A long weekend is the best kind of weekend. Saturdays feel like Fridays, Sundays feel like Saturdays, and Mondays feel like… well, Sundays. That extra day is such a gift.
I’m going to spend as much time as possible watching the waves (one of the many advantages to living in Southie, across the street from the ocean). And I’m going to drink cuvée from a can. And I’m going to trick Nick into doing a partner workout with me while wearing our matching shoes (yep, like a total creep, I copied him and ordered the same pair of Nikes).
And maybe I’ll do some laundry.
I hope you have a lovely long weekend.
Also On Tap for Today:
Re-reading a bunch of Mary Oliver poems (the best)
I’m pretending all the days leading up to Labor Day are still August. Mostly because September feels like the time when all kinds of things change. And I’m only 82% ready for those changes.
Grace starts preschool next week, which means we’ll have a new routine to follow (and lunches to pack), along with a bit more structure to our days. Structure sort of thrills me… so there’s that. Meanwhile, she’s really excited to see her friends, “do letters” and be a good listener. While she’s doing her thing three days a week, baby Nick and I will have some one-on-one time (and I’m hoping I’ll, like… maybe get the laundry done).
Before I left my career to be home with the babes, my work life revolved around the academic calendar (minus the cool stuff like summer and holiday and February and April vacations), so it feels sort of natural to be back on that track.
At the same time, I’m holding onto summer for dear life and hoping we get at least a few beach days in before September is over and I skip straight to Christmas time (you know how I feel about Halloween and fall colors and wool sweaters and hay and stuff like that… no thanks).
So this month’s calendar is an attempt to savor these warm days and ocean views before we need to do things like wear pants. And roll our eyes at anything pumpkin spiced. Please note that I finally wised up to the fact that I can’t paint numbers in a straight line, fired myself from that part of the job, and replaced myself with a robot computer. The end is near.
Materials used: Cold pressed watercolor paper, Winsor and Newton professional watercolors (tubes), round brushes (sizes 2, 6, 10), liquid gold gilding (so fancy)
Health + wellness
Keep up with a regular self care routine: This sounds super woo-woo, but whatever. I’ve been making an effort to do little things for myself here and there, and I think these little things are making a big difference. For example, two Fridays in a row, I took a nice salt soak after the babes went to sleep. I’ve decided adults should have bath time too. Why let the kids have all the fun? I have more ideas for easy ways to incorporate self-care, but that’s a different can of worms (gross expression, sorry) post altogether.
Meal plan and prep on the weekends
Register for 2+ fall races
Incorporate more yoga… ’tis National Yoga Month, after all!
Spend as much time as possible with our new + perfect nephew
Super fun date night
Make a list of fall-ish family adventures
Playdates! We haven’t seen some of our favorite friends in far too long.
Finalize plans for baby Nick’s baptism in October
Keep better track of the amazing things Grace says on any given day (I recently overheard her asking Clark if he wanted a kitten… and if he did, she would ask me, since he can’t talk… and that I might say no, but then I’d say yes… whaaaaat?)
Re-start The Artist’s Way
Get my hair cut, colored + straightened (I accidentally haven’t had a hair appointment since May… so I am basically more poodle than human)… priorities, people
Donate/share all the clothes both babes seem to have outgrown over night
Do some important research about when the new emojis will show up on my phone
80% of all my meals and snacks – This is not some sort of fad diet. My children and dog (and occasionally, my husband) eat all their food… and then they eat my food. I am basically the peasant of the family.
A bunch of books with pretty covers (and really good insides, too)
Adele on repeat… in anticipation of seeing her perform live next month (insert 100 of the red-dress-dancing-lady emojis, and then a crying emoji, and then the two-hands-in-the-air emoji and then 47 exclamation marks)
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood “Big Feelings” album on Spotify during every, single car trip… while cursing the day I revealed to Grace that this was a thing.
Grace and Nick laugh hysterically on the swings. And in the car. And in their highchairs. And in the bath. It is the best sound ever.
A new workout playlist, which I’ll share here in the next few days. I’ve been enjoying a few Pinterest-inspired home workouts and running at Castle Island during the break between Mama Beasts sessions.
Bittersweet about Grace beginning preschool next month. She is super excited and I know she will love it. And I’m looking forward to some one-on-one time with baby Nick, and a bit more structure to our weekdays. But I also sort of want both kids to stay tiny and young forever. Which would be very weird and hinder their prospects for becoming healthy, successful adults… I am aware. Meanwhile, we’ve been painting and making some pretty cool stuff together. The girl loves her googly eyes.
Way less itchy and way less dependent on Benadryl spray than I was two weeks ago… when I somehow got poison ivy all over both feet and like, in between all my toes. We live in the city. The only greenery on our property burned down a month ago (True story: someone threw a lit cigarette into one of our hydrangea bushes and it burned to the ground… but not before sending flames six feet into the sky. We weren’t home at the time, and fortunately everyone in our building was okay.) I still have no clue how or where or when I got it, but I’m telling you. Poison ivy is no joke.
Excited to sneak in one more quick trip to the Cape this month
The Night Of on HBO – We have a couple episodes to catch up on, and I still run out of the room at least twice a show for fear of what’s going to happen next… but I’m hooked.
Bad Moms – Watched this hilarious (and surprisingly heartfelt) movie the best way possible, with 34 other moms in one of those fancy movie theaters with the reclining seats and hard cider and french fries and no children… such an awesome Mom’s Night Out with the Mama Beasts.
For the record, these are not ads, just things I’m obsessed with and feel like everyone should know about them. Some of these links, however, are referral links.
Wearing baby Nick! He quickly outgrew our Baby Bjorn and was starting to feel not-so-secure in our linen ring sling… so we upgraded to the silk Sakura Bloom ring sling and I am completely obsessed. I also really like the midnight black color way. The silk grips really well and feels a bit more structured than the linen. Let me know if you have questions about baby wearing — I could talk about it forever (or at least an hour).
Ebates for “back-to-school” shopping, or more accurately “both kids outgrew all their clothes on the same day” shopping – I hit the BabyGap sale hard (and will get magical cash back from Ebates) earlier this week, saving baby Nick from a lifetime of wearing togas fashioned from swaddling blankets. It nearly came to that. But it didn’t. I also use Ebates for regular purchases like Diapers.com. It really adds up.
Dollar Shave Club – I decided I was done spending a million dollars on razors and joined Dollar Shave Club on a whim (Nick uses Harry’s, a similar service). For $6 a month, I get 4 razors delivered to my door. The handle thing came in my first order, and yes, it’s super plain… but let’s be serious. We don’t need lady razors. Just like we don’t need lazy forks. Or lady pencils. Or lady steering wheels. I’m super happy with the blades and for the first time ever, I’m remembering to use a new one every week. So adult.
Instagram stories. I love seeing everyone’s candid videos and fun photos! You can find me on IG at @elizabethev and @elizabethevart (for the painting, doodling, making a mess-type stuff).
Also On Tap for Today:
Making 9,000 appointments for the fall (check-ups, dentists, dermatologist, GI, vet, hair, and so on…)
Looking forward to a little brainstorming session with my fellow HLB ambassadors
It’s an especially grey day in Boston, and I’ve got plans to get all kinds of housework and errands done… or, um… maybe I’ll just snack on summer tomatoes and watch the Olympics.
Days like today are perfect for taking a break and recharging a bit.
I’ve got a new book to dive into, a hundred episodes of On Being to listen to, salads to eat, and a blanket fort to build.
I hope you have a very happy (+ very relaxing) weekend.
Also On Tap for Today:
Looking for something to do? Check out the 4moms Road Trip tour (Sat + Sun from 11 AM – 4 PM) at the Boston Children’s Museum. 4moms will be exhibiting their new self-installing car seat (like… why didn’t someone invent this sooner?) and giving you the chance to win the ultimate road trip prize pack: a 2016 Honda Pilot AND the full suite of 4moms gear. You can enter here, but if you show up at their tent this weekend, you can get 5 additional entries, along with other great prizes they’ll be giving away on-site.
I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think we’re finally at a point where I can wake up and start the day at a reasonable time (say, 6 AM), on my own terms (i.e. not to feed a small babe), at least a few days a week. On those days, I do my best to embrace a few quiet moments, be even a tiny bit more productive than usual, and set the tone for an amazing day.
Or, like… maybe just an average, mostly normal one. But why not aim for amazing?
MAKE YOUR MORNING AMAZING
Step 1: Do not look at your phone. I repeat: Do not look at your phone. This is your chance to start your day with your thoughts, your ideas, your plans. The easiest way to derail these thoughts, ideas and plans… is to be consumed by someone else’s thoughts, ideas and plans. Or, like, emails and tweets and news stories. You might sneak in a quick meditation, read your favorite poem, start a morning pages habit, or simply say to yourself, “Today’s gonna be a good day.” I like think over the Dalai Lama’s morning prayer… but sometimes, I just simply say, “Be good.” Here are a few more morning reading recommendations.
Step 2: Make a quick, easy and nourishing breakfast. I used to be a breakfast skipper, mostly because I “didn’t have time.” I’ve learned to prioritize my morning meal, though, and find myself feeling way less hungry (read: cranky) and way more energized. My go-to lately: A bowl of fruit, a rice cake and a Protein Superfood smoothie using Amazing Grass’ new chocolate peanut butter powder, some ice and skim milk. The plant-based powder is a mix of peas, chia, quinoa and hemp, along with 7 alkalizing greens and 9 nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.
Step 4: Match your manicure to your marble countertops. Step 4 is purely optional.
Want to win some Amazing Grass Protein Superfood powder (your choice of Original, Vanilla or Peanut Butter Chocolate)? Leave a comment below! One winner will be chosen on Saturday, August 6th. (Giveaway is open to US residents.)
As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I am happy to partner with Amazing Grass on this sponsored post.
Also On Tap for Today:
Save 40% off your online purchase at amazinggrass.com by using the code 40SWEATPINK2
Share my “streamline everything” progress (believe it or not, there has been some progress!)
Watch as much of the Olympics as humanly possible
BACK TO SCHOOL WITH HOLLAR
And because it’s nearly back-to-school time (I know, I know), I have something extra cute to share today. Grace starts preschool in just a few weeks and our friends at Hollar (our new go-to spot for gifts and goodies) hooked her up with an Elmo backpack and all kinds of art supplies and learning tools. Check out Grace’s feature on the Hollar blog here. We’re really grateful to have partnered with them on this fun project.
We haven’t been home enough to commit to a full CSA share, but I’ve been keeping an eye on the weekly boxes (a best guess at each week’s contents is posted on Mondays and you can order as late as Wednesday night for a Friday pick up at the farm), which currently cost $23.
We’re home all week and you know I love a good bunch of carrots and berries by the pint, so I got my order in right away. We met my mom at Ward’s (word to the wise: it’s really busy there at lunch time) and I really appreciated having her there to helpnavigate with Grace and baby Nick. Our first stop was the animals, or as Grace calls them, “the little friends.”
My mom and Grace picked up our Farmer’s Choice boxes at the back of the store and grabbed a table outside in the shade, while I ordered smoothies and tried my best to not knock over produce displays with Nick’s stroller. Small life goals. That’s how we roll these days.
Mo’ berry for her, Green Machine for me
Once we were outside, I couldn’t resist taking a peek in the box.
This week’s Farmer’s Choice box contained
1 head of lettuce
1 bunch of carrots
1 lb Romano beans
1 Green bell pepper
1 lb wax beans
1 head of fennel
1 pint of blueberries
1 bunch of Bok Choy
1 lb of squash
I picked up a pint of strawberries and some new potatoes at the farm store to round our my order.
Meal planning with the Farmer’s Choice box
Lettuce: Use in salads; lettuce wraps with black beans, corn and pico de gallo
Carrots and Romano beans: Use in salads; as a snack with hummus
Green bell pepper: Greek salad (I’ve been eating a simple mix of peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, feta and fresh oregano all week)
Onions: Use in an easy summer gazpacho; and roasted with new potatoes and thyme
What I made | 007 sounds so… James Bond. I assure you what follows is less secret agent and more… lady making a mess on her coffee table. I’ve been completely swept up in Mary Ann Moss’ Oh My Gouache class and have been using gouache in place of my usual watercolors, acrylics and inks. I even made my own sketchbook (Who am I?) and promptly began painting ships in bottles… and bottles of Polar Seltzer.
So this post is all gouache, nothing but the gouache. So help me, gouache.
No need for more nonsense. Here’s what I made recently:
What better way to wrap up a week down the Cape than a weekend in Vacationland? Or technically, 20 hours in Portland, Maine. We were only there long enough to catch a ferry, enjoy a wedding on an island, eat a pizza, take a nap, drink a cup of coffee, buy a lighthouse postcard for a lady in Poland, and retrieve our car… but hey.
I’m always game for a change of scenery, however short, especially if water and boats and beaches are involved.
20 HOURS IN PORTLAND, MAINE
Saturday, 1 PM: Check-in at The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront
After 3-ish hours on the road from Boston (we hit a little traffic, which seems appropriate for a summer Saturday) we arrived at our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront. My not-so-extensive research involved Googling the ferry line we’d be taking to the wedding, locating the closest hotel, comparing prices a bit (there are a few hotels within walking distance of the Casco Bay Ferry Lines), and checking availability.
We were really happy with the Hilton. So, um… thanks, Google. The night before we arrived, I was able to check-in using the Hilton Honors app and choose our room (something I’ve never seen before, making joining HH and downloading the app totally worth the 2 seconds each required). I snagged the last room available with a water view, which felt like a triumph of sorts.
We arrived well before check-in… but shortly before we needed to arrive at a wedding in all our “beach formal” glory, so we left our bags with the front desk staff and freshened up in the pool/fitness center area before making our way across the street to buy our ferry tickets.
Even the drain markers are cute. Or whatever.
1:30 PM: Purchase ferry tickets
Super easy. Round-trip tickets to the Casco Bay islands are $11. They need to be purchased in person, however… so don’t do what I did. (Which is spend an hour trying to figure out how to buy them online. And another six minutes calling the terminal to ask how to buy them online.)
And by lunch, I mean… I ate onion rings and drank a Diet Coke at the bar. That’s how I wile out on vacation. Nick, on the other hand, had a lobster roll and an Angry Orchard. He’s my better half, and also, my more normal half. It was relatively quiet at the bar, but there’s a bigger seating area out back, including a deck with views of the bay. I think that’s where everyone else was. Eating onion rings. Or maybe an entire meal of food.
2:00 PM: Board the ferry to Long Island
There’s a Long Island in Maine. And that’s where we went. I didn’t take many (any?) pictures on the ferry, but the 30 minute ride was comfortable and the views were extraordinary. We passed several lighthouses, gorgeous sailboats and schooners, and a few smaller islands before reaching the dock and heading to the wedding.
8:50 PM: Return ferry to Portland
The ride back to Portland took closer to an hour (the route is a loop, and so we hit more stops on the way back), but we got to enjoy the most spectacular sunset while waiting on the pier. Once we got back to Portland, I grabbed our bags and headed up to our hotel room… while Nick picked up a veggie pizza from Bill’s Pizza on Commercial Street.
Sunday, 8:00 AM: Breakfast at the Standard Baking Company
The next morning, we ventured out for a walk, but the skies opened up (and who packs an umbrella?) after a few blocks, so we headed back toward the hotel and grabbed coffee, tea and 9,000 calories worth of baked goods from the Standard Baking Company. I highly recommend the gingerbread with lemon glaze. And I want to go back and eat everything else they have to offer. In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on their cookbook.
We stopped into a nearby shop for the aforementioned postcard (a postcrossing special request) and matching lobster pajamas for the babes before checking out and heading back to Boston.
It was a short, but sweet (extra sweet if you consider that gingerbread) visit to the Portland area. I’m looking forward to heading back when we have a bit more time to explore and enjoy the area.
When we were kids, our parents would take us on “Mystery Rides” on summer evenings spent on the Cape. I think we usually ended up at Sundae School or Chatham Light. Or maybe one of the bayside beaches.
I still love a good mystery ride.
The rain let up yesterday afternoon just in time for a late afternoon Mystery Ride with our own babes. We were at the lighthouse on Sunday and it was too early for sundaes (actually… it’s never too early), but I had the perfect (sort of mysterious) place in mind.
I’ve wanted to visit the Cape Cod Lavender Farm in Harwich for ages. It’s hidden among conservation land, at the end of a long, unpaved path. Just when I thought we were lost, I started to smell the lavender. Just heavenly.
We arrived just before the little shop closed, picking up a bunch of lavender that had been harvested the day before. The gentleman there encouraged us to walk around, pointing us in the direction of a castle and some fairy doors.
I don’t know who loved this little set-up more, me or Grace. It was enchanting– the whole farm was, really. We stumbled upon a bunch of kindness rocks and fairy houses, all the while being lulled by the calming lavender fields around us. I bet I could take a legit nap there. Or at the very least, chill out for 20 entire minutes.
CAPE COD LAVENDER FARM
I have a feeling we’ll be back to the Cape Cod Lavender Farm for a plant or two before the summer’s over. It has definitely earned a spot on our Mystery Ride destination list.
The details: The Cape Cod Lavender Farm is located at 41 Weston Woods Road in Harwich. It is open 10 AM – 4 PM and 12 – 4 PM on Sundays.