Category Archives: Lifestyle

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?

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?