On our walls | at the Cape

After three or four consecutive weekends in the city, we are back at the Cape, enjoying the peace and quiet of the off season.  Since closing on the house here in mid-October, we’ve been down as many weekends as possible.  We’ve made a lot of progress in some areas, but in other areas, maybe not so much… both kids’ rooms sort of look like the second child’s room in this hilarious BuzzFeed post that I can’t stop scrolling through. 

We have some really fun things up on our walls, though, so I figured we could start there. It’s been so fun to start from scratch, building an inexpensive collection of pieces we truly love. I think that’s really the only rule that matters when building an art collection: Buy what you love.

I’ve linked to products when possible, mostly because I think everyone needs at least one of Elizabeth May’s seagulls in their home.  Please note that some links are referral or affiliate links.

KITCHEN

on our walls kitchen

The first things to grace our walls were these Elizabeth May seagull prints (Seagull 15 + Seagull 16).  I absolutely love her style, and just saw that she has new Barack Obama and Joe Biden prints for sale in her Etsy shop so…. they will be joining us soon, along with her Maya Angelou and Susan B. Anthony portraits.  

Cool/important people art party at the Cape!

I used these brass matted Target frames throughout the house.  I am obsessed.

LIVING ROOM

living room on our walls

  • Photos of Grace, Nick + Clark,  all taken at the Cape
  • Minted signed print (Mid-summertime by Emily Jeffords) + a photo of Grace birdwatching with “the giant ‘noculars'” at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History 

*You can use your Ebates account for cash back at Minted (PSA for those not already using Ebates: sign up for an Ebates account and go to their website when shopping online– by going through them first, you’ll earn cash back at many of the sites you usually shop.  For me, that’s diapers.com, LOFT, Nordstrom, Minted, Athleta, etc.)

CapeAbilities flag

We have this Cape Cod flag, made by Cape Abilities participants, hanging on the wall heading upstairs.  Proceeds from these flags (this size was $35) support the organization, which serves individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod through a range of programs.  If you’re on the Cape, I highly recommend a trip to their farm in Dennis and store in Yarmouth.  They do wonderful work.

GUEST ROOM/DEN

guest room on our walls

I normally wouldn’t paint over someone else’s work… but I figured a mass market paint-by-number is fair game, right?  You can find similar vintage paintings at thrift stores and on Etsy or ebay, often with wooden frames, for $20 or so.  I used leftover paint from another project and simply blocked off a third of the image with blue painters tape and added a single coat of paint so that the original painting is still visible up close.

OUR BEDROOM

our bedroom on our walls

I hadn’t planned to hang the tapestry and Top Knot print together, or even in the same room… but then I saw them side by side and loved the repetition of those red stripes. The rest of our room is super white and restful, so these pieces punch things up a bit.

The tapestry is from the Pillowfort kids line at Target, but it totally works in a grown-up room.  Kids decor is often less expensive… and more cool.

GRACE’S ROOM

Grace on our walls

Grace fell in love with this swan (and her tutu), and who could blame her?  The framed print is actually a Valentine’s Day card that cost $3 ($15 including the frame). Framing greeting cards is an easy, low commitment way to add a little something to your walls.

NICK’S ROOM

Nick on our walls

One of the artists for Modern Map Art generously sent us this print, which I thought would work perfectly in Nick’s room (I’m going for a mostly navy vibe in there).  There are several options for Boston, all in local team color ways.  My photo doesn’t do the print justice, so I recommend checking out their website to see more detailed shots.  They sell similar prints for cities all over the globe, as well as some really cool ski maps.

I love how major and local streets have been painted over the map in red.  It’s really bold and graphic and I think it pairs well with the anchor tapestry (another kids department find).  

Plus, it’s nice to have a little Southie with us at the Cape. 

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite piece of art or inexpensive decor tip?

 

 

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?

Meal + workout plan for the week of 2/21

Because why start a week on Sunday or Monday… when you can start it on Tuesday? I’m including my workout plan along with this week’s meal plan to make up for my lateness.  Or whatever.

meal plan for the week of 2/21

Temps are supposed to reach 50 degrees in the city today and 70 this weekend.  It’s February, mind you (but don’t worry, guys, global warming is totally a sham…).  I’ve got the back door open, and a nice, big, summery salad on the table.  Is it me, or is it easier to eat well (and like, be a better human in general) when the weather’s nice?

Meal plan for the week of 2/20… or 2/21

Breakfasts:

  • Savory overnight oats (here are a few ideas from The Kitchn) – I’m thinking pesto and shaved parmesan with black pepper
  • Cottage cheese + fruit
  • Cheerios or crispy brown rice cereal + milk (because I am nearly 35, going on 4) 

Lunches:

  • Salads, wraps, leftovers

Dinners:

  • Gnocchi with homemade sauce (tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil + spinach)
  • Beans + rice with veggies; quesadillas (corn tortillas)
  • Baked sweet potatoes with black beans + salsa
  • Flatbreads + salad
  • Slow cooker vegan lentil chili from The Kitchn
  • Grilled cheese + tomato soup

You can find more meal ideas (and basically see what I am craving at 3 AM while feeding baby Nick…) on this Pinterest board.

As for workouts, I decided to try something new last week (or maybe it was the week before?) after my plans had been derailed by a broken washing machine, a carsick toddler, two snowstorms and a visit from the washing machine repair person.  I think I may have only made it to Mama Beasts class twice (pssst: new session starts on 2/27, Boston area moms…) in the span of two weeks.  It was 2.5 times if you count making it half way there before the aforementioned bout of carsickness… A for effort, C- for basically everything else.  The sidewalks were too icy for a run/stroll, and I was feeling both cooped up and cranky, so I knew I needed a backup plan for days and weeks like this.

I’d heard great things about Daily Burn (referral link) and decided to sign up for their free 30 day trial after seeing their Instagram ad for the 8 millionth time.  I was completely hooked after my first workout.  The programming is great (they recommend a program for you, but you can jump around and try various workouts with different trainers) and totally do-able in a small condo with small children crawling, running, and jumping across your mat.  I’m following the Cardio Sculpt program which is a great mix of cardio, strength and flexibility/mobility.  

I went full-on nerd and printed out a blank calendar to schedule in my workouts for the next month or so, and think Daily Burn will be a great compliment to both Mama Beast classes and my running plans (I registered for a few upcoming races and listed them on the Fitness On Tap tab).  I’ve also pinned a bunch of free, at home workouts as further backup — feel free to check those out.

Workouts for the week of 2/20

  • Monday: Mama Beasts + Cardio Sculpt
  • Tuesday: Rest 
  • Wednesday: Mama Beasts + Kickin’ It (totally channel my inner Billy Blanks for this one)
  • Thursday: BHT
  • Friday: Mama Beasts +/or Cardio Sculpt
  • Saturday: Run 3 miles + Supreme Stretch
  • Sunday: Kickin’ It

What feels better than having a plan (and maybe a sheet of gold stickers) at the ready? A 70 degree day in February?

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your favorite at home workouts? Or summery meals appropriate for eating in winter?

 

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?

Treat yourself well.

Though I’m not always the best practitioner, I’ll be the first to remind you to treat yourself.  And not just to a manicure or an episode of Hunted (the UK version is really fun) while the kids nap.  I really want you to treat yourself well.  

treat yourself well

For me, this feels more important than ever as I seem to have taken up several new part-time jobs (worrying, calling my senators’ offices, writing letters and trying to stay both informed and stable) in addition to keeping the rest of our lives afloat.

Treating yourself well may look differently from one person to the next, but it shouldn’t be complicated, time consuming or costly.  Here are a few ways to treat yourself well… and fairly easily, at that (regardless of how many days we’ve been snowed in or the current state of the Union).

STAY HYDRATED + TAKE A BATH

treat yourself well hydrate bath

True Life: I am still guzzling from the giant (28 oz.) water bottle they gave me in the delivery room before Nick was born.  Semi related: Crushed ice is the best ice.  I’m sure you’ve heard plenty regarding the benefits of staying hydrated and drinking enough water.  If you’re looking for an easy way to up your intake, stick a straw in your glass.  According to Runner’s World, you’re likely to drink more water through a straw than simply by sipping.  

Baths take more effort, but the benefits of a good soak are significant.  I love using one of these inexpensive fizzing epsom bath bombs from Whole Foods (find them in the Whole Body section) and then treating my skin to Organic Bath’s Nourish night balm (completely obsessed).

TRADE SCREEN TIME FOR CREATIVE TIME

treat yourself well creativity

Hunted and the Super Bowl (oh, and bits of the Grammys last night) aside, I haven’t been watching much TV at all lately.  While I’m left in the dark about plenty of things (namely the weather), the lack of television news seems to be keeping my blood pressure in check.  It also gives me more time to paint, more time to read, and more time to learn (of particular interest at the moment: reading an illustrated atlas with Grace each day, catching up on Get Messy tutorials for watercolor and all kinds of other lovely things, reading about how to streamline meal prep + hoping to figure out how to explain the sun and moon to three-year-olds).

I’ve also been limiting my small screen time, tucking away my phone for hours at a time when the kids and I are home during the day.  It’s admittedly much more challenging for me to drop the phone than the TV, but hey.  Working on it.

SIMPLIFY YOUR MEALS + SAVE YOURSELF AN HOUR

treat yourself well food

When you eat well, you feel well.  Simple as that… but not so simply accomplished, I realize.  I’ve gotten back in the habit of prepping my meals and snacks ahead of time, and ensuring I have plenty of nutritious, whole options on hand (and fewer, you know, Cheez-Its options on hand).

I also take advantage of grocery delivery services like Instacart (they deliver to Southie from our local Whole Foods Market in the South End) every now and then.  It saves me an hour (or however long it takes to wrangle two toddlers, get to the store, get home, find parking, and get the babes + groceries upstairs) and also keeps me on plan and on budget, eliminating the risk of impulse purchases.  

RETHINK YOUR HEALTH PRODUCTS + CONNECT WITH OTHERS 

treat yourself well LOLA

These days (thankfully!) there are plenty of options when it comes to safe and clean beauty products.  I’ve been making a conscious effort to make the best choices I can when it comes to make up and bath products (shoutout to my wonderful cousin who is a Beauty Counter consultant <3), but hadn’t really considered what was in my feminine care products until someone from LOLA recently reached out and shared a complimentary sample.

Yes, I’m talking tampons.  Did you know there are no FDA requirements when it comes to disclosing what your tampons, pads and liners are made of? And there have been precisely zero studies conducted on the long-term effects of using artificial fibers in tampons.  And yes, I get that buying different feminine care products might seem like a bizarre way to treat yourself well.  But I hope you know I wouldn’t mention this if I didn’t think it was worth your consideration.

You can learn more about LOLA products (and use the code OnTap for 60% off your purchases through 2/14) and their impressive charitable work on their website.  LOLA allows you to easily customize your products (tampons, liners, pads), assortment and delivery frequency.  New customers get 2 boxes for the price of 1, or 3 boxes for the price of 2 (discount is applied automatically).  Perhaps you’ll consider donating your free box to a local women’s shelter?  Menstrual care products are often the most requested but least donated items at shelters.

And that brings me to this: Caring for and connecting with others can be such a powerful way to treat ourselves well.  Reaching out (especially when I’d prefer to draw inward) always leaves me feeling more hopeful, less isolated and more prepared to tackle what lies ahead.  

Go on and treat yourself (well).  And maybe buy yourself some flowers, too.  Oh, and happy almost Valentine’s Day!

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from LOLA, but all opinions are my own.  This post contains referral links.  As always, I truly appreciate your support.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • If I had an extra hour and an extra 100 balloons, I‘d be making this right now from Oh Happy Day!
  • Running out of indoor activities…
  • Crafting the ultimate Gaga/Beyonce/Adele playlist (hoping there are enough songs to make it 4 years long)

When was the last time you treated yourself?

Meal plan for the week of 2/6

I’m typing this up while half-watching the game, and currently craving pistachios + Skittles.  Neither factor into this week’s meal plan… but advertising, man.  It’ll get you.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 2/6

meal plan for the week of 1/16

Breakfast:

  • Cottage cheese + fruit 
  • Erewhon crispy rice cereal with skim milk
  • Baked oatmeal (I liked this recipe for baked oatmeal cups from The Kitchn)
  • Fresh juice or smoothie (Current favorite combination: Cranberries, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, kale, orange + kale with a splash of almond milk)

Lunch:

  • Salads, wraps + leftovers

Dinners:

  • Spinach pie
  • 3 bean soup with salad (working on a recipe for this soup… will share if it turns out non-poison decent)
  • Spicy chickpea taco salad
  • Greek lentil salad (going to try this recipe from Delish Knowledge— looks so good) with pita bread
  • Sweet potato, black bean + spinach quesadillas (an old staple)
  • Caprese quinoa bake (…or vegetarian sushi)

Can you bake Skittles?  And chopped pistachios over arugula… a very good idea, right?

Also On Tap for Today:

What was your favorite food-centric ad during the game?

 

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash

The “big game” is almost upon us (it’s up for debate, but most people are not allowed to use the official term in media… this peasant, yours truly, almost always plays it safe).  When it comes to football, I am basically Zoolander in a coal miner’s bar, whispering “Who’s winning the match?”  It would also not be unlike me to self-diagnose with the black lung… pop.

I used to watch the game specifically for the commercials, but then State Farm gave my soul the black lung with that series of ads about preventable accidents, delivered by the ghosts of dead children.  Or whatever that was.  All I know is, I had a newborn in my arms and didn’t breath for at least three whole minutes.

Sometimes I watch for the halftime show.  I wish Left Shark was the star every year.  But I have high hopes for Gaga.

This year, though, I am fairly invested in the actual game. The Patriots are my hometown team (as in, they play in my hometown) and the Falcon’s Matt Ryan played quarterback at BC (and went to school too, obvi)… while I was playing quarterback of breaking the microfiche machine in the art library on the other side of campus.

Now that you have all that wind up (including a Zoolander reference and a bit about a depressing insurance commercial), let’s talk about the most important part of football Sunday.  The food.  

You likely have your drinks, dips, snacks and sweets lined up.  But have you considered breakfast?  I’ve got an easy + delicious way to kick off (get it… like… sports…) the day.

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash with green apples

Serves 2, gluten-free + vegan

big game breakfast sweet potato black bean hash

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed + roasted
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed + drained 
  • 1 organic green apple, cored and diced (leave peel on)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • optional: cilantro greens, shredded cabbage, or arugula

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add diced onion and saute until soft
  2. Stir in peppers and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before adding black beans, sweet potatoes, salt + pepper
  3. Remove from heat and stir in diced green apple
  4. Adjust seasoning if needed and top with greens, if you wish (my recipes aim to be polite…)

If you find yourself with leftovers, I have a feeling this hash would be a real winner on a plate of nachos.  Now that would be a touchdown.  Stop me.  Please.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your football-watching menu?

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?

Get Messy Art Journal membership giveaway

If you find yourself looking for a new creative outlet and a supportive community (not to mention, a really healthy alternative to cable news) lately, you know I’ll be the first to encourage you to pick up a pen, paintbrush, pair of scissors or box of crayons.  

dont quit before the miracle

Materials used: Magazine scraps, matte medium, sharp/dangerous scissors, Jane Davenport canvas art journal.

As a member of the 2017 Creative Team, I am thrilled to be hosting a Get Messy Art Journal giveaway for a full year membership ($195 value).  I am so grateful for this community and encourage anyone (really, anyone) to check it out.  You don’t need to have an art background nor a closet full of supplies, just the desire to create.  To make.  To explore.  To play.  

An annual membership to this community includes:

  • Immediate access to the current season and entire archives of Get Messy
  • Four new art journal prompts every Monday during the season (delivered by email) to encourage and guide you in your art making
  • Link ups to share your art, build community and gain encouragement
  • Ten targeted tutorials per season
  • Inspiration to create from Guest Artists, Member Spotlights, Contributors, and the Creative Team
  • Access to the Messy Forums to share and receive wisdom + ask questions
  • Opportunities to build friendships and connect with art accountability partners 
  • Access to our private Facebook community 
  • First access to new classes

Each season lasts two months and has a dedicated theme (past seasons have included Dreams, Love, Music + Gifts).  You can do as much or as little as you like, but I personally attribute so much creative growth to this program.  

You can learn more here:

There are monthly ($20) and season ($35) memberships available as well.  If you have specific questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.  I also recommend scrolling through the #getmessyartjournal feed on Instagram to see what members are making.

GET MESSY ART JOURNAL GIVEAWAY

To enter the giveaway for a year-long Get Messy Art Journal membership, please leave a comment below.  This giveaway is open to all (there are Get Messy members all over the world) and closes at 6PM EST on January 31st. One winner will be randomly selected and notified after the giveaway closes.

This post contains affiliate links.

Also On Tap for Today:

What creative goal(s) would you like to accomplish this year? (And how can I help you get there?!)

 

Meal plan for the week of 1/16

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day here in the US and I’m grateful to be spending the holiday with family, easing into what will likely be a challenging week (what, with the Inauguration and all).  I was reading through old posts inspired by Dr. King (including this one about my visit to Memphis, the Civil Rights Museum + the Lorraine Motel) this morning and couldn’t help feel both lifted and distressed.  

Dr. King’s words (and the example he set through his actions) about service to one another, unselfish leadership, peaceful vigilance, and creative resistance have (for better or worse) such application today.  Whether or not you have the day off, I hope you have a few minutes for quiet contemplation about the days ahead, and the person you can be for others.  Oh, and I highly recommend blasting James Taylor’s Shed a Little Light and Patty Griffin’s Up to the Mountain.  Grace and I spent a solid half hour dancing in the kitchen, singing along.

Is it weird to go from that to talking about this week’s meal plan?  Probably.  Sorry.  I’m having trouble coming up with a graceful segue.   Here’s a salad.

meal plan for the week of 1/16

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 1/16

I’m on such an arugula kick lately.  We stopped by the Orleans Winter Farmers’ Market Saturday morning and picked up several bunches.  I love that peppery flavor. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Re-reading Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail
  • Heading back to the city
  • Getting in a quick MB workout courtesy of my challenge partner 😉

What are you looking forward to whipping up this week?