up way past my bedtime the night it was released to watch Winter and Spring).  I didn’t watch the show when it originally aired, but instead majorly binge watched when Nick was a newborn.  I loved the first three episodes of the revival, but the last one… meh.
  • Still taking a hiatus from the news.  So basically the only information I have regarding tomorrow’s weather forecast comes from Alexa… or next year’s Farmer’s Almanac.
  • Nick was traveling earlier this month and I’m pretty sure I watched every Jane Austen adaptation ever made once the kids went to bed.  I knew I’d overdone it when I caught myself saying “Badly done, Emma” to Clark.
  • Grace’s nightly “show time” (the imaginary programs she passes out and the final bow are my favorite parts), it might be the cutest bedtime stalling technique on the planet

Making

  • A fairly absurd amount of crap projects for our Cape house, especially when I consider how little I’ve been sleeping lately.  I painted two side tables, hand-painted a zip code pillow (more on that later, maybe), wove (weaved?) a little decorative wall thing, started a wampum wreath and just finished cutting out felt letters for two banners.
  • Plank and push-up progress, thanks in large part to the recent Mama Beasts Planksgiving challenge
  • My sixth cup of tea (Santa’s Secret, naturally)
  • A final to do list for baby Nick’s birthday party this weekend

I hope you had a lovely November, and that your December is even lovelier.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your November?

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

After traveling north to spend time with Nick’s family and south to see my family, and further south still, we’re tucked in at the Cape, feeling full… and full of gratitude.  I’m lucky (and yes, #blessed) in so many ways, and grateful for them all.  

thanksgiving

Above everything, though, I am giving thanks for my family.  This day might be sort of about the food, but it’s really about the people we sit down to eat it with.  The people who prepared it.  And the people we wish were at our side.

I hope you and your people enjoyed a very happy Thanksgiving.

paper bag turkey

On a less mushy note, I made a paper bag turkey (filled with popcorn) after stumbling on directions here, and think it’s hilarious.  You might too.  Maybe.  Who knows.  I need a nap.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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?

 

 

 

When the tide goes out.

This week, it feels like the tide went out.  And I’m left waiting for it to come in again.

when the tide goes out

It seems like there’s an ocean between what I want to feel (hopeful and helpful) and how I actually feel (fearful and frustrated, angry and anxious) now that the Presidential election in the US has been decided.

I spent Wednesday morning at the Cape running errands, grabbing a quiet moment at the beach before returning to the city.  I watched the waves reach the shore and was reminded of something I wrote a few years ago: Don’t get your eyebrows waxed when you’re sad.  It includes a simple list of things you can do during life’s low tide moments, including avoiding above-the-eye grooming and feeling upset when you’re upset.

When I revisited that post, I wasn’t surprised at all to see I’d written about the ocean in that particular moment of upset-ness:

During the day, I watched the tide’s cycle and couldn’t help but be moved by the natural order of things.  Sometimes the tide is high, and we are carried atop the waves.  And sometimes the tide pulls out, and we’re left feeling very small, a bit lost and a little abandoned. Inevitably, though, the tide comes back in.  And so it goes with life.  Sometimes we’re up.  And sometimes we’re down.

I think it’s okay to sit with our feelings (whatever they may be) for a bit (while not sitting still for too long… there is work to be done, after all).  And if you need someone there by your side, you know where to find me.

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to others. (Please.)

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you feeling these days?