Terrain

_MG_3853On our way back from NYC we stopped at Terrain for lunch and a browse.  It turned out to be the most inspiring place we visiting during our trip.  Terrain is the most gorgeous gardening and lifestyle store that I’ve ever come across.  At this time, there are only two location- one in Westport, CT and another outside of Philly.  Just imagine Anthropologie does gardening- gorgeous displays, inspiring vignettes every which way you turn, a cafe that features seasonal, fresh food.  I left with an acute case of garden envy and dreams of turning our dust-bowl of a yard into something quite lush and magical.  We’ll see about that.  We had a major plumbing issue this past winter that left our yard pretty torn up.  The boys are enjoying having a very large sand bit in which to play, but it is rather depressing, aesthetically speaking.  Maybe I can just move into Terrain.  I’d gladly water all those plants in exchange for room and board ;)

_MG_3858

_MG_3836

_MG_3881

_MG_3870I saw several books by my fellow Roost authors scattered about the store.  I have big dreams that Little Bites might find a home here.  I would seriously make the drive just to see how they had it displayed!  Well, I’d use just about any reason to make the drive again.  If you live within a 2 hour radius of a Terrain store, I would highly suggest making the trip.   I ended up buying some garden lights, and a little craft project for the boys and I to do together this summer.  I’m thinking if the lights are pretty enough, it might blind us into believing our yard looks nicer than it does!

_MG_3864

_MG_3846

_MG_3908

_MG_3861

_MG_3838

_MG_3889

_MG_3894

New York in the Spring

_MG_3664Having just been to NYC a few weeks ago, I was wondering if it would feel different now that spring has finally arrived.  The difference was astounding.  It felt as though every corner of the city was alive with greenery and flowers.  I was called to NYC for a bit of work and decided to tack on an overnight trip with my friend Sarah to celebrate her soon-to-arrive baby (less than a month now!).  It was such a beautiful little escape.  We had some fabulous meals, and enjoyed walking through the West Village, SoHo, and along the High Line, stopping in at our favorite haunts here and there.

_MG_3667

_MG_3681The High Line was exceptionally beautiful.  Brilliant purple blooms and tall swaying grasses created such a lush visual.  And to think this garden exists high above street level on an abandoned set of railroad tracks!

_MG_3709

_MG_3679

_MG_3702

_MG_3687We were supposed to stay the night at a friend’s apartment, but signals were crossed and we ended up crashing with a friend of a friend.  The mattress was creaky, the apartment falling down around us and I was a little skeeved out, but we couldn’t stop laughing about what a couple of old ladies we’ve become.  Crashing on couches when you are twenty is hip and fun.  When you are thirty and a tired mom (or you know, 8 months pregnant) it is less than fun.  I was all, “I need my Tempur-Pedic pillow and earplugs or things are going to get real ugly.”  It made for a memorable story, if nothing else.  Let’s just say it was a treat returning to my own bed!  But the energy and electricity of the city is so inspiring.  Sarah and I couldn’t stop dreaming and scheming: home projects, knitting, sewing, goals, dreams…the city seems to bring out such energy.  We both returned home feeling excited and refreshed.  On the drive home we stopped by Terrain in Westport- AMAZING.  I’ll share that next!

_MG_3770

_MG_3752

_MG_3789

_MG_3745

_MG_3778

_MG_3818

_MG_3824

Brimfield

_MG_3568Another year, another trip to Brimfield Antique Show (see my posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).  I can’t seem to stay away despite my mixed feelings over the years.  This time I had a blast and I tried to keep my emotions out of it.  I didn’t buy a single thing, and honestly, I was only tempted by one item (an adorable white, distressed bench) but I couldn’t justify the purchase because I didn’t have a place for it in our home.  I was content just looking, and the part I enjoyed the most was getting the chance to spend the day with my friend, Sarah…and just the two of us!  For the past few years when we’ve hit up Brimfield, we’ve had babies in tow.  It was nice to take our time, wandering through the tents, chatting away with no demands on our time .  What a treat.  I’d love to show you some of my favorite captures of the day…

_MG_3579

spools

notions

_MG_3591It’s funny…every year there seems to be a “hot item.”  For a while there it seemed as though turquoise colored glass bottles of every shape and size were the trend to beat.  This year, it was giant balls of yarn.  They were everywhere!  Sarah and I were left wondering if we’d missed the memo that decorating with giant yarn balls was the thing to do!  Also, succulents and topiaries everywhere we turned!

_MG_3558

_MG_3577

_MG_3560

_MG_3554

_MG_3583

_MG_3586My favorite conversation of the day centered around two enormous concrete geese that had to weigh about 50 pounds each.  Overheard: “How much for the pair of geese?”  “$4200.”  “Great, and I’m going to need to ship them home.”  Wait a minute, let’s back up here.  $4200 for a pair of concrete geese AND you are planning to ship them across the country?  Whoa.  Just whoa.  Sarah and I got a good laugh out of that!

_MG_3595

_MG_3598

_MG_3572

_MG_3589

_MG_3569It is always funny to see some of the exact same items that you saw the year before.  Remember the gorgeous quilt I had my eye on last year?  It was back for another tour of duty!  Same price and all!

_MG_3592

_MG_3584

_MG_3593And finally, a less curated view, and a more realistic picture of what you’ll really see at Brimfield…

_MG_3603

This Mothering Gig

_MG_3361This past weekend was Mother’s Day and it was lovely.  But let me back up.  The week before Mother’s Day my husband was out of town once again and it felt like all the treading in the world could not keep my head above water.  Nothing huge happened, just the small day-to-day trials that can slowly drive you mad when you are going at it alone.  And for the record, my husband has been out of town for 25 days over the past month.  So there’s that.  The hardest thing about mothering, for me personally, is the loss of order and calm.  Two rambunctious boys = all out wildness for most waking hours.  I like a clean house and quiet hours to write/sew/photograph/knit. I like to wake up slowly and settle gently into the day.  Not going to happen when two active, energetic boys share your home.

This past Friday around 5pm, after an especially long week alone, a sense of calm came over the house.  Dinner was made, the house was tidy, the laundry was folded, and the boys were playing nicely outside.  I settled onto our front stoop with my knitting to enjoy the unfolding evening, when out of nowhere Vijay decided to use his baseball bat as a spear and it goes sailing through the basement window.  Glass shattered everywhere, covering the basement (which is the playroom) with a fine sprinkling of glass.  The window must have broken into 2 million pieces, I kid you not.  I pretty much lost it.  Not at Vijay (although he did earn himself a time out for being ridiculous and chucking his bat through the window) but just at everything.  I felt every ounce of energy drain out of my body, and I decided that I wasn’t going to do a damn thing to rectify the situation.  I poured myself a large glass of wine (and I pretty much never drink, like ever) and closed the basement door, and then sat down and wrote out a to-do list for my husband.  #1: Clean up the basement.  #2: Replace the window.  And so on.  Sometimes, you just have to know when to hand off the baton (and when to call the kind, and very handy next-door neighbor to cover your window with plywood).

But now my husband is home, and all is right with the world.  It is spring and the neighborhood is dripping in blossoms.  Vijay made me a crown for Mother’s Day (“because crowns make you feel special”) and I received gorgeous bouquets of flowers.  I slept in and watched Game of Thrones and knit in bed, and I puttered around the garden.  We walked to Three Sisters for ice cream and played in the park until dark.  It was lovely.  My boys gave me good snuggles and told me they loved me at least 100 times.  It’s not easy, this mothering gig, and there are moments that call for large glasses of wine and the admission of defeat, but I certainly wouldn’t trade it for all the gold in the world.  Without the difficult moments, the ones that test our patience to the limit, there wouldn’t be such moments of joy: heart-stopping moments when a little being looks up at you with all the love in his heart, and all the trust in his world.  I hope you had a lovely weekend celebrating the mothers in your life!  xo

blossoms1

blossoms

Little Bites

littlebitesA few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Boston to meet with Jenn, my editor at Roost, and pick up a copy of Little Bites.  It’s hard to describe how it felt to hold the actual book in my hands after working on it tirelessly for the past few years.  It surpassed all of my expectations.  The paper quality is gorgeous, the pictures translate beautifully, the size is perfect, and the design is spot-on.  The team at Roost has such vision and I could not be more thrilled to be one of their authors.  I’ve been showing off the book to friends and family, and everyone that has held it and flipped through the pages has fallen in love with the recipes, the words and the pictures.  As one friend said, “This book was made with such intention.”  I love that.  That is what I aspire to both in life and work; creating with intention.

050115_0133_uncropped

050115_0101_uncroppedI had the idea for Little Bites when Vijay was about 18 months old.  He is now closing in on 5.  To say that this book was a labor of love would be an understatement!  What’s funny is that I need this book in my life now more than ever.  I have two hungry, active boys to feed and a large part of each day goes into preparing them nutritious and delicious food.  I’m thrilled that Little Bites now lives in my kitchen, where I can browse through it at any given moment for snack-time inspiration.  Below is a peek at what you’ll find inside…in addition to 100 recipes for healthy, kid-friendly snacks, there is a jam-packed introduction and seasonal field trip ideas scattered throughout.  The idea is to make seasonal eating fun, wholesome and accessible!  Children associate snacks with fun, tasty, easy-to-eat foods, but as parents, we know that the very best snacks are all that and more. Snacks, when done right, serve an important purpose–they give our kids a needed boost of energy. Instead of settling for processed crackers or bags of sugary treats, we used our creativity and love of food to develop wholesome snacks that are easy to pack and simple to make.  Sarah is a genius when it comes to feeding kids; her recipes are both inventive and approachable.  It was truly an honor to work alongside her for the past few years.  Without a doubt my culinary skills have improved greatly just from cooking alongside her!  I simply can’t wait for you to try these recipes in your own kitchen.  I can promise there will be much more book talk in the months to come.  Little Bites releases in July, but you can preorder your copy now!

(top three photos by my fave, Forrest!)

Little Bites

Little Bites1

Little Bites3

Little Bites4

Little Bites2

Chicks!

_MG_3127Nothing says spring like chicks!  We added three new girls to our flock this week.  Once again, I went with Ameraucana and I am hoping that if we handle them often and love them up, they will be friendlier than our last crew.  It’s a funny thing- our boys love nothing more than yard work and chores involving rakes and shovels.  They have pint-sized garden tools and gloves, and are always eager to help out.  They’re at an age now where they can help out with some of the responsibility of cleaning the coop and keeping the food/ water/ hay fresh.   Although we are raising city kids, I love the idea of having the boys learn how to take care of farm animals and tend a garden.  Who knows, one day we may end up living the farm life!  A girl can dream.  For now…urban chickens it is!  If you’re new here and you’d like to read my entire chicken saga, including how I helped legalize chicken keeping in Providence, click here!

13112452683_1764bf1e7c_o

_MG_3135

Counting Our Blessings

_MG_3061My husband has been out of town for the past two weeks, 15 days to be exact.  He was in Nepal in fact, right in Kathmandu where a massive, magnitude 7.8 earthquake has killed thousands and destroyed great swaths the city.  The destruction, pain and loss is unimaginable.  I was making breakfast when my husband called and up until that point I was completely unaware of the earthquake.  I never have time to check the news or learn of world events while juggling the morning routine.  “I wanted to let you know that I am safe,” he started by saying.  Safe from what?  And that is when I learned that a last minute meeting in Delhi had changed his plans and taken him out of Nepal just hours before the earthquake struck.  He felt the earthquake in his hotel in Delhi.  The hotel shook for an entire minute.  It is hard to process this information, to try to come to grips with what we could have lost, while at the same time mourning what so many others have lost.  I vacillate between feeling lucky and terrified.  Terrified that every time he travels I will live with this pit of fear in my stomach.  On Saturday I asked a friend to watch the boys for a few hours so that I could plant my garden.  I needed to get outside of my head, dig in the dirt and work out my thoughts.  I ended up going on a long walk afterward, capturing the blooms around town.  Sometimes you have to seek out the small joys and remind yourself that life is such a gift, not to be taken for granted.  My husband comes home tonight.

_MG_3039

_MG_3099

_MG_3059

_MG_3036

_MG_3068

Providence Design*Sponge City Guide

The Shop1For years now, whenever someone emails me with questions about Providence- where to shop, eat and explore- I direct them to the guide that I wrote for Design*Sponge.  In my mind it was still current, but a few months ago I realized that it had been five years!  Needless to say, it was time for an update.  As with any relationship, the one I have with my city is full of ups and downs.  I love the vibrant food scene, the fact that we can afford a lovely house yet are in walking distance of everything.  I love my community garden and farmer’s market, and the coffee shop where they know just how I like my iced latte.  I love our neighbors and the fact the kids run back and forth between yards to play with each other.  But the public schools are not great, we deal with high crime rates, and occasionally I yearn for more space and the beauty of nature out my back window.  I’m learning as I get older that nothing is perfect- there is no perfect place to call home.  That being said, I’m pretty darn happy with Providence (for the moment!).  I’d love for you to pop over to Design*Sponge and see the guide that I put together.  It is chock full of all my favorite spots around the city.  We’re lucky to call this vibrant, creative, design-savvy, food-obsessed city home.

The Arcade

The Grange

The Grange1

Providence, around town

Providence

The Dean

Faust

New Habits

_MG_2887I have never had a skincare routine.  I guess I’ve always been lucky that I didn’t need one.  But aging is no joke, and for a while now I’ve noticed the signs of aging when I look closely at my face.  So when I was in NYC a few weeks back, I decided to seek out a bit of help in this area.  I looked up independently owned beauty stores that specialized in eco-friendly products and stumbled upon Space NK, a UK-based apothecary with an outpost in SoHo.  These kind of places always scare me, to be honest.  The women are all flawlessly made up, dressed in sleek black and the products are lined up precisely on spotless floating shelves, and just peeking in the window makes me feel unworthy of such a highbrow shopping experience.  But I forced myself to go in, and I was amazed by the level of service.  The women were so friendly, and quite frankly, I think they took pity on me after hearing my “beauty routine” (which consists of washing my face with whatever is in the shower!).  No seriously- if low-maintenance is at the bottom, I’m below that…somewhere in the realm of straight up lazy!  I told them I was ready to commit to a skin care routine but that I wanted products that were free of all the toxic junk.  They suggested the Goldfaden MD line of products, and proceeded to give me a mini-facial using the products.  When they turned me around to see myself in the mirror after scrubbing and moisturizing my skin, I swear I looked ten years younger.  SOLD!  I bought the moisturizer, eye cream and sunscreen, and was given generous test samples of the oil and scrub.  I also expressed my wish to look pulled-together when I’m dressing up; for business meetings or date night.  I haven’t purchased make-up since my wedding (almost 8 years ago) so I guess it was time for an update :)  The women at the shop were so patient as I squirmed around in the chair- I’m not a fan of make-up, it always feels so heavy on my face.  I told them I wanted a 2-minute routine and wouldn’t you know…they delivered.  Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone (miracle product!) and cake liner to line the top of my eyelids (never knew that…always thought you lined the bottom!).  It’s been two weeks now and I have faithfully been following my new routine.  My skin is definitely responding, and when I take the time to do my little make-up routine I feel so pulled together.  As mothers we so often put our own needs last- the kids get the organic, expensive bubble bath, and we use whatever old bar soap we find laying around the bathroom!  It feels pretty amazing to splurge on myself and invest in preserving my skin…and I’m curious…does everyone out there have a skincare routine (was I the last one to the party here)?  Are there products you swear by?  Have you found any miracle products that help with the signs of aging?  If you are a mother with young kids how do you find the time to pull yourself together in the morning (I’m still figuring this out)?

Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen

_MG_2868We’ve been doing some spring cleaning around here, though there has been very little in the way of spring weather in New England.  Allow me to get personal for a moment: my dear husband has always been a phenomenal athlete; a top ranked Canadian junior squash player, All American collegiate athlete, and Brown Athlete of the Year his freshman year.  He’s tall and lanky and he’s never had to worry about his weight.  He’s always joked that even if he puts on a few pounds, he’s just one good squash match away from his ideal weight.  And for most of his life, this has been true.  But while I was pregnant with Vik, he put on some “sympathy weight” and around the same time celebrated his 40th birthday.  Just like that his metabolism, which has always been set to high speed, took on a more leisurely pace and the pounds started adding up.  It has been two years now, and finally he decided that it was time to get serious. Because he’s an athlete I think he was more resistant to the idea that he needed a health “makeover.”  When you’ve always been in great shape, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that your body isn’t what it used to be.  Of course he probably got sick of my nagging as well.  With his family history of heart problems, I was ON HIM to get himself in shape.

_MG_2858Over the past month, we’ve cut out refined sugar and gluten (mostly- we’re not super strict, but we’re probably about 95% gf) from our diet.  We’ve also recommitted to eating at home for the majority of our meals.  While I was busy writing two cookbooks over the past two years, ironically, our family meals suffered because I would spend all day testing recipes, and have little energy left to make dinner.  We were eating at home, but things were getting pretty boring.  When my husband wasn’t excited by my offerings, he would go out foraging, usually turning to high calorie comfort foods (Indian, Thai, pizza, etc.).  It was time to make things exciting once again in the kitchen.  In addition to our diet changes, my husband also started working out with his personal trainer again, and has been playing squash on a regular basis.  He has already lost 15 pounds and looks phenomenal- his goal weight is only 5 pounds away now, but more importantly, he is leaner, fitter and feeling better.  This past year was a tough one for our family with the whole job transition and my husband’s travel schedule, and frankly, things have been full-on since Vik was born.  Parenting two wildly active boys, 21 months apart in age, is no joke.  We are often both tired and running on empty by the end of the day, but since refocusing our eating habits we’ve been feeling so much more energetic.  We’ve always been healthy eaters, but I think we just needed to hit the reset button.  For inspiration, I picked up two new cookbooks while I was in NYC, and I am totally smitten.

_MG_2862My New Roots by Sarah Britton is a gorgeous book focused on seasonal, plant-based recipes.  The pictures are mouthwatering, and the recipes feel incredibly fresh and original.  I was immediately pulled in by the Carrot Rhubarb Muffins, which I thought would make the perfect after-nap snack for the boys.  The batter came together with ease, and the result is one of the most delicious, interesting muffins I have come across in my baking career.  The walnuts and shredded carrots add a nice heft and crunch, while the applesauce sweetens to deal.  The rhubarb becomes soft and warm, like sweet jewels studded throughout the batter.  My boys went nuts for these- they perfectly satisfy a sweet tooth craving, though they contain no refined sugar (the sweetness comes from maple syrup and coconut sugar).  I have my eye on so many of the other recipes, including Raw Key Lime Coconut Tarts, Tempeh Mushroom Breakfast Bowl, Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats, Thai-Style Coconut Soup with Zucchini Noodles.  Well, those and pretty much every other recipe in the book!

_MG_2854

_MG_2898Sprouted Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs, and Sara’s first book, The Sprouted Kitchen, is in constant rotation in my own kitchen.  I love the idea behind her second book, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon.  This book echoes the way I love to eat- bowls full of grains, protein, and produce topped with a sauce that brings it all together.  Sara’s husband, Hugh, is responsible for the gorgeous pictures, which are so simple and full of life.  They never feel over styled, which is what I love about them.  They make the food feel very approachable.  I’ve bookmarked the following two recipes to try first, but there are many more on my to-cook list: Tahini Kale Slaw and Roasted Tamari Portobello Bowl, and Smoky Tortilla Soup.

_MG_2871I love that we are heading into spring feeling healthy and balanced.  Spring produce is only going to help our efforts.  If you are looking to do a bit of spring cleaning in your own kitchen, I would highly recommend these two titles.

_MG_2873