Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kitchen Island Color Help

After months of hunting, we're picking up a used version of this island that I found on Craigslist. It was originally black, and the owner painted it white, but didn't do a great job, so it's going to need a bit of TLC. Since it will need to be repainted anyways, I've been thinking about different color options. Here are my thoughts:

1, 2, 3, 4

Red could be fun - our front door is red, and I love the idea of bringing this color into our house a bit. However, I also have lots of pink in my living room, dining room, and porch (basically, every other room on the first floor), so I'm not sure if this is the best choice. 

Green is on the walls in my entryway and half bath, and I have a cute new chair in my living room that's green and white, so it would be fun to incorporate a bit more of this color into another room. 

Navy is an interesting option, too. A lot of my house is light in color, and it might be nice to have something a bit darker in the mix. The walls are pale blue, and I always like when rooms have layers of the same color in different intensities. (This sounds like I really know what I'm talking about, but let me assure you that I do not!)

And finally...good old white. I have paint that matches our cabinets exactly. That's definitely the path of least resistance! 

Thought?! I clearly need help deciding!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

North Fork Weekend

Last month we were invited to join friends for a weekend on the North Fork of Long Island. The other couples we were with both have children, too, and it was so neat to see our friends as parents and get to know two kiddos that are a year and two years older than Lizzy. We have lots of chasing to look forward to in our future!

It was a low key trip with dinners at home and lots of chatting and wine, but we did explore the area a bit. We had lunch at First and South in Greenport and also the Lunch Truck at North Fork Table and Inn - both were delicious and had outdoor space for the littles to run around.

One afternoon, the ladies left the babies at home with our husbands and went to Konokosta Winery, where all these pictures were taken. The setting is unbelievable, and the wine is good, too (though other reviewers seem to think it's not as good as other options in the area - we weren't feeling too picky!). On the way out, we stopped at one of the many farm stands in the area to pick up all kinds of goodies before taking the ferry home, which made it a really easy trip to do from Boston.

Summer, I'm missing you already.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Feasting, Sleeping, Beaching

Happy Friday to you!!!

I seem to have fallen into the habit of posting sleeping baby pictures. Are we okay with that? Lizzy's just started rolling over, and when she does it in her sleep, she just sleeeeeeeeeeeeps and sleeps forever and it is glorious. Also, this gives you a decent view of her mullet-ish hairdo. I want to cut it off, but Peter thinks this is mean (!??!), so please weigh in if you agree with me. Just kidding, you can also weigh in if you think we should keep her party in the back hair going strong.

Peter's students came back this week and Lizzy had four days in a row at daycare, so even though it was a short week, two thirds of the household are very tired. I'm the most awake one! This hasn't been the case for four months and a few days (a.k.a. since Lizbert arrived), but it's nice to carry the torch of enthusiasm for the family once again.

Tonight we're doing a slightly lower key version of our annual back to school feast. There's a bottle of Sofia in the fridge, Peter's picking up a frozen yogurt pie from Cabots, and I'm going to make some kind of seafood pasta dish like this, but with more seafood :) Peter and I might get really crazy and watch one whole 22 minute episode of The Spoils of Babylon.

Tomorrow, we're hoping to squeeze in one more beach day, with a stop at the farm stand for cider donuts and corn on the cob. I haven't had my fill of corn yet at all, and this delicious looking polenta is calling my name. Then we'll probably do boring homeowner things on Sunday like mow the lawn and weed the "gardens" (quotes because you'd have to be very generous to look upon our plot o' land and think garden).

And maybe (!), we'll get to become an aunt and uncle this weekend! We're anxiously awaiting the arrival of our niece, who I absolutely can't wait to meet.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! Perhaps you should have an end of summer feast yourself, regardless of any ties to the school calendar!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Secret Ingredients

When I told Peter I was putting together a post with a few of my go-to "secret" ingredients, he said his list would just be lots of butter and salt. "Always more than you think you need." Ha!

My secret ingredients are fish sauce, Meyer lemons, anchovy paste, and smoked paprika. Each one is added to all kinds of things, but is never the main event - they just give dishes a little hint of something curious.

I add fish sauce to my peanut sauces for rice noodles, and also as a quick marinade for pork or chicken. The Meyer lemons are a finishing touch on all kinds of things like pasta, risotto, rice, and seafood. The smoked paprika goes in potato salad and sweet potato salad, chicken marinades, and lamb ragout. And the anchovy paste! I use this in soups and stews when I want a little something extra in terms of salt and complexity, but it also goes into tapenades and pasta sauces.

What are your secret ingredients? Butter and salt?!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Postcards from Martha's Vineyard

I've written about Martha's Vineyard a lot over the years, so I'll try to keep this pretty snappy and just share a great new-to-us find this year - the Galley in Menemsha. Excellent seafood shack with reasonable prices and a lovely open patio in the back where you can sit and watch the boats float. Delightful.

The only other new thing this year was Lizzy! Going to Martha's Vineyard every summer is such a bright spot for me and my family, and it's one of the things I dreamed of sharing with my kiddos one day. Even though she certainly won't remember this trip, it was just so fun to be there with her - taking her to our favorite beaches, letting her taste a nibble of syrup during breakfast at Art Cliff, and going on her first ride on the carousel. This is somewhat over the top in terms of sap, but I did feel, over and over, like I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be there with all my favorite people, including this precious little (but kind of big...) baby who I get to live with and take on adventures and introduce to all kinds of wonderful things.

Now we're off to the Berkshires to kiss this beautiful summer goodbye. Hope you all have a lovely long weekend!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Newborn Favorites

1; 2; 3; 4; 5

When I was pregnant, I pored over other people's recommendations for their baby registries. This is not that kind of a comprehensive list (for that, check out Design for Minikind!). Instead, these are some things that people turned me on to that I didn't even think to ask for, but loved.

The first is the Miracle Blanket. Lizzy slept in this for the first six weeks of her life before she started busting out (then she slept in a Halo sleepsack for a few more weeks before she just wanted to be free). But for the first few weeks, it was a life saver. She really liked it, and I loved that it made her less flopsy when I was holding her and transferring her down for naps and bed.

When new parents used to talk about how much laundry they had, I was genuinely confused. Baby clothes are so small - how can it add that much?! Ha. Now, of course, I realize it's not just their clothes, but also their bedding and blankets, burp clothes, your clothes, etc. A girlfriend told me Oxiclean was the best for getting out icky stains of all sorts. I'd oddly been using Dreft for years since my skin is so sensitive, but this doesn't bother Lizzy or me at all, and it's actually very nice to have some scent on our clothes now.

I'm not a journal keeper, but my Mom gave me the one-line-a-day journal, and I absolutely love it. So little pressure! And even though I've only been doing it for four months, I already enjoy looking back on earlier days.

These car seat straps are lovingly referred to as Lizzy's hippos (what animal are they, do you think?!). They keep her head more upright in the car, especially in the early days. Now she loves to chew on them - not their intended purpose, but no matter.

And finally...these cloth diapers. I've never used them as diapers, but they are my favorite burp clothes, small blankets, stroller covers - you name it. So soft and easy to stash, with many purposes.

So now, of course, I need to know what the lifesavers are for this next stage. Anything great I need to get to maintain Lizzy's status as one of the happiest(ish) babies on the block?!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wedding Scouting

I mentioned earlier this summer that my sister and her long-time boyfriend got engaged. We are still over the moon! Last month we were able to join them on part of a wedding scouting weekend. They checked out places all over Rhode Island and then a few by us on the North Shore.

They decided on the Crane Estate, pictured here. For the last few years, we've been heading up this way to take advantage of our beach pass, but we hadn't been inside the house until this visit. Stunning, right?

They'll have their ceremony there - hopefully outside, if the weather is good, on a rolling green lawn that overlooks the water.

There's also a gorgeous inn on the property that we'll get to stay at. Hooray for wonderful celebrations!!!

P.S. Hopefully my last post didn't have you fearing for my sanity...we're doing much better, slowly adjusting to the new normal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I'd been dreading yesterday for weeks, so much so that I half convinced myself and my family that I had appendicitis because of a persistent pain that developed on the right side of my stomach.

Lizzy slept through the night, but I was up at 4:00 a.m. (Something no one told me is that when your baby first starts sleeping through the night, you won't necessarily be able to after months of waking up. Perhaps because it reeks of a humble brag?)

I went back to bed, but popped awake minutes before the alarm was set to go off. Then I proceeded to get ready, crying in the shower, while getting dressed, and eating breakfast. If Lizzy feared her mother had gone insane, smiling at her like a maniac with tears streaming down her face, she didn't let it get her down; she was her happy, bubbly self.

Getting off the train was the worst. I felt like I was impersonating my old life - working Julie, bounding around Boston into the office. I can't explain why those moments in particular made me feel so bad. When I arrived at work, I truly had the nicest welcome you could wish for, complete with flowers, a special breakfast, and lots of doting colleagues asking all about the baby. I tried to turn off my thoughts about Lizzy and dive in, only to have to turn them back on when it came to time to pump in the morning and afternoon. I tried to do a bit of work at the time - two birds with one stone and all that - but instead I left splotchy tear marks all over my papers.

And yet. In the afternoon, I dashed off to a meeting to discuss a new project that I'll be working on. I got to share some ideas I'd collected from previous jobs, and others nodded along. Walking back to my desk, I had a crazy sense of freedom. I was alone! But I was also toting around a small cooler of milk. Tethered to my baby, but on a longer rope.

When I got home, Peter opened the door with Lizzy in his arms, and she smiled and leaned out for me to take her, which she'd never done before. I swelled with equal parts happiness at seeing her again and smelling her delicious baby smell and sadness that I had to leave again the next day, and the day after that, on and on. More tears and maniacal smiles.

I know that she didn't feel the ache that I did, and I don't think she ever will. She was happily at home with Peter, and in a few weeks, she'll happily attend her tiny daycare for the time that Peter's at school. It's me that's getting in the way here, and the selfish feeling that I want to be home with her and also speak with adults and make some money at work. It will get better in one way or another, I know that it will, but for now, I'll be the crazy lady masquerading as someone who has her emotions under control.

Cheers to Tuesday, my friends.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Week in Maine

Earlier this month, we were lucky enough to join Peter's family for a week in Maine. The house was steps away from the beach, with a big deck in the back that looked right at the water. Heavenly!

It was a low-key week with lots of walking at the beach, big family dinners, and time spent making crazy faces at Lizzy in a attempt to make her smile and laugh. On the first night, we celebrated my 30th birthday with bubbly, lobsters, and cake - a completely delicious way to start this new decade.

We went into Portland for lunch and shopping one afternoon, and took home a box of potato donuts from Holy Donut. These are more like fried dough than donuts, but completely yummy nonetheless.

Peter and I went back into town later in the week for a belated birthday celebration, leaving Lizzy at home with her Nana, aunt, and uncle. We had the best time, first hitting up Eventide for oysters, and then Hunt and Alpine Club for fun cocktails and more substantial snacks. Lizzy was a hungry little gremlin by the time we came home, but they assured us that she was mostly well behaved while we were out :)

Summer is just the best-est, am I right?!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mount Auburn Cemetery

One of the easiest things to do with a newborn around involves going out for walks and mini hikes. We've done many laps around our neighborhood, but we've also gone to the Arnold Arboretum, the Charles River Reservation, Crystal Lake, and the Cove in Auburndale.

Last week, we went to check out the lovely Mount Auburn Cemetery. There's ample free parking (it's a cemetery, after all, so people need to be able to come visit the sites of loved ones easily). The grounds are very large, and there are beautiful paths to take that lead through gardens, thick trees, and little lakes.

On the way home, I popped into Sofra for some of their fancy hummus. I'd heard so many wonderful things about it! I'm excited to go back for lunch sometime soon.
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