Tag Archives: Cape Cod

To just be happy.

“I go to the ocean to calm down, to reconnect with the creator, to just be happy.”

–Nnedi Okorafor

In a world such as this, it’s so easy to worry, to fear, to fret.  To slip into a funk and hide there (and if there are good snacks, maybe stay there for a day or two).  So when we have a chance (no matter how fleeting) to just be happy, I believe it’s imperative to take it.  

Bring a friend (and sunscreen) with you. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Pretending I am a Polar Seltzer limited edition expert (mostly I just drink a lot of seltzer and imagine I know about flavoring)
  • Can I kick my iPhone addiction? Great article on creativity and boredom from qz.com
  • Attempting to convince Nicky that his name is not, in fact, Grace

Where do you go to just be happy?

Winter on Cape Cod

When we closed on our beach house last fall, I was longing for summer.  I looked forward to long days at the beach, warm evenings on the deck, and starry nights with our family.  While I know this coming summer will be wonderful, I can’t tell you how much joy and peace winter on Cape Cod has brought us.  It has been the best surprise.

We’ve spent nearly every weekend down the Cape since October, escaping the busy-ness of our (equally wonderful, albeit noisier) lives in the city.  There is something so calm and lovely about the off season.

WINTER ON CAPE COD

winter on cape cod 1

winter on cape cod 2

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cape cod winter 5

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cape cod 7

Calm and lovely, indeed.

…And there’s plenty of beach parking.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite local escape?

Meal + workout plan for the week of 3/13

…Coming to you live from snowy Cape Cod with this week’s meal plan + workouts.  The babes are napping, so I figured I’d make an attempt to get my act together for the week before we head back to the city.

this week's meal plan + workouts

Note to the entire internet self: I need to figure out if Tuesday’s storm is the real deal or not and plan my grocery shopping accordingly.  My favorite meteorologist (yes, I have one of those) seems to be on vacation, so I am essentially lost.

THIS WEEK’S WORKOUTS

+ (a decidedly wintery) MEAL PLAN

  • Spinach + black bean quesadillas
  • Vegetarian chili for lazy people
  • Spiced lentil + sweet potato stew (recipe from Rachel Ray)
  • Flatbreads + salad
  • Stuffed baked sweet potatoes + salad
  • Grilled cheese + tomato soup

Breakfasts will likely be some combination of yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, English muffins and/or a porridge made from my children’s table scraps… Lunch is usually a giant salad.  I expect these dinners will make for really good leftovers to tag along with my greens.  And my peasant parent porridge.  

Time to Google the weather.  Catch you on the other side… of the Sagamore.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on tap for your week ahead?  

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?

 

 

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?

 

Winter rest

This time between Christmas and the New Year has turned into the perfect little winter rest.  Nick had a few days off from work, we let Grace play preschool hooky for the week, and welp… baby Nick, Clark and I live on a very flexible schedule that revolves around naps and snack time.  And laundry.  But mostly snack time.

winter rest

We’ve been hiding out (but not really, because everyone knows we’re here) down the Cape, watching the birds.  And eating soup.  Hanging up some artwork and setting up a basement gym.  Reading my favorite Wendell Berry poem and resting.  Binge-watching Super Store once the kids are in bed.  Coloring and playing trains.  Trying to perfect my recycling system.  Hunkering down and staying in.

The largest part of me is an optimist and is fed by hope.  But there’s that tiny part of me that is cynical and practical and maybe even a little wary.  So I’m grateful for this week, this winter rest, both because it seems like the perfect end to an imperfect year… and because I know that time like this will give me a deeper well to draw from in the future. 

That favorite poem I mentioned (you can hear Wendell Berry read it here) starts like this, “When despair for the world grows in me…”

And it ends like this, “For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

So that’s where I will be until 2017.  Resting.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Spending a few hours at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History before it closes for the winter
  • 5 heart-opening yoga poses for the new year from mindbodygreen
  • Performing a very scientific experiment involving a waffle maker + cinnamon rolls

How do you keep your well of sanity/balance/happiness/gratitude/Cheez-Its full (or at least, not empty)?

O Holy Night

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m listening to O Holy Night on repeat (this is my absolute favorite version, one I’ve shared the last few years, I think).  Granted, I’ve sort of been doing that since before Halloween… but whatever.  Some years you just need more Christmas music than others.

o holy night

I took this photo at a lovely vintage shop on the Cape called Gatherings by the Sea (isn’t that a great name?).  I’m pretending that’s why my current elf workshop situation looks like.  

Amidst the toys and socks and sink full of dishes and errant wrapping paper tubes, baby Nick is peacefully napping (safely, like, in his crib… not under piles of laundry).  And Grace is talking about how camels probably don’t fit in the manger, but they should try to come in any way, because baby Jesus loves camels.  And I’m listening to O Holy Night with the fullest heart.

Wishing you a similarly perfectly unperfect Christmas.  And a happy first night of Hanukkah.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Cookie butter rolls: sounds like Christmas breakfast to me from Food52
  • Looking forward to lots of family time!
  • Trying to find the Christmas pjs…

What is your Christmas looking like?

All is calm. (Sort of.)

All is calm, all is bright.

This is what I’ve been singing to myself as Duplos fly through the air, dishes pile up in the sink, Clark runs through the living room with a plastic ear of corn from the play kitchen in his mouth, and I realize that I forgot (for the 33rd time) that we are (still) out of olive oil.

all is calm

In a rare quiet moment this week, I found myself listening to Silent Night and wondering if Christmas Eve (like, the real one… which is to say, the first one) truly was calm and bright.  Having given birth twice, I sort of feel like “sweaty and weird” would be much higher on the list than “calm and bright.”  

But hey, miracles are miracles.  

Speaking of miracles, I’ve started wearing something other than black leggings every now and then (an occasion that needed to be photo-documented, obvi)… granted, they’re still leggings.  {I couldn’t find the exact match online, but they are Align II pants, which I live in, in sort of an aubergine.  Or like, purple.}

Back to the calm and brightness.  I find myself so easily distracted, so easily swept up in glitter and garland, so easily carried away this time of year.  There’s this weird tension of wanting to do everything (especially if Christmas lights are involved), and also wanting to hibernate.  Of having more, knowing others have less.  Of counting down the days, but also wishing time would slow.  

And I think about how moments of calm, moments of brightness can exist amidst all this tension.  (See: that first Christmas Eve, right?)

I’ve just got to pay better attention.

Children, despite seeming to have the attention span of a whatever (I’m at a loss here… and also, not a scientist… what has a tiny attention span?), are really good at noticing and creating these moments.  

We’ve been spending most of our weekends on the Cape and after a meltdown related to a donut being too big (…really), Grace asked if we could “go inside that windmill house.”  We pulled over and went to check it out, while the Nicks (I should probably get that trademarked) waited in the car.

We did not go inside (decidedly against the rules) and to Grace’s disappointment, the “windmill house” was just a windmill.  But we admired the shell pathway around it.  We read the sign next to it.  We talked about the nativity and the menorah nearby.  We held hands.  The wind whipped and cars flew by on Route 6 and the donut was still too big, but all was calm.  All was bright.  My pants weren’t black.  And my heart felt full.

Here’s to more calm + bright this holiday season.

Also On Tap for Today:

What words are you channeling this season? Please don’t say sweaty and weird.  

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?

 

 

When the tide goes out.

This week, it feels like the tide went out.  And I’m left waiting for it to come in again.

when the tide goes out

It seems like there’s an ocean between what I want to feel (hopeful and helpful) and how I actually feel (fearful and frustrated, angry and anxious) now that the Presidential election in the US has been decided.

I spent Wednesday morning at the Cape running errands, grabbing a quiet moment at the beach before returning to the city.  I watched the waves reach the shore and was reminded of something I wrote a few years ago: Don’t get your eyebrows waxed when you’re sad.  It includes a simple list of things you can do during life’s low tide moments, including avoiding above-the-eye grooming and feeling upset when you’re upset.

When I revisited that post, I wasn’t surprised at all to see I’d written about the ocean in that particular moment of upset-ness:

During the day, I watched the tide’s cycle and couldn’t help but be moved by the natural order of things.  Sometimes the tide is high, and we are carried atop the waves.  And sometimes the tide pulls out, and we’re left feeling very small, a bit lost and a little abandoned. Inevitably, though, the tide comes back in.  And so it goes with life.  Sometimes we’re up.  And sometimes we’re down.

I think it’s okay to sit with our feelings (whatever they may be) for a bit (while not sitting still for too long… there is work to be done, after all).  And if you need someone there by your side, you know where to find me.

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to others. (Please.)

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you feeling these days?