Saturday, January 23, 2021

the breezy new song you need in january


I'm looking outside on this foggy, grey Saturday morning but I can't help but feel sunny and warm. My niece, Chloe Selavka, just released her new single, "Sweet" today and I've had it on repeat since she announced its release. Listening to "Sweet" is transporting. It's a summer Saturday in June, driving with the top down while you look up at puffy white clouds languidly moving across a cerulean blue sky.

I'm reminded of riding with Chloe and listening to her sing along to whatever was on the radio. She always had an ethereal, lilting voice but today, I am in awe of this kind, smart, incredibly talented girl who wrote her own song and believed in herself enough to let the world hear her music and get a hint of her soul.

Here's Chloe Selavka and her first single, "Sweet" on Spotify. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Congratulations, Chloe!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Inauguration 2021


Today, our family watched as President Biden and Vice-President Harris took their oaths. I can try to teach our three year-old as much as I can about life but sometimes, you just need to live it. I hope Waverly remembers this day that we watched history being made. 

We're continuing with the inauguration celebration here, starting with this Spotify playlist we are now listening to.  I hope you enjoy it too. 

If you loved Inaugural Poet of 2021, Amanda Gorman, as much as we did, follow her on Instagram @amandasgorman

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

My favorite app of 2020: Calm


For as long as I can remember, I have had insomnia. As badly as I want to sleep, the moment my head hits the pillow, all of the thoughts from my day become front and center in my mind, projected like a giant screen in a drive-in movie field. I've tried every natural supplement, pre-bedtime yoga, warm milk + brandy (which is what my grandmother gave me as a child when I couldn't sleep. Worked then. Doesn't work now) and Indica gummies (which I had high hopes for but sadly, gave me vertigo.) I tried Ambien but it had the reverse effect on me and made me want to run around in circles in the cul-de-sac. 

So, I lay in bed. I count in Italian. I count in French. I list the Nato Phoenetic Alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie. . .) Then my mind drifts to thoughts of the day. Am I teaching Waverly everything I can about racism and how to be an ally? Is she going to having difficulty once she goes to school because she's been without other kids for almost a year? When will life ever be the same as it was? Did I put the leftovers in the fridge or are they still on the countertop?. . .

And on it goes until I finally drift off exhausted around 2 or 3 in the morning and then it feel like I've slept for mere minutes when I hear the baby call my name at 6am. 

Insomnia and anxiety are just what I've known my entire life. 

This sounds like a commercial spot, even as I write this but here we are. I discovered the Calm App (app store) or  Calm App (desktop) and here's the thing - it works. It WORKS. While there are a number of different calming activities, I found that listening to the stories, puts me right out. My favorite is "An Evening in Hyde Park." I have absolutely no idea how this audio story ends. What I do know is that Ramon Tikaram's voice is like warm honey. Whatever panic fills my mind, whatever tasks I didn't get accomplished, whatever conversation from the day that nags at me, stops. I lay with my head in the cool pillow, eyes closed and listen to the story. From "Dream With Me" (Harry Styles) to "Passages From Walden" (Alan Sklar), the Calm stories are a balm to my weary, tired brain. 

I've tried this with Waverly too. When we have had trying days, as only a 3 year-old can have, we cuddle on the rocking chair in her room and we listen to "Sienna the Sleepy Sloth" (David Williams) or "Bella's Bedtime Blanket" (Keegan Connor Tracy). Our breaths sync as we listen to the calm voices read to us. Often, we fall asleep under the blanket was we rock, her warm head tucked under my chin and her little fists clutching my robe close to her chest.

The Calm app isn't just for sleep, however. I have also used the Panic SOS grounding meditation (either a 4 minute or 10 minute exercise) which calmed my mind and made me conscious of my breaths. It is exactly what I needed to ground me and stop the panic that can run rampant if I don't stop it when the anxiety first sets in. 

In addition to stories, mediations and music, there are also calming environmental sounds like rain and ocean. Right now, I am listening to the "Morning Coffee" playlist and I have the beach with rolling waves set as my visual background. With the stress of not seeing family and friends over the holidays and thoughts of what I accomplished in 2020 (or rather, didn't accomplish), I still feel calm, and grounded. 

If 2020 has left you feel defeated or sad or if this Groundhog Day feeling has gone on long enough, get this app. Maybe what you need is a reminder to breathe and let the feeling pass. 

And then, at night, when the day is done, fall into bed knowing you did a good job. You made it through what is one of the most stressful times in our lives. We've made it past the Winter Solstice. The days are getting longer and soon we will be moving closer to life the way it used to be. For now, close your eyes, listen to a bedtime story and relax into sleep. Night night. You did good today.

The Calm app is $69.99 for a yearly subscription and includes meditations,  over 100 audio stories, music, calming environmental sounds, stretching videos and Calm Masterclasses. It is worth every penny.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

My favorite gift to give this year: Trader Joe's L'Éclat 1990 Blanc de Blancs ($12.99!)


Every holiday season I usually feel inspired when I give gifts. This year, though, I haven't been hit by the spirit of Christmas yet. While I usually like to give experiences (event tickets / restaurant gift cards),  travel related gifts (miles/travel gadgets) or even glassybaby votives (they're restocking colors in 2021), none of these gifts I typically give feel right this year. I'm feeling lost.

I also miss my girlfriends who I haven't seen since the end of February. I miss flying back to Massachusetts and long brunches with endless Mimosas.  A frequent topic of conversation on our calls is the hopeless feeling of wondering when we'll actually see each again. Will life on Saturday morning ever be as simple and perfect again as brunch together? The thought seems hard to imagine at this point. 

This week, I was at Trader Joe's and I spotted this - a magnum (1.5L) of L'Éclat 1990 Blanc de Blancs Brut and Brut Rosé.  The double-size bottles are enormous, sparkly and gorgeous. The Brut leans towards fresh fruit notes with the Rosé skewing towards a sweeter cake flavor. Both, a steal at $12.99.  I picked up several bottles of both. With these in my cart, it felt like a promise of good things to come. I love these as a gift.

Wrap it, put a bow on it, add a handwritten note offering brunch nest year and this simple gift becomes a hopeful gesture, a gift of hope, of brunch mornings, celebrations and time spent together. Drop it off on someone's doorstep and you've left them a symbol of good things to come.

Giving this as a gift, I can't think of a better $12.99 I've ever spent. 

 L'Éclat 1990 Blanc de Blancs Brut and Brut Rosé are currently available through the holiday season at Trader Joe's store where wine is sold.

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