Lovely Simply

Style and Lifestyle in New England

Month: June, 2016

One Hope

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When I was a little girl, even before my mother got sick, I remember being terrified of losing her and my dad. I can vividly remember lying in bed, trying to fall asleep (I’ve always been a terrible sleeper) and imagining her dying, or my daddy not being there anymore. I would get so worked up that I would start crying and, even though I knew I wasn’t supposed to get out of bed, I would go downstairs to find them just to make sure they were still there. Empathy is something that is waning and lacking in our modern day where we know so much about everywhere and everything and we can only care to a certain point. When I was little and we lived in Thailand, I can remember crying (I cried all the time) when I saw beggars and starving people on the streets of Bangkok and Chiangmai. Things are better now, of course, but this was in the 90’s, and the country was not as modern and advanced as it is now. I have always had a lot of feelings which is probably why I like writing so much. But sometimes that excess of feeling can weigh heavy.img_5728

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It seems like we are surrounded, all the time, by darkness. By shootings, hate crimes, terror, racism, pointless cruelty, tragic accidents– the list goes on. Its right there to see- on our phones, every night. On the news shows that I listen to (pompously, which is the only way to listen to NPR obviously.) All around us– constantly. I catch myself worrying about things like how many people are reading my blog, or how many likes I get on a photo on instagram and when I take a step back, I realize how ridiculous this is. How little it matters. img_5727img_5718

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There are times that I find myself panicking about losing Redmond. I hear about tragedies involving children, and it hits me like it never hit me before. I hear about children getting cancer, and I cannot fathom what it would be like as a parent. It feels wrong, evil, cruel to lose a child. To bury the life you brought into this world. I hear about children starving to death, and I think about how we spend so much time trying to lose weight as Americans, because we have an excess of food. We have too much. And other families have nothing. It’s overwhelming. Just writing this is overwhelming. And I feel like there is so little that I can do.

But when I look into my son’s wide, blue eyes, I feel a sense of hope. My child is the next generation. The world that I have brought him into is broken, fragmented, cracked. But there is so much good in it as well. I want to believe that my generation will make a difference. And that we, as parents, will bring empathy back to our children. That we will teach them to be kind, to love others, to be thoughtful, to be respectful. That I will show Redmond how to have self control, how to be obedient when necessary, and to have a proud independence as well. To put other people before himself. To respect women, and those older than him, and his mother (since I am both, thank you very much).

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This past week, my sister and I had a little birthday picnic to celebrate her turning 24. My sister is one of my best friends, and our little ones love each other so much. We celebrated with cake, strawberries, and One Hope Brut.  I love that the company was founded by millennials, and that they began with the goal of having a measurable impact on the world.  We received the Glitter Bottle Giftpack, and its purchase provides 45 meals to children in need. They work with a dozen different charities, and I love feeling like I’m doing something for others while I sip and celebrate.

My floral crown (which I was so excited to have an opportunity to wear) also is from a Hopeful company– Headbands of Hope— and for every headband sold, one is provided to a child with cancer. Which makes me feel all emotional just thinking about it.img_5730

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My sister and I laughed, talked, and wrangled our children in the backyard over glasses of sparkling wine. Aurelia snuck a piece of lemon cake to Redmond, and I caught him jamming it into his mouth while he squeezed strawberry juice all over himself. We watched our little ones play and interact and love on each other, and I felt like, really, there is hope for our world. And the hope comes from ourselves, and each other, and our children. I pray over Redmond every night when I put him to bed that he will be good and kind and always know how deeply he is loved. He makes me a better person. And I hope I can raise him to make a difference, however small.img_5735

post details:  wine c/o, floral crown, dress sold out but similar here,

Public Displays of Narcissism

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It took me forever to figure out how to spell narcissism. I actually am a very good speller, but some words evade me. Like beautiful. I still have to think “b-e-a-U-tiful” to get it. Or license. I mix the C and S up all the time. But I digress.

Here is the  thing. I freaking love this outfit. I love the print on it (reminiscent of Thai fabrics) and I love that it is a set– a shirt and shorts– because I can mix and match it AND it looks like a romper but it’s easy to pee in. The age old battle with the romper, am I right? I love that it is off the shoulder, but it’s actually sort of a strapless top with little sleeves attached. Which means that I can raise my arms above my head and I won’t get strangled by the neckline. Age old battle with the off the shoulder look. So, I can pee, AND I can raise my arms up, and I don’t know what more a girl could want.

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You would think that by this point I’d be used to taking “outfit/lifestyle” pictures in public. But I’m not. I’m still so freaking awkward about it. Do you know the sheer joy that is finding a good white wall in an empty and sort of abandoned looking parking lot? Elation. If we had a “real” camera, maybe I would feel more official and I wouldn’t care that I am posing in an almost-romper on the side of a street. Because, here’s the thing. There aren’t a whole lot of “bloggers”(which, I’m not even really a blogger…lets be real) in my neck of the wood. So it isn’t like its a common sight, the posing up against a wall. Obviously my overwhelming sense of narcissism (nailed the spelling that time) wins out, because clearly there is photographic evidence of this. But I still was inwardly sweating (outwardly too, because it’s been pretty warm around here) that someone would SEE ME AND LOOK AT ME AND MAKE A COMMENT GOD FORBID. Luckily, New Englanders aren’t particularly effusive and they tend to keep it to a brusque nod or a quick “hello.” img_5563

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Redmond, clearly, has none of these qualms, and loves the camera. He was rocking his new teepee shorts and looking adorable like he always does. Also…he took his first step today. I was in no way prepared. We were at the pool and he was standing up against a lounge chair and suddenly took his hands off of it and took a shaky little step towards the cooler. Of course. because the kid loves to eat. I was happy for him but devastated for me because I’m not ready to say goodbye to my little baby. img_5561

Also, he got guacamole and dirty rice all over his last clean shirt….I had this watch in my last post, but you might as well get used to it because it goes so well with all of my boho-esque looks. And I loved it paired with a nice stack of bracelets. Paradox clothing sent me this gorgeous outfit, and they have lots more easy, breezy, boho looks in their shop. So check them out. I love being able to support small businesses through this blog, and they are a great one!img_5417

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I hope you all are having a good week, and I hope you are enjoying the summer by sipping on a nice cocktai

Wood Wrist Watch

outfit: off the shoulder set c/o/sandals/watch c/o/beaded bracelet,similar tassel bracelet,wrap bracelet c/o

Redmond’s outfit: shorts on sale! c/o/shirt, sold out/shoes on sale!
 

Coastal Living

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There is something about New England, and coastal New England in particular, that is quintessentially summer AND winter. Around Christmas, it is magical here. If there is snow, the quaint, beautiful towns in this area are so iddylic it is almost ridiculous. But it’s the same in summer. Everything comes alive– The flowers, the leaves on the trees, the people who were hibernating for months…we all start smiling at each other, and eating outside, and taking walks in the evening, and stopping sometimes for the tiniest of chats with one another. New Englanders aren’t renowned for their warmth. But when it is warm outside, the cockles of even the chilliest of hearts is heated just enough to at least comment “beautiful weather we’re having.’ Which, for some people, is about as friendly as it gets.

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When my dad visits, we have our own sort of holiday. We take lots of daytrips, and eat lots of good meals out, and drink lots of beers and cocktails. It is my favorite time of the year in so many ways. And this year, having Redmond has made it even better.

This past week, we spent an afternoon in Kennebunkport. It’s one of my favorite local towns, and Nick and I actually spent our mini honeymoon there after our wedding. We also took a day trip there with my dad last year two days before Redmond was born. So, needless to say, I really love Kennebunkport.

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Of course, I used to be able to just grap my purse and run out the door. Now it takes a little bit longer to get stuff together for Red. He’s ten months old now, and I have to pack him plenty of food along with all his regular stuff (a recent post on that here) because he is an eating MACHINE. And if he is hydrated and has a full belly, he’s a pretty happy camper. I have become a little bit of a diaper bag fanatic, and I love discovering new brands that sell cute, functional options. This backpack version from Newlie is quite possibly my new favorite. It is SUPER lightweight, incredibly roomy, not over-saturated with pockets, and it looks amazing. And basically, that fits every single requirement, right?  img_5409

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We took a stroll through town and hit up a French coffee shop that I had been wanting to try out. The iced coffee was incredible, and so was the chocolate peanut butter bar that we all shared. I wore my new wood watch even though I didn’t really need to be checking the time too much…but I love how chic and grown up a watch makes me feel. And this one is so unique and is a statement piece all on its own.

After our coffee, we went to an amazing Mexican restaurant for happy hour. Five dollar margaritas, nachos, stuffed jalapenos, and the most amazing outdoor deck to have it all on. There were surf boards and bright colors and umbrellas all around us, and we felt like we were on a tropical holiday for a while.

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That up there is Redmond’s new “cheese” face and I think it the best.

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To finish up the afternoon, we took a long, beautiful coastal walk and picked up lobster rolls to bring home for dinner. For everyone but me. I hate lobster. And almost all seafood….which makes me a really cheap date but a really bad Mainer…

In all, it was a perfect day. We’ve been having a lot of those lately, and I don’t take it for granted. I am deeply, truly grateful.

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Wood Wrist Watch

outfit details: bag c/o/watch c/o/bandanna/similar hat/ shirt (old)/ similar jeans

Redmonds outfit: similar shorts/shirt available soon/moccasins

Living that Mom Life

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I am a very social, busy person. I’m not a homebody, and I get pretty stir crazy if I spend a whole day around the house. When I was pregnant with Redmond, I was so worried that having a baby would turn me into a hermit, and I knew if I was living in a hermitage, I would be prone to depression. So as SOON as Red was born, I made every effort to get out. The cons of my immediate leap back into life was that I got mastitis twice (REST the lactation consultant told me. REST.) and I ended up being housebound from illness for almost an entire week within the first month…but the pros out weigh this now. I was taking Redmond on outings within his first few days of life. We brought him to visit friends, people came over to the house, we went on coffee dates, we walked outside every day. By six weeks old, I had him going to the playhut at the gym so I could work out. For me, all of these things were super important. I am prone to bouts of mild depression, and I have learned what I need over the years to stave it off. Exercise and interaction are key.

On another note, I also like clothing (did you know that?) and now that I am ten months into this mothering gig I know from experience that nothing ruins a good outing like the wrong outfit. Something that is easily dirtied, or needs to be adjusted, or is hard to nurse in is just….not gonna work.img_5199

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This romper has been on MAJOR repeat since it arrived two weeks ago. I have worn it for a family day out and about, an afternoon in Portsmouth, and a graduation party. I’m 5’8 and rompers tend to be short on me, but this one is the perfect length. And with the manic weather in Maine (hot one minute, cold the next) the long sleeves have been key. It’s nursing friendly, and I feel adorable in it. It helps that I have had girls ask me where they can buy it every time I wear it…And gosh, I love a compliment. img_5200

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Anyway, since Redmond has been ‘on the go’ since he arrived in this world, he loves a busy day. He’s a generally very happy baby, but he will fuss and whine and moan at me if we stick around the house for too long. He takes after his mama. We have a loose routine that we try to stick to, but he’s adaptable because it’s what he’s used to. If you are nosy like I am and want to know what a day looks like for us, here it is!

6:30 Redmond wakes up. I go into his room and nurse him for about 15 minutes, and then he goes back down. While he gets his second sleep, I clean up the kitchen, eat breakfast, have my coffee, and get into my gym clothes.

8:00 Redmond gets up (or I wake him up). I get him ready, and then we either go on a run or head to the gym. After mywork out, we usually head home or do a few errands.

10:00/11:00 Around this time I will get him down for a nap. I always nurse him (he eats solid food for breakfast or a snack either before our run or at the playhut) at this point, and he sleeps for 1-2 hours and I get AS MUCH DONE as I can. I will prep lunch and dinner, write blog posts, answer emails, get dressed, and clean up around the house like a freaking whirlwind while listening to my favorite NPR talk show because I’m pretentious like that (just kidding…)img_5208

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12:30/1:30 Redmond wakes up, and if I don’t have to work, we will head out on our adventure for the day. We go on errands, or meet up with friends, or visit my sister, or explore local towns– now that the weather is warmer, our horizons are so much more open. Because being outside in New England when it is warm is incredible.

4:00/5:30 If we are still out, Redmond will typically cat nap in the car. But usually we will head home around this time and he will take a 45 minute nap after I nurse him.

6:30/7 We try to eat dinner as a family if Nick doesn’t have a game or practice late. If its a bath night, I’ll shower with Redmond after dinner.

7:30/8:00 We have family play time, and then we read books and turn off all the lights in his room. I nurse him for 15-20 minutes, and then he is down for the night and my husband and I get our alone time.img_5204

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On the weekends, he spends Saturday with Nick since I’m not home. They do WHATEVER THEY FEEL LIKE and Redmond catches naps where he can. Because, Dad is really the fun one, lets be honest. And then on Sundays it tends to be a bit different too since we often take day trips on our one family day. But luckily, since he is a pretty flexible kid, he is fine with the changes as long as he has new things to see. This all works for us. I’m sure when I have a second baby, it will be wildly different and that baby will never nap or sleep or cooperate…I jest. But who knows. Hopefully I’ll still be plugging away at this blog so I can see what ends up working with baby number two…img_5202

If you don’t have a baby, I’m sorry that I just wrote in excess about our daily lives. And I hope you can just appreciate the romper. We are off to Kennebunkport this afternoon, and Redmond is exploring the idea of always standing so…today could be interesting…

Outfit details: romper c/o cuddy studios/similar sandals/bracelet c/o

Redmons outfit: I got these overalls on clearance in store at Old Navy and can’t find them online but these ones are precious/ Robeez shoes, no longer available but similar here

“Asian” Summer Salad

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One of my favorite parts of summer time is how easy the cooking gets. Lots of veggies, a little meat–we can make a whole meal out of tomatoes, cheese, basil, and some crusty bread. I try to keep things a little creative AND we are on a food budget, so if I can stretch it and the ingredients don’t cost much, then that’s even better. Our little porch garden is growing rapidly and we will have lots of fresh produce soon– we are already plucking lettuce and herbs to throw into salads and sandwiches.

My dad and stepmom have been visiting us from Thailand, so I’ve been making lots of tasty, healthy meals for us, and this salad was a hit this past week. My dad has a friend who sells maple syrup in New Hampshire, so he regularly buys a half gallon to send to us. I use it in EVERYTHING, including this salad. It gives it the perfect amount of sweetness to cut the acidity.

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The whole thing took about twenty minutes to throw together (I had shredded chicken in thefreezer) and I made it before leaving the house for the day. It tasted fantastic that evening and I LOVE coming home from a long afternoon knowing that dinner is already prepared. Just be sure to add the Mama noodles right before you serve it so they stay crunchy. I grew up on these noodle packets in Thailand and they are about one million times better than the U.S. alternative…img_5158

Asian Summer Salad

4 cups shredded green cabbage

2 cups shredded romaine

1 large cucumber, chopped

1/2 onion, diced

1 tbs green onion, sliced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 cups shredded chicken

(to be added before serving)

2 packages mama noodles

1/2 cup peanuts

Dressing

3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

3 tbs sesame oil

3 tbs olive oil

2 tbs maple syrup

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs siracha

Add the shredded vegetables to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for dressing and whisk. Toss the salad in the dressing and refrigerate for at least an hour. Before serving, add the crushed noodles and the peanuts. Enjoy!img_5157

 

My dad buys the maple syrup from This shop. It’s always an incredible deal, and supports a local small business, so if you’re in the market for some, check it out!

 

Millennial in Prints

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First off, lets get right to this outfit before I get all wordy. I love a good print, because I feel like the bright summer colors scream coastal New England. Like I could easily stroll around Martha’s Vineyard while sipping on an iced coffee (because, of course) and people would assume I was a local. Isn’t that always the goal? To not look/feel like a tourist? All of the pieces from Cuddy Studios are vibrant and playful, and this one is super comfortable on top of being cute. Which is a must when I am spending the day with Redmond. This dress was perfect for a morning in New Hampshire with Redmond and my dad and stepmom. We walked around, stopped in at my favorite coffee shop, and had lots of good conversation.

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I love chatting with my dad, and it tends to be over coffee or on long walks that we get into really good conversations. We’ve been talking about politics while he’s been here (trust me, I won’t even DABBLE in politics anywhere near this blog because that’s the last thing we need.) and it has got me thinking about being a “millennial”. And I feel like we get a pretty bad rap. The millennials are lazy. The millennials just expect handouts from their parents. The millennials aren’t politically active. The millennials are self consumed. The millennials are so busy taking pictures of themselves that they don’t have any time or interest in the world. And on and on. Right? And obviously, this blog is a collection of pictures of myself and that is sort of embarrassing. img_5082

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But I see my generation so differently. First off, until I had Redmond, I worked six days a week and almost never took vacations. My husband worked ever single day until he finished his masters program. He still works six days a week on average. He is a teacher, and my skin crawls when I hear people on talk radio (or in general) say that teachers “have it made” and “should work longer hours”. My husband coaches two sports and teaches summer school. He works all of the time. And it’s not just us. Almost all of my friends work like crazy. You know why? Because we are treading water over our student debt.

Millennials are creative. We piece things together. We are not necessarily driven to work in a suit at a desk for our whole lives, but we will sure as heck start our own business in something that we are passionate about, and a lot of the time, we make it happen. I used to work at three different jobs– as a music teacher, a musical theater director, and a wedding caterer on the weekends. And during the fall, I worked for AT LEAST two theater companies. And I loved all of it. I was passionate about all of it.

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Millennials love to make things beautiful. I hear a lot about how bloggers and instagram accounts make life look impossibly perfect. And I disagree. The world is a pretty ugly place. It’s a terrifying environment to bring a child into. So I’m constantly trying to see the beauty in the world. And I find so much inspiration seeing it in other peoples’. Of course life isn’t perfect. I’m fully aware of that. I have plenty of stress in my daily life. I have plenty of days that I feel like I’m drowning and will never get on top of loans/bills/work. And those days make me want to see the beauty in the world that much more. Because there is still so much of it. img_5084

Anyway. That’s all I’ve got for today. I would love to hear your thoughts as well!

outfit details: dress c/o/ bracelet stack here,here,and here c/o LMDC and Shira Melody Jewelry shoes, old

Redmonds outfit: playsuitmoccasins c/o

Days in the Sun

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Last week, Redmond and I met up with a dear friend of mine for a coffee and pie date in Portsmouth. I love that we live so close to such a variety of idyllic, quintessential New England towns. Towns with ocean breezes, and colonial houses, and big, beautiful parks on the water. I love that there are so many small businesses, and amazing restaurants, and delicious bakeries. I love walking down the cobbled sidewalks holding an iced coffee and pushing Redmond in his stroller while he coos and babbles. That boy can talk. And I love doing these things with old friends the most. img_4742

I ordered a slice of raspberry pie, and promised Redmond a bite. And then by accident I ate the whole thing myself. I wore my new charm bracelet from La Maison Du Carat and it was the perfect amount of bling to accessorize my breezy summer dress. I had so much fun picking out the charms and designing this bracelet, and I’ve worn it every day since getting it. I love getting jewelry that can become part of my daily “uniform”. You know what I mean?img_4746

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Summer is almost officially here, and I am so ready for it. I am ready for Redmond to smell like sunscreen every day. I’m ready to spend the day at the pool with all the other moms and babies at my gym. I’m ready for evening walks after dinner with my little family. I’m ready for ICE CREAM on the weekends. I’m ready for day trips, and meals outside, and for our porch garden to grow and give us tomatoes and basil for simple, fresh dinners. I’m ready for all of it. I transferred my summer clothes into my closet this past week, and just hung on to a few sweater (because, I live in Maine) and jackets to get me through the occasional chilly day. School is winding down, and everyone is itching for vacation and a few weeks of carefree living. I’m right there with them. img_4745

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If you need a little treat for yourself (or a gift for someone special) and want to design a bracelet, I’ve got a discount code for you all. A pretty substantial one too– so get on it. You can get a double wrap leather band like mine (it has a magnetic clasp so it’s real easy to get on) or a single one depending on what your style is, and they have tons of charms to choose from in gold and silver. You can get 25% off with the code HANNAH25 at checkout. Have some fun! Also, I want to know what you are most excited about for the upcoming summer months. I love reading your comments! Happy almost weekend to whoever you are that is reading this little (tiny, microscopic) blog of mine.

dress/sunglasses/bracelet c/o. I designed my own, but this one is very similar.