Have you ever brought a beer into the shower with you? Not once have I thought to do this. After some completely informal quizzing of my male friends, I’ve determined that they understand having a cold beer during a late afternoon shower to be one of life’s great pleasures. “Oh of course,” they say, “You’ve never done that?”

“It’s a way to relish a normal thing, and make it more fun.” Joe says.

“But you don’t even take long showers,” I say.

“Yes I do.”


Maybe I’m crazy, but doesn’t it sound a little weird to be all sudsy, with warm water everywhere, and then try to drink a cold beer?

However, if there’s relishing to be done, I will not be left out of it.

While I was mulling over this, I came upon this gentleman’s blog wherein he posted about his first outdoor shower of the season. The ante has been upped: it doesn’t get more vacation fantastic than an outdoor shower. Here’s his drink of choice:

a manhattan garnished with persian cherries that have been rehydrated with rye and bourbon.

Now that I’ve heard about this, it’s definitely going on my summer bucket list.  Are you getting excited about new things to try this summer? {speaking of, Anna just posted a great, very Boston themed one.}


Don’t mind the survey, it will be up all week in order to cull the Erstwhile readers who are erstwhile, ok?

Thank you so much to the 30+ of you who jumped right in yesterday! I’ve already learned so much, seriously.

I love an artist who shows the behind-the-scenes work. It must be the wannabe baker in me; I really like to know how things look along the way. So I loved seeing this photo on Pounding Mill Press’s tumblr:

It’s the invite-in-progress for a wedding, showing the library where the couple got engaged. I mean, really.

I love Ming’s work because each design always has a story behind it, or a reason the design developed the way it did. It’s a one-woman show (plus, she has a day job!) and I imagine she has thoughtful interviews with her clients, gets lots of personal details, and then develops something totally unique to them. Amazing.

Like this one: a burger themed announcement suite because the parents had nicknamed their baby Whopper, Jr.

all this and much more, over at Pounding Mill Press. (also, lots of photos on their facebook page)

no matter who you are and how often you read, it would be enormously nice of you to fill out this little survey for me.  No name or email required.

Farmer’s Market season has begun. Grab your tote bags, your veggie cash allotment, a little curiosity, and lots of questions for the farmers!  Once again I offer this handy guide for printing out, slipping in your purse or sticking to the fridge. If you go to many of these markets, but one or two have been left off, do let me know! I may do a revision later in June. You can see absolutely every market in and around Boston right here.

Our favorite all American advocate and blogger ACL posted about lawn chair season beginning last weekend and he’s right! What I’ve been missing in my active walk-to-the-park, sit, walk-home lifestyle is a something like this. Light, foldable, tightly webbed, I’ll be the envy of the senior citizens!

He links to these American made beauties, here’s my favorite:

$27.49, friends.

Frequently I wonder what my children in the future will think of my internet presence now. If my mom had a blog, I wonder, would I find it and go back through the archives, reading all of it? Would I ignore it? Would I be embarrassed by what she shared there?

So I was delighted to read this bit from Sam Lamott, whose mom Anne Lamott famously wrote an entire book about Sam’s first year of life. In the preface to their new book (about his son, Anne’s grandson), he writes how he feels when reading the last book:

To this day, that book is the greatest gift anyone has given me; I have a very special relationship with it. When I read any of my mom’s books, I hear her voice talking as if she were in the room right next to me. But when I read Operating Instructions, I hear and feel my mother’s love for me, her frustration and dedication, her innermost feelings and favorite moments of my first year with her. I will always cherish these memories of our funny family and our friends, and I will always be able to come back to them even when my mom is too old to remember them herself.

a great tribute to the possibility of blogs, right?

The shops were just waking up, some of them sparely stocked but eagerly open anyway. We stayed with our old roommates, made big dinners and said things like, “the ol’ crew back again!”

We went to the public driving range, bought six baskets at $5 each and sliced away at every last ball.

We sprawled on the beach and let Lux pick up all the bits of crab shell she could find.

I made my first batch of mint lemonade with black tea. Nice in the afternoon. Even better with bourbon in the evening. (five tea bags, one canister frozen lemonade, one bunch mint)

Lux tried my pancakes. She tried my chocolate doughnut. She chewed a marshmallow. A first-sugar-on-the-first-birthday baby she will not be.

We scampered around the grocery store buying ears of corn, loads of fresh dill for potato salad, slabs of salmon for the grill, and extra paper towels.

When Lux napped, we lit a pile of charcoal and had s’mores as an afternoon snack. Joe believes in six squares of Hersheys on each, I grew up with three so six seemed insanely decadent. What about you?

Last year’s Daffodil Festival on Nantucket, and a recap of our last summer there

Today I have a little post on Momfilter (a website I love) about planting cilantro from something in your spice cabinet–coriander seeds! I’m so proud of my little green seedlings. Look how strong they are. From the day I planted them, I think it’s taken about a month to get to this stage:

the May foodswap was last weekend and I made marshmallows! and a good thing too, because Monday, May 21, turned out rainy and cold.

When I made the first batch of marshmallows I thought, “those liars. This is hard! and sticky! Not easy like they promised me on the internets.” But after that I made the next two in quick succession and it seemed much easier. A marshmallow recipe is a good one to make while you’re replying to emails or doing something else; there is a lot of waiting time where the watched pot likes to be left alone.

Toasted Coconut, Lillet spiked, and Chocolate Cinnamon.

The toasted coconut was crunchy and squishy (I’m using all the leftover coconut in my oatmeal these days), the Chocolate Cinnamon had unexpected chunks of ultra dark chocolate hidden throughout, the Lillet spiked ones tasted of citrus with an alcohol twist dusted in powder sugar and brilliantly white. They were my favorite.

They were very popular at the swap–too popular. I only made 10 bags, and 12 people signed up to trade with me, and I wanted to trade with a few more after that! It was hard to decide how to trade, and I didn’t like not having enough for everyone! (aren’t the labels appropriate? Joe made them for me, the font is called Bello.)

I traded for a jar of chive kimchi, a jar of mole sauce, a bag of homemade cheddar crackers, a container of marinated mozzarella balls, a beautiful lemon poppy seed cupcake filled with violet jelly with mascarpone frosting, strawberry-sherry compote, a jar of arugula pesto, four decadent marshmallow brownies, a mini loaf of onion bread, and a bag of homemade chai! As usual I was stunned and awed at the awesome things everyone brought.

My friend Johanna made the chai and I thought the packaging turned out irresistible! How pretty are these?

Several of you commented that you would like to start a foodswap in your town. I think you should! You would probably need to recruit about 5-7 people to get it started, and then spread the word! The most unexpected people participate and really get into it.

Corners of Beacon Hill truly feel like a scene from that enchanting childhood movie, A Secret Garden. “What wonderful world is behind here?” you find yourself asking, much like Mary Lennox and Colin Craven. Usually you can see a tiny peep through the gate, and my imagination takes over from there, envisioning the most remarkable sanctum possible, lined with lush green grass, sprightly rose bushes, and the most comfortable hammock imaginable.

So of course I had to pack up Lux and go on the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill tour. This one-day annual event is a self-guided tour costs $30 and included sixteen gardens, all in the relatively tiny area of Beacon Hill.

At each stop you were greeted by a friendly local gardener wearing a cheerful yellow apron. Doors were flagged with little yellow banners so you could spot them from down the hill.

I loved these old windows and brick pattens. This garden was mostly shaded so everything was green and somewhat Japanese inspired.


This seemed enormously clever and fun to me: a garden behind a garage door. There were several of these! When the car is pulled out, you practically have a courtyard. And: you still have a parking spot at the end of the day!

This tiny alley approaching one of the gardens had been lined with little glass vases:Image

and around the corner you could see: the sweetest sun-dappled playspace:


I took this photo from a garden that had been there for sixty years! That’s how you get trees like that in the city—inherited gardens.


And here: this sunny corner wasn’t on the tour but this is really my type of hideaway. Simple, unmanicured, the greens are growing as they like, and the sun is just pouring in. I hope whoever owns this corner gets to bask here frequently, with a friend and a glass of lemonade. And maybe a cat. And stack of books…

To be honest, finally getting to see a few of these places was really good for me. I didn’t walk away jealous and wishing I could add another $2,000 to our monthly rent so I too could have a well-terraced square foot of my own. After seeing a few of the gardens, a friend and I took our babies to the Common to let them frolic. There was sun and shade everywhere, school kids to watch, new construction to examine, and fresh cut lawns. It was lovely, free, and open to everyone. And that is a true oasis.


Do you go out secretly hoping the Sartorialist is circling your block? I know I do. But the truth is Boston usually gets hmmm-ed over when people talk about style. I’m convinced it’s because we are academics and readers are tooo sexy for those stylists.

But anyway. Boston has a new street style photographer blogger! Her name is Krista and I met her at the SOWA Market on Saturday. Incidentally, the Sowa market was incredibly popular and hot. I think I bought three different drinks in the span of forty-five minutes.

I’m wearing a skirt from Zara. It is hard to say which elicits more random compliments: the skirt or the sandals. Big plus to the skirt, as my friend says, “it gives you breezes.” Meaning on a hot day you feel rewarded for wearing it. I can’t find the exact one but here are two that look just like it.

Good luck Krista! I believe in your mission.

Atlas Farm had pints of organic strawberries, stacked on shelves like the new bestselling novel, for $4.50 each.

The Siena Farm stand had bags of every green the fields could possibly muster right now–bok choy, young garlic, fava bean greens. And a basket strewn with oyster mushrooms, gold and brown. I picked a bag bursting with “braising greens” a mix to be tossed in a pan with olive oil and garlic. That, I can do.

Hamilton Orchards was back with their stacks of cider doughnuts, unbelievably fresh and cinnamon scented. There is no season (especially a rainy early summer) that doesn’t ask for an cider doughnuts.

L.A. Burdicks, (on the way to Copley Square, of course) has their serving license at last and is serving iced chocolates, but I couldn’t resist a tiny cup of dark hot chocolate to cheer their new location.

True story: it all came out with Oxyclean.