June 28, 2016

Good-bye... For Now

Summer vacation has begun! Thank you all for hanging in there. I will be up to my usual tricks towards the end of the summer. I'm looking forward to writing more about Life in My 40s and getting back to a regular blogging schedule when I return in August. 

Much progress as been made on my new project, and with any luck, the blog will be moved and I can tell you more about it when I return. 

In the meantime, I hope you have a glorious summer!

P.S. You may also like...

May Summer Last a Hundred Years

2016 Summer Reading List

Scenes From Around New England (a.k.a. where I'll be hanging out)

Chatham

10 Things to do in July

Home


June 3, 2016

Free Fun Fridays

Boston winters may be long, but once the trees leaf out, the grass turns green, and the sun warms your face, it's time to head outdoors and enjoy the many parks and green spaces now available. But on those rainy days that force you inside, there are lots of things to do in and out of the city, and thanks to the Highland Street Foundation, you can get into museums, zoos, and gardens for FREE every Friday starting on June 24th. 

Here are my picks:

June 24th: Tanglewood's Family Fun Fest
July 1st: Boston Children's Museum or Cape Cod Maritime Museum
July 8th: Museum of Fine Arts
July 15th: Boston Anthenaeum
July 22nd: Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park
July 29th: Nantucket Whaling Museum
August 5th: The Greenway Carousel
August 12th: Concord Museum
August 19th: The Institute of Contemporary Art
August 26th: Norman Rockwell Museum

Enjoy!

June 2, 2016

Updated Classics

If you haven't done so already, please add Eligible to your summer reading list. I love all things Jane Austen, and this version of a modern day Pride and Prejudice will make you fall in love with a whole new Bennet family. (I adored Emma Thompson's screenplay of Sense and Sensibility. See the movie!) 

There seems to be a trend among writers who are reinventing the classics (something akin to movie makers looking to books for material) that's grabbing a whole new audience of readers. Maybe it's because the characters are more believable when placed in a contemporary setting, or perhaps we just can't get enough of a good thing. 

Look for Ann Tyler's Vinegar Girl (The Taming of the Shrew with an absent-minded professor and responsible teacher in charge of her family's daily affairs.), Gillian's Flynn's Hamlet, Jo Nesbo's Macbeth, and Margaret Atwood's The Tempest. All from a series of Shakespeare remakes from the Penguin Random House Group. 

Photo: Princeton Public Library

May 13, 2016

Mean Girls

I read a book years ago titled, Queen Bees and Wannabes. In it, the author talks about the roles girls play, whether they like it or not, and includes tips for parents on how to help their daughters through the trials of Girl World. (If you want a quick fix instead, watch the movie Mean Girls.)

Because I am a girl, and I have given birth to two girls, I can say this without bias: girls are a pain in the ass. The drama that follows girls around is like a loyal puppy—it never goes away! And it starts younger and younger these days. We’ve all had to deal with versions of the Mean Girl throughout our lives. Some of us got through it fairly unscathed, while others were imprisoned. I can’t imagine dealing with the latter; the stories I’ve heard from other mothers and their daughters is downright terrifying.

But even with the subtler dealings girls endure: whispers, snide looks, insults, gossip…these transgressions can instantly rip away the solid foundation of anyone having to deal with ordinary day to day life, which as we all know is hard enough. Girls will always have to work harder than boys for equal pay and recognition. I hope that before I die, this will finally be a non-issue. This is just one reason we should all be in this together, not battling it out on the playground. (The war of the “working mom” versus the “stay at home mom” should have been settled long ago. Personally, I’ve always thought the term “working mom” was redundant. Every mom works, regardless if it’s at an office or at home. Period. Please, let’s MOVE ON from this.)

But there’s another sad reality involved: Some things never change no matter how old you get. Girls grow up to be women. But that doesn’t mean they grow out of being a Mean Girl. And then they have daughters. Like Bobbsey Twins, mother/daughter mean girls are leaders of their pack. There are thousands of mini-me’s following in the footsteps of their first teachers. They’ve learned how to lie, cheat, and beam their false smiles at the world with absolute pride and prejudice because they learned how at the foot of the masters.

These women have had decades of experience, and from my personal experience, cleave onto their daughters because they’re truly the only friends they have left. Adults usually don’t put up with this nonsense, but that doesn’t keep it from occurring. Worse still, they usually focus their attention on the very girls their daughters have already targeted. They’ve transgressed to their former selves and relish in the same childish antics they should have left behind long ago. The targets have doubled.

Words, one of my favorite things in the whole world, can do more damage psychologically than almost anything. The old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” rings more true today than it ever has. 

Girls are their own worst enemies. But they don't have to be.

May 5, 2016

Wherever the Wind May Blow

I have been blogging regularly for the past three years. I enjoy sharing ideas and stories, and as I wrote in my bio, this is my place to remember and reflect. But I haven’t been happy with my blog platform for a long time now. As with all money decisions, I had to weigh the pros and cons of investing in a new one. Every time I did some research I was quoted outrageous prices, some as much as $10,000. Instead, I used my money to update its look, just a little, then a little more. I ran into a few mishaps along the way, namely a very unprofessional “web designer” who never fulfilled her promise. I had to change companies mid-stream and thankfully found a firm that could work with me and my budget. The money I wasted could have been used to make the switch. I moved on. I could at least update my writing.

Since I began blogging, I have switched things up a bit. What was once a design blog morphed into a lifestyle blog, and then, in my opinion, something a bit more than the usual lifestyle blog. As I started to focus on one aspect of my career (while the others started to fade into the background) I wanted the blog to follow along. I got excited about writing more in-depth and personal posts about motherhood, family, and various series about writing and the stages of the empty nest to name just two. I have always been inspired by Anna Quindlen so I just recently starting writing a new series titled Life in My 40s. I prefer the direction the blog is headed, but I also wanted to keep a bit of creative eye candy available for those of you who started following this blog for that very reason.

I’ve played around with topics, scheduling, and formatting until I found something I felt would be a good fit for all of my readers, and for me as well. But the blog also did something else. It filled a void. It allowed me to escape into the world of words I had missed so dearly.

But I am at a crossroads.

I’ve decided to take a small step back from my blog to work on a project I have wanted to finish for years. I have always been the kind of person who takes care of everyone else’s needs before my own: my children, family, work, and you, my readers. But I need to do this one thing just for me.

For now, I’m going to blog weekly when my schedule allows. I’m not going to worry about adhering to a strict schedule; it will simply happen organically, like when I first began. I will continue writing series and niche posts I hope will satisfy us both. I may want to bring in new writers to help fill the gaps, or I may decide not to. I’m not quite sure just yet. My goal is to still switch platforms, but this won’t happen until late spring (at the earliest) and soon after that, I’ll be heading off to my home away from home in June. Changes are occurring and I’m going wherever the wind may blow.

By next fall, I should be back in the swing of things. Or maybe I’ll try the slide instead. Either way, this blog isn’t disappearing, it’s just evolving as each and every one of us is doing each and every day.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Thank you for your continued support and thank you for reading.

Photo: Three Rivers Deep

May 4, 2016

Healthy and Delicious Hummus Recipes

There is one staple in my refrigerator that I would be lost without: hummus. I can remember when I first tasted this concoction of garbanzo beans, tahini, and garlic. I hated it. I grew up eating meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Sandwiches consisted of peanut butter and jelly or bologna. Not exactly healthy cuisine. 

Over time, I grew to like it. Now I can't get enough. It's the perfect party dip, snack, and meal. I like to top plain hummus with really good extra virgin olive oil or lemon or spices or a combination, and there isn't a vegetable that doesn't love hummus.

It's super easy to make, but if you're in a jam, I suggest purchasing Classic Hummus from Sabra and doctor at will.  

Roasted Garlic Parmesan

Basil Pesto

Avocado Lime

Lemon Garlic

Spicy Creamy Sriracha

Enjoy!

P.S. You may also enjoy Move Over Fries, It's all About the Ketchup and Slow Cooker Meals

April 28, 2016

Celebrating Mothers

I know a lot of blogs are creating lists of fabulous gifts you can shower your mother with, but I want to talk about a different kind of gifttime. Mind you, I have received some fabulous gifts over the years from my children: my beloved garden urns, gift certificates for spa treatments, countless hand-crafted cards, and last year's gift, my very own Webkinz pet (a story for another day). But my favorite gifts weren't gifts at all; they were the times I got to spend with my children. 

I remember, not so long ago, sitting on my porch with both of my girls seated on either side of me. After I had unwrapped my presents and read my cards, we started to talk. And we didn't stop for hours. It wasn't plannedwhich makes it even more specialit just happened. One topic rolled into another as David brought out drinks and food to sustain us. We laughed and joked and spent the afternoon truly connecting. Many more afternoons just like that one became an almost weekly ritual. It doesn't get much better than that.

Several years ago, after my son moved away and I didn't get to see him as often as I'd liked, my phone rang. I expected his call. He always called. But this time he kept me on for just a little longer than usual. As we were wrapping things up, he announced he had arrived at his destination. Then I heard a knock at my door. He stood there with a bouquet of flowers, a card, and a huge grin. I would have knocked him over if he wasn't 7" taller and 60 lbs. heavier. The tears started in earnest as I opened my card. It was the kind that talks and plays music. As I opened it up, I heard his deep tenor voice wish me a Happy Mother's Day and then "You Are My Sunshine" started to play. This was the song I sang to him every night when he was little. I carry that card with me to this day.

As the years went on, we started a new tradition. The four of us (and a couple of times, the whole family) went to our favorite drive-in restaurant where we could eat food or ice cream, either indoors or out. It's the kind of place that's always jam-packed with families so it's okay if you make a lot of noise like we do. I have so many great memories of the times we've spent there regardless of the reason.

The moral of my story is this: Time is a precious commodity. It's a continual progression that moves us forward whether we like it or not. It's vulnerable. We must invest in and nurture it in order to reap its benefits. I can almost guarantee that the mother in your life will want to spend this day, and many more like it, with you.

P.S. You may also like The Perfect Mother's Day and Mother's Day Gifts.

Photo: Lon Martin

April 26, 2016

Blogging Isn't as Easy as it Looks

As you may have noticed, I haven't been blogging 5 days a week lately. Simply put, blogging isn't as easy as it looks. And because my blog has evolved from a design blog to a lifestyle blog to a... (I'm still defining what it is), it's become even more complicated. (I'll elaborate more on this soon.)

One of my favorite design blogs has captured how a post is brought to life quite brilliantly. Emily Henderson details every step, in text and video, here. (When you're done watching, please come back!) Now mind you, I don't have a crew of helpers, writers, photographers, or staff of any kind. But I also don't produce detailed blog content based strictly on design and the many steps it takes to come up with the final product. In fact, when I started blogging about design, I tended to skip right to the "after" never really showing my readers the "how" unless it was in the text. So that's reason number one why I don't post about design topics very often. It's time consuming. (Reason number two is because I no longer take on design work. A minor hiccup.) But the reason you do still see design and style tips pop up occasionally is simpledesign will always be a big part of my life. Just because I don't practice anymore, doesn't mean I don't still dream in color and create.

Regardless of what I have written about, or what I'll write about in the future, is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if you read about food, fashion, motherhood, or the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. You may read blogs because of the subject matter, but consider what it takes to produce and create the content you enjoy. Most bloggers don't get paid a thing, which makes the whole concept even more amazing. Spread a little love: share posts, comment (on the site or on social media), email the blogger a quick note. You don't have to do it every time, just once in a while, or just once!

Proceed to the next blog.


Photo: Ben Timney

April 22, 2016

Totally Crushing Over

All things spring! The Swan Boats are back in the Public Garden. I'm heading into the city for a girls' weekend with my daughters, and this is definitely on the list of things to do. This 139 year-old tradition is a rite of passage for anyone who visits Boston and a relaxing way for the regulars to be reminded of just how beautiful it truly is.

I sometimes think I was born in the wrong era. I'm a sucker for all things old-fashioned, old-school, historical. I don't know how old this sign actually is, but it looks like it's had a happy past. I can imagine strong cups of coffee being served to happy patrons as they share their day just inside.

Green happens to be one of my favorite colors, and it's this time of year I'm reminded of just how many glorious shades we're able to experience as spring moves into summer. This vintage sofa featured on Emily Barry's Instagram has me dreaming of warm weather and sleep porches.

The last wedding I went to was my sister-in-law's. It was held on the beach and everyone wore shades of the seabut, of course, the bride wore white. Monique Lhuiller has just released her new line for 2017. These beautiful gowns make me want to plan a wedding. I wonder who's next?

Have a beautiful weekend!

P.S. You may also like these other TCO boards.