The saying, “easy does it!” reminds me of a few things. First, my dad, telling me this growing up and even now as an always-busy, probably-over-doing-it all the time young adult. Secondly, how easy some things can be now, once discovered. Cue Just Add Cooking, a local (Dorchester-based) company, who delivers wholesome “meal kits” full of fresh, pre-measured, and high quality ingredients that are carefully packed and delivered right to your home.
Recently moving in with my boyfriend, and me being a very picky semi-vegan (I wish I could quit cheese), with a newish job and lots of afterwork activities, we were falling into a huge food rut. He’s a meat eater, but I get grossed out by cooking meat, so we compromise and have only a handful of recipes we ate on a rotating weekly basis, until neither of us wanted to see any of our go-to recipes for a very long time.
Just Add Cooking was a perfect solution for our busy, new life. During the week you can see available menu options, both meat friendly and meat free, select what you’d like and schedule your delivery. We had ours arrive on a Sunday afternoon, actually while I was at yoga. Everything was carefully packed and items that needed to be kept cold, were. We selected three veggie meals that we wouldn’t normally dare cook, or even have the ingredients to do so without paroozing Whole Foods for a few hours to find! The ingredients were carefully labeled and measured out for each recipe. I absolutely adored that all of the locally sourced ingredients were specially labeled, such a nice touch! The box, very thoughtfully suggested which recipe to cook first, to make sure we kept the freshness factor in mind. Each recipe was so clearly laid out, that even a wanna-be chef like me who considers making zoodles with my spiralizer a gourmet meal, could whip up each in around a half hour.
From a convenience factor, without sacrificing quality, freshness or healthy eating, Just Add Cooking was a major win for me. Being a very picky eater, it was interesting to see how the options changed each week, but I found that making modifications was easy when their wasn’t a perfect fit and it challenged me to try and discover some new meals that I wouldn’t have normally thought I could cook, or enjoy!
Use code REFGSFY for $20 off your first order when you sign up!
If you’re anything like me, being snowed in what seems like every other day this month, meant lots of wine and lots of carbs, yoga pants but no gym. I found myself on-demanding work outs, and laughing as I tried to get through them. It couldn’t be a more perfect time for a new, high intensity work out to arrive in Boston and kick our carb filled you-know-whats.
FlyBarre, an unparalleled total body sculpting experience, opens today at Flywheel’s Boston flagship studio. The high-energy, full-body workout blends the best of light weight training, dance and core strengthening exercises to systematically target each muscle group through a sequence of focused movements, or “pulses.” With an emphasis on arm, abdominal, thigh and seat regions, FlyBarre quickly reshapes the body to create lean, strong and elongated muscles.
FlyBarre Boston will offer both 45 and 60-minute sessions that are choreographed to contemporary playlists, curated by best-in-class instructors. The Boston studio is equipped with showers, lockers with electronic charging ports, a water filtration system and full amenities. Every FlyBarre session comes with complimentary towel service.
Location: Prudential Center, 800 Boylston Street
For class times visit: www.flywheelsports.com/boston
Hope to see you there!
(Photo credit: Flywheel Sports)
Beth Briggs is a local artist who’s debuting her fashion illustrations at Neatly Nested, this Wednesday night, February 18th. I had a chance to catch up with her before the event, here’s what you need to know:
+ Tell us a little bit more about your illustrations before you launched your blog and Etsy shop?
I graduated from Wellesley College in 1986 with a BA in Art History/Studio Art and it was my dream at that time to move to NYC and become a Fashion Illustrator – it was really all I ever wanted to be! Unfortunately, the timing was terrible, with the rise and height of the “Supermodel” phenomenon and fashion photography, as a result the fashion illustration market all but dried up! Instead, I focused on fashion design, and sewed for myself and my daughters when they were young. I became interested in illustrating again, more recently, when I began creating custom bridal portraits for friends and co-workers. I thought it would be fun to create a fashion illustration to give as Christmas presents in 2012 and the response was encouraging so I opened my Etsy shop!
+ Why do you think 50 was such a pivotal year for you to bring light to your illustrations in this digital way?
Turning 50 for me has been very liberating. My kids are grown up (for the most part) and I have the flexibility of taking some vocational and personal risks. Besides, 50 is the new 35!
I had always avoided social media until a year ago when I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B-School as a bday present to myself (an 8 week online course which helps “big-hearted creatives” build their brand). I learned all about the importance of an online presence. I am a very private person so posting has been a stretch for me but it has been critical in building my business. Instagram has been especially effective in terms of sharing my illustrations and connecting with a supportive audience. I also follow a host of other illustrators, bloggers and artists on IG – it’s awesome.
+ Speaking of those artists you follow, there has been a boom in artists exposing their work via social media and a new light shown on illustration. Who do you draw inspiration from?
I love Katie Rodgers of Paper Fashion, she has been a huge influence on my desire to pursue a career in fashion illustration, as I have followed her from Reebok to the height of her success in NYC and believe she has almost single handedly reignited the interest in the unique art of fashion illustration.
+ How does your work differ and stand out from artists like that?
I don’t believe in the spirit of competition when it comes to art. There is room for everyone and it is completely subjective. Having said that, I think of myself as an artist first, a fashion illustrator second. One could say that my work differs because my illustrations tend to be less stylistic and more realistic in nature, ie., my models are rarely based on a typical fashion croquis (traditionally 9 heads long). I’ve created my own croquis, that I use as a base, which is a regular person with slightly elongated legs. I like feminine curves and I like color!
+ In a year since launching your blog – what is the coolest (or maybe a few things!) that have happened since?
I was featured in Artful Blogging Magazine this month! That kind of recognition is so meaningful, I’ve worked hard on making my blog an inspiring, visually appealing, fun place to visit.
Another cool thing is the friendships I’ve developed with other bloggers and illustrators- for someone who was reluctant to explore social media it has been a really nice way to meet some really inspiring people from literally all over the world!
+ How to you balance your passion, family and 9-5 responsibilities?
My kids are pretty much grown up so I have a lot more time than I used to! One daughter is living and working in Boston, the other is a senior at NYU and my son (who has autism) is a residential student at the Riverview School on the Cape.
The single most important thing I do to keep everything in balance is to take care of my health at all costs. I turn off my cell phone and get eight hours sleep every night no matter what, start every day with a four mile run and consume as much dark chocolate as my little heart desires every afternoon at about 4pm! All kidding aside, I invest in my emotional, spiritual and physical health before anything else then life just falls into balance.
+ Tell us about your relationship with Neatly Nested Decor? What made you want to get involved with this particular shop and sell your work offline?
I was introduced to Danielle (the owned of Neatly Nested Decor) by my boyfriend’s daughter, Katie McConnell Larkin. I believe she was shopping there around Thanksgiving and she suggested Danielle look at my website. (Thanks, Katie!) I was delighted to visit this beautiful shop and learn about their collaboration with local artists and “makers”. I totally get what Danielle and her team are about and I am so honored that they are giving me this opportunity! Neatly Nested is the perfect home for my prints and custom illustration service.
Neatly Nested is the only retailer in Boston that carries my prints currently.
+ What is so great about live sketching? Do you connect with her during the sketch? (During the launch party, Beth will be sketching a select few event-attendees!)
It is my passion to capture the unique style and beauty of every woman I come across. I love sketching “real women” and my series of “Fashion Stories” which you can find on my blog, was created with that spirit in mind. When I sketch I am telling a story. I’m celebrating your style, unique features and doing my best to create a one of a kind original work of art – a keepsake – something you can’t get just anywhere! It’s probably like being a makeup artist or hairstylist – I want to make you feel beautiful – I love the whole process! I can spend hours illustrating street fashions or red carpet images on Pinterest – but I’d much rather do it in person while you tell me your story.
Catch Beth this Wednesday at Neatly Nested and maybe you’ll get to have your very own illustration done on site! The above lipstick and wellies prints will be available for purchase on site. In addition to Beth’s fashion illustration work, she is available for custom bridal work. For details, visit her site: www.bethbriggs.com.
What’s on your love day list?
Two of my favorite brands have teamed up to create a capsule collection. Meet the New Balance x Kate Spade Saturday limited edition collab that brings an easygoing weekend spirit and style to everyday performance. With playful graphics and signature Kate Spade Saturday colors, New Balance’s latest WX711 and WX811 are ready for both workouts and weekend fun.
The 711, was released last year with an innovative CUSH+ midsole compound, for all day performance and comfort. The 811, just launched this January, also boosts the CUSH+ midsole and mesh upper with Fantom Tape technology for bonded, lightweight, strategically positioned support.
Grey Multi 811- $95
Black & White 811 – $95
Freestyle 711 – $95
Yellow 711 – $95
What color are you picking up?
During a week like this when the snow banks are taller than you and the temperature is dipping oh-so-low, it’s oh-so-easy to catch the winter blues. I’m beating a case with some new additions to my closet, and my trusty royal blue jacket that I scored 1/2 off at the end of last year.
I was recently introduced to Joelle Hawkins by Tresje, a handbag line at the intersection of California cool and New York street style. The sister line to Tresje, the brand is edgy and functional. Meet the Kate bag, a classic saddle bag that can be worn cross body or adjust the strap to fall as low or high on one hip as you want. I typically don’t go for browns, but this easily fit into my wardrobe paired with nubuck booties, an oversized sweater and my new distressed toothpick jeans (that I also scooped up at J.Crew’s current sale!)
How are you beating the winter blues?
For the fitness buff on your to-buy-for list, or even someone who’s getting back in the swing of things for 2015, here are some stylish ways to gift. I’m obsessed with rose gold lately, and you’ll see it pop up in a few other gift guides this week, but I wanted to incorporate it here as you’ve got to feel good about your look if you’re going to work it. I was also introduced to a local start up called Paridaez, who’s mission is to make yoga apparel that works hard for you, transitioning from the office to the studio to the bar. The items in the current Cambridge-based line can all be worn multiple ways depending on your schedule for the day.
Rose Gold FRENDS x BaubleBar Layla Headphones (& bonus earrings) – $175
Lululemon Speed Tight – $94
Tory Burch Fitbit – $195
Paridaez Bird of Paradise Tank (can be worn two ways) – see Kickstarter for more info
Athleta Gleam Tight – $74
Wrap-dress: plunge styles are great for this type of dress, allowing a low enough neckline so as not to show your bra. Use Fashion Tape, if you’re worried about your bra peeking out.
Square-neck, bateau, or wide scoop-neck: demi or balconnet works well with this lower neckline, as they allow the neckline to come front and center, as the bra sits straight across the body. These styles tend to have wider-set straps, with a neckline that is more straight across as opposed to full coverage or plunging.
If you want to be a little risky, hint at what’s beneath, by showing just a hint of the bridge of your bra especially if it has beautiful details and matches with your outfit, but keep it classy. You can control how much or how little you show by using the Fashion tape.