Nick, Grace and I spent last week at the Cape doing a whole lot of nothing together and it was perfect. (Meanwhile, Clark was in the city enjoying the peace and quiet that comes from not being chased by a toddler all day long.) With Nick back in the office come Monday, Grace and I snuck down to see my parents and soak up a few more days of swimming and walking around the neighborhood looking for poodles.
For the record: there are nine standard poodles in the ‘hood. I don’t think that’s normal.
Before leaving Boston for the beach, though, we hit up the grocery store so that Nick wouldn’t go hungry without us… and so that we’d have no shortage of beach snacks.
Grace is so much fun to shop with lately. She can name most foods (zucchinis are still cucumbers to her, and lettuce is sometimes a flower… but hey) and loves make loud, enthusiastic requests for yogurt and bananas and strawberries and Popsicles.
We make our way up and down each aisle as I double- and triple-check our list, filling our cart with the best options available for our little family. With several markets so close by, safe and reliable transportation to get us there, and money to spend… those options are both healthy and plentiful.
We don’t have to choose between what is heathy and what we can afford. And if we do find ourselves with limited options… we can shop somewhere else. This is something I take for granted all too often.
Drink Good. Do Good
Meanwhile, nearly 24 million Americans are living in food deserts– urban neighborhoods or rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. In Boston alone, nearly 71,000 residents live without ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
In an effort to raise awareness for food deserts and to take action in making fresh fruits and vegetables accessible to everyone, Naked Juice has teamed up with the non-profit Wholesome Wave on the Drink Good. Do Good campaign. I’d love for you to join me in this important effort.
How you can help
It’s as easy as hopping on Instagram or Twitter. To help raise awareness about food deserts and the initiative…
Take a photo holding a fruit or vegetable
Share it using #DrinkGoodDoGood
And tag a friend to do the same
For every photo shared, Naked Juice will donate 10 pounds of produce (or the monetary equivalent) to Wholesome Wave.
For more information about food deserts, how they affect our communities, and how you can help, please visit Drink Good. Do Good.
I am grateful to partner with Naked Juice on this sponsored post and hope you will consider doing good by sharing a photo or two today.
One surefire way to make yoga more enjoyable? Take it to the beach.
Nick, Grace and I are enjoying a few days of R + R at the Cape, and so when Charlotte, who heads up marketing for the new Boston-based startup MoveWith invited me to check out their classes and take one for free, I assumed I’d have to put that off until we were back in the city.
However, I was thrilled to find a beach yoga class just a few jetties away in Harwich Port. I snuck out of the house early on Monday and had time to collect a few treasures before the hour-long class with Katelyn Gleason started. Katelyn was so friendly and welcoming and quick to offer pregnancy-friendly modifications and lots of encouragement. And all that sun, sand and crashing waves meant, basically, the best quick nap savasana ever.
Katelyn teaches this vinyasa flow twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays– check MoveWith for more details) and plans to teach in the Boston area this fall. Class was so wonderful Monday that I quickly recruited a friend, signed up and paid for today’s class online. I left my yoga mat at home and just used a beach towel, which was perfect (live and learn). It was another beautiful way to start the day. Just when I thought the Cape could get more relaxing…yoga on the beach.
A few other classes I have my eye on for upcoming workouts:
From cocktails to valet parking, dinner to a beautifully curated gift basket and vase of flowers, Google Express really treated us. They even had a professional photographer on hand, so I stashed my camera in my clutch (hallelujah for leaving the diaper bag at home) and just enjoyed myself. All the gorgeous photos in this post were taken by the talented Briana Moore (thank you!). Side note: I’m feeling motivated to step up my photography game. Big time motivated.
Photo by Briana Moore
The whole event was beautifully designed, but you’ll probably not be surprised that I gravitated first to the flowers. In addition to an incredible living wall featuring spring roses and orchids, our dining table was lined with centerpieces that reminded me a lot of my bridal bouquet.
Photo by Briana Moore
I hadn’t been to Serafina before, but I know we will be heading back soon. It’s just a block from South Station (and a five minute drive from our place) and the food, atmosphere and service were fantastic. We dined in a private space on the lower level, which I have a feeling would be perfect for a shower or rehearsal dinner.
Dinner itself was delicious (and looked as good as it tasted). I was happily surprised to see the entire menu was vegetarian, and noticed Serafina was great about accommodating special diets and allergies.
Photo by Briana Moore
Photo by Briana Moore
Photo by Briana Moore
By the time dessert arrived, I could only manage a few bites, but that creme brulee was divine.
First course: Caprese | Imported Italian fior di latte mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil
Main course: Ravioli al tartufo nero | Homemade black truffle ravioli, touch of butter
Dessert: Creme brulee | With a touch of limoncello
Even better than the food was the company. During the cocktail hour, I had a chance to catch up with my pals Tina and Alex and loved meeting and chatting with Liz, SanTara and Kim over dinner. The event was hosted by Amber of Barefoot Blonde, who shared her experience with Google Express and chose a few of her favorite Google Express items for our adorable parting gift (each basket was personalized with our last names — the event was full of beautiful details like this).
Photo by Briana Moore
We also received a gift code to try Google Express for ourselves. I’m having a hard time deciding where to start (there are quite a few retailers in the Boston area to choose from), but I’ve yet to pick up a copy of Go Set a Watchman, so that might be a good start. I’m sure we’re also running low on diapers… and one can never have too many shades of Essie polish. Right? Right.
Photo by Briana Moore
I’ll be sure to let you know what I ended up ordering and what the experience was like, and I’ll also have a gift code to share with you! In the meantime, I’m off to finally start reading my camera manual…. Thanks for the lovely evening, Google Express!
Also On Tap for Today:
Taking Grace and her stuffed sloth to a Teddy Bear Picnic (I like her style)
I can’t help but think this beautiful stretch of weather we’re having in Boston is reward for the winter that nearly did us all in. We certainly earned our beach days this year. Here’s how we spent some of that sunshine this weekend.
The Weekend According to Instagram 34
Technically… this was from this morning. Also true: The days sort of blend together now that I’m at home. Bootcamp was canceled this morning, so Grace and I logged a few miles at Castle Island. Boats, puppies and old people are our jam.
We’ve been living out of a beach bag lately. I’ll share a few of our essentials later this week, but I wanted to be sure to share a little offer from the lovely folks at Block Island Organics. Use the code ‘elizabeth’ to save 15% on their site this week. With so many options available for sunscreen and sunblock, I’ve been making an extra effort this summer to make better choices for me and our family. To learn more about sun safety and how to choose the best sunscreen for you, I recommend checking out their Smart Suncare section. [P.S. I can’t type “Block Island Organics” without singing the Sail away on the Block Island Ferry jingle…]
Fresh mozzarella + summer tomatoes + basil from the deck = Every, single meal.
Nick has been giving our usual green juice a summer kick by topping each jar off with coconut water. It’s really, really good (go do it).
Speaking of drinks, I was super excited (and yes… this is the kind of thing that excites me these days) to find Crescent Ridge milk at Whole Foods Market in the South End this weekend. Growing up, we had Crescent Ridge delivered to our house each week. The milk man would leave the same glass bottles in a refrigerator box outside our house. Oh and for the record: I am 33, not 103… and grew up in a suburb outside the city, not in a little house on the prairie. I promise this sort of thing really did (and still does, I think?) happen. Regardless, I had my Sunday morning chai latte with a little Crescent Ridge and a trip down memory lane. Also: I love those glass bottles.
This little lady is my heart in a hat.
My younger brother (and one of Grace’s four favorite uncles) celebrated his birthday this weekend. We love you, little buddy!
You can see the full (3 second) video on Instagram, but essentially… this is dog jumping into a pool at a competition across the street from our house. After seeing the tents and stands set up on Friday for the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge, I knew we needed to check it out. It was super entertaining… and sort of like Best in Show IRL.
Our deck herb plants are officially out of control. We’ve got Italian basil, purple basil, spicy basil, chives, rosemary and lemon thyme to put to good use this week. I’m starting with a little green goddess dressing and roasted potatoes with thyme.
A little nap time project in the works. I didn’t get much drawing or painting done this week, but have been sneaking in little bouts of creativity when the mood (and 10 minutes) strikes.
Same goes for most animals (real or not, in our neighborhood or not). Grace loves just about anything with four legs, especially all the friendly farm animals at Drumlin Farm. I swear our Audubon membership was some of the best money I’ve spent.
And just like that, May is over and June has arrived. Time flies when you’re having fun. Or attempting to clean out your closets. Or making a fresh start. Or maybe just some fresh juice.
It’s been a week now since I’ve been office-less, business card-less, commute-less and fax machine-less. I hesitate to call myself (or anyone else, for that matter) a “stay at home mom” because, like… we’ve been out of the house quite a bit since I left my job.
It currently feels less like a life change and more like a vacation, but I think we’re all settling into this new way of being quite well. I’m resisting the urge to over-schedule and fill up our days, but I also don’t want us to become weird shut-ins. It’s all a careful balance (I think. Who knows?).
Either way, here’s what I’ve been up to…
Currently | June 2015
Per usual, I’m late to the party, but I’m nearly finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. There are parts that were so funny (made even funnier by the fact that they were intended to be serious) that I cried. Overall, though, I think it’s worth a read.
When my mom asked for reading recommendations, I came up empty. Because I can’t remember the last non-how-to-clean-your-house-book I read. Not good. Meanwhile, I was attempting to work some life-changing magic on our bookshelves when I came across an unread copy of J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements. I loved her first two books and am excited to get started on this. Magic, indeed!
Oh, and magazines. They’re like books… for lazy people like me.
Lots of sunrises… because Grace has taken to getting up at 4:30 AM for the day, regardless of how early or late she has gone to bed. The upside? We suddenly have an extra hour or two to our day (or something). Our pediatrician recommended we check out this toddler alarm clock. At first I thought she was kidding… but she hasn’t steered us wrong yet, so into the Amazon cart it goes!
Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” It was playing in the Birmingham airport and I have been blasting it in the car ever since. One of my first tapes was Whitney — I think I need to go Spotify the entire album.
We’re spoiled with Whole Foods just over the bridge in the South End, and a farmers market just around the corner (which opened for the season today!). I can’t get enough of the early summer produce available — watermelons, berries, corn and tomatoes!
Lots of “hers and hers” meals. Grace shares my love of snacking and enjoys a bit of variety at lunch and dinner. I saw these adorable stainless steel divided bus plates on Peas and Crayons (thanks, Jenn!) and ordered a set for Grace. They are perfect for plating toddler-sized portions of whatever I happen to be snacking on.
Progress on my “stuff to do around the house” list (how domestic, I know). I’ve been adding to that list since we moved, but barely but a dent into it until this week. So far, I’ve cleaned out my closet (three bags of clothes went to the Red Cross, and fourth went to ThredUp — we shall see how that goes), hung up our new artwork from Minted, packed up Grace’s 6 and 9 month clothes, cleaned out the super-cluttered, super-dangerous (mandolins! knives!) kitchen utensil drawer, and purged most of our kitchen cabinets. Next on the list: Change our wifi network name to Hillary Clinternet (this is a major priority), recycle every single scrap of paper in the house, find a new rug for the living room, make order out of the chaos that is our bathroom cabinet, and wrangle all those books and toys.
It has snowed 7 feet during the last 3 weeks here in Boston
I am about to quote a Florida Republican and member of the NRA (on the topic of winter, of all things)
It has come to this. My ability to use my own words is buried, along with my car, under all that snow. However, the former Congressman’s words (in this instance, at least) felt spot on.
After Nick cleared out the SUV and picked up some iced coffees (always iced, even when the thermometer iPhone weather app thing reads 4 degrees), we bundled up Grace and took a quick drive around the neighborhood.
I’m not a betting girl, but if I were, I’d say there will still be snow on the ground come Marathon Monday. [Side note: our friend Sarah is running Boston in support of the MGH Emergency Response Team. If you’re wondering what marathon training during this historic winter is like… welp, she’ll tell you.]
With no room for both cars and snowbanks, driving around here has felt a bit like living in a (mostly super-dangerous) video game. Last Thursday, it took me two hours to get from the South End to Southie. I was an hour late for daycare pick-up (fortunately, Nick was able to get there in time). Most of those two hours were spent in my own neighborhood, trying to navigate too narrow streets, while attempting to neither hit a pedestrian nor get hit by a bus.
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Blue Dragon. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Unless you’re living somewhere especially remote (and maybe especially tropical), you know that it’s snowing in Boston. And not just in a normal, Oh, it’s winter! sort of way.
We’ve run out of places to put the snow, but it keeps on falling. Our public transportation system effectively shut down at 7 o’clock last night (a few buses are running, but no trolley, subway or commuter rail service) and hasn’t reopened. Schools are closed. Again. My office building is closed. Again. Day care is closed (I’ll take all the family QT I can get). And there’s a happy Yeti roaming the streets.
All things considered, we’re faring pretty well. [Side note: I think this article, A Blizzard of Perspective, is well worth a read.] We have a safe, warm home, reliable tank-like transportation (snow tires 4 life), a stockpile of necessities (diapers, water, hot pink MagLites and batteries, tea and salty snacks), and, you know, one another.
Oh and food. This weather just begs for comfort food.
Is it me, or does being snowed in make us all extra hungry and a tiny bit lazy? Forget the Freshman 15, I’m working on the Snowmageddon 15. Just kidding. Kind of.
With the roads so messy, we can’t really order delivery in good conscience, so we’ve been enjoying some take out favorites at home, thanks to Blue Dragon and the generous package of goods they send our way.
In addition to the Chicken Pad Thai with Blue Dragon Pad Thai Stir Fry Sauce pictured above (how cute is that little take-out box?!), our Sunday night snowed in take-out menu also featured:
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Blue Dragon Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce (vegetarian)
Stir fried tofu and vegetables with Blue Dragon Szechuan Pepper Stir Fry Sauce (also vegetarian)
I think this was my first time cooking with a wok, which Blue Dragon kindly sent me along with their delicious sauces, noodles, and rice paper wraps. Whipping up dinner was so quick and easy. I know we’ll be coming back to these recipes and sauces for busy mid-week dinners.
Blue Dragon is named after the Chinese symbol of good fortune and was founded thirty years ago to help people create authentic Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes at home. Their sauces are available in several flavors including Szechuan Pepper (my favorite), Chow Mein and General Tao.
Sauces that are vegan and vegetarian are clearly labeled (this lady appreciates that!), and include a really helpful shopping list and suggested recipes (which can easily be made vegetarian) on the back.
Blue Dragon products are available locally at Roche Brothers, Shaws, Market Basket and Stop & Shop. Several stores are hosting tastings this month, including the Demoulas/Market Basket in Revere on February 14th and 23rd.
Looking to make your own take-out at home? I’m thrilled to be hosting a Blue Dragon giveaway today. One reader will win a fantastic cooking kit that includes:
Samples of Blue Dragon sauces
A wok and spatula!
Take-out containers and chopsticks
… five feet of snow not included
To enter, please comment below. One winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, February 17th.
Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central. To learn more about Blue Dragon, you can find them on Facebook and YouTube, or check out their online cookbook, Chop To Chopsticks, for authentic Asian recipes and inspiration.
I always need to get a life. And this is a really, really great grocery store.
A sneak peek at Whole Foods Market South End
Tonight, I had the chance to get a sneak peek at the store before it opens this Friday, and couldn’t wait to share some of the highlights. So I stayed up past my bedtime. And delayed getting a life.
Let’s start with this: It’s big (like… 50,000 square feet big). There’s parking. It’s T accessible (Silver Line, Red Line/Broadway, and Orange Line/Tufts Medical Center).
And it’s pretty.
South End’s Ink Block
The store occupies the old Boston Herald site in the South End’s Ink Block development. I love that Whole Foods acquired the old Herald sign and incorporated all sorts of newspapery (not a word, but hey) elements in the store’s decor.
As a flagship store, Whole Foods Market South End features several new retail concepts, including a one-of-a-kind Fish Shack, just around the corner from a frozen yogurt bar (you now know where to find me…).
Juice and smoothie bar
The store’s juice and smoothie bar will serve menu options as well as just about any juice or smoothie customers can dream up (you now know where to find me, after I’ve moved on from the fro-yo).
The bulk food options go far beyond the usual nuts and seeds. Offerings top 250 items and include bulk salad greens, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, bulk liquids such as aminos, and a special super foods bar.
milk + honey at Whole Foods Market
Oh. And there is a spa inside Whole Foods Market South End… yes, you read that correctly. Just beyond the Whole Body department is a milk + honey spa (another first for Whole Foods), which will offer a range of services including facials, hot shaves, shoe shines, manicures and pedicures.
Wine, beer and spirits
In addition to a huge selection of wine and beer, Whole Foods Market South End Market will be the first Massachusetts Whole Foods Market to carry spirits. I’m going to sit in this gorgeous leather chair while Nick explores 40 linear feet of craft beers (I don’t really even know what that means, but it sounds pretty cool).
A few unexpected treats
Kombucha on tap
A full service coffee counter featuring Boston’s first modbar, cold brew coffee on tap and single origin pourovers
A Bikestock machine that sells bike parts (located outside, next to the bike racks)
An Art-o-mat (an old cigarette vending machine refurbished to vend… art!).
Grand opening details
If you’re in town this Friday, I highly recommend stopping by the Ink Block for Whole Foods Market South End’s Grand Opening. 5% of the day’s proceeds will benefit five local non-profits and Josiah Quincy Elementary School’s choir will perform before the store’s bread breaking ceremony (much tastier than a ribbon cutting).
Meet me at the frozen yogurt. Or the juice bar. Or the spa. Or by the cheese… let’s meet at the cheese.
It’s been a hundred years several months since I shared a Weekend According to Instagram update. Mostly because I was trying to learn Roman numerals and figure out what came after XXV. Just kidding. Or am I?
Regardless, we really packed quite a bit of fun into the past two days. I wish every day was a summer weekend day. Except, like, Christmas. Obviously.
After Nick got home from CrossFit and I finished a little yoga on the deck and a walk with my lovely friend Alyson, we headed down to my parents’ house for some pool time. Grace is still too young to wear sunblock (though our pediatrician did say we could test a tiny patch on her arm, she emphasized that our best bet is keeping her out of the sun altogether), so we broke out her ridiculous sun hat and rash guard for quick dip. She seemed a bit shocked at first and was clearly holding on for deal life, but I have a feeling we’ve got a water baby on our hands.
We spent lots of time outside this weekend, including a little Sunday evening stroll around the neighborhood with the Frenchie. Earlier in the day, Grace and I met up with our mom/baby friends and JP and then picked up Nick for our baptism prep class and some lunch in the Back Bay.
There is more Black Mass filming being done in our neighborhood this week. On one hand, it’s rather exciting to have Johnny Depp walking around, but on the other, it was a pretty unnerving to see signs about forced busing at the old Southie High last night. Sure, the fresh paint on the street is part of a movie set, but the busing crisis was a real and critical time in the city and neighborhood’s history, one with powerful and lasting effects.
On a lighter (only 100 calories and not the least bit depressing) note: I am going to eat 600 Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars this summer. 2 down, 598 to go. I received a coupon for a free box a few weeks ago and highly recommend the sea salt caramel flavor (we’re already onto our second box), best enjoyed with your feet up on the deck. Oh, and save your popsicle sticks. I’ve got an easy DIY project coming up later this week.
Nick and I had our first date night (5 months in the making!) since becoming parents. Mom on the loose! We were able to get last minute tickets to Amaluna and my sister and brother-in-law generously offered to babysit. It was really nice to get out for a bit, especially knowing Grace (and Clark) were in such good hands. The pictures my sister took of Zach and Grace together basically melted my heart. Uncle Z is the coolest.
We were home before dark (and I nearly fell asleep during intermission — I need to step up my game if I want to convince Nick to go on a second post-baby date anytime soon), just in time to catch this beautiful sunset over the city.
I already want this summer to last forever.
Also On Tap for Today:
After watching Tiny, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of moving into a tiny house… maybe, like… in 20 years
If you have a lot of free time on your hands before the 4th, make these and impress your friends.