I’m so happy it’s the weekend…mine officially starts now and after working 6 days in a row I’m ready for some down time!  My body needs to recharge~ last night I slept 11 hours and tonight I’m about to do the same.


After work tonight I went over to the mall to check out skincare products at Sephora and get some samples.  The girls in there are so helpful.  Most of you who know me can attest to my love of samples and that I don’t mess around when I don’t like a product, I return it.  I’m a Returner.  To decrease my rate of return I try things out first.  Of course, if I love it I go back and buy it. {I believe this all began when as a little girl I’d look through magazines and see the advertisements with packets of face creams, makeup, even eye shadows that you could try.  You never see those anymore!  Do you remember them?}  Also, I don’t like waste.  And I’m on a never-ending quest for great skin.

Then I went to Forever 21 and the last time I did that was almost a year ago.  Let’s just say this was my own personal night of “30 Going on 13.”  The mall, on a Saturday night, is full of teenagers!  I forgot about that. You would have thought it was a Justin Beiber concert!

Justin Beiber

Shopping at Forever 21 is overwhelming, but in the midst of TONS of clothes are a good number of gems.  Recently at work I bought a Nicole Miller navy blue pencil skirt {kind of like this} and am looking for options to wear with it. I found this navy, white & green chevron print top to tuck in:

Forever 21 Chevron top

The psychology behind “new” things is fascinating.  We all seem to be reinvigorated by something new; motivated and inspired.  At least that’s what I see all the time in women’s retail and it’s true for me, too.  I try to be mindful of it. In school back when you didn’t type papers on a computer and you wrote them with a pen and actual paper, a brand new pen and fresh notebook would inspire me to sit down and get a big assignment done.  ‘Whatever Works’ and ‘Everything in Moderation’…those are some mantras to try and give balance to!

Do you find picking up something new gives you inspiration to then give your old things a pick-me-up? Are you a skincare junkie & if so, what are your ‘holy grail’ products? {Just had to ask that one!}

let’s get literate

March 29, 2012

Well, hello Thursday! This week is cruising by and honestly I’ve been up to very little.  Working by day, watching movies & reading by night. I’ve been kind of a shut-in this week.  Making the commitment to put my phone down and read instead has been refreshing and much needed. Speaking of books…                                                         

Today the ‘Maine Festival of the Book‘ kicked off in Portland and it’s going on through the weekend.  Readers, writers, and book lovers from all around will be gathering to celebrate good ole reading and writing!  The festival was created by Maine Reads, an organization that has various literacy programs all over the state; they foster the love of reading & writing in children and adults, and help the various programs in place to co-mingle.  Another group doing similar work is Maine Family Literacy Initiative, a program of the Barbara Bush Foundation. I admire the mission that these folks are on!

I’ve always loved to read and write, but to some it is a chore and it’s difficult.  Once that barrier can be broken, at any age, your world opens up. A couple of years ago I volunteered at a local elementary school that has a high number of “English Language Learner” students who fluently speak their native language as well as English, but some are lagging in English reading and writing skills.  Of this particular group of ELL students, some kids I worked with weren’t speaking much English at home, or reading it.   This was usually because at home the parents were speaking mostly in their native language.  This is a great disadvantage, but is a completely normal element of a family moving to a new country with a different language.  Literacy programs and extra help in school give these kids, and many others, the opportunity to catch up and it helps when their parents work on their skills, too. Whenever I meet people who do literacy work I feel grateful for them in the way that you do for anyone who does good work. Talk about unlocking doors.  I just want to say: Go Maine Reads!! I’m going to pop in on some of the festivities over weekend.

Have you done literacy work or have any experience in this area?  Maybe moved to a new country whose language you didn’t speak? Maine is super cool, but all states have programs like these~ check them out for volunteer opportunities!

I love the night life owl image

It’s pretty likely that I will always be a night owl.  I’ve gotten to a point where I can go to bed relatively early {11-ish} and wake up relatively early {7-ish} so my night owl ways aren’t getting in the way of life.

Even as a kid my mom {who is a true-blue morning person} would, on occasion, have to call it a night before me.  When I was older and had to study, write papers, or clean my room it would be late into the evening once I hit my stride {or even started}. I’ve just always had my own inner clock and it’s not always been in sync with those around me, but as I’ve gotten older it has balanced out.

Turns out there is plenty of research and advice on the subject: one study cited on NPR says specific genes identified in our brains are what drive our internal clock; another article from Psychology Today says people tend to have internal clocks that depend on what season they were born in; an article from Harvard Medical School explains the various factors {including genetics} that affect our wakefulness and sleep cycle.  There is an article on the USA Today website that gives suggestions for becoming more of a morning person, a.k.a a “lark.”{This site even throws in a “hummingbird” as a third “chronotype” of person}.  I’ve decided that in the end~ regardless of genetics, daily routine, physiological need for sleep, brain activity, or what you want~ it’s wise to listen to your body and stick with your clock.  Wise like an owl. {wink, wink.}

Are you a night owl, or a morning person?  Did you find that you used to be one and now you’re the other?

MAINE Things Monday

March 26, 2012

Vintage Maine postcard

Happy Monday: This is the first of many ‘Maine Things Monday’ posts to come!  There is much to love and discover about Maine, and all that we have here, and I am eager to share it with you. In fact, I believe this is as much for me as it is for you.

Maine Maple Syrup

There have been some fun happenings around Maine lately, mostly to do with maple syrup.  Every March tons of  sugarhouses celebrate the tradition of making maple syrup.  They open up their operations to the public and share with us their passion for the art of tapping maple trees and making sweet syrup on what we call “Maine Maple Sunday.” It’s not only larger sugarhouses making syrup: lots of Mainers tap their own trees, too.

In our lovely city by the bay there are always hip happenings…and this one’s good:

Portland Flea-for-All

In Portland there is a Flea-for-All opening next month! It’s genius and has me very excited!  Vendors of various types {designers, sellers, artists, makers, i.e. interesting & talented folks} will set up shop in one large space. Portland can’t help but be so cool!  Situated near Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Deering Oaks Park where the Saturday Farmer’s Market takes place {after May 1st} will surely help make the Flea-for-All a regular stop on a weekend.  I can’t wait to score some furniture & whatnot for our house!

p.s. Now that iced tea & lemonade & camping season is upon us, I want this.

Sunday your way

March 25, 2012

Holly Golightly image

Hello!  It’s Sunday…I always think of this day as a dichotomy: You either chill out all day and relax before the work week; or you get stuff done like groceries, laundry, cleaning up, in an attempt to get it together before the work week.  Maybe you do both, splitting the day into two parts: one part business, one part chill?  And there we have a mullet, but that’s just a fun happenstance:) I plan to mostly relax since I’ve been chipping away at chores all weekend and it’s raining.

Yesterday we dug it up in the garden.  We let the chickens in to turn up the soil…and fertilize it.  Then we {Luke} dug up and transplanted some rosa rugosa bushes.  This means I have some garden planning to do!  Where there once were rugosas I’d like to fill it in and expand it with some pretty blues like this.

Enjoy the day, however you choose to spend it!!

91 degrees.  That was the high today in my backyard, in the sun.  Right now, it’s later in the evening, I have windows open and am not wearing the thick socks I wore allwinterlong.  This girl is full-on pretending it’s summer.  I know tomorrow it will be chilly once again, and next week people say it will snow– it’s ok.  It is Maine, after all, and I am a Mainer.

Let’s talk books now, shall we?  I’ve been in a wicked slump.  In fact, I’m on a sliding slump and really need to find a place to land.  It might just be A Moveable Feast inspired by a friend who loves Hemingway and has given me a good rec before.  I’ve got that bedside now, but I’m still nervous. Before that I attempted Josephine after reading an excellent book, Desireeand before that I tried rereading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and then One Hundred Years of SolitudeThis is all within the past few months and I didn’t finish any of the attempted titles. Is it possible I’ve lost my reading mojo?  Is my newish iphone to blame?  Is it true that when you ask yourself questions like these that you already know the answer?!  I’ve got to limit my phone use {so many apps, so little time!}. It has usually been that I would read into the night, while I drank my coffee the next morning, and any other chance I could.  SO, to help me along I am going to announce that I am starting this Hemingway classic and will be happy to have anyone join me {virutal bookclub!} and I will finish by Earth Day, April 22.

Have you ever experienced a book slump? What are some of your very favorite books?

Book Quote

Feet First!

March 21, 2012

My feet!

Yesterday after work I went with a friend to get a pedi and went forging into spring with a bright orange-y coral polish.  My girlfriend G went with a shade that felt more transitory.  {I think she expects another snowstorm in the forecast and is playing it safe.}  The rituals we all have of tuning into a new season are so interesting!  I definitely go feet first by brightening my toe polish and wearing peep toe shoes. Today temps were in the 70’s. My feet were spot on!

birds migrating North

Even though my eyes delighted in seeing the pop of color on my toes, I did remember to look up at the beautiful blue sky and saw birds in the midst of their seasonal ritual: migrating North.

Do you have a thing that you do each spring?

p.s. We enjoyed My Week With Marilyn. I definitely want to see a movie starring Marilyn herself; to see what she was like on screen and to fairly say whether Michelle Williams nailed it or not.  She seemed to have done an excellent job!  Which Marilyn movie should I choose?  Any thoughts?

vernal equinox says so

March 20, 2012

Maine in the spring

It’s officially Spring~ vernal equinox says so! That’s why we set our clocks ahead…gaze forward…plants & animals emerge.  This morning on The Writer’s Almanac Garrison Keillor read from a poem by Mary Oliver titled “Spring.”  As I was listening I heard something in the words that resonated with me today…

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her—
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

This poem reminds me that there is more to it all than just our solitary experience and that we aren’t the only creatures living and breathing on Earth! The simplicity of the black bear emerging from hibernation, in harmony with her natural surroundings…Isn’t it kind of like staring up at the stars on a clear night, only to be reminded of how small you are in the scheme of things?  That you are one small part of a gigantic whole?  I love that thought.

What did you take away from this poem?  Here’s to renewed thinking & a happy Spring!

Morning!  Let’s just say that I didn’t start my day off in the most nutritional way.   Remember the chocolate bundt cake that I made? Well, I’m still eating it every chance I get.  For a mid afternoon snack, a dessert, and this morning~ gasp!  ~breakfast. It brought to mind that episode from Sex and the City that I think we ladies can all relate to: Miranda bakes a Betty Crocker cake and can’t stop eating it until finally she just has to toss the thing in the garbage.  And then she retrieves it from the garbage and eats it some more.

Have any of you ever done that?  Once, years ago, one of my coworkers did that very thing at work so I witnessed it, and it wasn’t that shocking to me.  I’ve just always figured, why bother tossing it when I know I’ll go back for more…better to just eat it off the plate!  The crazy things we ladies do, especially for chocolate! SO, I didn’t start my day off eating from a box of Wheaties, but at least it wasn’t from the trash.

a fun weekend was had

March 18, 2012

Royal River

Not sure about the rest of you, but we had a full weekend.  Dinner and brunch with friends and family meant lots of cooking and eating; the sunniest & warmest days we’ve had this year meant lots of being outside and moving around {I even ran today!}; and said sunny skies meant we saw 2 Bald Eagles across from our house {for reals}, tons of tweety birds about the yard, and tracks of all kinds in the fields.  Next weekend better be just as good!

The Irish boiled dinner was fantastic {not a pat on my back, just a testament to why anyone would continue to boil meat & veggies when it all feels so wrong and roasting seems superior, but in the end it tastes so right}.  Also, yesterday Luke shaved his beard and left an impressive mustache with twirled ends that had us all giggling for the night.  It was perfect St. Patty’s day fun!  {It has since been removed from that handsome face.}

For brunch today I made French toast with cream cheese & apricot preserves between two pieces of Italian bread. {Geez, it’s been like the League of Nations with food around here!} We drowned that in maple syrup that our friend made from tapping his own Sugar Maple trees.  And last night’s boiled dinner made the best corned beef hash today.  Hennies provided the eggs and voila brunch was served!

Over the past two days we’ve had a dog, kiddos, friends, and family all fill our house and we loved every minute of it! We’re going to wrap it up with a viewing of My Week with Marilyn. Have any of you seen it?  Lots of people have been singing it’s praises. Marilyn has never intrigued me, but I’ve already got a feeling I’ll be eating my words…

My Week With Marilyn Movie Poster

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