Category Archives: Lifestyle

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?

 

 

Our 4th Wedding Anniversary

Time flies when you’re married to someone as fun (and loving and kind and hardworking) as Nick.  Today we’re celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary.

our 4th wedding anniversary

photo by Henry Photographers

It has been a wild, happy and very full (and fulfilling!) four years since we walked down the aisle at Saint Cecilia Parish for the first time as husband and wife.  I’m so proud of our marriage and family and feel so grateful to have Nick as my partner in it all.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Spending the kids’ nap time looking at wedding photos 
  • (When I should be doing other glamorous things like laundry + dishes)
  • A worthwhile read from The Atlantic (it’s only their third ever Presidential endorsement)

What’s your favorite thing about your best friend?

Currently | October 2016

Happy Halloween from a very reluctant lobster (Clark), a “dancey dancey unicorn” (Grace), and a penguin that more than one person mistook for a pigeon (baby Nick).  Oh, and two grown-ups who sort of wish our children came home with a bit more candy.  Sort of.

CURRENTLY OCTOBER 2016

currently october 2016

October has been a very full, happy month.  And not just because I’ve managed to keep my plant friends alive.  

CURRENTLY EATING

fall salad currently october 2016

CURRENTLY ENJOYING

baptism currently october 2016

  • Photos from baby Nick’s beautiful baptism day, spent with our parents and siblings.  The priest took one look at him in his little white jumper and said “Well, aren’t you a surprise?!” I still don’t really know what that means.  But I like saying it to him every now and then.  He didn’t make a peep during the sacrament, but did try to splash in the font a bit.  
  • Grace’s sense of humor. She’s started telling “jokes” lately… which are really just lies.  But hey.
  • Cold weather tea, especially David’s Tea The Spice is Right

beach currently october 2016

CURRENTLY MAKING

  • Progress on the Cape house!  We’ve made a few day trips and had our first little family sleepover down there this month now that the basics are set up (beds, wi-fi, snacks).  I’m looking forward to lots of summer fun on the Cape, but underestimated how much we’d enjoy the off season as well.  
  • A commitment to daily painting
  • Weekly batches of chai and peanut butter protein bites

books currently october 2016

CURRENTLY READING

Toodles, October.  Hello, November.

Also On Tap for Today:

What were some of your October highlights?

Happy Weekend.

Happy Weekend, my friends.

happy weekend

We spent much of yesterday at the Cape, measuring walls and windows and cabinets in the new house while my parents helped us tremendously by taking the babes for a mystery ride.  After dinner at Brax Landing, we headed back to the city with a plan (and a healthy to do list) and some sand in my favorite peace moccasins. 

happy weekend peace shoes

The sun is shining in South Boston and baby Nick slept for nearly 6 hours in a row (it’s been a struggle to get more than a couple hours of sleep lately; please reference the dark circles under my eyes and/or my lack of patience for more information).  The morning is aglow with possibility.  And piles of laundry.

You know how I preach getting your Sunday things done on Saturday? I have a feeling, this week, they’re getting done on Tuesday or next Thursday.  Or two weeks from tomorrow.  There’s something to be said for taking it easy when you can.

I hope you’re having a happy and relaxed weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your designated Sunday things?

Happy Weekend.

Happy weekend, my friends.  

happy weekend cape cod

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for ages.  Today we’re showing the kids our new vacation home on the Cape for the first time (we closed on the property yesterday– this is the happy surprise I alluded to earlier in the month).  

Some of my happiest memories were made in Harwich; it thrills me that Grace and baby Nick will get to make similar memories finding hermit crabs at low tide, devouring Sundae School ice cream after dinner, swimming with their cousins, and racing around the backyard with Clark.  

I couldn’t feel luckier in this moment.

After a quick trip over the bridge, we’ll be back in the city for baby Nick’s baptism.  At 10 months and 20 lbs., I fear we might need several priests and nuns to help hoist him over the font.  We’ll see.  I can’t wait to share this occasion with our family.  Grace is especially excited for “wearing party shoes and being quiet at church!”  Again: we’ll see.

It feels so good to be occupied by happy things, and to have family and friends to share them with.  Wishing you and yours the same.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s at the top of your gratitude list this week?

The week according to Instagram

It’s been a while since I shared an Instagram-ish update, mostly because that used to be a weekend thing… and there’s not much difference now between my weekdays and weekends.

2 Exceptions:

  1. The number of adults present (a.k.a. persons capable of rational thought + behavior, most of the time) in the home during the day — There are twice as many of these on the weekends.
  2. The number of leotards worn to gymnastics class– That number is 1 during the week.  And 0 on the weekends. (… please note that I did not simply say the number of leotards worn).

week according to instagram

I love a good ill-informed, politically charged Facebook post from a middle school friend happy life update from an old pal as much as the next person.  And as you’ll see from my Twitter “likes,” I can’t get enough tweets about the Pope.  Or preserving tomatoes.  Or Jeopardy! contestants’ opinions of Alex Trebec.  And don’t get me started on Pinterest.  It’s the best way to waste time, while pretending that it’s going to help you me more productive in the future.  If only I’d remember I pinned that workout for slim and trim hips.  Or a month’s worth of dinners in 2 hours flat!  

But Instagram is my favorite.  While I aim to keep things light-ish and bright-ish, these are still very real moments.  Ones that I want to share, but mostly ones I want to remember.  Here’s a bit of a scoop on the last week’s posts.

THE WEEK ACCORDING TO INSTAGRAM | @ELIZABETHEV

It’s rare for Nick to fall asleep in my arms any more, but he seems to get extra cozy in his new ring sling.  We upgraded from the linen sling to silk, which feels much more snug for my toddler-sized infant.  I took this selfie (us-ie?) after we finished watering my parents’ plants when then you were away.  Pretend gardening is tiring work apparently.

Quinoa and pesto had been a late summer standby.  And you already know how I feel about heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella.  The spicy micro greens are from Whole Foods and make a nice addition to this warm salad.  (You could eat it cold, obviously… but that would require patience.  And they were sold out of that.)

These are my new shoes.  The ones my husband bought for himself, and then I copied him and ordered a pair.  So, that’s special.  I’ve mentioned the On Being podcast before, but I sort of feel like I’m going to keep talking about it until everyone is listening.  What do shoes have to do with a podcast?  A recent episode that aired during the Olympics featured a group of runners sharing how running is a spiritual practice for them.  I was listening in the car on the way to Mama Beasts and, as soon as I grabbed a parking spot, grabbed my phone to jot some quick notes from the episode.  

“The blessing is outside your comfort zone” is something someone said to Ashley Hicks, co-founder of Black Girls Run, as she was prepping for the Chicago Marathon.  I thought that was pretty powerful.

I also found myself wanting to learn anything and everything about Billy Mills, the first (and only, so far) American to win Olympic gold in the 10,000 meter race.  His interview was really compelling, too.

Such a good episode.

These two are the cutest.  I love how gentle and playful Clark is with both kids.  The old guy has seen better days, health-wise, so I’m feeling extra mushy about him lately.  We are so lucky to have him at our sides.

Goodbye, weekdays. Hello, weekend. ✌🏻️ What's on tap for your weekend? #southie #castleisland #weekendviews

A post shared by Elizabeth | On Tap for Today (@elizabethev) on

We’ve been spending a lot of time out at the island lately– running, walking, counting boats, learning about fishing (Grace has taken a particular interest, which grosses me out, but hey), playing on the “big kid” swings, and looking for seagulls.  Oh and marveling that people are still playing Pokemon Go.  Apparently Castle Island is a hot bed of pokemon activity (I don’t really know what that means, but I heard it somewhere… so it must be true).

But seriously. I would eat snacks for every meal.

I love everything about seeded eucalyptus — the color, the varied textures, the incredible fragrance.  I always pick up a bunch when it’s in stores.  Same goes for new issues of domino.

No Lifeguard on Duty (#storyofmylife) 🏊🏻 Are you a risk taker or a play-it-safer? #instacapecod #wickedcapecod #itsstillsummer

A post shared by Elizabeth | On Tap for Today (@elizabethev) on

…and the full view of the tiny Instax shot included in the photo above.  Nick and I were down the Cape for a quick half-day trip (we’ve got something really fun in the works) and I couldn’t resist a quick stop at the beach.  It was quiet, overcast and a bit chilly– perfect off-season weather. 

And last, but not least, confetti from the best date night ever with Nick, seeing Adele live at the Garden (I forget what the real/new/current name of that place is).  The show was incredible, and I couldn’t help but grab a few pieces of confetti (each piece had a lyric or note in her handwriting… but despite what people were claiming, I don’t think she hand wrote all 9 million pieces… or whatever).

She performed for just over 2 hours, I think, with no breaks and no opening act.  I loved the format– especially the short acoustic set in the middle.  I have been listening to “Don’t You Remember” and “When We Were Young” and “Hometown Glory” on repeat.

Semi related: Lemon water with a bit of honey is great for your throat… you know, if you’ve been walking around your condo pretending you can sing and sort of lost your voice.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite social media platform?  If you could be any diva (current or past) who would you be?