field + foundry dinner

Tuesday, July 29

A few weeks ago, we had the total pleasure of attending the first of three field + foundry dinners, hosted by our sweet friend Melissa and baker extraordinaire Laicie of Dough Uprising, who partnered with Bing in the hopes of bringing creatives in the greater DC area together over a delicious, locally sourced meal. The dinner was held at a farmhouse located at the very back of the incredible acreage of Holy Cross Abbey. We were originally planning on bringing Everett with us since he's been to this farm before and about died of happiness at the amount of general space there is to run and throw rocks, but then decided that this was probably going to be one of our last opportunities to take a night out alone for at least a while, so we made a date of it. I just have to throw it out there what a luxury it was to sit, and eat with two hands, and have full blown adult conversations for a few hours, and eat while having that conversation, oh and eat. I'm going to embarrass myself if I really get into how good this food was, and how much we talked about it the next day. So I won't. But YOU GUYS, GOSH DANGIT, THE FOOD.
Laicie's husband, resident expert on all things bread, taught us how to make our own sourdough starter to take home and nurture as if we had given birth to it. I'd rather not report on the progress of mine ...
We made new friends over the table, and got to hear Amanda Marko, the founder of Trouve magazine speak, which was so great.
And then we ate THIS.
And here's Tyson making sure I didn''t catapult myself off the front porch at the end of the night, being as stuffed and front heavy as I was.
*I hardly broke out my camera that night, so I borrowed these gorgeous photos, which were taken by the lovely and talented Reema Desai.

coconut crazy

Monday, July 28

So let's talk about coconut oil for a second, because this is a product that I feel is currently having its shining moment in the hot sun, what with all the hoopla going around about oil pulling, and miracle stories about using it on your face and hair, etc. When I first heard of putting something found in a cooking aisle, that contains the word "OIL" in it, just straight on your face, my first reaction was basically, no way, that's got to be the road straight to a million zits, right? But after noticing that a friend of mine had stopped wearing make-up and was looking seriously GREAT, I demanded to know what she was doing. She told me that she was combining a few drops of essential oil in a jar with a giant dollop of coconut oil and putting that on her face 2-3 times a day. That's it! That alone, basically convinced me to go out and grab a jar, and try the remedy out for myself. Along with oil pulling for detoxing and teeth whitening, and a little on the ends of my hair for good measure, just to see what this coconut thing could do. Long story short, my teeth were magically whiter within the week, the oil worked better than my usual hair smoothing cream, and my skin, that has not always reacted well to this mightily hormonal pregnancy, just like, cleared up! In less than a month. Blemishes gone. It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen.

So I believe in it. I do. I pledge allegiance to the coconut oil and any natural products I can find it in. Which brings me to a few major favorites that I discovered while amping up my routine with Target's Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM campaign. So. Much. Coconut to love. Shea Moisture has this line of coconut and hibiscus that smells out of this world. I've used pure, organic shea butter on my belly with both my pregnancies to help with itching and keep the stretch marks away and I've loved adding this coconut and hibiscus shea butter to the mix, along with the body bar and toning body wash. I'm really trying to show some personal restraint in talking further about how good they smell, because they are sooo-ho good. And Burt's Bees coconut foot cream is slowly changing how I feel about feet in general. They are probably the least thought of, least cared for part of my body and having Tyson rub a little of this stuff on my feet every few nights has been a revelation basically. Especially since these feet have taken quite the beating during this pregnant summer. 

And again, with my profession of love for Yes To. They just launched their Yes to Coconut line exclusively for Target. I have a few in my family who suffer from eczema, so I was thrilled to see that they've come out with a natural product to specifically target relief from those symptoms.  And they have this cooling lip oil? I don't know. But I'm pretty sure it's about to change everything about my lips and their relationship with petroleum jelly.
So yes. Yes to coconut. Yes to coconut oil. Yes to looking down at your hands and thinking, wait these are the same dry hands that have been hand-washing dishes for years? Nooooooo.

This post is sponsored by TargetThe Made To Matter line has been handpicked by Target to bring you brands that make things better for your you, your family, and the place we all call home. 


I'm not sure why it takes an impending birth to initiate a dig into the deepest recesses of all of your closets and drawers and overhaul your life and possessions and whatever it was that was being stored under your bed, but this last week was that week for me. Maybe it's the realization that these things can either be done while I'm pregnant with a toddler, or with a toddler and a newborn, and the former sounds slightly more, realistic? Realistic with a hearty side of braxton hicks. I woke up one morning after a particularly birth-y dream and sprinted to our computer desk to grab a pen and paper and brain dump my to-do list of everything I wanted to get done before baby arrives. From sorting through the bathroom closet and drawers down to the cleaning out of the sugar and flour jars, everything. I worked on what I could on my own this last week, with Everett as my most helpful helper, and saved the heavy lifting for this weekend. The three of us sorted through our storage unit, pulled out our old baby stuff, sorted through our closets, and under our bed, detailed the car, picked up a few more baby things, installed the car seat, and dropped a bounty of quarters into a real effective set of dryers. And it was ... nice? No it was really nice. A relief. And that scorching, exhausting Saturday settled into a cool, breezy evening, with Everett jumping off the seats of our car and poking his head through the sun roof while Tyson and I vacuumed the floors and wiped down the seats. And with a great amount of satisfaction, buckled that new little car seat right next to Everett's, taking a glance over our shoulders and grinning at each other. Wow. TWO.

That evening, after tucking Everett in bed and a nice long shower for both of us, we settled back into our pillows, absolutely giddy about the night of sleep before us. At 2:30 that morning, we both woke at the exact same time from some horrible dreams. Ones that you can't just talk about, shake off and go back to sleep. But ones that make you throw your covers off and head to the kitchen to flip on the starkly bright lights, and emotionally reconnect with the relief and reality that is a tea kettle whistling in the middle of the night. There is something terrible that comes with parenthood. Tied up within the absolutely heart-bursting goodness that is, for instance, observing your little boy digging through his dad's wrench set while singing a high pitched rendition of, You are So Beautiful, is the buried awareness of exactly what there is to lose. A place in your brain that always exists but is never called upon, except on the occasion of the sub-conscious. A place that is growing in sync with my belly, ever larger by the day for both of us. Tyson sat down while we waited and rested his head against my stomach, instantly getting kicked in the face by a tiny invisible foot. We spent the next hour or so reading together before being able to fall back asleep. Me hugging my body pillow and him hugging me. And Sunday. Sunday we took a nap.

going au naturale

Monday, July 21

In an interview I read a little while ago, someone who I find to be effortlessly beautiful shared that she considered herself to be of the "skincare-as-makeup persuasion." It was a minor light bulb moment for me. Well duh! Treat the dark circles, treat the redness, and eliminate the cover-up FOR-EV-ER. Or that would be the goal, right?

I look back at photos of myself as an early teenager, and braces aside, I miss the days when my then-loathed freckles were my one skin concern. The first time I wore make-up, it was only a few swipes of mascara and I was out the door feeling all radiant and grown-up for the first time at 16. Now, if I were to just swipe on mascara and go, I would look in the mirror and indubitably analyze the darker uneven skin tone around my eyes and the redness around my nose. And who knows if these things are due to aging, motherhood and lack of sleep, or just becoming a harsher critic of myself over the years, but I would like to see them go.

As I mentioned before, my skin-care routine right now is lacking. After the completion of each day, normally I'm too tired to take an extra 15 minutes for myself before bed, and usually end up just wiping off my make-up, and throwing a little coconut oil on my face. Shrugging off the rest of my skin, and hair, and ... eye bags ... until tomorrow, when I'll be "less tired." But THAT never happens.

So! As part of the Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM challenge, I set out on a quest to claim those 15 extra minutes at night for myself and run with them for a few weeks. First step: spending an exorbitant amount of time at Target (which as we know, is something I excel at) in their natural beauty aisle, picking up a few items that would enhance my daily regimen. Even though my main skin concerns involve my face, my goal was to try out the products that would benefit all the other parts of my body that are continually neglected. My hands for one! I have to laugh at myself when I'm hanging out with friends and someone scoffs at their hands and says something like, "man, I really need a manicure." I look down at my hands, unpainted, with their dry, uneven cuticles and the occasional hang nail and think," oh yeah. I guess a manicure would be good." I would just never think about it on my own! Same with my feet, and elbows, and hey, how about a nourishing mask for those split ends!

The great thing about this shopping trip was knowing that whatever products I absolutely loved at the end of this trial-run, I could afford to love them again, even after the product ran out. Everything was in my price range, and it gave me peace of mind knowing that I could choose anything in that natural beauty aisle, and it would actually be better for me, which is a concern since I’m pregnant. While my first instinct, as usual, was to get products that focused mainly on my face, I picked up some great body butters, shampoos and conditioners, face masks, hair masks, foot creams, cuticle/hand creams, eye creams, cleansers and make-up removers ... and for the following few weeks a new and improved routine was born. Starting with that night, when I obsessively tried all of them at once, ha!
Here’s a sampling of what I picked up:

Shea Moisture Healthy Glow Essentials Eye Makeup Remover
Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme
Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick
Shea Moisture Smooth & Repair Rinse-Out Conditioner
Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Kids Extra-Moisturizing Detangler 
Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
Yes to Carrots Rich Body Butter

This post is sponsored by TargetThe Made To Matter line has been handpicked by Target to bring you brands that make things better for your you, your family, and the place we all call home.

harpers ferry, again


A summer afternoon spent in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia has become a bit of an accidental family tradition for us. I just realized today that we've been coming here every other year for four years now. Our first visit was when we moved to Virginia for the great summer internship of 2010. I'm pretty sure we skipped church that morning in favor of a long drive and just ... wound up there. It was August, hot and muggy, and we drove through a few really beautiful vineyards on the way, our windows down, pulling over every so often. The second time was for Memorial Day in 2012 when Everett was just a bald little squirt and we met up with some friends of ours for lunch. And now this weekend. Another afternoon in what I suppose was a Harper's Ferry farewell of sorts.
Everett walked along the bridge like this, with his hand running over the texture of the metal, fingers bouncing in that mesmerizing way that they do when grazed over the length of a gate. He's never done that before. Made him seem so instantly and heart-burstingly grown-up. 
A lazy river and mud rocks galore. He literally has dreams about this stuff. But usually there's a robot somewhere in there too.
We came across these two beautiful horses, Pete and Paul (actual brothers), and were invited over by their owner to come meet them. Everett was verrrrry skeptical about touching these guys once we got up close. Instead he focused in on Paul, who had a little smearing around one of his eyes that looked like a tear, which made Everett pretty concerned about why Paul was feeling so sad. After a minute or two, he decided that it would be alright to reach in and pet his soft nose, declaring solemnly that he was, "makin' Paul happy again."
A little later as we were walking away, he called out to their owner, "See ya later, cowboy!"
Since as we know, hats = one's personal identity for the day.
And of course, ice cream too. The always really good, bad idea.
Thanks for the love all these summers, Harper's Ferry. We're glad we found you that one time.

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