Tag Archives: Art and Creativity

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?

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?!)

 

The aforementioned purple chair.

Here’s the aforementioned purple chair I painted earlier this week.

aforementioned purple chair

Materials: Gouache, giant new square sketchbook (Seawhite Hardback Artists Sketchbook)

I imagine this is what Prince sits in while chilling in Heaven (and can we talk, solemnly, about the all star jam band Jesus formed in 2016…).  I got carried away with the cushion tufting, but hey. 

That’s one of the (many?) good things about imaginary purple-rain-inspired chairs.  You can get carried away with the cushion tufting and just pretend that’s how you intended it to look.  And then you can blow up your own spot and tell the internet that it was actually a mistake.  Because you were distracted by Bridget Jones’s Baby.

Please don’t be too intimidated by my high brow taste in movies films.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • I’m thrilled to share that I am on the 2017 Creative Team for the Get Messy Art Journal Community – – if you’re looking for a warm + enthusiastic crew and inspiration for regular art-making… check ’em out (all are welcome!)
  • For the record: the movie was cute, but generally… just okay (same goes for the chair…)
  • Why Being Warm is Better Than Just Being Polite from lifehacker

Who would you want in your all star jam band (on Earth, or otherwise)?

Things to do in January

I don’t know about you, but putting away the holiday decorations nearly does me in every January.  The gloomy weather and a cold I can’t seem to kick (kids and their germs, I tell ya) aren’t helping.  

Winter Elizabeth is a lot less fun than Summer Elizabeth.

things to do in january

Semi-related: Winter Elizabeth somehow lost one of her children’s birth certificates. Not my finest work.  Hence, baby Nick and I made our way to the registry office at City Hall today.  As much as I would have rather stayed home, curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a book…

  1. One-year-olds don’t do that.  They just don’t.
  2. An object in motion stays in motion… while staying put is a great way to lose momentum.  And I’d already lost the birth certificate, so…

I couldn’t help but brighten up a bit as we approached City Hall, though.  I love the juxtaposition of old and new less old buildings.  I like seeing tourists milling about. I like the buzz of it all.  

Once we finished the grown-up business part of our outing, I figured we may as well embrace a bit of adventure, too.  We were bundled up and had plenty of snacks, why not?

mother juice unicorn blood

We split a cup of Unicorn Blood (yes, really… it’s a delicious mix of beet, carrot, celery, watermelon + pineapple) from Mother Juice at the Boston Public Market, walked along the Greenway and did some people watching at Faneuil Hall.  A little adventure was the perfect antidote to my winter mood.

matthew hoffman greenway art

So good, right?  Click to learn more about MAY THIS NEVER END by artist Matthew Hoffman currently installed along the Greenway.

For me, keeping busy (especially with good, fun, interesting things… not just boring, necessary things) goes a long way in keeping the winter blues at bay.  In that vain, here are a few things to do in January.

THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

  • Get outside for a walk to improve your mood + overall health.
  • Take an art class. (Creative Bug is my favorite source for online classes– I gravitate toward the painting and drawing classes, but you’ll find really accessible courses on knitting, sewing, collage, drawing, etc.)
  • Or take a yoga class.
  • Join in a day of service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  You can find projects in your community here.
  • Put together a new playlist (Stevie Wonder on repeat here currently).
  • Celebrate an obscure January holiday (I’ve got big plans for National Popcorn Day on the 19th… mostly, my plans involve me + eating popcorn).
  • Unpack your holiday decorations.  No one can deny the magic of twinkle lights.
  • Ride the subway (i.e. the T) sans pants… or don’t. 
  • Spend an afternoon at a museum.  The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and The Clark Art Institute are my (Massachusetts) favorites and I’ve been dying to take the kids to the Children’s Museum.  
  • Refresh your walls with some new (or DIY) artwork.  What you look at all day matters, obvi.
  • Get outside for another walk.

P.S. While the acronym SAD is sort of laughable, Seasonal Affectedness Disorder and winter depression are no joke.  Please don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. <3

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your January to do list?

Oh buoy.

Oh buoy.

oh buoy

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

These beauties are on the side of Capt. Cass Seafood, at Rock Harbor in Orleans.  I think this would be a fun scene to paint… one of these days.  In the meantime, I’ve cracked open a new sketchbook + some gouache and painted a wonky purple chair.  It’s the first time I’ve painted something start to finish in ages.  But both babes were asleep and our condo was mostly under control and I’m sure there were 40 other things I should have been doing, but I chose to paint instead.

Because when creative inspiration strikes, it’s best to *seas* the moment… get it?  Seas…. buoys… Lord, help me.  

I spent 10 or so minutes earlier this week brainstorming things I wanted to paint, write about, cook, read, watch, learn more about, listen to and create.  I’m hoping that list will help ward off my next creative low tide (there I go again).  

Perhaps you’ll think about making a similar list?

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s inspiring you today?

 

A worthy resolution

You know when it’s 10:04 PM on New Year’s Eve and you’re in bed Googling “New Year’s resolutions”…?  

The thing is, I can’t really remember ever keeping a resolution past February (mostly, I am drinking a Diet Coke as I type this… sorry, 2012.  And 2014.  And 2015.).  

And those I do remember making were ones I didn’t feel terribly about breaking (hence the lack of motivation for keeping them).  So I set out (at nearly the 11th hour) to find a worthy resolution — one I could really work on keeping– for 2017.

a worthy resolution

Grace is basically a tiny fashion blogger. Minus the fashion blog.

This struck a chord for me:

“Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” 

–Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden

A worthy resolution, indeed.

I still plan to set monthly goals and intentions, but as we head into 2017, I want to more fully embrace our connectedness.  I want to put more energy towards service than I do towards cynicism and fear.  I want to be a more compassionate, gentle, kind + openhearted person.

And ideally, I’d like to stop eating Cheez-Its for dinner.  

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you setting goals/intentions/Harry Potter spells/resolutions?

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?

 

 

October goals + a printable calendar

This hand painted calendar is coming to you live and direct on October 3rd.  So I suppose my number one goal for the month should be… punctuality?  

PRINTABLE OCTOBER CALENDAR

october goals printable calendar

Materials used: Two leaves, 8 x 10 Gelli Plate (for mono-printing — such a fun tool to have on hand!), brayer, various acrylic paints (Golden liquid + high flow acrylics, Dick Blick matte acrylics, Martha Stewart craft paint), cold press watercolor paper, Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor paint, #2 round brush (for the October hand lettering), calendar text added digitally (because it took 9 months for me to accept I can’t paint in a straight line, apparently)

You can download your free, printable October calendar here.

I went in a bit of a different direction with this month’s calendar.  My distaste for fall colors is well documented here (plus there was the time I almost committed a crime against our wedding caterer when she suggested decorating our wedding reception with fake pumpkins and leaves…).  But I do love a good fallen leaf.  Whatever that means.

Grace and I collected a few on our way home from this morning’s workout and used them in today’s art project (I haven’t been doing much painting on my own these days, but we’ve been killing the mom/toddler art scene.  Again… whatever that means.).  Using my Gelli Plate to pull prints of these leaves was a lot of fun, and the result was just fall-ish enough to be October appropriate… without being a fake pumpkin.  

Regardless, we’ve got so much to look forward to this month — Nick’s birthday, my sister’s birthday, baby Nick’s baptism, dressing up Clark (and the children, obvi) for Halloween, football football snacks, and a really exciting thing I’ll tell you about later, because I seem to have become superstitious.  And vague.

OCTOBER GOALS

Keeping it basic.  Like a PSL.

  • My primary wellness goal is, once again, consistency– consistent workouts, consistent hydration, consistent nutrition.  (I’d say consistent sleep… but… #babiesdontsleep).  The Mama Beasts fall challenge is underway, which gives me some much needed structure and motivation.
  • Make 1 new-to-me recipe each week.  You know, in an effort to stop making the same three things over and over.
  • Be more intentional about our weekends.  It’s often the only solid family time we have during the week.  I’d prefer we not spend it buried under laundry and/or rushing around.

And on that note: laundry awaits.  The glamor of my life continues to abound.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most looking forward to this October?

September goals + a printable calendar

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.

SEPTEMBER GOALS + A PRINTABLE CALENDAR

september goals printable calendar

Click here to download your free, hand painted calendar

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.
  • 4+ workouts/week
  • Meal plan and prep on the weekends
  • Register for 2+ fall races
  • Incorporate more yoga… ’tis National Yoga Month, after all! 

Family

  • 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?)

Miscellaneous

  • 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

Let’s have a lovely month, my friends.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most looking forward to this month?

August goals + a printable calendar

Current mysteries of my life:

  • How did I get poison ivy on both feet and between all of my toes?
  • What is the point of a shirt that looks like a decent bum-covering tunic, but then has slits on both sides that go all the way up to your armpits?
  • Why is it August already?

I just don’t know.  I don’t.  Here’s a calendar.

AUGUST PRINTABLE CALENDAR

august goals printable calendar

One day I will use a ruler and paint those numbers in a straight line for you.  That day is not today.  But maybe it’s September 1st?  Only time will tell.

Click here to download your free, printable August calendar

AUGUST GOALS

  • Log an average of 20 miles a week for Charity Miles
  • Complete as many summer bucket list items as possible
  • Make it to all 3 Mama Beasts classes each week
  • Follow up on a volunteer opportunity for the fall
  • 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

back to school 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.

Hope your month is off to a lovely start, friends.  And that you don’t step in any poison ivy.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your August?