Yesterday, I took the boys up to Harvard Square, since they had the day off for the Marathon. We rode our bikes, on what turned out to be a perfect Spring day and while waiting for Shake Shack to open, we made a stop at their favorite store,Curious George. Immediately, the LM went over to the chapter books, and started telling me about how he "loved" this Jack and Annie series, and how we had to get one because it is "so awesome." Loved! Awesome! To hear my kid say this about reading was just about as good as it gets for me. While we were waiting to check out, he cuddled up with his little brother in the cutest little book nook, built under the shelves, and together they looked at a picture book. After pulling myself up from the puddle I melted in to, I began to think of a way to get our own little reading nook for him. On our way home, I remembered the teepee that had been stowed away, and figured that I could fashion a little reading nook out of that and a few things that had outlived their day. I dug out some pillows that used to be on our bed, a small bookshelf I could never find use for, an old crib quilt, and viola! we had our new little reading area. This morning I picked up some wire, and as soon as the LM gets home I'm going to dig out the Christmas lights and hang a strand from the inside to give it more of a magical feel. I'm sure he won't always be this excited about reading, so for now I'd like to bottle it for as long as I can!
Last night we cuddled up inside, while I read him the first 5 chapters. So far it has most definitely been a hit!
Speaking of reading, have you all read any good books lately? My daily reading isn't exactly what you would call highbrow, but during our trip I found myself unable to tear myself away from a few books I downloaded before we left. If any of you are looking for a light page turner, I highly recommend the following!
This book is most definitely my favorite of the bunch. Set in Australia, it follows the story of three women who are all connected through, you guessed it, the husband's secret. Loved, loved, loved.
Labor day, is the story of a tragically depressed woman, her son, and a convict on the run. It follows the three over a Labor Day weekend, and is expertly told through the eyes of the child. It's sappy, and a little over the top, but I loved it all, especially the ending!
I just finished this one, and like most Jane Green novels, I couldn't put it down. While reading it in bed, my husband was getting annoyed with me because I just kept saying, NO! over and over. I don't want to give too much away, but it's the story of a aging housewife, who meets a handsome younger man. uh huh... it's a good one.
I'm a sucker for a sequel, I need to know what happens to my characters, so there wasn't a question whether or not I was going to read the new Bridget Jones. While this one is probably the worst of the three, I thought it was cute and although the ending was predictable, I like knowing how it all ends for Bridge. If you liked the others, you will like this one.
Now I'm at a loss for books! I keep putting of reading The Goldfinch (mostly because it's 800 pages) but unless I can find something else, I think that's my next move.
Happy Easter weekend! Wait, wasn't it just Christmas a few weeks ago? Seriously, where has the time gone? Since we are not followers of any religion, we don't have a whole lot planned this weekend, but the kids are very much looking forward to their baskets on Sunday, and tonight we are going to decorate eggs! Gray is in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phase right now, so we have adopted it as this years "theme." What that has to do with Easter, I'm not sure, but we are going with it. Other than that we are just going to be hanging around our hood, trying to take advantage of any sunshine that would like to come our way. You know, the usual. ;)
I hope you all have a wonderful, egg and candy filled weekend. Here are a few fun links from around the web that caught my eye this week. xo
Tis the season of the hard boiled egg. Did you all know that they come out 100 times better if you bake them instead of boiling them? It's true! I'll never go back after trying it! The best part is that they don't smell when you put them in the fridge. Seriously, trust me on this one.
My husband and I are super in to this new show. Are any of you watching? P.S. I've slowly started Scandal, and yes I'm hooked. Kerry Washington drives me crazy though, and I feel like I'm the only one who thinks that way!
My daily beauty routine is one that pretty much never changes, consisting of my tried-and-true skincare regime, and not a whole lot more. Honestly, most days I run out of the house with wet hair, a moisturized face, and if I'm lucky a swipe of chap stick on my lips. After years of struggling with, and finally overcoming cystic acne, I consider this to be my dream "made up" face, so you won't really get that many complaints from me. Of course, this doesn't mean that I don't love to play with makeup, and lately I've had a bit of a renewed social life outside of the boys, so I was in desperate need of some new products. I've been bookmarking a few things I would read about in magazines, and yesterday my best friend and I hit up Sephora to try them out. Sephora really is like Target, where you go in for paper towels, and 2 hours and $300 later you come out, so while I went in for eyeliner, we both left with new routine of some great new products (to us) mixing in some of the more recent finds that I've been loving for the past few months. Now all we need is the next girl's night so we have a reason to try it all out!
Last week, I mentioned that I was dying to try out a thick cat eye (a la Nicole Richie) and I was told that this is the best foolproof liner. After a tutorial, I have to say it definitely does the trick, but I would have had no idea how to master the look without a demo. The liner itself is great, once you get the hang of it and it lasts forever without smudging.
I have a hate/ hate relationship with mascara, meaning I hate wearing it, and I hate wearing it. I was dying to get my lashes tinted in hopes of avoiding this product forever, but since I've found out that's actually illegal here (oops) I'm back on the mascara train. This one came highly recommended by the artist at Sephora, and so far I have to admit I'm loving it. The key seems to be the brush, which gives seriously thick lashes, without the clumps.
It's Spring, which means I need to get some color in my life. I don't wear a whole lot of it on my body, so I figured why not put a little on my face. Colored eyeliner is a huge trend this season, and after trying on this perfect shade of blue, I can see why. This is one thing that I plan to add to my daily routine immediately. The best part is that I actually like the look more without mascara, which for reasons I mentioned above makes me very happy.
You know those women with thick eyebrows, that are constantly complaining about how often they have to get their brows waxed? Yes? Well, I hate those women, because despite my best efforts I can pretty much grow hair anywhere on my body except for my eyebrows. I feel like I have spent the last 20 years of my life trying products to make them seem fuller, and this one most definitely is the best. You just swipe it on, and somehow it picks up those itty bitty hairs, that you can't see on their own, but make for a fuller brow when colored. I really shouldn't ever leave the house without this; note to self.
This is another awesome product that my sister and I have been using for a while now. After my battle with my skin, I'm not a huge foundation person, and I would find that some of the BB and CC cremes would make me too shiny, and too red. This BB creme is light, and goes on liquid, but then magically changes to a perfect powder finish, that absorbs oil with no red undertones. It goes on evenly and provides great coverage. Oh, and it has SPF 35 in it. I would buy stock in this if I could... it's that good.
Another product I've been loving, especially since I went platinum blonde, is this inexpensive hair mask. Once a week I use this in the shower, and it really has saved my hair from all the damage I've done to it. When I got back from Costa last month, my hair was like straw, but after 5 minutes of this on it, it was silky smooth.
Finally, who doesn't love a good mask? Right now I'm beyond obsessed with this GlamGlow brand, and after using this I swear it feels like I've had a professional facial! A few weeks back my girlfriend asked me if I had microdermabrasion done, but it really was just the after effect from using the mask the night before. That's what I call a ringing endorsement!
So, there you have it... my new favorite beauty products. I don't know why I haven't tried Benefit cosmetics that much before, the brand really seems to be killing it! I would love to know if there is anything new or old that you are loving right now. Do tell!
Happy Saturday!!!! What are you all up to this beautiful, sunny, and WARM weekend? The kids and I are planning on spending every second of it outside, starting with an easter egg hunt in our local park today, and a skate session at an outdoor park tomorrow. After over a decade in this part of the world, I have learned that you do not mess around on the first springlike weekend of the year... you never know when you are going to get another!
I hope that whatever your plans are, you have a great one! Here are a few fun things that caught my eye this week! xo
I've decided I might be grown up enough to try a cat eye, but can't seem to find the perfect applicator. This list of 10 is a great place to start. I'll report back if I get lucky and find a fool proof liner.
Finally, on a more serious note, I can't believe it's almost been a year since the marathon bombing. Yesterday, Gray and I were near the finish line as preparations were beginning, and the whole space felt so heavy with grief for me, I am now sure that we will be steering clear of the festivities all together. This photo series, by Runners World brought me to tears, but also makes me feel so much pride for my fellow Bostonians. There were so many people we knew, who were down there that day, and I still really feel like it could have been any of us, who just happened to stand near one of those backpacks. This week we will all be thinking of those who lost so much that day.
Do your kids eat the same meal at dinner as the adults do?
Mine don't and a few years back it was really driving me crazy, trying to get everyone fed at the end of the day. Unlike most situations, our problem lies more with the adults than it does with the kids. My kids are both really good eaters, and are great at trying new things, but my husband and I pretty much eat a vegan diet, and we LOVE spicy food, so there isn't really a chance that we are going to be eating the same thing at night... for at least a few years.
For a while, before Gray was born, I would just make the LM a dinner that somewhat resembled ours. Basically pulling out the things he would like, and giving him a somewhat deconstructed version of our dinner. Once Gray entered the picture, I found myself completely overwhelmed once he started eating solids, and I was basically making three meals from scratch each night because his would need to be pureed, and as you know, you can only introduce so many new foods at once. One night, I completely broke down, complaining to my husband that I felt like all my babysitting time was going towards making food, and what I really needed was someone to make the food, so I could spend time with my baby. - I blame the hormones. After spinning my wheels for a few more weeks, I took a cue from my incredibly organized girlfriends, and I basically started making everything in advance, so that way we are all actually eating when everyone is cranky and tired, versus waiting on me to finish dinner. Seriously, this was life changing!
Obviously, I'm not making pureed food anymore, but I still am spending as much, if not more, time in the kitchen as I used. Over the years my culinary skills have improved, and us spoiled grown ups seem to want better and better diners each night. We aren't big take-out people, and we really don't go out all that much, so I think this is how we really treat ourselves each day, and I have to say it is really nice to sit down with my husband (and sometimes sister) to a great home cooked meal... even if I'm the one making it. Because we are usually getting home pretty late from school pickup, the key for me is still preparing everything in advance. Trust me, once you make this part of your schedule, you won't go back!
Usually on Sunday afternoon, or Monday morning, I'll do a huge grocery shop. At this point I've pretty much got it down to a science, but typically I'll just load up on a ton of veggies, a couple of boxes of pasta, a few cheeses, a couple of pieces of fish, and some chicken or meat for the kids. When I get home, right as I'm unpacking the groceries, I fire up the stove and will start right away steaming or roasting a vegetable, boiling a box of pasta, and making chicken cutlets or something of that nature for the kids. While it's cooking, I typically chop up a container of fruit, marinate one or two of the fishes, and freeze the rest. Our typical (adult) dinner consists of a piece of fish or pasta, and 2 of these salads, with a vegetable on the side (like a sweet potato, or corn, or some of the roasted/ steamed veggies I made for the kids) so I will also make up two or three salad dressings in a jar, that I know we will also need for the rest of the week. When you already have everything out, cutting board, oils, vinegars, onions, garlic... etc, I find that whipping up a few dressings only takes about 5 minutes, and it really makes things so much simpler when it comes to the nightly grind.
Once everything is done, the dressings, pasta, veggies, proteins I put everything in these incredible containers (the BEST), and throw them in the fridge. You only have to clean up once, and really for the rest of the week all I have to do is reach in the fridge, and basically mix up the ingredients enough that the kids get a variety, but really it's the same few things for the rest of week. For example night one: it's chicken, broccoli pasta, night two: chicken quesadillas, with a veg on the side, night three: mixed veggie pasta, with a side of fruit, night four: chicken tacos... you get the idea. Having everything already cut up and ready to assemble makes it so easy, and effortless, it is always worth the labor up front. Usually my husband comes home right when the kids start eating, and he sits with them while I finish up our dinner, and then the boys have dessert while we eat our dinner. Since I've already made the dressings, all I have to do is re-heat a vegetable and saute or bake our fish. Sometimes I'll make a pasta or soup from scratch, but I always make plenty so the leftovers will be used as part of the next day's dinner!
A few other shortcuts I've adopted include:
Pre-bagged kale. We eat so much of it that it is such a time saver just to be able to throw it in the bowl and massage it with one of the pre-made dressings.
Pre-steamed lentils, beets, and peeled garlic. Same deal, you really are able just to throw it in the salad and call it a day.
Half a rotisserie chicken. Certainly most families will eat a whole, but did you know if you ask most stores to half one for you, they will? Most weeks instead of making chicken at the beginning of the week, I will get one of these guys and break it down when I get home. The kids seem to love it in almost everything, and there is no cooking required.
This system has really worked for us, and I really can't imagine going back to making things to order. It was something that I don't think I would have thought up on my own, so I figured I share what works for us, in case some of you are struggling with the weekly dinner drag. I'd love to hear what time savers you all employ, so please share what works for you in the comments!
It's official, Spring is finally here! For us North-Easterners, that means very little this time of year except that we are now swapping snow for rain. Sure, sure, there are a few nice days that get thrown in the mix, but really it's just a lot of hope, crushed by warmer temperatures that are always followed by never ending rainy days.* The upside to all the rain, is that dressing for the day could not be any easier! For me, it's basically jeans, a sweater/ sweatshirt/ t-shirt and a trench! Viola! Instant chic, that is actually functional.
A few years back, I purchased a black Burberry trench, and I can say there is absolutely nothing I have in my closet that I wear more. From a night out (which in my life is rare) to the school run (which is daily) I cannot find enough places to wear my coat. Let's be honest, this one piece of clothing has so much style in it, that you could pretty much wear it over your sweatpants every afternoon, and no one would even know. Don't ask me how I know that... haha.
If you have been holding out, do yourself a favor and pick up a great trench this season. I can promise that you will not regret it! Here is a little inspiration to prove my point.
Of course, the ultimate investment item is the real deal, traditional Burberry coat.
The only tricky thing about a trench is finding one that is the perfect length. I prefer mine to skim the top of my knees, which I know is somewhat controversial in the trench world. Remember, you can always get them cut to the perfect length for a very reasonable price at the tailor if you find a great coat you love. I speak from experience here, it's an easy fix!
The boys and I arrived in the middle of the night on Monday, and I spent Tuesday running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get our life in order. Yesterday, I did something I rarely do, and I took the entire day off. Big kid in school, little one with the sitter, and mom out the door. It was so nice for all of us to get a little breathing room, and last night there was more kindness between the three of us than I've seen in weeks! It was heavenly.
While the boys were occupied, I spent the morning with my girlfriend, and the afternoon at the nursery. For months I've been dreaming of the day that Spring would arrive, and I'd have two free hours to get some plants for our house. I wasn't really sure what I was looking for, but I knew I wanted a LOT. Lately I've been drawn to images that have an excessive amount of foliage in them, and I feel like there is no better bank for you buck, than adding plants to you home. Admittedly, I got a little carried away, but after some careful placement, I think I may have finally made my house feel like a home. Last night I had my sister and girlfriend over for dinner, and even though I was still not sure about my indoor jungle, they assured me that it was a great improvement in our space. When my husband gets home tomorrow (lucky bastard got to stay in Costa with his parents an extra week) he should feel right at home in our tropical paradise.
Okay, enough chatter. Here is what way too many plants look like in one space. (hint I woke up this morning and decided I am in love with every single one!)
The PHOTOgraphs ON MY BLOG ARE MY PERSONAL PICTURES or they have been downloaded from the internet. IF YOU SEE YOUR PICTURE AND you do not want it to appear on my blog, PLEASE CONTACT ME AND I WILL REMOVE IT IMMEDIATELY.