Image Attribution

(Owlet header image found via a Google Image search, and came from Etsy artist Bestiary Ink)

16 April 2013


I have been struggling with how to summarize (or even organize or comprehend) my thoughts and feelings and heartbreak over yesterday's devastating events at the Great Boston Marathon -- not for anyone else, just struggling to process it for myself. Sometimes writing helps.

My emotions are tangled in so many complex corners of grasping what happened, and why it evokes such raw pathos for me. I don't think I will be able to break them all down. I can't yet put to words my feelings about the coward or cowards who executed this tragedy; I can't yet put to words my feelings about the victims; I can't yet put to words my feelings for the unsung heroes we keep seeing and reading about; I can't yet put to words my feelings about my fears regarding this strange and fragile new world into which I brought my innocent nine-month old daughter; I can't yet even find words for my feelings about bravery, pain, sorrow. There certainly aren't words for the empty, violent hole that formed instantly in my belly as I started seeing "Prayers for Boston" and similar vague posts appear on my Facebook and Twitter feeds yesterday before I began to understand that something had happened. In my Boston? Every new incident of tragedy we continue to experience as a community, a country, a world shakes me to the core. But the nausea that accompanied my uncovering of what happened yesterday was different. My Boston.

The Boston Marathon represents everything that is great about sport. Its history and symbolism in the world of international running go without saying, I think. And what Boston means to runners, especially marathoners (neither of which I can claim to be, though I *can* run...), is BIG. It's more than raising money or winning a lottery bib. It's The Accomplishment. It's the feather in your running cap. It's The Goal. You qualified. You are fast. You are a Runner with a capital 'R.'

But the Boston Marathon represents something else entirely more than that for those of us who will always call Massachusetts (and Boston) home, even if we no longer actually live there. There is an energy of childhood for even the oldest Massachusetts-bred spectator each year, whether standing on the sidelines directly, or virtually, thanks to television and the Internet. There is a giddy, pure, joy - there just is. It's corny to almost any non-New Englander/non-Massachusetts-er. My husband, a Chicagoan who lived in Boston for several years, will attest to that. As exciting as the race can be for anyone, he just never wholly understood why I woke up early to bring our kitchen chairs down to the empty sidewalk to save a a perfect spot outside the door of our Hereford Street apartment for my father's and my viewing, on the last block before the turn to the Boylston finish. He certainly couldn't understand why my father would wake up at the crack of dawn to drive two hours east to sit in rain or intense heat or other weather all day with me and cheer on the runners as though each of them was our dearest relative.

The Boston Marathon is an institution. It's a holiday. It's a party. It's in the fabric of Boston's great, boisterous, unflappable personality. It is my childhood, and it evokes something in me that almost nothing else does (except some other Boston icons like the Citgo sign or a shot of the State House in a movie, or the first glimpse of the Pru from a tiny airplane window...). Again, my husband appreciates but doesn't understand why a segment on the local news on Patriot's Day each year (it's still Patriot's Day to me, even if my new state doesn't know that) in the seven since we left Boston simultaneously brings an enormous grin to my face and tears to my eyes. But it does. The same way a great Boston accent conjures a family member and just warms me right to the soul.

In sixth grade, my class made news state-wide as we trained for months to walk the Marathon as a group. On Marathon Monday 1992, we left Hopkinton hours before the runners so that we could high-five them from our lunch break along the route. News crews followed and interviewed us. I wore boxer shorts with runners on them (over spandex shorts -- how very 1992 of me!) as my "uniform." The excitement of that incredible weekend in many ways has never left me. I can feel my thrill right now if I close my eyes to see my 12-year old self crossing that iconic, beautiful finish line, holding hands with my best friends as we sang the Chariots of Fire music and slow-motion ran over the painted stripe on Boylston Street. I can think of little else from my childhood to compare to that extraordinary experience, but, I guess it speaks to some of that "something entirely else" that the Great Boston Marathon is to me and to Boston and to Massachusetts, to home.

Yesterday morning my father fulfilled one of a number of nostalgic dreams he's long talked about by riding his bike with two friends along the Marathon route into Boston, and then back out against the runner traffic to watch the race among the community of the spectator supporters out in the suburbs before heading home. (For the record, my dad is probably one of the Boston Marathon's greatest fans ever.) Here's the photo he sent to my brother and me a few hours before this day took the terrible turn that it did:

(that's Dad on the right in neon, with his buddy Bill; their other buddy, Bob, is behind the camera)

Eerie and haunting now, but this photo captures that untainted joy of Marathon Monday to which so many can relate. And even in my confusion and my sadness and my anger and, again, my simply deep, deep heartbreak, I love that that untainted joy is forever captured here.

Love that dirty water.

02 April 2013

Paris in Springtime? Don't Mind if I Do!

Full disclosure: the closest I've come to Paris is a layover at Charles de Gaulle airport with my brother when I was 13.

But I *feeeeeel* like I've been there, or even like I am there, whenever I look at Nichole Robertson's photographs and her Paris Color Project (check it all out here).

I have been borderline obsessed with these photos for quite some time, and I'm not even sure I could recall how I found my way to them if you paid me with a trip to Paris, but I.Just.Love.Them. They even inspired my own very pathetic-by-comparison attempt at photographing our neighborhood by color (blerg).

I've hesitated to purchase anything, though, only because I haven't actually been to Paris myself, even if these photos evoke in me some sort of nostalgia for a trip long-forgotten. BUT. A clearance sale? I can't pass up a clearance sale! Get yourself over to TheParisPrintShop on Etsy and check out all of the beautiful photographs, including an insane clearance section thanks to prints already available on paper they've discontinued using. I mean, $8 8x10 prints?

I am just going to let these photos sweep me away to beautiful Paris this spring, in my mind at least. (There are a few images already in my Etsy cart!)

(Note: I did not receive anything - art- or compensation-wise - for this post. I just love these photos, so I thought I'd share the art/deal.)

13 March 2013


I might be willing it, but I BELIEVE warm weather (I'll even settle for just warmer weather) is around the corner. One of the things that happens to me at this time of year is that I start itching to throw away all of my boots and booties and let my tootsies breathe! But not just yet. So the easy transition is the flat. A little skin exposure, but no mandated pedicures just yet. I need approximately 7 more degrees on the outdoor thermometer to get me to this point - watch out boots! Your days are numbered...











08 March 2013


First, I want to say that this is NOT a baby blog, and I have no intention of posting regularly about my baby, or my mommy life, though I love blogs geared that way. This is still an outlet for me outside of that part of myself. BUT, occasionally it all overlaps, so this is a deviation from my normal posting path. Stay with me (please!).

I have an admission. I don't work out as much as I a) would like to, b) sometimes say that I do, and c) should. I am active, for sure. And I lift and approximately 20 lb. weight almost everywhere I go at home, all day long, but I don't *actually* work out enough most weeks. And by "enough" I mean "enough for my own satisfaction."

I recently realized that I could make this admission to others, but more importantly to myself, and have made a personal commitment to address this issue within the reality of my life as it currently is. This means adjusting to weird schedules, and needy little hands reaching for me, and full-time work + full-time momma, and still carving out dedicated (and reasonable) time for health and fitness.

So I've decided to cancel my gym membership temporarily and build in fitness in a way that makes more sense for me and doesn't stress me out. The reality is I just can't get to the gym in any sort of regular enough manner to make it beneficial. Some weeks I can get there 3-4 times. Other weeks it's a big fat 0. Consistency matters in fitness, so this isn't working for now. And I can put that money toward something else until regular gym visits make sense again.

To counter the lack of gym means I have to get creative and motivated at home and on the move. So I've been looking for, pinning, and doing lots of fun at-home workouts. I have light dumbells (5 lbs... I should probably buy 8 and/or 10 lb. weights, too) and a TV and a computer, so I can work out! And you can, too.

Here are my go-to workouts lately (disclaimer: I don't know and am not sponsored at all by anyone whose workouts I use. They're just good ones I've found so I'm happy to share them, but I'm not getting anything for putting these out there.):

This workout is great. You don't need heavy weights to feel it. You could probably use soup cans if you don't have dumbbells at home. I go through it once, wait 30 seconds to a minute, repeat, and if I'm feeling particularly motivated, do that a third time. My arms are a bit shaky by the end. And there's nothing complicated here - all easy moves that anyone can do. BTW, this workout (and many others on my Fit n Healthy Pinterest board) is from the blog Fit Fab Cities. I don't know how I found my way to this blog, but it's fantastic. Among other things she posts, my favorites are her printable workouts and her weekend challenges. They're creative routines that are manageable and have great impact. I have done at least a million of them (okay, maybe not, but a lot) and they're all solid and effective. They make it easy to change things up and still have a great overall workout and not get fitness-bored. Again, no sponsorship, just personal endorsement based on my own experience.


I'm pretty sure you want a Brazilian butt. I would LOVE  Brazilian butt. I don't know if I'll get one from doing this workout, but I do know that I'm panting by the end of it, and that my lower half is sore for 2-3 days after. I couldn't find the original post on the Tumblr this is from, but this is all you need. It's intense and twice is enough!



This isn't exactly what I've been doing, but it's nearly identical, and it's great. This is also from Fit Fab Cities - another printable workout that you can stick in your pocket and do anywhere.


Walk walk walk. Walk everywhere walk. I walk every single day and make sure I'm not just ambling, but walking hard with purpose, even with a stroller. I haven't been as motivated to run lately, but I do make sure I'm moving every single day, and I think that's good for now.

Now that I've publicly admitted my fitness lull, I feel a bit more accountable to addressing it. Do you do any easy-to-manage at-home routines? Link me!

27 February 2013

2013 Oscars Red Carpet

We are back with an Oscar Red Carpet post, albeit reluctantly. In our collective objection to the general disappointment of this year's Academy Awards in total (fashion and production and everything else), we're only doing one post. That's all this year's show warrants, and no one is more annoyed by this than we are, we assure you. In fact, our working title for this post was something to the effect of "The Okay, the Less Good, and the Blah." That about sums it all up, we think. That said, here are a few thoughts because even we can't let the Show of All Award Shows go by without comment.

The "Best"... Naomi Watts

M: We're giving "best" to Naomi Watts for being the only interesting look to walk down that carpet the entire night. She actually really looked amazing, I think. But she was also the only one who did something different, fashion-forward, even slightly risky. And she pulled it off to perfection. The hemming and fit in general were flawless, her hair and makeup looked great, and her arm candy was handsome. What more could you ask for? A whole bunch of stars acting like stars would be a start, but you can't always get what you want.

A: Agreed. Loved this because it was different.

The "Worst"... Kristen Stewart

M: I just want to punch her in the face. Brush your hair, fix your makeup, stop slouching. All of that goes without saying, I think. But most importantly, PRETEND you care. PRETEND you have some respect. It's the freaking Academy Awards. If you think it's below you, you don't have to show up. You can decline an invitation to present. For someone who maybe needs to work on her public image given some recent revelations on her character, you'd think she could at least FAKE IT. What an A-hole. That's all I see here.

A: M, I wish you could have seen my attempt at imitating how she was walking during our book club meeting last night. What is wrong with this girl and why is no one helping her!

The Rest
This grouping summarized the "others" that people are sort of kind of maybe talking about. As we said, this year's showing was meh at best. So no real stand-outs one way or the other, but a few worth mentioning...

Anne Hathaway

M: This girl loves a costume change. Remember when she hosted and changed at least 300 times during the show? Gah. She wore two other dresses Sunday night, and both were better than this. There's all kinds of chitter-chatter about her nipples and her side boob, but whatever. It's essentially a bridesmaid dress. The back could have been pretty if the knot were tied better. And most offensive (and keep in mind, I still feel "meh" about it overall) to me is the idiotic necklace that totally doesn't go with the neckline and looks like it's from Claire's in 1994. Blah.

A: Bridesmaid dress...early 90s prom dress...just no. I could not stop starting at her nipples, for the record. Plus, the tie in the back was sort of just thrown together. This paired with the wrinkles was just not what the Best Actress winner should have been wearing. I'm sorry.

Jennifer Lawrence

M: This dress is actually pretty cool. I do wish she'd worn a necklace. I also wish she knew how to climb onto a stage without tripping or allegedly ripping her designer dress. This dress could have had a great Oscars Moment, but I think the styling was boring, and also wish it had been in a fun, young color. Am I wrong?

A: I liked the "go big or go home"-ness of it. I mean, where else would you wear something like this? I really liked her Vanity Fair party dress way better than this but thought it was a pretty, age-appropriate, yet very safe choice for her. I really like JLaw and I thought the trip up the stairs made her seem more real, as oppossed to let's say... Anne Hathaway.

Charlize Theron

M: So, this was kind of boring to me. Especially for Charlize (remember that giant shoulder bow?!). It also was too reminiscent of Anne Hathaway's Golden Globes number, which I think is too bad. Fine, she's gorgeous and could wear a paper grocery bag and look amazing. But still, I want more for the Oscars. Shouldn't she? I also think that with her hair being so (sorry!) butch right now, a softer neckline would have done more for her. She looked a bit Amazonian, which she pulls off for sure, but... eh.

A: Ok, she looked fantastic, but you're right. It's a little boring. This woman can bring it, no doubt. I just wish she would have!

Jessica Chastain

M: You know what, she looked great. If the night hadn't been such a lazy snore, I might have remembered that better. I'll give her credit - she looked like she knew she was going to the Oscars and that it was a big deal. Good for her.

A: This was a best dressed nominee for me (to borrow a phrase from my favorite show, Fashion Police). After a list of ill-fitting dresses on this season's Red Carpet, she really nailed it with this. Her hair and makeup were PERFECTION.

Halle Berry

M: You know why this is "meh" for me? Because Halle herself looks exactly the same ALL THE TIME. The dress is actually amazing. But she NEVER styles herself any other way, so she just disappears for me. If she'd done different hair and some better accessorizing, I think this dress would have made me jump out of my chair. But she did her same-old in a statuesque dress (instead of a flowy leg-posey one) and so I stayed put in my seat. As usual. Grr.

A: I thought this was a TINY bit out of the norm for Halle. Yes, her rack is still on display, but at least her legs remained covered! Fashion Police called her out for having the same hairstyle for too long and I totally agree. She can rock the short move on!

Amy Adams

M: You know what, just one mistake here. This happened in 2007. So anything like it will always be less-than and just referential. STOP TRYING PEOPLE! IT WILL NEVER BE AS AMAZING AS WHEN PENELOPE DID IT AND NO ONE HAD EVER SEEN IT BEFORE. Something new in this same color would have wowed, I think. Because the color on her skin is glorious. And her hair/makeup look fantastic.

A: AMEN. (That Penelope Cruz dress is one of my all time faves!)

We could post a few more [Reese Witherspoon (fit was weird), Jennifer Garner (color was pretty, but that was a lot of junk ON her trunk), Amanda Seyfried (she looked like she was choking, and much older than she really is), Jennifer Hudson (very pretty -- not exciting per se, but pretty), Sandra Bullock (take that bauble off your head and do something different please next time?), Nicole Kidman (like J.Hud--very pretty, actually, and showed that she has some womanly shape and isn't too waify, but just didn't Wow)], but downloading all those photos takes more work than this Red Carpet was worth. Let's just call it like it was (Meh) and let it go. Here's hoping next year's carpet has some more drama. Even bad drama. But something worth talking about!

What do you think? Are we wrong? Did someone knock your socks off and we missed it?

14 February 2013

Barbie and Ken

A friend forwarded me a link to these incredible staged scenes of Barbie and Ken and friends in various life settings. They are amazing. We first found them for more than $100 on a sale site, but thanks to my friend's obsessive research, we found them, unframed, for $40 here. Check these out... there is no other word besides amazing. I can't decide which is my favorite... can you pick for me?

31 January 2013

A Hair Post

I don't believe I've griped about my hair on this blog in a while, if ever. And since my cable went out on Sunday, effectively preventing me from drawing my own conclusions about the SAG Red Carpet, I think I'll do a little of that instead of digesting celebrity fashion this week. But not just gripe - gripe and celebrate! And then pay it forward.

I have very thick hair. Not normal very thick hair - seriously, very VERY thick hair. It's usually impossible to control. Ponytails and I have long been buddies. After a hair cut, I usually try to see if I can go as close to (if not beyond) a week without washing it so that I can enjoy professional styling as long as possible. Somewhere around the end of college I was introduced to the magic of the flat iron, and ever since, I've relied on it completely. If I want(ed) to wear my hair curly, I'd have to sleep on it wet and see if I got lucky in the morning with some semblance of controlled wave/curl. Usually I wake up looking like Medusa or a member of Bon Jovi from the late 80s. The flat iron changed my life. But it also takes a ridiculous amount of time to work through. It's a commitment. I usually have to wake up early to get my hair straightened. And now that I have the bebe at home, if I need to straighten, I wait for a nap, and then immediately run to the bathroom to get started, in hopes that her nap will last long enough for me to finish (seriously, it takes at least 45 minutes to do it well, an hour is best).

Lately, I've grown weary of only wearing it straight, but my utter dependence on the flat iron has rendered me entirely unable to style my hair without it. Further, it's straightened out so much of my natural curl, that I usually find I might get some curl on one side and then whole sections just have no shape to them at all... limp, sad, boring. So straight is the answer. Or so I thought.

A few weeks ago I was due for a trim. I was also out of my leave-in smoothing product that I apply after a wash. I'd been using the same one (a Redkin product) for about 5 years, but found it was discontinued sometime since my last purchase, so I stressed about it, and then concluded that I just needed to find a new one. I asked my awesome stylist and she recommended this Bumble and Bumble product:

(note: this post is not sponsored in any way by B&B - all my own thoughts without any kick-backs)
She assured me that I didn't need to actually blow dry or straighten with it. In fact, she said (and she may have had ulterior motives - she's always trying to convince me to wear my hair curly), it would probably support my wearing my hair naturally, if I was so inclined. It would just weigh it down a bit and control the frizz. Sure. I've heard that before. But, okay, I'm sold.

Since I purchased this product, I have spent a whopping total of zero minutes straightening my hair. Granted, it's been about two weeks. But since I washed out the amazing professional styling job, I have worn my hair naturally, both up and down, every single day. And not only does it control the frizz, it totally eliminates it. My wave/curl is waving/curling beautifully. At Target on Sunday, an employee actually stopped me to compliment me on my perfect curl! ME! This is insanity.

Anyway, I obviously am going to highly recommend this product. Seriously. It's a bit pricey, but good hair products are. That's just a universal truth. And it's worth it. Especially because you need less than a nickel-sized amount to achieve the effect. Here's me today... I spent a grand total of 3 seconds, give or take a half-second, putting my hair together this morning. Unheard of.

You might not agree or care. But I am excited. So I had to share. It's been a long, long time since I've gone out in public without straight hair. BIG DEAL (for me).