Today: Watermelon agua fresca on the deck.

When we moved into our condo last year, the weather was just starting to turn cool.  I’d slip out onto the deck in the morning with a hot cup of tea, grateful to have a little outdoor space of our own.  On winter days when I was feeling especially brave, I’d take my coffee out there, watching the snow fall along the water.  Now that warmer days have (finally) arrived, it’s time to switch up our deck drinks.

Watermelon agua fresca

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Optional: agave nectar, tacky purple string lights

Super obvious directions:

  1. Add watermelon, water and lime juice to the blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Sweeten with agave, if desired (I prefer it without, but… different strokes for different folks).
  4. Garnish with a lime slice and your favorite straw.
  5. Hit the deck.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your weekend?

 

Today: Blog Tour – My Writing Process

My pal Molly recently invited me to join the My Writing Process blog tour.  It’s sort of like a blogger’s chain letter (speaking of, did anyone ever participate in a middle school chain letter that actually worked?), where we talk about… well, our writing process, but also shine a light on some of our favorite blogs.  I’ve never done something like this before, so when Molly shared her post, I found myself clicking through to read posts from others on the tour, fascinated by reading about what inspires other bloggers, how their styles and content varies, and what they most enjoy writing about.

Sometimes I pay Clark to edit for me. So, um, if you catch a typo… blame him.

I first started blogging in 2006-ish when I felt like I desperately needed a creative outlet.  I was still having flashbacks from my senior year drawing class and the time our professor served as a live model, so sketching didn’t seem like a safe option.  I barely knew how to knit (hence the collection of 1/4 scarves I tried to pass off as potholders).  I probably could have taken up cooking, but I lived with my parents and welp… I liked eating what they made.  Having always loved to write, a free blogspot address seemed like a natural fit for a recently graduated, rather poor, semi-bored non-profit employee such as myself.  Because blogging has always been somewhere in the neighborhood of third or fourth or eleventh on my list of priorities, I’ve posted when inspiration struck, and rarely a minute sooner.

Those are sparks of inspiration… or whatever.

Lately, however, I feel like I’ve been posting even when that inspiration has gone on strike, I’ve been posting more sponsored content than usual, and I’ve even been tempted to outright delete content I’ve shared.  Having the chance to reflect on and answer the questions posed and answered by Molly (and our chain letter predecessors, like Bianca and Meghan) has been tremendously helpful.  It’s sort of like when you go to leadership camp and on the ride home you’re all, “I love student council! This is going to be the best year evvvvaaarrrr!”  Oh.  You didn’t go to leadership camp because you were doing normal things?  Right.  Well.

I’m grateful to Molly for including me in this tour, and for the great content she shares week after week.  We first met at a Whole Foods event, but I had been reading her restaurant picks (you can find her full list of Dining Out reviews here – from Boston to LA, Las Vegas to Miami, and seemingly everywhere in between, this is the place to go if you’re looking for a solid restaurant recommendation), shopping tips, local event coverage and book reviews for quite some time before that.  She has impeccable taste (supporting evidence: her Instagram account) and after seeing her Oscar party photos, I decided I need her to plan every party and event in my life hence forward.

I rarely talk blog shop here, but I am hoping you might find this peek behind the curtain even a little interesting, and perhaps it will get you thinking about your creative process, as well.  Here goes.

My Writing Process

Haaaaaaay.

What am I working on?

For the first time (maybe ever?) I am craving some sort of established process or plan for On Tap for Today.  I have quite the list of posts I want to start (or finish… or translate from a late night iPhone note to something actually readable, and not written entirely in emoji), but find myself spread a bit thin lately.  My old “when inspiration strikes” method isn’t working quite as well now that I am trying to navigate being a wife, a mother, a career person, and a cool/sort of interesting/regular person.  When I do have free time, I am sure you can understand that I’d rather spend it with Nick and Grace and Clark and not my MacBook.  And yet, there’s a reason I keep paying my hosting fee each month.  I love this little corner of the Internet I’ve carved out for myself.

So I guess you could say I am working on time management and transitioning to something a bit more organized and a bit less spontaneous.  I’ve been kicking around a few ideas about fostering creativity, and have a few projects I’ve been working on around the condo (as the saying goes, Sleep Craft when the baby sleeps) that I am excited to share.  I’m also planning to share more wellness focused posts, as I feel like how I care for my body (and brain, and spirit) is especially important these days.  Did I mention I broke my toe this weekend?  I’ll probably tell you about that too. (Cliffhanger!)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

They’re not like other bananas. They’re marathon bananas.

Every “how to” I’ve ever read about blogging has said this: Find a niche and stick to it.  Normally I’m a rule follower, but I like the freedom to write about finding shells in Mexico one day, and seeing a fart on my dog’s x-ray the next.  I am as passionate about fitness and I am about spending the day in bed reading.  Two of my most popular (it feels sort of Mean Girls to use that word, but hey) posts are about marathon running and why you shouldn’t get your eyebrows waxed when you’re sad.  Breaking the niche rule works for me, and so I am not sure On Tap for Today fits into any one category or genre.  Lifestyle, maybe?  Healthy Living, sort of?

The posts I’m most proud of, and I suppose the ones that differentiate me even a tiny bit, are those where I’ve taken a risk and been more personal and vulnerable.  Writing about being afraid is more difficult than sharing a chili recipe, but it’s also more rewarding for me (trust me, though, the chili is worth making) and, I hope, maybe more helpful for others.

Why do I write what I do?

Writing is often how I do my best processing (I’d choose writing over talking about a challenge any day.).  So when I’m sharing something more substantial than, say, a Frenchie photo montage, my motivation is often selfish.  I always appreciate, though, when a post resonates with someone else.  It’s a privilege to be part of this community and be able to build connections with words.

Who needs school when you have a fence?

More often, though, I write because something strange or funny (both funny haha and funny um… okay) has happened and I think it warrants documenting (like the time there was a skunk trapped in a stairwell near my office, and someone took the time to print up a sign, but didn’t bother to call animal control).  Or because I just enjoyed the most amazing agua fresca on the deck and I feel it would be unjust to deny my mom humanity the recipe.  Or because I feel like I’m back in the running game (that was before the broken toe, obvi) and I want to hold myself accountable.

Above all, I try to be genuine and authentic in my writing.  I’m not an expert at much (I think I’m a semi-expert at my real job, but no one wants to hear about that stuff), and hope my vibe comes across as accessible, approachable, and thoughtful.  No one needs a lecture.  Except for people that need a lecture.  Also, why did I just talk about “my vibe?”  

How does my writing process work?

I was that kid who never bothered with outlines (they drove me mental).  In fact, I often wrote my outline after the fact, so as to not lose points on pre-writing exercises.  Were I presently 11 instead of 32, I don’t think I would fare well on the MCAS exams.  Or in middle school, in general.

In this case, the word “daily” is pronounced “erratic.” But thank you, Whole Foods!

When it comes to posts, I almost always write and publish them in one sitting.  Sometimes this takes 10 minutes, other times 60.  Despite lacking in the bowhunting photography skills department, images are an important component for me.  It’s often a photo that drives or inspires the narrative, but sometimes I dig through the 9.3 million unorganized photos in my DropBox for something that fits after writing.

I often read my posts aloud before clicking publish in an effort to catch typos and other embarrassing things… like references to leadership camp (I use this trick at work, too).

And that’s that.  Nothing exciting.

And now for the next round of the My Writing Process blog tour…

I do. It’s true.

I’m thrilled that the following three ladies have agreed to share their writing process with us next Monday.  I consider each to be the Diana Barry to my Anne Shirley (which is to say, we’re kindred spirits, duh).  Please be sure to keep an eye out for their posts, which will be live next Monday, May 19th.

Michelle of Hit the Bricks We technically first met at a blogging event in Boston, but I was a total boob (shocking) and super socially awkward.  Fortunately, Michelle is charitable, and didn’t write me off altogether.  When we had our first real friend date, I think both of our husbands put lo-jack in our handbags, worried about what happens when one meets an “internet friend” for tea.  In the years since, she’s become a true and trusted friend.  She likes Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart and office supplies as much as I do, so basically, our friendship was written in the stars (with a mint green fine point Sharpie).

Heather of Then Heather Said I’ve learned a great deal from Heather during the years I’ve been lucky enough to know her.  From practical information (the best apps, tips for staying organized, random Presidential facts) to even more important things (specifically, how to be a good friend), I’m so grateful our paths have crossed.  Aaaand I get excited every Tuesday, because I love her Twosday posts.

Kristi of Life Sprinkles  I first met Kristi at the 2011 Healthy Living Summit cocktail party in Philadelphia.  I’ve loved catching up with her at this annual event, but wish I got to see her in person more often (no offense to all the states in between Arizona and Massachusetts, but, like… you’re all kind of in the way).  I love her honest, inspiring, and joyful posts.  Oh, and if you haven’t already, sign up for her Sprinkle a Day in May series.  There are still plenty of May days left to be inspired by this lovely lady.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you working on?  Got any exciting projects on the horizon?

Today: Happy Mother’s Day.

In celebration of Mother’s Day, here’s a photo of the last time it was socially acceptable for me to wear a crop top and hot shorts at the same time.  These days, it’s one or the other.  Just kidding… it’s very much neither.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you.  And I owe you the world.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the best advice your mom, or an important lady in your life, has given you?

Today: 100 days of Grace.

It’s been exactly 100 days since Grace was born.

There are moments when it feels like she has just arrived, and others when I can’t believe she hasn’t been with us all along.  Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation, but there are times when I cannot imagine life before that instant when she was placed on my chest in the delivery room and everything changed.

Left: Grace is 6 hours old. Right: Grace is 100 days and 6 hours old. Both: I am overjoyed, overtired, and in need of a hairbrush.

We started going to a new moms’ group when Grace was almost three weeks old.  I am so grateful for that community.  And I want all eight of our babies to grow up and be college roommates.  Or live on an organic farm together.  Or something.

At our last formal meeting, the group’s facilitator asked us to share something that is going well, something that is challenging, and something that has changed.  What stood out to me was the confidence I had gained over those first weeks.  And how much we’ve grown and developed and changed together.  And how I love her more than I could ever adequately express.

In honor of Grace’s first 100 days, 50 thoughts and reflections on life with our beautiful baby… I would have given you 100, but let’s be serious:

  1. I think the first thing I noticed about Grace was her nose.  It is so tiny and sweet, I kiss it all the time.
  2. I’ve found so much love and support in both expected and unexpected places.
  3. More so than ever, I need other people.  I need help.  I need support.  I need to be told that my crazy hair and (unintentionally) tight pants look good.
  4. It’s all very humbling, especially for someone who has always preferred to just do it myself.
  5. I am more grateful than ever for Nick, for our families and friends, and everyone who has been so kind and gentle and supportive to us.
  6. Having a community of new moms, sharing similar experiences, has been invaluable.  (If you live in the Boston area and are expecting or have children, I highly recommend Mama and Me in JP.)
  7. We were discharged from the hospital on a Friday evening, but had to see our pediatrician early the next morning (I love that they’re open on weekends) for a weight check and some testing.  The only thing more overwhelming than being sent home with a very new, very small, very needy baby… is packing her up and taking her back out in the world less than a day later.
  8.  … but because we needed to, we figured it out.  There wasn’t much time for panic or worry, and eventually necessity lead to competence (sort of… once I had the child locks on, got in the back seat to move Grace from her car seat to the Ergo… and then got trapped inside my own car).
  9. After I made a few solo trips to the doctor without, like, losing our child, Grace and I started going to more fun places, too.
  10. I made it my goal to get out of the condo at least once a day while on maternity leave.
  11. We spent Thursdays at my parents’ house, walked to Castle Island when it was warm enough, spent a shameful amount of both time and money in the stationary aisle at Target, and even got our first library card.  Start ‘em young.
  12. I am so grateful to have good health care.
  13. Same goes for a wonderful pediatrician and group practice.  They have been so helpful and supportive.  And they don’t make me feel like a nutty first time parent.  Even though I am a nutty first time parent.
  14. Breastfeeding is hard.  Pumping at work isn’t exactly a walk in the park, either.  But, for me, it’s worth it.
  15. I say, “Let’s take this one day at a time” to myself a lot lately.
  16. I am convinced the face babies make after they eat is the secret to world peace.
  17. I can’t remember the last time I’ve slept for more than 2-3 hours at once.  I do remember the first time I slept long enough to have a dream after Grace was born though.  I dreamt that President Obama was making a very important speech about Olympic figure skating.
  18. I don’t know why I thought this, but I was certain both Grace and I would be sleeping through the night before I returned to work.  She wakes to be fed 2-3 times each night, meanwhile I have friends whose babies were sleeping through the night after a couple of weeks.  It’s all very mysterious.
  19. I ‘m embracing our middle-of-the-night wakings as our time.
  20. Grace’s smile can stop me in my tracks.  Even (or especially) at 3 AM.
  21. It’s the best gift.
  22. When I was pregnant, it was obvious (except at the beginning, when it was a little more like… maybe she’s pregnant, maybe she ate six pizzas).  Especially towards the end, even complete strangers were nicer to me.  People wanted to know when I was due, if I was having a girl or boy, how I was feeling.  I appreciate that more now than I did a the time.
  23. I attract similarly well-intentioned attention when I am out with Grace, but when I’m by myself, I sort of feel a bit adrift.  Like that I want to tell the mailman I have a baby, or I nearly tell the lady in line ahead of me that I am a mom, too.
  24. I guess I hadn’t given much thought to what navigating a new identity would be like, and in that way, I sort of miss being pregnant.  Sort of.
  25. I like that we are creating new rituals and traditions with our sweet girl and our family.
  26. Children’s books either totally awesome, or totally weird.  I’ve yet to find anything in between.
  27. Aaaaand I have yet to make it through Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You without crying.
  28. It feels like I’m softer (and I’m not just talking about my mid-section) than before.
  29. And at the same time, becoming a mother has definitely made me tougher.  I feel a stronger instinct to protect and defend.  I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got more to lose.
  30. I sing to Grace all the time, but the only songs I seem to actually know the words to are Christmas songs.
  31. Clark has been so good.  We’re really lucky.
  32. He has started trying to play with Grace, bringing toys and dropping them beside her, or gently nudging her when she’s on her activity mat.
  33. There is no sense in getting dressed until Grace is safely strapped into her car seat and we’re just about to head out the door.  Any sooner is just asking to be, welp, puked on.
  34. I do not miss my maternity clothes.
  35. I consigned them all the first chance I had.
  36. Uh… except for my maternity jeans.  I am saving those for Thanksgiving (or any other day when eating my body weight in potatoes seems like a real possibility).
  37. I wish I had Grace’s wardrobe.  Cotton everything.  Stretchy pants.  Cuffins and built-in socks.  Kimono tops.  Please.
  38. The underwear you get at the hospital is, like, the best underwear ever.
  39. My favorite thing to wear, though: my baby.  Babywearing is the best.
  40. Same goes for skin-to-skin contact.
  41. I could stare at Grace all day long.
  42. Being away from her during the day has been challenging (but not nearly as challenging as I imagined), and I find myself wanting to hold her all night, even if it means I risk waking her up.
  43. I am thankful that I have both a family and a career.
  44. But I struggle a bit, wondering if I am doing enough as a wife, a mother and a worker.
  45. I’ve always been in awe of my parents, but even more so now that I am one.
  46. Nick is an incredible father.  It’s like he’s known what to do right from the start.
  47. Labor and delivery was amazing.  I’ve heard people compare the experience to all sorts of things (marathons and WODs and whitewater rafting, for example) and I can firmly say this: nothing compares.
  48. It was painful and long and, at times, a bit scary (and I am pretty sure I had it relatively easy after hearing others’ birth stories), but all of that fell away the second Grace was born.
  49. Some day I’ll tell you what it was like to ride an elevator with a bunch of dudes in suits on their way to work while my water was breaking.  Maybe.
  50. After three months, I love that we’re starting to see and know Grace’s personality.  She’s curious and busy, and definitely a morning person.

I wouldn’t trade a minute of any of these past 100 days for anything in the world.

Life with Grace just keeps getting better.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you celebrating today?

Today: Be a pansy.

If you had a foul mouthed P.E. teacher, perhaps you’ve been advised to “stop being such a pansy” during dodgeball games.  If you had my P.E. teacher, you learned that you can wear high heels with tear-away pants.  So there’s that.

pansy

Anyway, if you’ve ever been called a pansy before, I’ve got two messages for you:

  1. I love you.  You are perfect.  Never change.
  2. Pansies are actually pretty amazing.

In fact, pansies are one of the few plants that can survive outdoors in early spring.  Their vibrantly hued flowers sort of look like little faces, and that makes people (specifically, me) smile.  There’s no shame in being a pansy.  I’ve touched on this (and the time a man called me a pit bull) before, but words are important – both how they’re said or delivered, and how they’re felt or received.

I very well may get my tires slashed for sharing this, but someone has taken to leaving handwritten notes on the windshields of cars parked in our neighborhood.  Because I always dreamed of being a detective, naturally I’ve all but citizen’s arrested the person who I am certain is writing these notes.

I get that parking can be a challenge, especially in Southie, but I can’t imagine having the time and energy to notice that someone took up two spots, then go into our condo, find a notepad and a pen, think up the most insane swear words to include, write these words down, go back outside, stick the note under the offending car’s wiper blades, go back inside, and then try and feel good about myself and what I’ve just done.

(Heck, if I had even a fraction of that time and energy, I’d take a nap.  Or, you know, spend it with my family.  Possibly, like… napping.)

This is what strikes me:  It takes the same (maybe more?) energy to be mean and make a point, as it does to be civil and make that same point.  And had it been my car (I noticed it on someone else’s car and grabbed it because I felt the need to guard the driver’s spirit… and also because I thought the words were so shocking, I couldn’t stop laughing and had to show Nick), I think I would have focused more on the anger imparted, and less on my faulty parking job.   Who knows what kind of day either person was having, but I can’t imagine a note like that would do much good for either its author or the intended recipient.

It’s totally okay to be a pansy (in fact, I encourage it), and it’s okay to be annoyed when your neighbor parks like a boob.  But it’s not okay to be mean.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite swear? How’s your Monday going?

 

 

Today: My grocery staples and a Dairy Pure giveaway.

My diet has changed a lot in the past year.  When I was pregnant, I ate around the clock to keep morning sickness at bay.  I was able to tolerate gluten again, mostly (there was a week in August when all I wanted was bread… so all I ate was bread).  I tried to form a fan club for Whole Foods mashed potatoes.  I gave up caffeine and tried to cut back on anything especially spicy or acidic (holy heartburn).

Now that Grace is three months old, I am eating more like, well, myself.  One changed that has stuck, however: I am drinking milk again.  Not almond milk, not cashew milk, not goat’s milk… straight up cow’s milk.

When we were kids, we drank milk with dinner every night and lived close enough to a dairy farm to have it delivered by the cold, glass bottleful.  (Believe it or not, I grew up in Greater Boston in the 80′s, not in a Little House on the Prairie.)  At some point, though, once I was out on my own, I stopped drinking milk altogether.  When I started seeing a registered dietitian and embarked on one elimination diet after another, dairy was often the first to go.  And then I would miss cheese (real talk).  I skipped the milk, however, until I was pregnant.  It was one of the few cravings I had during those nine months.  It’s been a personal choice (and one I researched and discussed with my midwife), but adding several servings of milk to my diet has been a healthy way to help meet my calcium, protein and vitamin needs.

In addition to milk, here are few of my other weekly grocery staples:

  • Salad mix (usually baby greens with herbs)
  • Fresh vegetables for salads and snacks (bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, onions, sugar snap peas and radishes)
  • Tomatoes, bananas, apples, and berries
  • The magical fruit Beans, nut butter, hummus
  • Couscous, quinoa, rice
  • Guacamole (which, in my opinion, should be its own food group) – I usually buy single serve portions – a bit more expensive, but less goes to waste for us
  • Cheese (duh)
  • Fresh herbs
  • Cut flowers (always)

With so much non-food being added to our actual food these days, I think it requires a bit of extra effort to shop these days.  I started drinking Dairy Pure milk this winter, so when the company reached out a few weeks ago with information about their new Worry-Free Flip Caps, I was happy to share their info with you.

All Dairy Pure milk passes a 5-point Purity Checklist, ensuring the following:

  1. Dairy Pure farmers pledge to use no artificial growth hormones
  2. All milk is tested for antibiotics
  3. Milk is continuously quality tested to ensure purity
  4. Milk comes only from cows fed a nutritious diet
  5. Milk is cold-shipped fresh from a trusted dairy within hours

The new caps, which stay on the bottle and keep milk fresher, give me even more peace of mind when shopping the dairy aisle.  To find Dairy Pure milk at a market near you, click here.

Dairy Pure is giving away 5 of their insulated shopping totes for your next trip to the market.  To enter, simply leave a comment below.  I will select 5 random winners on Saturday, May 10.

Disclosure: I received a gift card to cover the cost of purchasing Dairy Pure milk at my local market.  I was not compensated for this post, nor for my comments about the product.  I only review products and services that I feel good about (obvi… I hope).

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your take on dairy?  Care to share your usual shopping list?

 

Today: Streamlining my mornings.

I have partnered with belVita and Dannon to help promote the belVita and Dannon partnership.  I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about the promotion and product.  However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

For the past (nearly) three months, my routine has been… welp… a total lack of routine.  It seems like the second I started to get comfortable, and Grace and I had fallen into a pattern of sorts, things changed.  She started eating more.  Or less.  She started sleeping more.  Or less.  Morning was the best time for us to get out for a walk or do a few errands.  And then afternoon became a better time for that.  Some days I’d be showered, dressed and out on the town (or more accurately, cruising around Southie with Grace in her stroller or baby carrier) by 8:30 AM.  Other days, I’d be in pajamas until 8:30… PM.

The sole constant:  We’ve been figuring it all out together.  Me, Nick, and Grace (and Clark, but let’s be serious… he’s a go with the flow little guy).  Becoming a parent has been challenging, exhausting, and at times, overwhelming.  It’s also been the single most amazing experience, and I know I am better for it.  The time we’ve had together these past few months, and all of those transitions from one non-routine to the next, have been so special, so sacred.

Tomorrow we make our next big transition, as I head back to work and Grace begins daycare.  In a perfect world, we could do it all and have it all.  We’d be together all day long, be attentive parents, and be productive while enjoying our fulfilling careers.  We’d achieve the perfect balance.  But the world isn’t perfect. (Duh, lady.)  I know I am lucky to have both a beautiful family and a career that challenges and excites me.  As anxious as I am about the changes to come, I know we made these choices for all the right reasons.  We are so lucky to have options.

Um… this post was supposed to be about breakfast.  Not feelings. (I’m sure I will have much more to say about being a workin’ mom once I have more than 15 seconds of experience as one.)

Back on task.  Breakfast.  Mornings.

While there are plenty of new challenges we’ll need to navigate in the coming days, weeks, and months, I am hoping that making a plan for how we start each day, and making an effort to streamline our mornings, will help.  I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater, much to the chagrin of my parents, my husband, people that I flip off in traffic, my primary care physician… you get the point.  Despite having good intentions, sitting down for a healthy meal at the start of the day always seemed to fall by the wayside when faced with a time crunch.  I can skip breakfast, but I can’t (in good conscience) skip walking the dog.  Or, like, bathing.  Having someone else depending on me in such a real way has been the ultimate game changer.  More than ever it’s clear: I need to take care of myself in order take care of other people.

BelVita and Dannon have partnered to get me (and my fellow Americans) to ditch the excuses and make time for a quick breakfast that boasts 12 grams of protein and nutritious, steady energy (…maybe we can have it all.  Just kidding.  Too soon.  Pass the Kleenex.).  I’ve been pairing Dannon Oikos 0% vanilla Greek yogurt with apple cinnamon Crunchy belVita Breakfast Biscuits, along with an apple, in the mornings.  The combination is delicious and convenient and is sure to become part of my workday routine (bonus: if when I forget a spoon for my yogurt, a biscuit is the perfect stand in).

Are you looking to streamline your mornings?  Laura Stack, “The Productivity Pro”, offers the following tips for getting the most of your morning:

  • Do as much as you can the night before.  Leave as little preparation as possible until the last minute — you’ll thank yourself in the morning.
  • Spend 20 minutes at the end of each day planning your to-do list.  When you download the next day’s activities beforehand, you can devote your morning to enjoyment rather than stress.
  • Be sure to start your morning with a delicious, balanced breakfast.  Together, the nutritious steady energy of belVita and 12 grams of protein in Dannon Oikos Green nonfat yogurt along with a piece of fruit will help you get more out of your morning.

Welp, my breakfast is set for tomorrow… our bags are packed… I guess we’re ready?

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you streamline your morning?  Favorite breakfast ideas for busy folks excuse makers?

Today: Lettuce celebrate!

This post brought to you by Organic Choice. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve loved having the chance to work with Organic Choice products this spring in an effort to grow (some of) my own food.  It’s ideal for edible gardening and is an easy choice when you’re trying to live a bit more gently and greenly (quoth the lady with the SUV and a secret stash of Elnett).  While my plants aren’t quite gazpacho-ready, the lettuce greens have started sprouting, as have my basil and cilantro seeds.  I’m taking the lazy more reliable route when it comes to tomatoes, and starting with an actual plant, rather than attempt to grow those guys from seed.

It’s still a bit too cool in Boston to keep our plants on the deck, so we’ve been keeping the pots in our kitchen, where I’ve been obsessively checking for growth every chance I get.  I am desperate to keep these little guys alive and well.  So that I can, welp… proudly eat them.

I wanted to spruce up our pots a bit (and keep track of what the heck I had planted), so I broke out my Sharpie oil paint pen and tried to remember how to write in cursive.

The result:  A simple (and dare I say cute?) way to upgrade these $2 pots from the local home and garden store.

You can tell just how much these little lettuce sprouts are craving the sun (I feel you, little guys), growing towards our windows.  I’ve been rotating the pots each morning and afternoon to ensure each plant is getting equal exposure, something we won’t have to worry about once it’s warm enough to bring them outside.

In addition to the caprese salads and heaping bowls of gazpacho I’ve planning for, I’m excited to whip up a few recipes (namely herby pasta with lettuce…) from this book, which has been hiding on our bookshelves for ages.  If you’re looking to learn more about container garden, urban gardening, and growing your own food, I recommend a visit to the Miracle-Gro Learn And Grow library.

While I’m still a few weeks away from being able to harvest anything, I’m really looking forward to being able to share a meal — one that includes food I’ve actually grown – with our family.

In the meantime, you can find me admiring those little lettuce sprouts.

Visit Sponsor's Site

 

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you growing any food this spring?  How would you put Miracle-Gro Organic Choice to good use?

 

Today: Floral Arranging 101 (Week 2)

Our assigned project for the second week of Nicole’s Classes Floral Arranging 101 was a “wild English garden” arrangement.  I fell a bit short when it came to sourcing flowers and greens (hello… bamboo?), but I tried to follow directions as best I could to create an arrangement with an effortless, not so structured look.

During week 2, I learned about “S” composition in flower arranging, how to make a floral frog out of twigs, and the value of having neighbors who will let you forage in their gardens (I, um… live next door to a bar).

While I’m fairly certain I did not ace the assignment, I am happy with the finished product.  I especially love the bright blue campanula and how it spills over the vase.

For week 3 (you can find my week 1 project here), we made floral head wreaths, perfect for Grace’s first Coachella Easter.  More on that soon.

Also On Tap for Today:

What have you been working on lately?

Today: Love is stronger.

Hurt can be strong.  Fear can be strong.  Violence can be strong.  But love is stronger.

It’s always stronger.

P.S. If you have a minute (and I hope you do!), please watch this incredibly moving speech from a family friend, fellow BC alum, bombing survivor, and all around good guy.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have something hopeful, inspiring, or lovely to share?