Tag Archives: music

Currently | February 2017

February is wrapping up.  And no, it’s not a leap year.  Consider this a friendly PSA that my birthday is basically moments away (March 1st always seems to sneak up on people).  I’m not always so clear on how timezones work, but I think I’m already 35 on the other side of the world.  Meanwhile, Grace keeps asking if I’m 45 yet.  So there’s that.  

But I don’t want to rush February out the door just yet.  Despite the country imploding, I’m grateful we had things like my nephew’s baptism, Valentine’s Day, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, Hillary’s message to the people and 70 degree weather to celebrate.  We left our jackets at home and walked on the beach.  We spotted the first plants sprouting.  Spring is coming.

CURRENTLY | February 2017

currently february 2017

Currently eating

  • …like summer has already arrived.  Tacos, tomatoes, salads and strawberries.
  • …dinner with Nick most nights after the kids go to bed (as opposed to snacking from the babes’ plates at 5 o’clock).  It’s been such a nice change.

Currently watching

  • So we watched like 5 minutes of a PBS special featuring various spy cameras disguised as animals, both because it sounded cool and it was not about the government.  The idea is that you get to see animals behaving as if they were not being spied on.  Unfortunately we caught the part where the baby monkey spy camera fell, and the real monkeys thought it had died and were, like, mourning.  It was devastating.  Did I mention that I am generally an emotional basket case?
  • Superstore + Homeland (they sort of balance each other out)
  • 900 “how to sew” YouTube videos 

Currently reading

Currently making

  • …plans for a meaningful Lenten exercise.  In the past I’ve given up Diet Coke, snacking, sugar and swearing (but not all in the same year… I’m neither a saint nor a martyr).  Other years, I’ve added more prayer, more intentional acts of kindness and more time away from technology.  For me, Lent is the ultimate lesson in patience.  In waiting.  In remaining hopeful.  Perhaps I’ll simply meditate on that lesson.  While not drinking a Diet Coke. 
  • A set of mini, mono-printed art journals.  It was a random Tuesday night project, but I am thrilled with the results.  I’ll share photos later this week.
  • A “good behavior” jar.  I am semi-mortified and semi-amazed at how well it’s working.  (To clarify: We are rewarding Grace’s good behavior, not mine…)

Currently listening to

  • “Call on Me” (Ryan Riback Remix) by Starley — it’s the perfect windows down in February song
  • Call Your Girlfriend (podcast)
  • This Irish Flute & Tin Whistle playlist on Spotify… baby Nick and I had music class this morning and the teacher broke out his tin whistle (apparently we missed the Irish flute last week).  Nick was mesmerized in class and keeps dancing and clapping along to this lively mix.  I think it’ll do wonders, too, for those times we are nearrrrrrly home and one or both kids is starting to nod off in the car.  

I hope you’re enjoying these last bits of February and looking forward to a lovely March.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your February?

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: Get Messy Thursdays | Adventure, Week 4

On Wednesdays, we wear pink.  And on Thursdays, we get messy.

I tried to tackle, in some form or fashion, each of this week’s prompts from the Get Messy Art Journal program (it’s never too late to join!) while limiting the supplies I used– a couple pens, some watercolors, a few stamps and some old magazines.

After last week’s go at a new sketchbook, it’s clear the pages weren’t holding up to all that paint and water.  I decided to use up the last few pages in my original sketchbook… and then light a candle or sprinkle some crystals or maybe just search Amazon for an hour in search of a thick bound book of watercolor paper that can lay flat– preferably one that doesn’t have a spiral binding and isn’t ugly.  I’m putting that out into the Universe and will report back on whether or not the so-called Law of Attraction applies to paper.  On to this week’s pages (and… this week’s jams!).

Get Messy Thursdays | Adventure, Week 4

Materials used: Watercolor paper, Sakura watercolor paints, Sakura white gel pen (my favorite thing, like, ever), magazine tear-outs, a map from a recent Audubon sanctuary visit, tracing paper, glue stick 

So one of this week’s prompts called for writing a poem about wanderlust.  The last time I wrote a poem, it was in memory of my parents’ deceased parrot.  It was sort of a morbid joke, and it was really funny.  (I am the sort of person who ruins being funny, though, by being all… I’m so funny, right? Right?!)  Needless to say, my poetry skills are rusty, at best.  And I can’t say I’ve been feeling especially wanderlusty (not a word, going to use it regardless) lately.  So I wrote about that.  

If I end up growing very serious, wearing a beret and performing this piece of crap at the world championship poetry slam… you can say you knew me when.  Or whatever.  The accompanying page was in response for the prompt that called for no scissors + at least 5 piece of paper.  I started out by following the rules, and then carefully cut out a Taj Mahal and tucked it in between the rip-outs.  I sort of love how it turned out.

Materials used: Magazine clippings, washi tape, letter stamps (small letters are from the Dollar Spot at Target, larger letters are from a Studio Calico set), Micron pen (black, size 01), tracing paper, Sakura watercolors, 3M self-laminating pouch

I was sort of on a roll when it came to ripping pages out of magazines and quickly threw together this collage.  The stamped words are lyrics from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children.”  I read somewhere that Graham Nash wrote the song after seeing a photo of a child holding a toy grenade, and thinking about how susceptible children are to messages about violence and war.  And so as happy as this page feels, I wasn’t feeling especially happy when I made it.  Earlier this month, a sixteen-year-old in Dorchester was shot and killed while riding his bike — a sixteen-year-old and a fourteen-year-old have been charged with his murder.  These are children.  Even if we disagree about the need for gun control, I hope we can at least agree that enough is enough.  Our children deserve so much better.

When I think about what I want to teach Grace, I think about how I could be a better role model for her.  I think a lot about how I hope she will view and treat other people.  Above all, I want her to be compassionate.  I want her to have a generous spirit.  And I don’t want her to be afraid.

I tried to find a good photo of figures to trace for one of this week’s art prompts, but um… why are most magazine photos of people so awkward or provocative or weird?  There was a spread on bathing suits in Marie Claire that should have been perfect… but the models all looked mad.  And I got distracted by that.  And then I ate a bowl of popcorn.  After that, I quickly traced these eyes (from an article about adult acne products, of all things) and filled them in with some watercolors.  I didn’t really have any place to stick ’em, so (I am sure you know where this is going), I laminated them and made a bookmark.

Materials used: Gold vinyl stickers, green watercolor paint, magazine clipping, glue stick

My last page was fast and simple (and not fueled by any underlying rage against America’s gun lobby).  I’ve been making a running list of things I want to do this summer, places I want to visit, and projects I want to take on.  This was a little (metallic) note to self.  Just go.

This week’s jams

Oh, and because music is a key part of my creative process (alongside giant bowls of popcorn), I though you might like a peek at what I was listening to while making a mess:

If you’d like to see what my fellow Get Messy Thursday ladies are working on this week, you can find their links here.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where do you most want to wander these days?

Today: A mid-week day trip and the perfect Cape playlist.

Every now and then, it’s good to get away.  I don’t think it’s considered playing hooky when you’ve made it clear you’ll be out of the office and are using one of the vacation days you’ve been saving up since 2007, but it still feels a bit sneaky to be at the beach on a random Wednesday.  That’s where I ended up yesterday, enjoying plenty of sun (responsibly, mostly from under an umbrella like a good pale Irish America gal), catching up on some reading, and splashing in the waves with my one-year-old niece.

I picked up my younger brother bright and early and cruised over the Bourne Bridge while blasting James Taylor, quintessential Cape music.  Other artists who belong on a Cape playlist (for a shortcut, simply play the JT Pandora station):

  • Carole King
  • Belinda Carlisle
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Bruce Hornsby
  • Don Henley (and/or The Eagles)
  • Bonus track (for those who like something a little more current… but not actually current) and a random anecdote: Back to the Earth by Rusted Root.  This song was playing when our catamaran sailed back into the harbor after Nick and I did some island hopping on our honeymoon.  It was like God himself was DJ-ing our lives (but he probably wasn’t… mostly because I am sure there are more important things to attend to, and I don’t know if he has an iPod); regardless, the timing and sentiment was so perfect.

It’s probably worth mentioning that when the day is done and you’re heading back to the city, feeling a touch overtired and under-caffeinated, you should trade James Taylor for Skrillex.  Safety first.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite summer song?

Today: My favorite love songs.

I love Valentine’s Day.  Always have.  Except for the time I was a foreign exchange student in Italy, and gave chocolates to everyone in my host family.  And was then informed that Valentine’s Day is only for lovers by one of the older, slightly scary brothers.  Mortifying.  (Related: Who refuses free chocolate?  Rude people.  That’s who.)

Nick surprised me with a rather incredible Valentine’s Day and early birthday present last night… but I will save that for later.

(c) 2012 Henry Photographers [www.henryphotographers.com]

Instead, something less exciting: My favorite love songs.  These songs are perfect to play while dancing with your sweetheart, down dog-ing on your mat, strolling with a friend (if you’re the same height, maybe you could even share an ear bud), or cuddling with your favorite French bulldog.

My favorite love songs

  • Someone Exactly Like You – Van Morrison
  • The Luckiest – Ben Folds
  • Love Your Love the Most – Eric Church
  • My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson
  • Painting By Chagall – The Weepies
  • Shower the People – James Taylor

Sending you all my love (and love songs) and wishing you a very happy Valentine’s Day.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite long song?

Today: #getafterit jams.

Earlier this month, Reebok sent me a pair of Bose SIE2i sport headphones and they’ve been along for every run and trip to the gym since.  Talk about a cute workout buddy.

reebok bose SIE2i

Unlike other sport headphones I’ve tried, these allow for a bit of outside noise to sneak in, too – which helps when running outside.  Safety first, jams second.  The sound quality is unmatched.    Seriously.  Robert Palmer never sounded so good.  Reebok partnered with Bose earlier this year to launch the line of sport headphones, which comes with a matching breathable armband (complete with a key pocket and touch-senstive window), and was clearly designed with athletes in mind.  Details on the SIE2 and SIE2i sport headphones such as a shorter cable and a small clip to hold it in place (so it’s not flying up in your face or tangling around your chest as you run), as well as iPhone-specific features are an added plus.

What have I been listening to while I #getafterit, you wonder?  My latest workout mix includes the aforementioned Robert Palmer, Calvin Harris and Florence Welch, MJ (obviously) and a few others.

Perfect for getting after it.  Speaking of which, there’s a #getafterit Twitter chat tonight (12/27) at 9 PM EST with @Reebok and @FitFluential.  See you on the internet to chat about fitness goals and resolutions!

I received these headphones from Reebok at no cost, but my opinions (and questionable taste in music) are all my own.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Wishing this rain was snow
  • Reading about good luck foods for 2013
  • Post-holiday clean up

What’s your favorite workout jam this week?

 

 

Today: 12/12/12

We visited the Mayan ruins at Tulum a few years ago, and our trusty tour guide assured us the world is not going to end this year.  So there.  No more worrying.  Today marks the first and last time I will see 12/12/12 on the calendar, though.  Unless, like… I invent a time machine, travel to the year 2112 and take a peek at their calendar.  Or whatever.  I’m much too busy for that.  I’m not too busy to give you 12 jams, 12 places, and 12 books however.

12 favorite jams (of the moment)

  1. The White Panda‘s Drake and Diane mash-up.  Download it immediately.  It’s brilliant.
  2. Led Zeppelin – All My Love
  3. Amy Winehouse – Valerie
  4. Bon Iver – Re: Stacks (perfect for lowering your blood pressure, or napping)
  5. The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done
  6. Michael Jackson – Human Nature (and also, every song he has ever written, recorded and/or performed… except for the Free Willy theme song)
  7. Nas – One Mic
  8. Pat Green – Carry On (I like to pretend it’s summer when I listen to this song)
  9. Ray Charles – That Spirit of Christmas
  10. The Replacements – Can’t Hardly Wait
  11. Wilson Phillips – Hold On (makes me wish I was in an 80’s girl band… sort of)
  12. Youth Group – Forever Young (and not just because it’s on the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack)

12 places in Boston that I just love

  1. The courtyard at the Boston Public Library, Copley Square
  2. The Buddha room at the Museum of Fine Arts
  3. Franciscan Hospital for Children
  4. Castle Island
  5. Dorchester Heights
  6. Bapst Library at Boston College
  7. The penguin exhibit at the New England Aquarium
  8. Our roof deck
  9. The Harborwalk in Fort Point
  10. The docks by the Esplinade
  11. Haley House Bakery Cafe in Dudley Square
  12. Murphy Memorial Rink

12 books on my shelf

  1. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand [per Anne‘s recommendation!]
  2. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
  3. It Starts with Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig
  4. Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann
  5. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (one of the very few books I can read over and over)
  6. Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
  7. City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (so, so good)
  8. A New Owner’s Guide to Papillions by Deborah Wood (no… we don’t have one… but the papillion was one of forty types of dogs I thought I wanted before we found Clark)
  9. I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
  10. The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
  11. The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso
  12. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (…arrrrgh)

Happy 12/12/12!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite jam of the moment?

Today: Our wedding reception.

If that last goofball dancing photo was any indication, I had a blast at our reception.  Before we made our way to the venue, though, we took our little trolley around the corner from St. Cecilia for formal photos with our wedding party and families (including Nick’s grandmother, who traveled from Portugal, and our four month old niece… who traveled from Charlestown).

Incidentally, just a few days after our wedding, our photographers Katherine and Craig welcomed a baby of their own.  He looks like such a love!   I am sure they have their hands full, but I will be sure to share some of our professional photos as soon as we have them.  In the meantime, we’ll make do with random photos posted on Facebook and/or borrowed from my mother’s iPhone.

We met the rest of our guests a bit later in the upper gallery at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (one perk of being a French major: I never misspell hors d’oeuvres… or Jacques Chirac).  The venue staff encouraged us to make use of the gorgeous balcony with a grand entrance, and so we did.  I held onto Nick’s shoulder for dear life as we made our way down the staircase to the main theatre.  If anyone’s likely to tumble into their own wedding reception, it would be me.  Luckily, I stayed upright.  While our wedding party entered to MJ’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” Nick and I share an affinity for Stevie Wonder with the President and entered to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”   We went right into our first dance to Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest,” which is…. welp, my favorite song of all time by a non-Michael Jackson artist.

  • My father and I danced to Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?
  • Nick and his mother danced to Scott Keo’s “All To You
My sister and Nick’s brother, our Maid of Honor and Best Man respectively, delivered the most kind, heartfelt toasts.  Again and again, I kept thinking we really are the luckiest.

I fell in love with the venue the moment we entered the theatre and looked up to see the beautiful preserved ceiling.  The building is a renovated court house and has been hosting weddings for a little over a year.  Their staff was absolutely lovely to work with, and so helpful throughout the process.  Everything came together just as we had hoped, from the flowers to the dessert bar to the tiny canvases my sister helped me turn into table numbers.

The three of us (Nick, my dress and I) floated about the room chatting with friends and family over dinner, but still managed to get a few bites of our own meals.

 

We had a few hiccups along the way (that’s a cute way of saying I grew two new ulcers, right?) with our caterer, but the food itself was great.  Our guests chose between crispy stuffed chicken with Boursin and spinach, and pumpkin ravioli with sage brown butter.  The challenged among us (that would be me) enjoyed a vegetarian, gluten-free falafal cake with a cucumber yogurt dressing.  I took a very dainty bite of our (not gluten-free) ceremonial cake… because really… it was our wedding day.

Kelly at Mix Bakery clearly got our vision and delivered the perfect little mixfetti cake (with pale pink ribbons of frosting), and a full dessert bar for our guests that included carrot cake and peanut butter cup mini cupcakes, miniature whoopie pies, and several varieties of cake pops.

Kelly put together a Pinterest board as we went back and forth on ideas.  Being such a visual person, this was tremendously helpful for me.  Not to mention fun.  And appetite stimulating.  I loved that our friends and family were able to grab sweets and head to the dance floor, without having to wait for a traditional cake service.  And maaaaan, did we dance.  DJ Sheldon had nearly the whole crowd on the dance floor for hours.

I could not have pictured a more perfect day.  Let’s do this again soon.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Crossfit (woooooo!)
  • New animal obsession: rhinos
  • Scheduling Clark’s next therapy dog visit

If you were a DJ, what would your DJ name be?

Today: The Bachelorette.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I’ve never watched the show, but if it’s anything like this past weekend, I’ll be DVR-ing the next season.  I got to spend the last three days on the Cape with some of my absolute favorite people.  Equal parts low key and dancey, the weekend was absolutely perfect.

My sister and I picked up our cousin Katie from the train station Friday evening and made it to the Cape in record time, especially considering it was a holiday weekend.  We shared a bottle of wine and a game of Phase 10, before beginning the search for the ultimate “learn to dance like Michael Jackson” YouTube video and establishing the sole ground rule for the weekend (we only needed one):

If you say you’re going to do it, you have to do it.

I broke that rule first thing Saturday morning when I… um… forgot to wear my newly gifted clip-on veil on our run.  Colleen and Tina joined us shortly after we got back to the house, just in time for mimosas on the beach.  We enjoyed beautiful weather and perfect tides all weekend long.

Being a complete control freak person, I was anxious to know what was in store, and a bit nervous about the surprises the girls had in store.  Their thoughtfulness far surpassed anything I could have imagined.  My sister worked with Nick to create a guessing game/video, which was definitely a highlight of the weekend for me.  Not surprisingly, Nick and I had matching answers for most questions about one another, including how annoying my indecisiveness can be… and his questionable taste in music.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, though, as Nick talked about how excited he is to get married.

I am just so lucky.  For so many reasons.

Soon, our sweet ride was pulling up.  Katie connected with Jerry, owner of Cape Cod Limousine, and set up a fantastic evening for us.  Having a driver for the night was such a fun surprise.  We played with the overhead lights and music like a bunch of junior prom goers.  Our first stop was the Chatham Bars Inn for drinks by the gazebo as the sun was setting and a fabulous dinner in the tavern.

The roasted tomato soup was perfect for warming up (before donning a heavy Champagne jacket…).

After dinner, we made a quick stop at Land Ho! in Orleans.  I enjoyed a hard cider, a lap around the bar, and a quick lesson on life courtesy of the ladies room.

Jerry’s prediction that the scene at the Ho would be a bust proved true, though the band (and the band members’ hair) was quite good.  Sadly, our glow bracelets didn’t quite fit in.  And no one was dancing.  That was our cue to move on.

We took the express train limo to our old standby, the Woodshed, where we spend the rest of the night dancing, dancing, dancing, drinking and trying to avoid being danced on.  There was some aggressive elbowing taking place on that tiny dance floor.  The Boston Naturals played a great set and being surrounded by the girls had me smiling like mad.

I had to break out my flying squirrel costume (oh… doesn’t everyone have one?) before the night was over, but my attempt to sneak through the house resulted in a skinned knee.  You can’t win ’em all.  I am sure there are photos of Squirelizabeth, but I don’t have any.  Which is entirely fine by me.

Sunday morning, I slept later than I have in decades (possibly an exaggeration, but maybe not) and missed Colleen and Tina departing.  I had so much fun with them, and was glad they could both join us for part of the weekend.  Several of my friends and bridesmaids were traveling, moving, and attending weddings and though I certainly missed them, I felt their love from far away and appreciated all the texts and calls over the course of the weekend.

Katie, Andrea and I fit in another run before more time at the beach, more Phase 10, more MJ videos, and a trip to Kate’s.

Oh, and a beer can duel.  Because what’s a bachelorette party without Bud Light cans flying through the air?

I loved every minute of this weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • I went away and it was August… I came back and it’s September?!
  • Just moved to Boston?
  • Grocery shopping (sort of an emergency)

If you were in a cover band, what would be on your must-play list?

Today: Obsessed, lately.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy, but here are a few songs I’ve been obsessed with lately.

Like any other red-blooded American tween 30-year-old, Call Me Maybe has been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it.  I’ve listened to it so many times, I am pretty sure the lyrics are etched on my soul. Will I ever tire of hearing it?  …Maybe.  When that will be, I do not know.   I promise I am listening to other stuff, too.

Currently on heavy rotation:

Wondering what I listen to when I run?  Click to 7:26 of the most recently released episode of The Team Off Balance Video Blog, produced by Jack atpixelwiremedia.com / rtbrelay.com.

I think Michael Jackson (may he rock in peace) would have appreciated my safety gear.

Also On Tap for Today:

What songs are you obsessed with lately?