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

Loving Lately

5 Apr

Loving Lately LayoutAlthough my daughter doesn’t need anything new for spring, it’s hard to resist the beautiful stuff I’ve been seeing in my shopping travels both in-stores and online. Fortunately, since I buy so much of her wardrobe secondhand, I don’t feel too guilty picking up the occasional new piece when I really love something so I thought I’d share a few of the items I’ve had my eye on for her so far.

Clockwise starting top left

  1. Floral Jersey Rompers, Old Navy, $27
    I adore the ease and comfort of a romper for my daughter who loves to dig in the dirt out in the garden with me. These wash so well, are incredibly soft on the skin and if I want to dress them up a bit, I can just add one of my daughter’s many cute sweaters, vests or a jean jacket before we head out. I’m definitely a floral fan too.
  2. Cotton Bubble Romper, Egg/by Susan Lazar
    (*SOLD OUT* so I linked to other items by this designer)
    I can’t resist anything with flutter sleeves. They’ve always been my go-to for Emilia and again, I love a romper for the easy of wear and casualness. This is such a beautiful material though — it dresses it up a bit — which makes it perfect for a weekend brunch with mom or a other semi-formal special occasion.
  3. Eyelet Set, Gymboree, $15
    When I think “spring,” eyelet is one of the first things that comes to mind. (Also, gingham, seersucker and chambray.) Aside from the beautiful eyelet detail and flutter sleeve, the color is what caught my eye. Coral on anyone is a favorite of mine since it really pops against that bright, early green of the trees and gardens. The flutter sleeve on this is adorable and those little shirred shorts just kill me.
  4. Floral Set, Gymboree, $15
    Loose, flowy tops (again, with flutter sleeves!) are my go-to for keeping my daughter cool and comfortable in the spring and summer so I couldn’t resist this pretty, blue floral top and shorts.
  5. Tulip” Sandal, Stride Rite, $44
    I’m a committed Stride Rite-devotee and feel strongly about providing quality footwear for my daughter as she grows. I’ve been very lucky guessing at her sizing for future seasons when I’ve found amazing deals at the Stride Rite outlet but I recently happened upon a store the day it offered a closing sale and scored multiple pairs of summer sandals.

    Naturally I stocked up for the next three years and was very pleased to find an almost identical, closed toe sandal to the  “Tulip” style which is one of my favorite, classic styles for kids. I don’t particularly like crazy colors — just a simple white sandal that I’ve found will easily wipe down. It goes with EVERYTHING and the closed toe protects little feet from the scrapes and bumps that come from the non-stop movement of active toddlers.

  6. Anchor’s Away Moccasins, Sweet & Swag $20
    L-O-V-E!!!! I’ve always been a fan of black and brown combined, though I know this is a divisive topic among the fashion community. But once you add some stripes I’m basically swooning and reaching for my wallet. These break my rule or neutral-colored footwear for kids (for ease of matching) but I consider these to be such a cute statement piece that I’d probably build an entire outfit around them for my little girl so the matching is a moot point.
  7. Striped Dress, Gymboree, $15
    “Ponte” is a somewhat stiff material a bit that’s on the heavier/hotter side of ultra-breathable cotton, but for someone like me who is allergic to ironing yet endlessly drawn to a really structured, prim, neat look of perfectly pressed everything, ponte is worth seeking out in a few pieces for your child — or for you.

    For my adventurous, active toddler, this dress won’t wrinkle and will perfectly with leggings or just bare legs. I think the combination of scallop trim, French blue stripes and the little heart buttons just kills me. Even though a semi-formal dress like this isn’t the most practical, I’d make a point to put my daughter in it because it’s just too sweet.

House Update: 8 Months In

12 Mar

IMG_7640pardon the drill and the elephant ride-on toy

March has been surprisingly productive considering the energy drain I’ve felt as I enter my third trimester with Baby #2. Since we’re prepping for E’s second birthday at the end of the month, I’ve unofficially designated the party as a target date to have a lot of my “Pre-baby House To Dos” in place since I know I’ll be well into my third trimester come spring. And let’s be honest, once the weather starts to get warmer, it will be all-garden, all the time.

IMG_6324Testing out a thrifted lamp with a new white drum shade

Project: Paint the buffet

Refinishing the above buffet/sideboard from Brian’s paternal grandmother was a top priority since it’s always driven me insane to have so much wood on wood throughout our open downstairs living and dining rooms. It would be one thing if the pieces and flooring were similarly toned or if we had some decor and art layered in, but I’m still in a weird transitional place of not wanting to commit to window treatments and rugs and accessories until we figure out more of the “bones” — like function, layout, and “big pieces;” basically, the big ticket items that define spaces, like furniture and built ins.

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Just yesterday I was toying with the idea of moving the dining room table into the living room and transitioning the (unused) dining room into an office, since the dining room table serves as my work space most of the time. This would be a phase one example of what I was eventually envisioning as a built in dining area inspired by the picture above. Drooling over everything, from the color scheme to the gold chairs to the window treatments to that lighting. Holy moly. Perfection!

Anyways, I am really thrilled with how the buffet turned out and loved trying out a new technique for prepping it before refinishing (which I’ll detail in a future post). I still need to put a few coats of poly on it for protection and shine and choose hardware, but it’s not my priority right now. Refinishing it also gave me a nice kick in the pants to better organize what we store inside (now it holds my frequently used notebooks, office supplies and stationary) and how we use the limited space in our kitchen.

I don’t know if you noticed it, but the white utility rack just beside the buffet is a new addition we used to have in our old apartment’s kitchen. It became such an issue to run up and down the basement stairs to get various appliances and pots that we decided to just store them there for now while we figure out what a phase 1 kitchen renovation will look like and what our needs really are. Hint: Phase one will likely involve tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and adding seating to an attached island.

Project: Basement Organization

We also tackled a quick organization of our basement which I don’t have any photos of but can report was worth every exhausting minute now that I finally know where to look for almost anything not in current rotation in our living space. This was largely prompted by my pregnancy and the urge to nest. It’s a real thing! I want easy access to all the baby stuff we’ve had packed away as Emilia outgrew things like her walkers and bouncy seat and my Type-A side gets such a thrill from the neatly labeled storage containers of “Nursing Supplies” and “Newborn Baby Books.”

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Project: Nursery Art

Speaking of nesting, I finally got Emilia’s Rifle Paper Co., calendar prints up above her crib. The tape on the art prints needs to be patted down regularly and I dream of eventually having them all custom-framed in a metallic gold, but for now, I’ll take just having something huge crossed off my to do list. Her nursery finally feels like it’s more pulled together, but the issue of the wildcard rug we impulsively purchased and planned to just work with still sticks out sorely color-wise against all the other patterns and colors I think. It’s also definitely too small for the space but I keep holding out for the eventual transition of this space from nursery to share little girl’s room. Once we have Emilia’s “big girl bed” in here along with the crib, the size of the rug might work better, or I might just sell it on Craigslist and put that money towards a rug I really love.

IMG_7515uncle “Teb” + E cleaning up her building blocks

How about that gorgeous more appropriately-sized mirror we also hung over Emilia’s dresser and changing pad? Another fabulous HomeGoods find for just $35. The color is totally wrong for the room as it stands right now, but as I dream up the next phase of this room as a combined nursery/toddler’s bedroom, I think that color may eventually work so it stays for now, as tempted as I am to coat it with a metallic gold paint. Please ignore the hideously jumbled up curtain mess going on by her crib. I never properly finished backing the curtains with light blocking fabric so we have a very makeshift system still in place involving dressmakers pins and — cringe — masking tape to rig the windows to be totally blacked out for nap time. I should probably add finding a more permanent solution to that to our to do list, huh?

IMG_6859the current state of our bathroom

Project: Shower Curtain Update

In another example of fabulous makeshifting, I pinned the wild floral fabric we’d been using as a bathroom curtain (as I debated whether I liked it for a future Roman shade) to the actual shower curtain and am kind of loving it so there it has remained for almost two weeks now. I think the window needs a dark, woven grass or bamboo type blind and we’ll need to swap in a darker bath mat to make it all work. In the above photo, that’s actually a dark slate DKNY bath towels I bought after we moved in and I decided that dark gray/black/slate accents needed to happen in the bathroom to make all that pink and black tile look more chic. Working? Who knows. But the bathroom continues to be one of the most fun challenges for this quirky, 1950’s Cape Cod style home of ours.

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Project: Use our fireplace + Redecorate the mantle

This wasn’t exactly a pressing “To Do,” but after enjoying our suite’s fireplace while we were in Maine and hearing chatters of this Danish concept of “hygge” all over social media lately, I was itching to recreate the cozy ambiance in our own home. We probably still need a good chimney cleaning, but our test run has persuaded me to move it to the top of our late summer “To Do” list so we can enjoy more cozy nights by the fire next fall and winter.

And related — once the buffet was fixed up, I’d always planned to relocate the antique Federal mirror I’d had over the mantle and needed something else to fill the space. We tried a few mirrors we had laying around before I thought to try this print we purchased a few years ago at an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It’s Melon Boats by John Singer Sargent and this picture doesn’t do justice to the vibrancy of the pigments. When I viewed the oil painting at the MFA, I couldn’t tear myself away. It was like being on the ocean. I normally avoid purchasing prints in favor of supporting artists by purchasing original work but I couldn’t pass this up. Now all it needs is a frame.

On the horizon for upcoming priority projects:

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Upcoming spring project: Our front stairs

The front stairs are one of the biggest eye sores of our home and one of the things I most want to tackle this spring as part of a front yard makeover. Luckily, I have a few talented stone masons in the family so this should be a fairly easily project once I decide on the materials I want. Those terrible bushes flanking the door need to be ripped out ASAP too but they’ll remain until I decide what they’ll be replaced with, so stay tuned.

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Upcoming spring project: The back patio

The back stairs are equally hideous, but less pressing since the back patio overshadows it in hideousness. I also envision the patio extending well past where it currently ends, reaching closer to the back of the garage for really expansive entertaining space. Some built in seating, planters and a fire pit or pizza oven would be fabulous too, but I don’t know how deep I want to dive with a baby on the way in early summer. I think a simple phase I patio makeover is in order, but again, stay tuned.

All in all, I’m really pleased with where things are headed and am excited to continue to layer in the more homey items as the weather gets warmer and the antique and thrift markets and fairs open up so I can really start to hunt for treasures to round out outfitting our first home.