Tag Archives: healthy living

Prioritize sleep.

I missed an entire night of sleep this week (baby Nick were at the hospital– he was having a little respiratory trouble, but is much, much better).  Remember when we were in college and did that on purpose, stay up all night?  I’d like to travel back in time and give 2004 Elizabeth a real talkin’ to.  

And while I’m at it, I might as well travel back even further and tell 1982-ish Elizabeth that staying up all night and skipping naps is just wrong.  Plus, it’s a crime against your sleepy parents. 

34-year-old me cannot hang on no sleep.  And even on a good night, I could stand to catch a few more hours of sleep.  I’m guessing you can relate.

September sunsets are pretty great. So is sleeping for more than 2 hours and 12 minutes per night.

September sunsets in South Boston are pretty great. As is sleeping for more than 2 hours and 12 minutes per night.

So I’ve become obsessed with learning how to prioritize sleep.  How to fall asleep sooner.  How to stay asleep longer.  How sleep affects our brains and our bodies and our moods and how many plates of nachos we want to eat and/or actually eat.

PRIORITIZE SLEEP

A few things that have caught my attention:

prioritize sleep bath

Spoiler alert: If it works for you, do it.  (Slight bummer: It doesn’t work for everyone.)  A good soak definitely seems to help me quiet my mind and relax my body after a long week.  I love this epsom soak, especially after a tough workout.

prioritize sleep book

I really enjoyed this book (and it is little, relatively speaking, perfect for overtired readers).  There’s an entire section devoted to sleep, one of the master keys of health, as Dr. LoGuidice calls it.  

  • Sleep Like a Champion: Sleep Tips for Athletes from Casper

prioritize sleep casper

We’re big fans of Casper (even Clark, who has never missed a minute of sleep in his life and is currently cuddled up on the Casper dog bed Nick recently ordered for him), and I thought this info sleep stages, in particular, was interesting.  I know my fellow Mama Beasts and I are likely years (decades?) away from getting 10 hours of sleep, but I like knowing that any increase in quality sleep could improve our speed, reaction time and overall athletic performance.  And maybe it’s time I learn to nap when the babies nap.

This gentle, nighttime flow is heaven.

prioritize sleep smoothie

Kale, check. Yogurt, check. Banana, check.  Seasonally inappropriate glass, check.

Even better: Most of these are already in my kitchen — tart cherry juice (also great for workout recovery), yogurt, whole grains, kale, bananas… even Cheerios.

This is one my go-to tricks for falling asleep quickly.  It’s sort of like counting sheep, but with, like… breathing.  It seems a little weird, but trust me.  Try it.

On that note… time for a responsibly early bedtime.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a bedtime routine?  

 

Guard your spirit.

“Guard your spirit” is something I used to jokingly say to my dog, covering his eyes if there was violence on the evening news.  I would tell Nick that our little Frenchie was very sensitive and needed to be protected from things like swear words and fighting and pizzas that have mini hotdogs where the crust should be (I still can’t believe that’s a thing.  And we wonder why people think Americans are not okay.).

guard your spirit clark

My (spirit) guard dog

I think I’ve always been a somewhat sensitive person.  But I’ve gotten considerably more sensitive with age.  And ever more so as a mother.  I chalk some of this up to the fact that I haven’t slept since May of 2012, but I sort believe that the older we get, the more ourselves we become.  (Please don’t check my grammar on that last sentence.  We’ll both be disappointed.)  

I used to be able to watch six documentaries on serial killers in a row without needing to booby trap my own house.  I could listen to the baddest, most inappropriate music on the dial without flinching.  I could (for the most part– we all have our limits) hang with negative, bossy, rude people and not turn too awful myself.  And I could watch the evening news without covering Clark’s eyes, and plotting to lock everyone that I love in a closet (with plenty of snacks and a good ventilation system, obvi) so that nothing bad could ever happen to them.  Besides the whole being locked in a closet thing.  Speaking of which, add claustrophobia to my growing list of issues sensitivities.  

So these days, when I say Guard your spirit (most often to myself), I actually mean it.  And what I mean is this:  I am the person who I am.  And that person is part-sponge.  And that’s okay.  And I can do things to avoid becoming wrung out or water logged.  Here are a few of those things (I’m pretty sure they work for all types of people).

GUARD YOUR SPIRIT

Be picky in the best way possible

guard your spirit plants

My best friends are self-sufficient plants.

  • Choose to spend time with people who bring out the best in you.  People who are kind, motivating, and encouraging.  (And be that sort of person for other people.)
  • Take advantage when opportunities present themselves.  For me, this means embracing even a tiny bit of alone time. There are days when I sort of want to yell, “No one talk to me, no one touch me, no one look at me, no one stick a Duplo in my bra, no one breathe near me!” But that would be rude.  So instead, I pretend I have to use the bathroom… and just hide in there for 3 whole minutes.  For more civilized people, this might mean prioritizing a last minute coffee date with a friend over some other obligation.
  • Be mindful of your goals and work to ensure your priorities (and like, daily behaviors) are aligned with these goals.  Don’t do things that work in opposition to these goals.  (Easier typed than done, I know.)  Your time and energy are not endless in supply.  Use ’em wisely.

Be careful about what you consume

guard your spirit waves

  • This goes for food and drink and things you put on your body (like clothes and make-up and glitter gel from the 90’s and dogs that demand to sit directly on your chest whilst you try to relax).
  • …But it’s equally important when it comes to media.  You don’t need to follow everyone and their grandmother (and let’s be serious, the grandmothers are present and accounted for on Facebook).  If what someone shares– tweets, photos, commentary, what have you– affects you negatively, unfollow.  And don’t feel guilty.  Think of it this way: our mental and emotional feeds are limited.  Don’t waste that space on pictures of cats eating steak or racist Facebook rants. Save it for waves gently crashing onto the shore.  Or whatever floats your proverbial boat.  Get it… waves… boats…. cool.
  • Know what works for you.  I don’t read fiction or watch shows or movies that contain much violence (especially if it involves violence against women or children).  This is not entertaining for me, and doesn’t make me a more informed or helpful person.  YouTube videos featuring baby pigs eating tiny cupcakes do entertain me.  Jury’s still out on whether or not they make me better informed or more helpful.  
  • Have a stash of treasured books, music, poems, artwork, movies, podcasts, drawings, pig videos, plants etc. at the ready when you need a little (or big) boost.  Some of my favorites: Mary Oliver, Hafez, Rumi, the On Being podcast, Wendell BerryParis to the Moon, Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure.

Default to kindness

  • On my worst days, I default to giving people the finger as they cut me off in the Columbia Rd. rotary.  But on my best days, I default to kindness.  It’s a habit that takes work.  I try to practice in little ways, like saying hello to strangers (but not in a creepy or unsafe way).  Or being truly patient (rather than pretending to be patient, but actually being annoyed) while people cross the street.  Or giving people the benefit of the doubt, that they’re doing their best for the moment.
  • So much of being a parent to two young children feels reactionary.  And prior to being at home with Grace and baby Nick, I worked in a very reactionary, which-fire-should-I-extinguish-first, kind of field.  I’m (very) slowly learning to react with less stress, less need to be right, less authority… and more kindness.  I think it’s sort of like when robots are re-programed so that they are, like, friendly robots instead of war robots in those war robot movies that you couldn’t pay me a trillion dollars to watch.  Just a guess.

Take care of yourself

guard your spirit salad

  • There are going to be plenty of times when we miss an opportunity to guard our spirits (like when you try to not watch the debate, but then you have to take your sick baby– he’s fine!– to the ER and all the TVs are tuned to CNN… WHY?). And there will be times when life goes sideways, in tiny or tragic ways.  And the better we’ve cared for ourselves, the better prepared we will be for those unexpected, unwelcome, unhappy or un-whatever times.
  • So take care of yourself.  Eat well.  Drink plenty of water.  And then a little more.  Sleep well (assuming that’s an option and you don’t have a tiny human yelling at you all night).  Exercise.  Pray.  Meditate.  Paint.  Hold a sleeping baby.  Hold an awake baby.  Do hula hooping in the park.  Let a dog sit on your chest for no apparent reason other than that’s what he wants to do.  

Be a nice person to yourself, and a nice person to other people.  And don’t watch recaps of the presidential debate.  Just kidding… kind of.

P.S. Happy Birthday to the best mother and grandmother we could ever hope for!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever said to your dog?  How do you guard your spirit?

 

Make your mornings amazing.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think we’re finally at a point where I can wake up and start the day at a reasonable time (say, 6 AM), on my own terms (i.e. not to feed a small babe), at least a few days a week.  On those days, I do my best to embrace a few quiet moments, be even a tiny bit more productive than usual, and set the tone for an amazing day.  

Or, like… maybe just an average, mostly normal one.  But why not aim for amazing?

MAKE YOUR MORNING AMAZING

make your mornings amazing

Step 1: Do not look at your phone.  I repeat: Do not look at your phone.  This is your chance to start your day with your thoughts, your ideas, your plans.  The easiest way to derail these thoughts, ideas and plans… is to be consumed by someone else’s thoughts, ideas and plans.  Or, like, emails and tweets and news stories.  You might sneak in a quick meditation, read your favorite poem, start a morning pages habit, or simply say to yourself, “Today’s gonna be a good day.”  I like think over the Dalai Lama’s morning prayer… but sometimes, I just simply say, “Be good.”  Here are a few more morning reading recommendations.

making your mornings amazing

Step 2: Make a quick, easy and nourishing breakfast.  I used to be a breakfast skipper, mostly because I “didn’t have time.”  I’ve learned to prioritize my morning meal, though, and find myself feeling way less hungry (read: cranky) and way more energized.  My go-to lately: A bowl of fruit, a rice cake and a Protein Superfood smoothie using Amazing Grass’ new chocolate peanut butter powder, some ice and skim milk.  The plant-based powder is a mix of peas, chia, quinoa and hemp, along with 7 alkalizing greens and 9 nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.

Step 3: Move a little.  You might go for a run, you might do some gentle stretching (I love this 10 minute sequence from MindBodyGreen).  Either way, there are definite perks (and research to back them up) to working out in the morning.

make your mornings amazing

Step 4: Match your manicure to your marble countertops.  Step 4 is purely optional.

Want to win some Amazing Grass Protein Superfood powder (your choice of Original, Vanilla or Peanut Butter Chocolate)? Leave a comment below!  One winner will be chosen on Saturday, August 6th. (Giveaway is open to US residents.)

As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I am happy to partner with Amazing Grass on this sponsored post.  

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you make your mornings amazing?

May 2016 | Currently

It took nearly all month, but the sun is shining and the temperatures are more May-like than November-ish.  So we’re eating ice cream dairy-free sorbet (I’m like, Live a little.  And my stomach is like, Please don’t.).  

Welp, anyway…

currently may 2016

May 2016 | Currently

Currently feeling

  • Grateful for improved weather – that cold, rainy stretch we had earlier this month made me feel positively… negative.
  • Happy that we got to see my extended family this weekend at my cousin’s wedding down the Cape!
  • A bit itchy.  I don’t want to rush nature along and I know trees need their leaves and all, but I wouldn’t mind coming home from a walk or workout and not feeling like I’m wearing a pollen sweat suit.  Or whatever.
  • Proud of my first post-baby 5k with the double stroller and excited for the next race.
  • Relieved (speaking of itchiness) that Clark’s vet referred us to a dermatologist who’s helping us get his allergies in check (hopefully).  We started his immunotherapy injections last night, and I feel like an especially weird dog person, but these are the things you do when you love your aging, semi-grouchy, fully-sensitive French bulldog.  
  • Like I need a new big project or goal or challenge to work towards.  But maybe I should just put away last week’s laundry.

Currently eating

  • Lots of vegetables and fruits and sprouted things.  Not so many nachos and pizzas and processed things.  Girlfriend needs to reign it in a bit.  
  • Aaaaaand the aforementioned lemon sorbet.  With rainbow sprinkles.  Just do it.

Currently listening to

  • The Bon Iver radio station on Spotify — it’s extra chill, which is good, because I am extra not.
  • Catching up on episodes of On Being + Leslie Stahl on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
  • Grace sing “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of rosies!”

Currently watching

  • The OJ miniseries (that’s definitely not the official name, but you likely know what I’m talking about… and you also know I’m too lazy to Google)– I was skeptical when my parents recommended it (sorry!), but Nick and I got completely sucked in. 
  • Daily Drawing Challenge and How to Design Fabric videos on Creative Bug

Currently reading

Currently making

  • Not much of anything art-wise… but I just signed up for a new painting class (Mary Ann Moss’ Oh My Gouache — totally obsessed with the name) and started a new large format sketchbook earlier this week.
  • A batch of these gluten free cranberry and dark chocolate granola bars each week – so delicious, so easy.
  • Lots of baby food — Grace loves to help me feed Nick (almost as much as Nick loves being fed).  It’s so much fun.
  • Plans for the summer.  I can’t wait.

May the last few days of the month treat you well… get it… May…?  Right.  Cool.  Bye.

Also On Tap for Today:

May highlights?

Today: Running + Purple Rain.

You know you’ve been listening to more Prince than usual when your two-year-old starts singing “Purple Rain” to her Fisher Price farm animals.  It’s making me alternately very happy and a bit depressed.

Materials used: Golden fluid acrylics (Dioxazine Purple), Handmade Modern acrylic paint (lavender, violet), Winsor + Newton professional watercolor (ivory black)

I think I’ve always loved Prince’s music.  And while “Purple Rain” is sort of an obvious song to single out, it’s been an important part of nearly every race I’ve started (and finished).  Long, short and everything in between.

Being a bit of a sponge person, I used to get way too wrapped up in the starting line energy (and all the weird vibes that come from other people being nervous, excited, and/or trying out new Gu.  Or stretches.  Or Spandex).  In the corral before my first marathon, a woman told me she was going to run despite not training (like, at all) and I think I pulled every worry muscle in my body just listening to her.  

I’d start each race all wrapped up in everything going on around me, inevitably running too fast, and nearly expiring by mile two.

prince and running

I knew early on that I needed a strategy.  (For the record: I don’t mean that in a competitive or high performing way… I mostly mean that in a “figure out how to keep running without dying” kind of way.) I must’ve had my iPod set to shuffle during a run (or maybe I intentionally picked “Purple Rain,” but I don’t think so), but as soon as I heard “I didn’t mean to cause you any sorrow,” I knew Prince would join me for the rest of my races.

“Purple Rain” is just slow enough to keep my heart rate low and pace on target.   And when all 8 minutes and 24 seconds have passed, I’m approaching my first mile and first third of a 5k.  And if I could do math, I’d tell you how much of a 10k or marathon would be left.  But I can’t (do math, that is).  Like so much of Prince’s music, the song is somehow uplifting, confusing, bittersweet, sad, and weird all at once.  In other words, it’s the perfect soundtrack to all the things that might pop into my head on any given run.  

Oh, and don’t get me started on the music itself.  If I wasn’t positive I’d be an even worse musician than I am a runner, “Purple Rain” would have convinced me to take up guitar lessons.

While I’m saddened that so many talented people have left the Earth lately, I’m grateful we can still take them along on our runs, our races, our walks, our adventures, our drives and our day-to-days.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your go-to running (or painting, or planting, or walking, or waiting) jam?

Today: Last week’s workouts | 001

In an effort to make good on my January goals (uh…three weeks into the month…), I’m sharing last week’s workouts.  This was my first full week back in the game, so to speak, having been cleared to exercise by my midwife the week prior.  

Also, to be clear, this “game” I speak of is basically dressing in lululemon, getting the babes packed up, searching for my phone/keys/sunglasses/wallets/extra change of clothes/keys again/extra package of wipes/and snacks (always snacks), attempting to leave the house, sometimes succeeding, always arriving with spit up in my hair, and occasionally participating in a workout.

I bought an 8 class pass with Mama Beasts and started back last Monday.  The timing could not be better, as the group’s winter team challenge kicked off mid-month.  We’ve been earning points for workouts, logging our meals, staying hydrated, making time for ourselves and occasional special challenges… like squat day.

I’ve also been making use of my home gym in a bin and “do anywhere” workouts found on YouTube and Pinterest.

last week's workouts

Last week’s workouts | 001

Monday: First day back at class with the Mama Beasts — this is also the day I realized how much coordination it takes to leave the house at a specific time with both Grace and Nick.

Tuesday: At home ladder workout… and 315 squats… because I mis-read the instructions for the aforementioned “squat day” and overshot by 100+.  Needless to say, I could barely walk after this.  All in the name of points.

Wednesday: Class with the Mama Beasts

Thursday: Random yoga flow (thank you, Pinterest*) and gymnastics class with Grace.  I fully participated in the warm-up and stretching… like, to the extent that it may have made the coach and other parents uncomfortable.  Regardless, it felt good.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday + Sunday: Plank weekend.  I totaled 17 minutes (in sum, not in a row) of planks of all sorts (high, low, side, modified) between the two days.  And um… that’s all I did workout-wise.  I can only hope my form was as good as Grace’s.

last week's workout planks

It would appear I haven’t cleaned under the sofa recently.  Or ever.

*Random aside regarding Pinterest: Am I the only one who finds Pinterest completely annoying lately?  I have to scroll through 800 sponsored or “picked for you” pins before I find anything that’s not junk.  Oh, and one of those “picked for you” pins the other day was “How to get a thigh gap.”  (It was recommend for my healthy living board….)

On one hand I was like, that’s not okay.  And on the other hand, I was like, Bahahahaha.  That ship has sailed.  And I’m waving it off in my maternity leggings, which I refuse to give up. Like, ever.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Taking the Jeopardy! online test.  I have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but a girl can dream.
  • Painting (I made an appointment with myself and my art cart)
  • Sort of meal-planning and definitely food shopping

What are your favorite at home workouts?

Today: Drink Good. Do Good.

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.  

Also On Tap for Today:

How many poodles live in your neighborhood are you spending these last, beautiful weeks of summer?

 

 

 

 

 

Today: Ready for Action! (a preview and giveaway)

One of the many advantages to being home these days is the opportunity to take my workouts outside.  In addition to long walks and short runs at Castle Island (who can beat that view?), Grace and I recently started joining my sister-in-law and friends for a stroller-friendly bootcamp a few mornings a week. 

I am absolutely loving it.  It’s exactly the structure and community I’ve been craving.  I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun working out, and it certainly helps having a cute little spectator cheering me on.  After having spent most of the winter cooped up inside, though, it’s taken me a while to get my act together in prepping for these workouts.  From sunscreen and plenty of water, to diaper stuff, toys and snacks (Grace snacks while I work out… I think she has the right idea), to a yoga mat and resistance bands, I’m bound to forget something.

After falling for nearly every product inside the Hello, Beauty! bag from Whole Foods Market, I was so excited to hear that they would be releasing a second bag, filled with Whole Body products, just in time for summer…. and just in time for me to stop making a second or third trip back inside our condo before bootcamp.  

My lovely friends at Whole Foods Market River Street in Cambridge hooked me up with a complimentary Ready for Action bag to preview before they are available in stores on Saturday… aaaand I’ve got one for you, too!

Each Ready for Action bag contains a carefully curated collection: sunscreen, aloe, Toms of Maine deodorant, arnica gel, Nuun electrolyte tablets and superfood shake mixes, along with coupons for other great products.  And the bag itself is really cheery.  It is hand-printed bag by RIJI Green, a company committed to ending human trafficking.  It’s perfect for storing sunscreen and snacks (clearly, we are all about the snacks) in your beach or gym bag.

When it comes to active living, our local Whole Foods Market really is a one-stop shop.  I know the products and ingredients on the shelves are going to be safe and family-friendly, which I can’t necessarily say about so-called nutrition and supplement stores.  

I couldn’t wait to put the Goddess Garden Organics Natural Sunscreen and Boiron Arnicare Gel to good use during this week’s workouts, and I’m looking forward to mixing the Amazing Grass vanilla chai Amazing Meal into my next shake.

You can pick up a Ready for Action bag for just $12 (it is valued at $50) tomorrow, Saturday June 27th at 10 AM at your local U.S. Whole Foods Market store, in the Whole Body department.

Ready for Action giveaway

I’m excited to share a Ready for Action bag with one U.S. reader.  To enter, please comment below.  A winner (though… you’re, like, all winners… and don’t you forget it) will be randomly selected on Tuesday, June 30th.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your list of summer essentials?

Today: Currently | June 2015

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

Reading

  • 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.

Watching

  • 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!

Listening

  • 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.

Eating

  • 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.  

Making

  • 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.

Feeling

  • Like this is going to be a really great summer.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is on your home “to-do” list?

Today: My morning reading list.

If it’s morning and you’re in bed, and you’re reading this on your phone… thank you. I always appreciate your being here. But please, put the phone down.  Let’s meet back here in a few hours.

One of my worst habits?  Letting other people decide what I am going to think about in the morning.  And by other people, I mean my phone.  If you’re looking to get up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed, grab your phone as soon as you wake up and get flooded by such things as:

  • Tweets about chemicals in your favorite foods
  • An Instagram post informing you that the Frenchie you insta-stalk died of a mysterious illness (True Life: This is why I don’t follow random dogs anymore.  At least 5 dogs I followed have died in the last year.  Which is both weird and sad.  Also, I am convinced I cursed them all.)
  • Emails from your boss sent at 11:44 PM, 2:06 AM, and 4:18 AM
  • Facebook pictures of your friend’s cousin’s college roommate’s ultrasound
  • “Breaking news!” about Taylor Swift’s most recent break-up
  • Actual news about any of the upsetting things going on in our world
  • Weather reports about 900 feet of snow

It’s a tough habit to break (tougher than Diet Coke, I think… still working on that one… again), but if you can hold off on the Insties and Twitters for even a few minutes — just enough time to choose what you first consume — it can work wonders.  It can set your day on a happier, calmer, more inspired course.  I was going to type, “It will change your life!” (and I kind of believe that), but I don’t have proof.  So let’s just stick with this: Choosing what you read in the morning can have a really wonderful affect on your day.

You might already have something in mind.  A mantra, a prayer, a favorite quote, or line from a movie.  It doesn’t have to be complicated (and given that this is likely pre-coffee, perhaps it shouldn’t be complicated).  I keep a few scraps of paper in my bathroom cabinet and in a notebook in my dresser drawers– my favorite things to read are right there when I wake up, ready to keep me from the glow of my iPhone.

Looking for somewhere to start tomorrow morning?  Here are a few of my favorites.  You’ll find the full text by clicking each title.  Oh, and feel free to print any of the images and stick them to your mirror.

My morning reading list

Mary Oliver’s Five A.M. In the Pinewoods: I love everything Mary Oliver has written.  This poem, in particular, feels very meditative to me.  

A Precious Human Life, His Holiness the Dalai Lama: I’ve read this one so many times, I know it by heart (I love that expression).  It is such a beautiful way to start the day — mindful, kind and well-intentioned.

Dr. King’s “Life’s Blueprint” speech: Last spring, I heard this speech recited by a group of eighth grade students in Washington, D.C.  It was their middle school graduation ceremony and each student had memorized a few lines of the speech.  While I’d read it before, I felt like I was hearing certain parts for the first time.  It was moving and beautiful.  By the time they got to “I would say to you, don’t drop out of school,” I was crying.  The speech ends like this: “Be the best of whatever you are.”  Yes.

The Guest House by Rumi: You have to read the full poem.  It’s a perfect reminder in the morning (and in the afternoon and the evening) that we may not be able to control what or who comes into our lives, but we can choose our response and attitudes.

Okay.  It’s safe to pick up your phone again.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you start your days?