On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog

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Today: Derby de mayo.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Between the Kentucky Derby and el cinco de mayo, today was destined to be a day for celebrating.

I wouldn’t mind having a mint julep in one hand and margarita in the other, but then again, I’d like to be somewhat productive today.  So I’ll settle for sparkling water.  And sparkly nail polish.

I ventured out in the Boston rain (I could use some Mexican sunshine) this morning, sparkly nails and all, for the second annual Zella Day of Movement at Nordstrom.  Stores across the country opened early for various fitness classes and shopping.  I joined the group at the South Shore Plaza for a great gentle yoga class with Maureen Mahoney of South Shore Yoga Network.

[Image source]

You haven’t lived until you’ve held tree pose while mall walkers cruise across the back of your mat.  Trust me.  Despite the foot traffic, Maureen brought us through a great sequence of hip and chest openers, gentle stretches, and energizing breathing.  Following class, we rolled up our mats and headed back to Nordstrom to peruse Zella activewear, a line exclusive to Nordstrom.

I love the focus on transitional pieces that can be work as active or casual wear.  I am a big fan of multitasking.  The fabric is extremely soft, and the styling is really adorable.  Lots of ruffles and ruching.  I picked up a bright lemon tank and a pair of perfect leggings before heading back to the city to celebrate Derby de mayo with Nick, Tina and Mal.

Ole.  And whatever they say in Kentucky.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you celebrating today?


Today: Oh, Mexico.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]In honor of el Cinco de Mayo, I’m taking a trip down Memory Lane.  To Mexico.  Passports not required.  Which is good, because I can’t find mine… again.

I'm coco-nuts about this beach in Tulum.

Unbereefable, right?

Ruins in the rain.

Ditto, but on a grander scale.

Okaaay, time to go.

Gentle reminder: It's always good to take a siesta before the fiesta. Even luchadors get sleepy.

I hope you all have a lovely Thursday, and a happy Cinco de Mayo.

Also On Tap for Today:

What do you day dream about most often?


Today: Stingrays and lucha libre.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] We’ve come to the end of the road, girls and Boyz II Men.  This marks the final vacation post from our awesome week at sea, in Haiti, and in Mexico. When I left you last, we were exploring Mayan ruins and my unparalleled nerdiness.  In comparison (and in reality), this post’s a day at the beach.

This beach.

Don't adjust your monitors, people. That color is the real deal.

The rainstorms at the ruins passed and the sun broke through just in time for a Mexican buffet on the beach.  I said, “si, por favor” to guacamole, rice, beans and hot sauce.  The food was amazing, but I was anxious to change into my bathing suit and begin an afternoon of Cool Stuff Explorations. Nick and I walked down to the waves when our first cool thing nearly stabbed us in the leg (that might be a slight exaggeration).

Ray, that’s what I named him, looked a lot like a stealth fighter jet.  Prior to seeing him, I had every intention of going swimming.  After seeing him?  No way did I want to be Steve Irwined.  Besides, there was so much to see along the shoreline.

We collected a lot of shells and coral.  I tried not to collect fleas from the pack of wild dogs, but they were just so cute (and clearly, as you can tell from the photo above, we were missing Clark).  Earlier in the day, however, I collected the coolest thing of all: an authentic luchador mask.  It’s perfect for napping.

Scary, aren’t I?  This is what I look like when you disturb my slumber (be thankful I am wearing a mask).  Please be aware that my hair is soaking wet.  I have not, in fact, taken to bathing in canola oil.  Just figured I’d clarify.  After a blissful day combing the beach and exploring the Mayan ruins, we watched the sun set and toasted to a beautiful, relaxing, exhilarating vacation.

It’s hard work, but as they say… somebody’s got to do it.  Cue the 90’s hit Back to life, back to reality

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Our built-ins are going in today!
  • Wrapping and other Christmas elf things
  • I have a crush on this chandelier

If you were a professional wrestler, what would your stage (ring?) name be?


Today: I (mexi)can’t believe my eyes!

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] Let’s begin by acknowledging what a gigantic nerdball I am.  Good.  And I will continue by promising I am almost done rambling about my vacation.  We just have to talk about Tulum and another day of Cool Stuff Explorations and then you can stop wanting to poke me in the eye.  Let’s roll.


The day we spent amongst the Mayan ruins at Tulum nearly blew my tiny mind.  I was like,

“Whoa!  Look at that!  Whoooaaaa!  Look at that!  How did they doooo that?  Whoa!  Look at that!”

And our tour guide was like,

“Whoa!  Pipe down, ya freak!  You’re single-handedly ruining my tour of the ruins.  By the way, we offered you all umbrellas for a reason.  You look like a drown poodle.  Take this poncho as a sign of my annoyance with you.”

I saw someone run up those stairs, Rocky-style. I simultaneously wanted to join him and citizens arrest him.

Looks like someone had the brains to take a complimentary umbrella. More importantly, how beautiful is this place?!

Talk about a view. (Please ignore the water blob/paranormal activity thing... it really could be either.)

I literally walked around the park with my mouth wide open, taking photographs in the pouring rain (with Nick protecting my camera), looking like the most nerd-mazing tourist on the planet, trying to soak it all in.  I wish it hadn’t been pouring, but we were in the jungle, so I suppose that’s to be expected.  Plus, the rain made everything seem even more mysterious.   Here are a few of the things I learned:

  • Tulum is Mayan for “wall.”  In other words (i.e., in my imagination), someone probably pointed in the general vicinity of the ruins of the walled city and was like, “What is this?”  And someone answered, “A wall… obviously.”  And then the first person was like, “I just discovered Tulum.  Please.  Shower me with praise.”  Tulum may have actually been named Zama, meaning city of dawn.
  • The city is pre-Columbian (and therefore pre-Pinta, pre-Nina, and pre-Santa Maria) and reached its height between the 1000 and 1600 A.D.  The city was inhabited by the Mayas for approximately 80 years after the arrival of European colonists.  It is speculated that because the Mayas worshiped a god who looked like a white man, they did not immediately feel threatened by the Spanish.  Who knows? (Probably someone, obvi.)
  • Only 500 people lived within the walls of the city.  The city was a noble city, and only the ruling and priest classes were allowed to live within the walls.  Everyone else lived outside the walls.  The only time all people were welcomed into the city (for reasons other than work) were on feast days– on these days, our tour guide told us, everyone wore white robes.  I bet that would be incredible to see.  At feasts there would be dancing, competitions, performances and sacrifices (some human, some not human).
  • The pyramids and other structures were rebuilt every 52 years.  Unbelievable, right?  Meanwhile it’s taking me 52 years to pick a shade of gray paint for our walls.
  • Speaking of paint, the buildings were painted a vibrant red and blue, using paprika and indigo which were acquired on trade routes.  Tulum was a major trade port for the Mayan empire and could be easily accessed by land or water.  The Mayas traded cacao, salt, jade and obsidian at Tulum.
  • We learned a lot about the Mayan calendar, mathematical system and religion, too.  Because the Mayas understood that the universe was logical and predictable, they were obsessed with time.  By predicting cycles, they were able to set their own cycles for farming and so on.  Their calendar system was used to dictate everything from behavior to when religious ceremonies would be held.  I am sort of not at all equipped to explain this stuff.  But trust me– it’s incredible. The Mayas also developed an extremely sophisticated writing system.

We  ordered a personalized Mayan calendar while we were there (and I scored my very own luchador mask, but I am saving that gem for later).  We needed to provide a significant date, and all I could think of was Clark’s birthday (weird, I know).  It turns out Clark‘s animal spirit is a dog.  The accuracy is chilling.

Nick and I met the Saturday Friday (please see the comments section hahahaha) after St. Patrick’s Day a hundred years ago, but truth be told, I can’t remember the actual date.  We could have just used one of our birthdays for the calendar, but I wanted both of our names to be on it (you know, in case we ever need to prove our whereabouts… these are the things I worry about), if only so I could see how Nick’s last name would be misspelled (this seems to happen all the time).  Somehow, only Nick’s first name was spelled wrong.  Touche, souvenir seller, touche.  I don’t know why I am telling you this.

Okay.  More pictures.

This temple, overlooking the Caribbean, had small portals in the upper levels. The sun would shine through specific portals during the Solstice and other important days.


5 points if you can spot the bird.

I may be a professional nerd, but clearly I am an amateur historian– so, please forgive me if a. none of this makes sense or b. some of this turns out to not be true.  And do let me know if you’ve got some facts to share.  I paid as much attention as I could, while still yelling “Whooaaaa!” and pointing at things.  I am sure you understand.  It’s a lot to fathom.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Testing out paint samples (this could go one of two ways– one of them is horribly wrong)
  • Picking out some fun artwork
  • I like this post on bewilderment 🙂

What’s your nerdiest habit?  Come on, let your nerd flag fly!


Today: Put this in your pocket. This, too.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] That James Taylor, man.  He knows what’s up.

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so sweet with the sun sinking low
Moon’s so bright like to light up the night
Make everything all right

Our second and third ports of call aboard the Oasis of the Seas were in Mexico.  We first stopped in Costa Maya, a small tourist area (think the Epcot version of Mexico) on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, near the villages of Mahahual and Xcalak.  From Costa Maya, Nick, Tim, Stacey and I left the tourist area and took a bus through the jungle to a pristine, white sand beach for the afternoon.

This is where my soon-to-be-trademarked (you know, like, if I ever get around to it) Cool Stuff Explorations were born.  The concept is not new, but the name, at least, is hot and fresh.  When I was younger (like, 27 or so), I’d walk up and down Pleasant Road Beach or along Red River with my dad and collect cool stuff– mostly scallop shells and those shells that look like Cape Cod Potato Chips.  When the volume of cool stuff exceeded the space in my hands, I’d ask my dad to start loading up his pockets (women’s bathing suits just don’t have ’em).  By the time we’d get back to the beach blanket, I would have single-handedly disrupted and entire ecosystem and possibly given my dad scoliosis.

Anyway.  The Cool Stuff Explorations in Mahahual were incredible.  Uvero Beach is located on the second largest coral reef on the planet (if you want to know where the actual largest reef is, just ask my sister and her koala friends).  That means all kinds of amazing stuff decorated the shoreline.  And since no one stopped me, I started collecting and never looked back (until it was time to go, obvi.).

Basically, the rules of Cool Stuff Explorations are as follows:

  1. Don’t take anything living.  Cool as that thing might be, it could bite you and you also might get arrested.
  2. Only take what you (or your pocket-equipped companion) can carry.
  3. Be judicious in your selection– it’s only a Cool Stuff Exploration if the stuff you explore for is… well… cool.
  4. Have a end in mind, like, say, making coral Christmas ornaments for everyone you know (consider that surprise ruined!).
  5. Wonder and awe are perfectly acceptable ends.  Repeatedly declaring how amazed you are by Mother Nature is encouraged.
  6. Rule number 6 of Cool Stuff Explorations is that you can totally tell other people about Cool Stuff Explorations.  Fight Club, this is not.

For now, my cool stuff is populating a glass bowl on our coffee table.

I like to sift through the pieces of dried coral and match it to the living coral in Nick’s tank.  They’re nestled in between the perfect white shells I nabbed from the sandbar in Haiti.  If Clark had his way, he’d toss a stick or two in there.  It’s like my very own treasure chest, but better because it’s wide open (and not on the floor of the ocean).  Stay tuned (but not so tuned that you don’t get anything done) for photos and tales from our visit to the Mayan ruins at Tulum and (you better believe it!) more Cool Stuff Explorations.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Work on our condo begins today! Woot!
  • Putting away the vacation summer clothes (again)
  • Are you Cyber Mondaying?

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever found?


Today: I am on a very large boat.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] The world’s largest, in fact.

Remember when people were, like, super excited to board the Titanic, because (at the time) it was the world’s largest passenger ship and Leonardo DiCaprio was on board?  I totally know how those people felt.  Except that I survived, and I didn’t lose my favorite necklace, and fortunately (the even more handsome than Leonardo) Nick D’Not Caprio on board.  Last week, I enjoyed an incredible week aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas with Nick and two of his friends.  I had never been on a cruise before, so I really didn’t know what to expect (even though I had spent approximately 89 hours creeping through other people’s flickr photos and spent each evening for the past 4 months playing multiple rounds of 20 questions with Nick).

What are the odds I fall overboard?  What if I get seasick?  Has anyone ever been murdered on a cruise ship?  Would I be able to eat any of the food?  What if I get off the boat, but then get distracted and it leaves without me?  Where is my passport?  What should I pack?  Where can I find SPF 55 sunblock in November in Boston?  Should I bring this dress?  Ok, what about this one?  Can Clark come?  Why not?  Do they have Diet Coke on board?  Who is driving the boat?  Will you paaaaaaalease stop asking ridiculous questions?  (That last one was Nick’s.)

We flew to Fort Lauderdale via Memphis last Saturday, which was basically a high point in my life, because I could finally sing Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” with some real conviction.  We actually touched down in the land of the Delta blues in the middle of the pouring rain.  Once we got to Florida, I was sweating in my yoga pants.  I had forgotten what 40+ temperatures felt like.  The boarding process was quick and painless– we were on the boat in no time.   I was sort of overwhelmed, there was so much to see.  So I did what any freshly-on-vacation-vacationer-person might, and ordered the drink of the day.  Yowza.  And then I learned my lesson and ordered a Diet Coke (yes, they do have them).

We checked out our stateroom and balcony– it was far bigger than I had imagined.  I guess I didn’t need to practice sleeping, eating and changing in our front hall closet, after all.  Live and learn, my friends.  We enjoyed the view as Floridians gathered on the jetty to wave the boat out to sea.

We enjoyed Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday on the Oasis of the Seas.  Monday was spent in Haiti, while Thursday and Friday were spent in Mexico.  During our days at sea, I think we did a pretty good job taking advantage of all the ship had to offer.  Stacey and I took two yoga classes in the Vitality at Sea fitness center, and later in the week Nick and I hit up the spa for a massage and manicure/pedicure, respectively.  We also made use of the running track and treadmills (apparently marathon training does not go on vacation)– nothing will ever compare to turning the track corner to catch my first view of Haiti.  It felt like my heart was opening up and I forgot for a minute that I was running.  I just felt a pang of wanting to be back in that moment.  Please excuse me.  I am a cheeseball.  But you knew that.

For entertainment, we drank more drinks of the day.  Oh, and we went to a few shows.  We saw Hairspray, Come Fly With Me, and the Royal Players’ Throw Me a Line improv show.  Tim entered the International Bellyflop Contest… and lost… but he did it with style.  We explored the ship’s sprawling gardens at Central Park, enjoyed a beer at the Rising Tide– a bar that travels between floors not unlike a giant bartender-equipped elevator, soaked up the sun on the upper decks, and soaked in a hot tub overlooking the Caribbean.  I took a nap nearly every afternoon.  I read a whole book.  I beat Nick at Suduko twelve times.  I gained 5 pounds (they’re gone already– perhaps it was all the sea water I swallowed?).

The food (which is where I presume the lbs actually came from) was pretty great.  There weren’t a ton of options for picky vegetarians, but I always found something to enjoy.  Dinners were particularly good.  Our service was impeccable.  I looked forward to seeing Etem and Raj each night, and not just because they had rolls and hot tea waiting for me.  I missed dinner one night due to feeling like I might be dying (was it the rum punch, or the looming ear infection?… we may never know), so the lovely waiters sent Nick back to our stateroom with a piping hot bowl of linguine for me.  In addition to the dining room (isn’t it fun dressing for dinner?), we enjoyed a spectacular dinner at Izumi and several lunches at Johnny Rocket’s.  I invented a new, improved way to enjoy my grilled cheeses with tomatoes:  add pickles.  You’re welcome.

I wasn’t planning on touring the medical facilities (really, who does?), but I found myself way down on Deck 2 mid-week when I could no longer stand the pain in my right ear.  I think it got filled with sand, salt water, a small anchor, three sea urchins, and several flip flops while I was body surfing in the waves off the coast of Labadee.  I was promptly seen by the doctor who examined both ears, admonished me for trying to cure myself using excessive force and Q-Tips, hugged me (normally this would freak me out to no end, but it was surprisingly welcomed and comforting) and told me I was very nice.  And then she gave me ear drops and Advil and sent me back to the sun deck.

It would seem life on the high seas is much more than all-you-can-eat buffets, bingo and towel animals.  The amenities (and anemones) were fabulous, but it was the people– both those that I arrived with and those who were waiting aboard– who made last week the amazing time that it was.  And as incredible as our time on the ship was, our time in Haiti, Tulum, and Costa Maya was absolutely surreal.  I can’t wait to tell you about that.  But I will.  Because I presume you’re sick of me… and there is no medical facility at On Tap for Today.

Also On Tap for Today:

Have you cruised before?  What did you like best?


Today: Postcards from warmer climes.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] We just arrived home from an incredible week spent in Haiti, the Mexican Riviera and the middle of the ocean.  As I stepped off the plane at Logan wearing flip flops and smelling faintly of coconut flavored sun block, I caught the temperature on one of the television screens: 24 degrees Fahrenheit.  Oh, my.

I am now snuggled up on the couch with a giant blanket and am seriously contemplating a second cup of hot chocolate and hoping tonight’s House Hunters International features condos on the Equator.  With over 440 photographs to sift through (and 900 work emails to avoid), I figured I’d share a few of my favorite shots.  Hopefully these Caribbean vistas will up the temperature in Boston a degree or twelve.

A more lively urchin attacked my foot just moments later.

This would be a lovely view were it not for my busted up runner's feet.

I swear this is a real photograph and not a Windows screensaver. I endured much judgement from the locals (a wild pack of roaming dogs) as I crouched down to get the perfect angle.

Mother Nature's slingshot.


I imagined myself looking impossibly chic during our visit to the Mayan walled city. Instead, I am wearing a rain poncho and my face is obscured by a giant blob of rain on the camera lens.

I hated to leave Haiti.

I am looking forward to telling you all about our adventures on an uninhabited island off the coast of Haiti (it was straight out of LOST, complete with some sort of blast hole in the middle of the island), the breathtaking Mayan ruins at Tulum, sippin’ time aboard an elevator bar, a stingray sighting along the Mexican shoreline, my new luchador mask… and more, including a giveaway from Weleda I like to think of as a vacation in a bottle.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where to do you go to get away?