Today: The weekend according to Instagram V.

I’m hitting that stretch of the year when I am in full on workbernation mode.  It’s sort of like hibernation, minus the sleeping and being a bear parts.  I spent most of Saturday at work and the better part of Sunday obsessively checking my  work email.  It will be much of the same most nights and weekends until July.  I am, like, the least cool cell phone plan ever.  Get it?  Nights and weekends?  Right.

I’m focusing on being as present as possible when I am home (that means putting limits on the ol’ email checking compulsion) and simplifying where ever and whenever possible.  For example:

  • I am making Nick do all the chores.  Just kidding.  Or am I?
  • I’m wearing nothing but black until further notice.  Depressing, yes.  But everything matches.
  • I’m waking up even earlier (even if this requires going to bed the second I get home, which it might).
  • I am devoting time this week to eliminating as much visual clutter as possible.  It helps my brain feel more organized.

While I workbernate, please enjoy another installment of The weekend according to Instagram.

The weekend according to Instagram V

the weekend according to instagram

  1. One of my favorite views in the condo: Clark and I love watching Nick make grocery lists.  And not just because it means he’s going grocery shopping.  That’s an added plus.
  2. Thanks to the magic of Twitter, I learned that Saturday was National Banana Bread Day.  Not wanting to be unpatriotic, I broke out my gluten free flour and a few overripe bananas and got to work.
  3. While waiting for the over to preheat, I channeled my inner botanist and put together a little terrarium-esque centerpiece.  Despite spilling half a bag of potting mix on our cream colored rug, I was quite pleased with my work.  The flowers in the tall vase were an early birthday treat from Nick.  Both vases were steals from Homegoods.  That is to say, they were very inexpensive.  I promise I didn’t steal them.
  4. Gluten-free cinnamon banana oat muffins.  Need I say more?
  5. I got a gel manicure this weekend, effectively saving myself the usual 45 minutes I spend each week painting and repainting my nails and ensuring I don’t look like a (cinnamon banana oat) ragamuffin at work events for the next few weeks.  I talk with my hands.  A lot.  So this is sort of important.  There.  I think I have sufficiently rationalized treating myself. [Side note: did you know ragamuffin is a type of cat?  Totally Googled the word to make sure I spelled it correctly (I am bad at the Internet) and the search yielded lots of scary cat pictures.]  The color is CND Shellac Romantique, the closest possible gel relative to my usual standby, essie Ballet Slippers.
  6. Speaking of treats, I got a lovely package in the mail from Heidi at Intelligent Nutrients, a certified organic health and beauty company.  I’ll give you the full scoop this week on detoxing my locks.
  7. I snuck in a quick Sunday morning workout in my Saucony Virratas.  And then I sat on the floor for an hour with my dog.  Somewhat related: my stitches came out this morning, so I am officially back in action.
  8. Please don’t report me to the MSPCA or Sarah McLachlan (that PSA just kills me).  Don’t let his face fool you, Clark likes wearing origami hats fashioned from magazine subscription tear-outs.
  9. And last, but not least, the perfect daily yoga sequence from Yoga Journal’s 21 day challenge.  I completed this before bed on Sunday, helping to quiet my mind a bit.  I am all about the simple.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Treat yo self.

I’ve recently become addicted to Parks and Recreation.  I think Ron Swanson might be my spirit animal.  I am channeling my inner Donna Meagle after a truly absurd week, though, and treating myself.

Yesterday morning, I treated myself to half an hour of no phone calls and no emails, and a little mind-clearing run and no awkward eye contact (unfortunately, there was an abundance of awkward eye contact – that comes with the territory in small hotel gyms with giant mirrors and only two, side-by-side treadmills). I tried to treat myself to a massage this afternoon, but the massage place had to stay closed today (Rude, Nemo.  Rude.).  Minor setback.  The foam roller will do.  For now.  Back to the treats.

You want some pretty orange-ish tulips?  Treat yo self.  You want a new book (an actual, real book – not an electronic, ebook, digi-book thing)?  Treat yo self.  You want to spend twenty minutes of your life painting and repainting your nails until they are the perfect, smudge-proof shade of Ballet Slipper?  Treat yo self.  You want to take your little dog for an extra long walk slog through the snow?  Treat yo self.  You want to fill up the tub and overflow it with some Mr. Bubble (or maybe something less likely to cause you to break out into hives… like, Aveeno oatmeal bath, perhaps)?  Treat yo self.

Seriously.  Treat yourself.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you treat your lovely self?

 

Today: Do your Sunday things on Saturday.

You know all those things you leave for Sunday?  Nine loads of laundry, grocery shopping, meal prep, scrubbing the bathroom floor, your thirteenth nail polish change of the week?  I’m not a scientist (I fainted in 9th grade biology), but I am guessing they only contribute to the Sunday night blues.  Imagine what you could do with your Sundays if most of the unpleasant stuff was done already.  I can’t promise miracles (those just happen on their own), but I bet this scheduling shift might make us all a bit more, welp, pleasant.

Do your Sunday things on Saturday

Why not do your Sunday things on Saturday?  I’m committing to getting the grown-up, boring stuff out of the way early so that I have plenty of time to enjoy my Sunday.

Sunday Saturday To Do List

  • Deep clean the condo (why yes, I do have a playlist designed just for this purpose)
  • Make a thoughtful meal plan and corresponding shopping list
  • Divide up vitamins and supplements for the week (I know.  My life is the pinnacle of glamour.)
  • Assess my schedule and wardrobe for the week (Do I need yet another pair of black tights?  Do suit-like things need to go to the dry cleaners?)
  • Work on condo projects I’ve been putting off (such as using the label maker to label everything in sight, including my dog)
  • Prep my handbag for the week (this mostly involves recycling random receipts and errant paperclips, restocking my stash of quarters for city parking meters, ensuring I have at least 13 chapsticks on hand, and packing snacks to curb low blood sugar induced rages)
  • Laundry to the sixth power
  • Tie up loose ends from the previous week (call the people I forgot to call, email the people I forgot to email, schedule the appointments I forgot to schedule) and prioritize my to do list for the following week

Sunday To Enjoy List

  • Early morning CrossFit workout
  • Mass
  • Long walk with Nick and Clark
  • Grocery shopping and meal prep (oddly enjoyable for me)
  • Sunday night manicure (and a pedicure at Gaelic Day Spa if I am feeling extra generous to myself)

I feel better already.

Also On Tap for Today:

What Sunday things might you move to Saturday?

Today: A few simple steps for a better life.

I had one of those weeks.  The kind where you get to your desk and think… I don’t remember driving to work.  The kind where, at the end of the day, you forget where you parked.  And subsequently, you walk from one parking level to the next, casually pressing the alarm button on your key ring.  The kind where you eat frozen yogurt for dinner.  The kind where you wake up in the morning, feeling like you could use another six hours of sleep (maybe because you ate frozen yogurt for dinner?).  The kind where you wonder if wearing tomorrow’s suit to bed would give you a jump on the morning routine (a bad idea, I assure you).

Not exactly the healthiest week.  But we all have ‘em.  And fortunately, it’s a long weekend – perfect for getting a little much needed rest, and getting back on track.  More good news:  some of the best steps we can take for a better life are also the simplest.

A few simple steps for a better life:

1.  Take off your shoes when you walk through the door.

Your shoes pick up all kinds of cooties, germs, and particles throughout the day.  Leaving your shoes at the door will prevent you from tracking those nasty things throughout your house.  Need more convincing?  Here’s 37 reasons to leave your shoes at the door.

Fellow dog owners would do well to wipe their pets’ paws after walks.  Just think (on second thought, maybe don’t) about what those little fellas walk through.

2.  Consider making a switch.

It might be taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  It might be a piece of fruit instead of a cup of juice.  It might be a phone call to a friend instead of a television show.  Small switches can make a big difference, without requiring a lot of added time or effort.

For me, making the switch from dairy milk to almond milk has been an easy and effective way to ensure I get plenty of calcium in my diet, without the unpleasant effects of lactose.  I grew up drinking skim milk with every meal, but when my doctor and RD prescribed all kinds of tests and elimination diets last summer, dairy was at the top of the no-no list.

Single-serve cartons of Silk PureAlmond – I was thrilled to find these minis in the market. They’re much more commuter-friendly than a large, previously-opened carton of non-dairy milk. And yes, I have had one of those tip over and spill in my handbag.

Nick and I were already using almond milk in smoothies, coffee, baking, and protein shakes, so it was not hard to make a total shift.  Cheese was another story.  I came close to weeping before a wedge of brie at our favorite Whole Foods Market.  While I am back to eating dairy in small quantities, we still tend to opt for almond milk over cow’s milk.

There are the obvious benefits (50% more calcium per serving than dairy milk, shelf stable before opening… in your purse or elsewhere), but it’s also a taste thing.  I simply prefer almond milk at this point.  If you’ve made the switch and are looking for a little inspiration, check out these recipes featuring Silk PureAlmond Unsweetened shared by a few fellow bloggers on Silk’s Facebook page (where you’ll also find a $1.00 off coupon to um… sweeten the deal).  New recipes are being added regularly, and they all look fantastic.

3.  Bring home a plant.

Plants help purify the air around us.  They give us something to care for (I think this is important).  They look pretty.  And, apparently, they can make us smarter.

Lacking a green thumb?  Here’s a list of  24 easy to care for house plants.

4.  Give your cell phone some thought.

Every now and then, I use my iPhone for making actual phone calls.  You know when you’ve chatted just a little too long, and suddenly your phone feels like it’s been in the microwave?  That can’t be safe.  When Pong Research sent me a protective case, designed to reduce radiation exposure,  I hesitated to read their materials for fear I’d be convinced to forgo my phone all together.  Then I saw something really cute I wanted to Instagram.  Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too prevent harmful radiation aaaand over-share on the Internet too.

This is the thing: It’s possible that many of the devices we use daily are harmful.  Maybe a little, maybe a lot.  Spending time worrying and imagining (two favorite past times of mine) accomplishes very little.  Give your cell phone usage, or microwave usage, or super-amazing-hold hair spray some thought.  Research alternatives.  Come up with a plan to limit the harm you may be causing yourselves or others.

5.  Take a walk.

I take what I call a “wellness walk” (nearly) every day.  I usually fold in office errands, like grabbing the mail or making a bank deposit, but I always make sure I have a few minutes to myself to just be.  To say hello to the older people who gather near the playground by my office.  To look at the clouds (another favorite past time, one more productive than worrying).  To stretch my legs a bit.

I always return to my desk feeling refreshed and re-energized.  On days when I am at the office for especially long hours, these walks help break up the day and keep me feeling connected to everything going on beyond my desk.  They give me perspective.  It only takes a few minutes (I am rarely gone more that 10), but it makes a world of difference.

It’s pretty incredible how one simple, smart choice can lead to more simple, smart choices.  And how simple, smart choices lead you to the exact spot where you parked this morning.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign.  All opinions are my own.

Also On Tap for Today:

What healthy switches or swaps have you made?

Today: The weekend, according to Instagram.

With work being crazy (in a good way), I’ve been making a conscious effort to unplug a bit more during the weekend.  I can’t seem to put my Instagram machine iPhone down, though.  Technically it’s only plugged in when it’s charging, so… I guess that still sort of counts as being unplugged.  Maybe.

The weekend, according to Instagram.

The weekend according to Instagram 1

  1. The Os Gemeos mural in Dewey Square, taken from a stoplight (safety first).
  2. View of Logan from the Seaport – I love living so close to the water.
  3. Spotted this so jelly mug (the reverse side features a pair of jelly fish) at Target while running errands.  And then I had Destiny’s Child stuck in my head for the rest of the day.  I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.
  4. I whipped up a quick and (extremely) easy lemon artichoke pesto on Friday night.  I love throwing together ingredients with neither measuring, counting, nor caring.  Pestos are perfect for that.  I used two small jars of artichoke hearts (drained), added a generous helping of walnuts (~2 cups), a bunch of fresh parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, juice from one lemon, a pinch of nutritional yeast, and little salt and pepper.  You could probably chop up the ingredients and mash together in a bowl, but I went straight for the food processor.  Nice and smooth.
  5. Clark and I enjoyed the spring-like weather this weekend with a few extra-long walks.  I thought this tree was cute.
  6. I slept in on Saturday and missed the early class at CrossFit Southie, so I threw together a little at home WOD, after checking out a few of the workouts on The Traveling WOD.  That site is a great resource for workouts on the go, or at home – with very little, if any equipment required.  After six rounds of my made up workout, I got to work on pull-ups.  Practice makes progress.
  7. After taking some time a few weeks ago to organize my random collection of ribbons, mint and coral colored pens, and washi tape, I’ve been obsessed with little projects like this one: sprucing up my iPhone and iPad chargers with different tapes.  Here are a few more clever uses for washi.
  8. There was a time when I never, ever napped.  That time can be defined as my entire childhood.  Nowadays, if football is on and Clark’s feeling snuggly… the two of us are out like a light.
  9. I am finding my Polar FT4 heart rate monitor from h.h. gregg to be not only informative, but super motivating.  I’ve been wearing it to CrossFit and am amazed at how much harder I push myself at the box, than I do when I workout on my own.

But wait… there’s more.

The weekend according to Instagram 2

  1. Speaking of CrossFit, I left the box on Sunday feeling like a Mighty Endorphin Power Ranger after our rowing/DU WOD.  It didn’t hurt that “Beat it” (rock in peace, MJ) was playing on the radio on the way home.  While I’ve been able to do one or two double-unders here and there over the past few months, I’ve never been able to string them together before.  Usually I would feel or hear the rope pass under my feet for the second time, freak out, and then immediately whip myself in the shins.  I’ve been practicing, checking out YouTube videos, and watching other athletes and somehow… it just clicked during the warm-up.  One double-under turned into two… and then three… and during the workout, twenty!  I must have looked like a total goofball, but I could not stop smiling and Irish-whispering “I am doing it!”  When I went up to the board after class to give our coach my time, I started to say level one (which was scaled to 10 DU attempts), our coach replied… “What you did was not level one.”  Perma-smile.
  2. After class (and various leaps and spin moves about the condo while I described my jump rope glory and push jerk PR to Nick), we headed to Whole Foods River Street to stock up for the week.  Pomegranates: check.
  3. As soon as we got home, I traded my skinny jeans (no one should wear real pants on the weekend) for short shorts and ProCompression socks.  Much better.
  4. Yet another water view from the Seaport.  You will not be shocked to learn I am a Pisces.
  5. This was the mess I made while multi-tasking.  I perused Runners World for a spring half marathon to run, while painting my nails, while watching the Pats (I stayed mostly awake for that game).  I like to pick nail colors based on their names (seen above: essie eternal optimist, beyond cozy and miss fancy pants).  I’ve been reading Apartment Therapy: The Eight Step Home Cure and was reminded about the good having fresh flowers around can do.  Tulips are a favorite of mine.
  6. As of Sunday evening, I have successfully completed 13 out of 13 #fmsphotoaday challenges.  Yesterday’s theme was circle.  This was kind of a stretch, but the BC seal is a circle.  I recently joined a mentoring program at my alma mater and will be paired with an undergraduate student next month.  I think it will be a good way to reconnect with the Heights, especially with my 10 year reunion not so far off.  Yikes.
  7. An impulse purchase from the Whole Body department while grocery shopping: Biggs and Featherbelle Beauty Soak.  I love bath time.
  8. A nerd’s dream: French grammar review books.
  9. Clark and I headed out for another long walk (clearly, I put my pants back on).  It’s January in Boston, yet it was too warm for a jacket and real shoes, so I dug out my Toms.  Al Gore was right, people.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you unplug on the weekends?

Today: Official wedding photos and advice for brides

While we’ve officially been married for two months (and seven days, NBD) and I’ve shared various iPhone pics… I now have, in my possession, our official wedding photos from the incredibly talented Katherine and Craig at Henry Photographers.  Brace yourself.  My sock bun is almost as big as my goofy smile.

More to come, including photos from our Mass at St. Cecilia.  But first, every bride-to-be’s favorite part of wedding planning… unsolicited advice!

My advice for brides:

  • People are going to ask you a lot of questions.  You will know the answers to some.  You will not have even considered the answers to others (there really are people in the Universe who care about table linens).  You will want to keep some secrets.  Develop a canned answer now, if you can.  “It’s a surprise!” worked quite well for me.  It creates intrigue, without being dismissive.  And it works for (nearly) everything.  What does your dress look like?  It’s a surprise.  What is your first dance song?  It’s a surprise.  (Considering we finalized this choice three days before the wedding, our indecisiveness was the real surprise.  To our DJ.) Who are your bridesmaids? It’s a surprise.  Am I invited? It’s a surprise.
  • Bring flats.  Sparkly ones, if you can manage.
  • Speaking of shoes, I wore a pair of black pumps.  I knew no one would see them (they were hidden under all that Vera), so for once in my life I had the sense to choose function over fashion.  I have worn those pumps a dozen times since the wedding.  The lesson: there are plenty of opportunities to be sensible rather than fanciful.  Would champagne sequined shoes with some sort of ruffle or feather adornment have been fabulous?  Yes.  Would anyone notice them, without me hoisting up my dress?  No.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy amazing shoes.  It just means that you don’t have to.  Regardless of what Pinterest tells you.
  • Secure a non-ugly, non-plastic hanger for your dress.  Unless you don’t mind the cheap-o version showing up in photographs, as seen above.  Whoops.
  • Don’t limit yourself to actual bridesmaids dresses.  I think I had a dream, nay, a vision!, about champagne sequins dresses.  I became obsessed by this idea.  I searched for months and months a few days, and found the perfect dress at Nordstrom.  It was reasonably priced and looked incredible… on my incredible looking bridesmaids.  I only wish I had ordered one for myself. (#crazybridestatement)
  • Make a list of things that meet the following criteria: If this doesn’t get done, I will not die.  If this doesn’t get done, the wedding will still go on.  If this doesn’t get done, I will likely be the only one who notices.  For me, Mass programs were on that list.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t get around to printing them.  And I didn’t die.  The wedding still went on.  Maybe a few people noticed, but I like to imagine they thought I was a devoted environmentalist and made a conscious decision to save my brother and sister trees of the rain forest.  Things that do not meet the criteria, just in case you need examples: getting your marriage license and getting to the church on time.  Commit to not having a meltdown if the things on this list do not get done.  Focus on the important things.  Like table linens.
  • Find a mantra, a happy place, or a patient friend (or a stiff drink?) for when things get a little frenzied.  They might.  They might not.  I’m lucky that we had very few bumps along the road (don’t ask me about our caterer), and planning our wedding was quite a bit of fun for me.  Anytime I felt myself turning ferocious, though, I tried (and sometimes succeeded) in reminding myself that people are operating from a very good place.  And with the best of intentions.  Ultimately, I get to spend the rest of my life with Nick, and that is all that matters.

Oh, and get a massage.  I knew I forgot something.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your best (unsolicited) advice for brides-to-be?  

Today: You’ve got mail. Now what?

Does anyone like checking the mail (like, the actual mail) more than me?  Doubtful.  The only thing I like checking more than the mail is the weather.  Actually, it’s probably too close to call.  With holiday cards, American Girl catalogs (Why, oh why, are we on their mailing list?) and mystery packages flooding in, our mail clutter has gotten a bit out of control.

You’ve got mail.  And it’s piling up all over your condo.  Now what?  Here’s how I reign it in.

Open your mail directly over your recycling bin.

This is the easiest way to cut down on mail clutter.  If it’s in your recycling bin, it can’t be on your kitchen counter.  Easy as that.  Almost all of our catalogs and solicitations go directly into our mail room’s bin.  Anything that makes it in our door (credit card companies can be so sneaky), swiftly gets recycled in our nearby trash room.  If you’re thinking, “But… I don’t recycle,” please leave the Internet immediately and remedy that.  I’m serious.  And so is Al Gore.

Go paperless whenever possible.

If you want to cut back on your overall mail volume, go paperless whenever possible.  You might consider setting up an email address for this express purpose.  For example, if Clark had access to a debit card and a cell phone (in my dreams, he would call me just to chat over lunch), he might have his statements sent to ClarksBILLS(at)topdog.gov.  Or whatever.  This ensures all of your monthly bills and statements are all in one place, without clogging up your personal email inbox with unpleasantries.

An added bonus?  Some companies offer discounts or other incentives when you forgo paper mailings:

To reduce the amount of commercial mail your receive, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn how to opt out of unsolicited mail and check out Earth 911′s suggested steps.

Keep things contained.

Establish a landing spot for your mail.  This is especially helpful if you have a family, roommates, or if you regularly receive someone else’s mail (I am not sure why that would happen, but in the spirit of inclusiveness…).  I often get home before Nick, so I stash all of his mail and mail that I need to follow up on in this cute little container that I found on One Kings Lane recently.

It matches our English wallpaper, there are no longer random heaps of unopened envelopes strewn about the condo, and life is perfect.

Share your magazine subscriptions, keep only what you’ll use or re-read.

If you’re normal, you might look into iPad or electronic versions of your favorite periodicals.  If you’re like me, you have little interest in going paperless when it comes to books and magazines.  I am sure Kindles are wonderful, but I like the way books smell.  And I like being able to tear out magazine articles that capture my interest.  My love for both books and magazines translates to piles upon piles of the two, however.  Fortunately, there will always be someone interested in reading last month’s Glamour at the gym.  Find a friend, a public library, or a fitness center that accepts donated magazines and make a habit of clearing your stack at the end of each month.  You might even consider reducing the number of magazines you subscribe to, and share subscriptions with a friend.  You subscribe to Martha Stewart Living, she subscribes to Real Simple.  (I would totally call dibs on Martha.)

 

I keep articles (or entire volumes) I can’t bear to part with neatly tucked away in a magazine file or letter-sized box.  Inevitably, I rarely revisit them… so I make sure to clean out these collections every few months as well.  For recipes, quotes, shopping recommendations or workout, I find taking a quick photo and saving it to a specific album on my iPhone does the trick.

Now I just need to get my iPhone albums under control…

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your best trick for staying on top of the mail?

 

Today: Riding a bike is just like riding a bike.

Wondering how to unpack from a two week trip on ten seconds flat? Tip your suitcase over and dump everything directly into your laundry bin.  Your zebra clutch and nearly empty bottle of SPF45 are machine washable, right?  Who cares.  You’re unpacked.

Just helpin’ with the laundry

After picking up our much missed Frenchie from his stay at The Pawsitive Dog, I employed my signature unpacking technique, and immediately began repacking for a girls’ weekend at Mohegan Sun with Tina, Anne, Theodora and Julie.  Married life is agreeing with me so far– two weeks of turquoise seas followed by two days with lovely friends?  I do.

Perfect weather to break out my new Reebok RealFlex Fusion TRs and Reebok Flex interval jacket

We set out Saturday morning (by limo, no less) to meet Rich and June of Mystic Bike Rentals at Mystic River Park, where Michelle at Mohegan Sun organized for us to take a bike tour of the area.  Let it be known that I have ridden a bike once in the last ten or fifteen years.  My friend Meg and I rented ‘cycles at a shop near the West Side Highway for what was intended to be a leisurely roll (I think that’s what you’d call a stroll on wheels?) along the Hudson.  I nearly crashed a thousand times, got verbally abused by passing rollerbladers, and couldn’t feel my butt cheeks for two days.  Don’t get me wrong – I had a great time, but it wasn’t exactly the smoothest reentry to the world of bike riding.

You can imagine my fear, then, at the thought of hopping back on a bike yesterday.  Theodora assured me it would be “just like riding a bike,” but my anxiety only grew when Rich said something about gear shifting.  Gear shifting?  Is that like shape shifting?  Oh, and traffic.  There was mention about riding in traffic.  Like, car traffic.  We all know I have an active imagination.  I am my own worst enemy that way.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) our limo had already departed, so there was no chance of escape.  I cautiously kicked a leg over the bike seat and stepped on the pedal.  After a little wobbling, several Hail Marys, and a close call with the curb, I remembered to resume breathing.  And I remembered why I spent so many hours as a kid riding up and down the driveway.  It’s fun.  Plain and simple.

June stayed by my side for the first fifteen minutes or so, chatting and giving me tips along the way.  This really helped calm my nerves.  Soon I was enjoying the gorgeous scenery while listening to Rich talk about local industry and history, rather than imagining what it might be like to fall off the bike and somehow get my ponytail tangled in the chain.  Or whatever.

We made a stop at the picturesque B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill, the country’s oldest steam powered cider mill.  The mill produces cider, hard cider and apple wine and offers samples on site.  I tried a sip of Yellow Jacket, a hard cider and orange juice blend.  I was tempted to try the Blackout variety, but I can’t imagine me + anything called “Blackout” + an activity requiring helmets would add up to anything good.

By the time we made it back to Mohegan Sun, I realized my pal was right.  Riding a bike is just like riding a bike.  And giving something a second or third chance – especially when it’s something fun – is the perfect reason to kick fear to the curb.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Making sure I really didn’t put that clutch in the washing machine
  • Getting reading for the real world (my life, not the show)
  • Visiting with family

Have you given anything a second chance lately?

 

Today: Easy summer entertaining.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Plenty of things in life are difficult. Snacking with friends shouldn’t be one of them.

A tiny and a huge caprese bite for Tina‘s tinyHUGE party

With the weather being just lovely lately (I like the blistering heat almost as much as the recent cool down), there’s no better place to be than up on the roof with a carafe of wine, crisp vegetables, fresh berries and a good wedge of brie.  Oh, and– most importantly– a pal or two.

When it comes to summer entertaining, I like to keep things easy.  No utensils, no cooking, no frills.

  • Glass isn’t allowed by our condo association’s pool, so I’ve been using a shatterproof acrylic carafe to transport adult beverages.  It looks rather shady, but it gets the job done.
  • Washing and cutting vegetables and portioning them in packable containers at the beginning of the week saves time, and ensures you have healthy snacks at the ready.
  • A bit of variety ensures there’s something everyone will like, but I try not to go overboard.  Something sweet, something salty, something gluten free, and something not.  That’s my pool snack M.O.
  • Beach towels make great table cloths.  And they keep your toes warm when the sun sets.  Aaaand they soak up spilled wine.
  • Keeping food finger-friendly equates to less waste (no need for plates or forks).  Besides, tiny things are just plain cute.

The best part about easy summer entertaining?  No need to decorate when you’ve got views like this, captured on my iPhone (no filter, just Mother Nature putting on a show).

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your best summer entertaining tip?

Today: Take your vitamins.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]My body celebrated the second day of summer by coming down with a cold.  Quite rude, if you ask me.  With the weather being so hazy, hot and humid I would much rather be up at the pool than zonked out on the sofa.

After a few days of sniffling and wondering if I had accidentally swallowed a knife, I am starting to feel better.  I wonder though, can I blame this cold for the fact that I attempted to meet my girlfriends at the wrong restaurant on Friday night?  I was quite proud of myself for being early and snagging the best table in the house, until I realized my error.  The waiter thought I had been stood up and insisted that my soda water was on the house.  It was rather mortifying.

Clearly my body (and my brain) could use a time out.  And perhaps, some vitamins.  I know there are those who are anti-vitamins and supplements.  In an ideal world, I’d get everything my body needs from my diet.  While I am not a doctor, a scientist, an astronaut, nor an RD, I do know this for sure:

  1. My diet is far from perfect.
  2. Vitamins will only work if I, um, actually take them.

And I often forget to take them.  Kelly reminded me to take yesterday’s multivitamin and vegetarian DHA (sort of like fish oil, minus the fish), but I am not certain that nooding around on Twitter is the most reliable system for ensuring I take them daily.

So I started thinking about my daily routine.  What’s one thing I never, ever forget to do?  Load up on the mascara.  I also find that planning out my week each Sunday, whether it’s meetings, meals or workouts, really helps.  You know those pill holder things that old people the most experienced members of our society use?

I now own a sweet purple one.  I filled the week’s worth of soft gels this morning (which reminded me of that pebble game, Mancala, that we used to spend hours playing at the beach), and tucked the container into my makeup bag, right next to the mascara.

I think I am on to something.  Maybe.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s one thing you never forget to do?