Archive | April, 2017

Spring Window Box Inspiration

15 Apr

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For years and year, I documented “window box inspiration” with my camera for a future date when I’d have a home of my own where I could install and plant window boxes overflowing with blooms. I’ve always loved how charming homes with window boxes are but often found a lot of the examples I saw to be very sparsely filled and a bit boring.
purple spring flower box ideas
The most beautiful ones I photographed tended to be outside the brownstones on Beacon Hill in Boston, or done professionally by businesses.  Legal Seafood is one of the standout examples I recall being wowed by a few summers ago in fact. EarlySpringWindowBoxWhat I didn’t realize in my garden fantasizing days was just how expensive it is to properly fill out window boxes. They look best when the plants are densely packed which obviously means = more plants. It would be fabulous to stud my spring window boxes with overflowing daffodils, boxwood, ivy, and pansies but it adds up quickly.

I’ve also realized that what you use to fill your window boxes can cause them to become a bit high maintenance. Unless they’re very easily accessible, dead-heading flowers to proliferate growth and keeping them watered can be a challenge.

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Last summer I tried to manage the latter issue (of watering) with my purchase of four of these Mayne “Fairfield” window boxes which feature a self-watering reservoir. So far, I’ve been really pleased with them, though I am embarrassed to admit that I only managed to get one mounted and hung in time for the tail end of the summer.

Since family will be coming over for an Easter egg hunt this weekend, I’m hoping to get them installed and planted by the end of the day today and will fill them with whatever I have on hand. I might pull up some of the ground cover ivy we have growing in abundance in the backyard, fill in with some creeping jenny that is also growing in random spots in the garden and sprinkle in the remaining bare spots with the pansies I got earlier in the week.

I’d love to throw in some daffodils but unfortunately, I didn’t think to plant the bulbs in the fall so I’ll have to table that idea for next spring. So I may beg some forsythia branches off the neighbors and tuck them into the pots for some additional color, or else, go the faux route and supplement with some flowering branches or pussy willows for texture and height.

I’ll definitely be more prepared next year, but it helps to start somewhere. What are your favorite window box plantings and combinations?

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Five Things

14 Apr

FullSizeRender 19The past week gave us a glimpse of spring with temperatures in the 80s at the beginning of the week. The daffodils and tulip bulbs that I planted in the fall are poking up in the garden and this week was a whirlwind of Target runs to drool over the Victoria Beckham collection (it’s amazing, check it out!), yard work and garden planning, and preparations for Easter this weekend.

FullSizeRender 15The egg tree tradition lives on, upgraded w/ forsythia branchesFullSizeRender 18shopping for pansies in Victoria Beckham for Target (here)FullSizeRender 16the sweet jelly bean house Emilia decorated herself
FullSizeRender 17first Russo’s run of the season and debut of jellies (here)

24-Hours in Maine

13 Apr

IMG_7114When I booked an overnight in Maine, it was on the heels of weeks of early AM wakeups, refusing naps, and lots of “NO, MAMA’s!” We were spent, Brian and I, and desperately in need of some time to ourselves to just breathe. If money were no object, I’d have booked a babymoon in Sanibel Island like we did for my first pregnancy, so when a Groupon deal for one of my favorite spots in York, Maine fell into my lap thanks to my wonderful younger brother, I accepted it as a sign.

IMG_7201I had the brilliant idea to plan an end-of-week “kidnapping” with some coordination from my mother-in-law who was in on it to watch Emilia for us during this sneak away.  The plan was to catch Brian totally unaware so it was a complete surprise, so I built up this multi-week, bogus toothache story that ultimately ended with him taking a day off so I could get in to the dentist. Perfection!

IMG_7352Then Storm Nemo hit. The jig was up and I had to fess up to the true plan since travel was impossible. Nevertheless, we rescheduled for a month later and had a lovely, relaxing, 24-hour getaway in early March.

IMG_7116Our suite at the York Harbor Inn was spectacular with a deep, jacuzzi tub, a separate sitting area with a fireplace, and luxurious bed linens and pillows I just wanted to dive into — and did. And it was all I could do not to snap 10,000 pictures of all the decor. Everything was beautifully coordinated but still comfortable.

IMG_7173The whole point of this getaway was to relax and unwind, not sightsee or dine out at all the must-try restaurants which is often how we travel, so I specifically chose a cozy spot we would’t want to leave and packed an excessive number of books. The in-room fireplace was a huge win too. There’s nothing cozier to me than snuggling under some blankets and reading by the fire on a cold winter day.

IMG_7147After checking in, we settled into our suite in the Yorkshire House building and I promptly threw myself on the bed for a quick nap. I wish I could bottle the feeling that the sunlight, striping in through the blinds onto the bedspread gave me because it was so peaceful, calm and serene and totally nap-inducing. I woke just in time to catch the sunset over York Harbor. Then we zipped to a really early dinner and managed to time it perfectly for a random, mid-winter special prix-fixe menu that was to d-i-e for delicious.

IMG_7322I had something beef with Bernaise sauce on it and garlic and chive mashed potatoes that all tasted heavenly. Since I’m categorically unable to pass up any kind of salad that features strawberries, nuts, cheese, and a sweet dressing (this one was poppy seed), I started with the spinach salad. I’m already planning to recreate that one at home. Just imagine me licking the plate and you have an idea of how delicious it was. I should probably mention that in lieu of lunch, we’d grabbed coffee and car bagels for the trip up, so we were ravenous by the time we arrived in York.

IMG_7055I was so full I almost passed on the included hot fudge sundae dessert, but I persevered. It’s no wonder that once we returned to hang out in our sitting area, by the time Brian got the logs lit in the fireplace, I was asleep on the couch, my book on my face and ready to call it a night.

I rallied hours later after a wonderful fireside nap and drew myself a bath. Since I’d not planned to use the jacuzzi since it’s not recommended during pregnancy, I didn’t pack any of my lovely Lush bath bombs or bubbly potions, but it was still wonderful to soak in a warm tub with candles lit and get through a bit of my book. I’d envisioned us cozied up in bed watching movies and snuggling, but I think we were both at a point of exhaustion that we’d have immediately fallen asleep if we’d attempted a Netflix marathon. As it was, while I steeped in my bath, Brian had fallen asleep sitting up in a chair by the fire.

IMG_7361The rest of the trip was a lazy combination of brunching, poking into my favorite thrift shops along Rt. 1, seeking out a roadside cafe that boasts the rare “CT-style” lobster roll (warm with butter), visiting Nubble Light, documenting the baby bump with pictures, and a stop at Stonewall Kitchen to sample just about everything that wasn’t nailed down.

IMG_7061My favorites were the jams, in particular the Organic Strawberry Vanilla, the Black Raspberry jam, and the Strawberry Apple Rhubarb. It was an incredibly restorative, albeit quick, trip but it was exactly what we needed to make it through the last leg of winter.

Here are a few more of my favorite shots:IMG_7272IMG_7209IMG_7178IMG_7165IMG_7253IMG_7286IMG_7332IMG_7230IMG_7107IMG_7198