On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


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Today: ‘Twas the night after Christmas.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]…when all through the condo, not a creature was stirring.  Not even Rajon Rondo.  Because he doesn’t live here.  Never bothers to visit (rude).

Nick, Clark and I enjoyed an absolutely lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, traveling a bit north and a bit south to see our families.  I even got a little snow on the way!  With all the good food, great gifts, and fabulous company, the weekend flew by.  I’m doing my best to extend the holiday a bit longer by donning my gnarly Santa socks and sipping a bit of hot cocoa by the tree.

I hope you’re all having a really happy and healthy holiday season.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Wedding dress shopping with my sister and sister-in-law 🙂
  • Amazing photos from The Natural World gallery
  • Playing with Clark and all his new toys

How are you spending this last week of 2011?


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Today: Times, they are a-changin’.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]For the first time since 1982, I will not be waking up at my parents’ house on Christmas morning.  I will not be making a holy racket at 5:45 AM in an attempt to wake my three siblings a bit early.  I won’t be sitting on the top step waiting while my dad checks “to see if Santa came.”  I think this means I’ve become a grown-up.  It only took me (nearly) 30 years.

In the past, Nick and I have spent the holidays apart, with our own families.  More often than not, Clark rolled with me.  A girl needs her bat-eared sidekick.  This year, though, the three of us are sticking together for a magical, whirlwind Christmas tour.  We will go north to spend Christmas Eve with Nick’s family, stay at our home, sweet condo Christmas Eve night, go to Mass on Christmas morning at our parish in the Back Bay, and then head south to spend Christmas day with my family.

It feels rather odd to be breaking with tradition, but at the same time, it’s exciting to start creating my own traditions.  With my own cute little family.  I fully intend to make a video as I check to see if Santa came (more specifically: did I leave paper, tape and scissors strewn about the living room?), and then release Clark from his crate to tear open a giant stack of (mostly edible) presents.  I am contemplating what I will make for Christmas breakfast, but it seems only appropriate to take a cue from Buddy the Elf and break out the maple syrup.  Lots of maple syrup.

I have already spent hours creating the perfect Christmas music mixes for the car rides.  I have baking supplies ready to go, and more gift tags than I know what to do with (which is why I declined my mom’s offer of approximately 8,700 of them at our dinner on Sunday).  Plus, I have been wrapping like the bad ass white wrapper I am.

Though I tend to be a bit resistant to change, my philosophy for Christmas 2011 is a resounding yes, we can make this holiday– complete with traditions old and new– totally awesome.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite holiday tradition?


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Today: Jingle all the way.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]This weekend’s festivities and bone-chilling temperatures were exactly what I needed to kick my holiday spirit into high gear.  From a cheesy date movie and staying up way past my bedtime to wrap presents, to the annual Jingle Bell 5k and a pre-Christmas dinner at my parents’ house, I’m feeling like a jolly little elf.  (Elves are sometimes forgetful and leave their real cameras in the toy workshop; please forgive these pathetic iPhone photos.)

Nick, Tina, Mal and I put on our holiday finest regular running gear and took to the streets of Somerville for the annual Jingle Bell 5k.  I haven’t run much since the New York City Marathon, so I wasn’t quite sure what the morning would have in store.  Fortunately, I experienced almost no foot pain, and cruised right along.

This is always one of my favorite races of the year.  I love the friendly fans along the course, the rolling hills, the crisp winter air and the post-race festivities.  Best of all, though, are the costumes.  Every year I plan to whip out something awesome (this year’s intended outfit: a Christmas tree… clearly, that didn’t happen), but inevitably I wait until the last minute and end up digging through my drawers for something red or green.  This morning I yanked a sparkly bow off our wreath and affixed it to my Spibelt.  Coupled with a red top, it was better than nothing… but definitely not better than the avalanche, reindeer, Santas, Mrs. Clauses and other great costumes I saw.  Please remind me next year to get my act together.

Following the race, we celebrated at Sally O’Brien’s in Union Square with a few beers and a lot of laughs.  We always have so much fun with Tina and Mal.  Always.  Not surprisingly, I lost track of time and soon we were rushing to shower, change and get to my parents’ house in time for a lovely dinner with the whole family.

After enjoying a weekend like this one, it is certainly beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?


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Today: A tasty holiday pie… chart.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]In a perfect world, I’d spend the month of December ice skating from one holiday party to the next, leaving a wake of biodegradable glitter behind me.  This year, however, it seems like I barely have enough time to lace up my skates.  When your plate runneth over with responsibilities, obligations, and really good things too… how on Earth do you fit it all in, and still have time to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation  fourteen times?  How?!

[click image to enlarge and see my not-so-masterful cutting skills]

Though I would love nothing more than to have perfect holiday hair, to wear a dazzling smile around the clock, to serve the most delectable holiday treats, to give the most impressive and crisply wrapped presents to everyone on my list, to fit in all of my workouts exactly as planned and leave the gym glistening like a dewy December morning, to rise early by the light of a Christmas star and go to bed dreaming of sugar plums…  You know what?

For me, maintaining balance during the holiday season is all about managing expectations.  And making lots of lists.  Like this one, for example.

  1. Make a plan…  As if the holiday season weren’t busy enough, December and January happen to be two of my busiest months at work.  Oh, and I joined a second soccer team.  Because I have an over-commitment problem.  At the start of each week, I map out my priorities and goals for the following seven days.  That way, I stay focused on what is non-negotiable, what really needs to get done.  These priorities are not just appointments I need to keep, but also meal plans, phone calls with friends, and workouts at the gym.  I keep a second list of items to check off once those priorities have been accomplished.  Sadly, “take my dog to meet Santa” is on that second list.
  2. …but be flexible.  Life is bound to throw us a snow curve ball or two.  Meetings get rescheduled, we catch a cold that leaves us with a man voice for four days, our rental minivans get flat tires.  While it would be nice to have a back-up plan for all of life’s unexpectedness, it’s sometimes just best to be flexible.  And, I find, it’s easiest to be flexible when I am well-rested, well-hydrated, relaxed and listening to Christmas carols.
  3. Take a time out.  Ever wonder how Santa makes it to every, single house in just one night?  Simple: he takes the rest of the year off.  Be sure to schedule some down time, even if it’s fifteen minutes here and there to clear your mind, take a walk, or a big deep breath.  As much as this is the season of giving, it should also be the season of taking.  It’s impossible to take care of everyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.  Please re-read that last sentence until you believe me.  Now nod and say, yes ma’am like they do on that Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders show.  (You know you watch it.)
  4. Indulge in what makes you happiest.  Christmas is, far and away, my favorite holiday.  I love the anticipation leading up to it.  It is a time when I feel most in touch with my faith, and feel especially mindful of all that I have to be grateful for.  I love seeing friends and family, the excuse to wear overly sparkly things, driving around to admire Christmas lights (the tackier, the better) and enjoying all things peppermint.  It’s not hard for me to get carried away when those first few notes of “All I want for Christmas” (the Mariah version, obvi) play.  I like to soak all this in, and save it up for the less exciting, colder, greyer months of winter in Boston.  You know, like February.
  5. Say yes if you need help.  If someone offers to lend a hand, and you could use one (or four), accept.  Simple as that.

No matter how many pieces of pie you are trying to cram onto your plate, if something is important, you will make room.  And if it’s not… welp, sneak it onto someone else’s plate.  ‘Tis the season for sharing, is it not? Wishing you all a very merry and balanced holiday season!

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you stay balanced during busy times?  And, where are the best Christmas lights in Boston?


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Today: A few of my (current) favorite things.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens (ew, I hate cats).  Let’s just cut to “a few of my favorite things.”

Basil grown from seed

I started growing these little guys from a seed kit early this summer.  While the basil isn’t quite ready to harvest, or whatever, I am quite surprised I’ve kept it alive this long.  I sneak over to the windowsill a few times each week to water the canister, and linger just long enough for a whiff of fresh basil– one of my favorite scents in the world.  Every once in a while I pick up Clark so he can have a sniff, too.  On second thought, maybe I have terrorized the basil to the point that it won’t grow any taller?

Christmas anything

We came home from New York to a full mailbox, stuffed with holiday-themed magazines.  With training behind me, and a wobbly foot below me, I can think of no better way to pass the time than tucked under a warm throw on the sofa with Martha Stewart at my side.  Will this be the year I sew felt slippers for everyone I know?  Likely not, but a girl can dream.

I’ve been alternating between sports talk and the oldies station in Boston that is already playing exclusively holiday music during my brief commute to and from work.  It feels so wrong, and yet so right.  Nothing cures a long day at work quite like a solo-sing-along on Massachusetts Avenue.  Everyone sounds good singing Christmas carols.  As my friends on 98.5 the Sports Hub would say, Fact.  Not opinion.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and that I shouldn’t wish away the time, but peppermint and snowflakes and tinsel are my lifeblood.  I can’t help it.

Paper straws

What’s whimsical but sturdy, candy-striped but calorie free?  A paper straw.  One of life’s little luxuries and better for the environment than, um, plastic straws (but worse than say, not using a straw at all)… this little jar is a great reminder to keep throwing back that water.  Not that I need much of a reminder, as I am perpetually thirsty.

Want to hear a sad story about water? (It’s not really that sad, and yes, I am well aware how lucky I am to have a reliable source of clean, drinkable water.)  When I finally crossed the finish line last Sunday (I promise to stop talking about this sooner rather than later), yanked my right shoe off, and hobbled the eleven blocks to the park exit, all I wanted was a cup of water.  And a chariot to transport me to meet my cousin, sister, and fiance.  And a warm bath.  And six bags of cheese doodles.  Okay, I wanted a lot of things… but water was at the top of the list.

We were given a bottle of water in our finishers’ bags, but my hands were full, and mostly, I felt crazy.  Too crazy to open the bag and peel the cover off the bottle.  I made a deal with myself: hobble the three additional blocks necessary to grab a taxi, get situated while waiting for a cab to arrive, and break into that stash of water and pretzels.

With no free cabs in sight, I opened my bag, fished out my water bottle and set it on ground next to me.  I called Nick to tell him it may take me a while to get to them, feeling equal parts sore and discouraged.  Just as I hung up, a car careened past me, hitting my water bottle and smashing it flat, sending water clear across Amsterdam Avenue.  Being the most pathetic person on the planet (or at least, the block), I burst into tears.  And then got refused by a taxi driver who clearly thought I was mentally insane.  Waaa.  Anyway, I like straws.

Getting jacked

Though I’m registered for a race next month (I am planning to dress as a Christmas tree.  See tinsel as lifeblood above.), I want to make sure I give my little body plenty of time to recover before hitting the road.  Instead, I will hitting the gym.  Hard.  Sort of.  I’ve really loved strength training at the boxing gym, and am looking forward to upping the ante a bit.

Nick is helping me navigate Stage 1 of The New Rules of Lifting for Women, which seems to be a great jumping-off point and the perfect set of goals to work toward.  I’m also looking forward to putting my TRX to use, cashing in a Groupon for a 10-pack of yoga classes, and making time for all the things I put off “because of the marathon.”

With cats to hate basil to grow, holidays to celebrate, water to sip and iron to pump, I have a feeling I’ve got plenty to keep myself busy.  Hopefully so busy that I don’t have time to act on my inclination to register for another marathon.

Also On Tap for Today:

Care to share a few of your favorite things?


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Today: Joy On Tap.

Dear friends,

I hope there is much happiness On Tap for you this holiday season and that 2011 brings joy, peace, calorie-free Cheez-Its, good times, good health and good news for each and every one of you.

I mean it.

Love always,

Elizabeth

Merry two days after Christmas to all, and to all, a good afternoon.

Also On Tap for Today:

Were you on the naughty or nice list this year?


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Today: Waiting for Santa.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] Shhhhhhh.  He won’t come unless you’re asleep, fools.  Like, really-really-really asleep.

 


Welp.  So much for the no dogs on the leather couch policy.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Clark’s meeting Santa tonight.  Yes, really.
  • Shaq conducts the Boston Pops, and makes me giggle 🙂
  • Whipping up some homemade peanut butter cups

Am I the only 28 year old who has trouble sleeping Christmas week?  I am so excited.