a summertime giveaway with stowaway.

    August 23, 2016

    stowaway contour set | reading my tea leaves

    This post is sponsored by Stowaway, makers of makeup essentials in sizes you can carry and actually finish.

    I’m not one to wax expert on cosmetics, but you already know that I stand on the side of less is more. This is especially true in the summertime when I already feel like the skin on my face is melting. No need to clog up the works further, I say.

    Thankfully, my friends at Stowaway clued me into a secret that most other adult people seem to know which is that in the summertime—and anytime—a little powder can be the answer to makeup woes.
    stowaway contour set | reading my tea leavesThis summer, along with an Essential Eyeshadow Palette, Stowaway released a much-awaited Contour Set. Full disclosure: Before trying the stuff myself, I was convinced it probably wasn’t for me. I thought it would be too fussy, require too much skill, and in my lay person hands, that the result would mimic clown makeup. I stand corrected. Turns out, I’m into it. It’s super easy to use, even without makeup artist skills. So while I haven’t become a master contourer (noun?) overnight, I have come to see the light (pun!) that a little brush of translucent powder or cream illuminator can offer. Combined with the bronzer, it’s like brushing on a bit of polish and luminance without any added weight. I think this set includes my favorite Stowaway products to date.

    Like everything else the cosmetics company makes, the Contour Set is designed to be portable, use-up-able, and safe. All Stowaway products are cruelty-free and EU-compliant as well as being paraben-, phthalate-, and gluten-free. The powder trio features a translucent powder, matte bronzer, and cream illuminator. They each come in the same pint-sized containers as Stowaway’s other products. At half the size and half the price of conventional cosmetics, Stowaway explains that theirs are the sizes we should have been using all along. Their right-sizing philosophy means they’ve made products packaged to be finished before expiration with formulations that are safe, simple, and hardworking. Bonus on the packaging for this particular trio? It’s magnetized so you can keep all three products together in one neat tower. stowaway contour set | reading my tea leaves

    Here are a few more details:

    Translucent powder: As folks in the industry say, it’s a “setting, finishing, and brightening powder.” As I say, it’s like a bit of real-life air brushing. The powder has been triple milled so the texture is silky and the powder goes on smoothly. The light reflectors offer a little glow, but one that’s not shimmery or sparkly. 

    Matte bronzer: I’ve been using the matte bronzer in the light formulation and it’s lovely. It’s got that same subtle glow effect as the translucent powder. I tend to use a super light touch with it, but if you’re into a deep bronze, the more you brush, the more color you build.

    Cream illuminator: Otherwise known as a cream highlighter. It’s a thing to swipe along cheekbones and other features of note. Between you and me, I’ve been thinking of it as giving me that elusive pregnancy glow that the actual baby growing inside me hasn’t yet seemed to produce. 

    Kabuki Brush: An angled brush made with super-soft synthetic fibers ideal for using with powders (and washing frequently). All three powders, including the cream illuminator can go on using the brush. 
    stowaway contour set | reading my tea leaves

    Lucky you, Stowaway is offering FOUR lucky readers the chance to win a Contour Set. The full set includes a Cream Illuminator, Matte Bronzer, Translucent Powder, and Kabuki brush. Follow this link to enter for a chance to take home a set of your own. Apologies international readers, Stowaway is currently only shipping in the US. The giveaway will close on Tuesday, August 31, 2016. Winners will be contacted directly.

    PS. If you’re not one of the lucky four winners, there’s still something for you. If you purchase a Stowaway Essentials Kit, you’ll receive all three contour powders + kabuki brush for free (Add all three powders + brush to your order and enter the code RMTL4FREE to redeem.)

    If you purchase an Stowaway Basics Kit you’ll also receive two contour powders or one contour powder and a kabuki brush. (Add your choice of powders or powder and brush to your order and enter the code RMTL2 to redeem.)

    PPS. For those of you who’ve asked about it in the past, Stowaway now offers a recycling program for their containers! Once you’ve used something up, just pop it in the mail back to Stowaway. Bonus: For every three products that you return, earn a $5 shopping credit! Details here.

    This post is sponsored by Stowaway. Thanks for supporting the brands that support original content on Reading My Tea Leaves.

    life in a tiny apartment.

    August 22, 2016

    organizing cables and cords |reading my tea leaves

    Tip # 142 – Corral Your Cords.

    I don’t usually go in for overly tech-y solutions to small apartment problems. But if someone were to come to my apartment tomorrow and tell me that every single cable and cord could be magically consolidated into one sleek (and tiny, and artful) package that I’d never have to wrestle with, I would sign right up. 

    We don’t even have a lot of cables and cords. There’s no entertainment system to contend with. No desktop computer. No speakers. And yet cords and the plugs at the end of them feel like they’re in constant need of wrangling in my apartment. For me, the trouble is mostly related to the gadgets that bring us the internet.

    When the company Plume came across my radar earlier this summer, I got very excited about what it could mean for the tangle that lives under my bed. And I might well be the first to sign up when they start selling their solutions individually this fall. But that’ll still only solve part of the problem and there are months yet to wait. As it is, we still have the same hulking wireless router that James owned when I first met him.

    An aside: The first words I ever uttered to James were “I heard you have the connection.” I know, not at all awkward. But he did have the connection. The wi-fi connection. And I needed the damn password. The same ancient router that fueled our internet and romance that sticky Georgia summer ten years ago, now lives with the jumble of modem and bedside lamp cords beneath our bed. It makes for a pretty ugly mess, even on a good day. (For the record: Replacing the router of our courtship with something new and tiny would not be the slightest bit bittersweet. Let’s not take sentimentality too far.)

    Here’s the thing: There’s no shortage of “cord solutions” out there. It’s just that most of them are terrible. They’re brightly colored and plastic. Or they’re bulky or ugly and in need of hiding themselves. Or, most often, they solve a very specific problem and not my very specific problem. (Don’t get me started on A/C adapters that take up two outlets worth of space in a surge protector.)

    And while there’s no shortage of pretty cloth-covered outlets and extension cords these days, alas alack, other uglier cords still have to go into them. They’re kind of like the wire baskets of the tech world: pretty when empty but pretty messy when full. 

    END GRUMBLING.organizing cables and cords |reading my tea leaves

    Lately I’ve been on a mission to tackle our cords in new ways. To be clear: this is not the first time I’ve done this. It’s just that cord needs change, and co-habitants unplug your carefully wound cables leaving unfurled chaos in their wake, and solutions that worked for a while simply don’t work any more.

    Here are few recent solutions that have helped our situation. (Don’t think of them as miracle workers; just think of them as somewhat helpful buddies in the fight against cord clutter.)organizing cables and cords |reading my tea leaves

    For wrangling: The chief trouble with most cords is their length. There’s too much of it. Some amount of careful coiling is required. I used waxed twine that I had leftover from another project in my attempts to tame the beasts this go-round. Any twine will do, but waxed twine does have the added advantage of creating a little friction so that everything stays put. (This isn’t the moment for your finest silk ribbon.)organizing cables and cords |reading my tea leaves

    For hiding: Sometimes you just need to hide the effers. Excuse my fake curse. I just hacked a little shelter for my enormous router et cetera. It makes the whole mess basically disappear beneath the bed, which is, precisely, what we’d all prefer. After wrangling the cords as neatly as I could manage, I cut the back off the pretty cardboard box that came in the mail last week and stuck everything inside. Cords, corralled. PS. If blinking and blue lights bother you as much as they do me, allow me to introduce the concept of a strip of black electrical tape. I’ve covered all offending blinkers on our router and modem and it’s made a huge difference.)

    Care to commiserate? Got a genius cord solution? Please share!

    Tiny apartment survival tips #1-141, RIGHT HERE.

    my week in objects (mostly).

    August 19, 2016

    five little things that made my week. 

    1. this rainbow toast.
    tomatoes_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2925{because it’s nice that something so delicious can be made in two minutes flat.}

    2. this envelope.mail_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2941

    {because cousin snail mail.}

    3. this pretty box from becca.box_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2936

    {and it’s possible destiny as unsightly cord hider. TBD.}

    4. these bandaids.bandaids_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2939

    {because we went to ikea for the sole purpose of wandering in air-conditioning. and, apparently, buying a pack of buggie bandaids.}

    5. these bars.bars_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2930

    {because don’t ask how i’m gonna water the flowers, but at least now we can sleep without worrying that our toddler might scale the wall.} 

    other things: 

    before air conditioning.

    final sale.

    spice, delivered.

    wanna write a cookbook?

    spunk needed.

    new song, same sister.

    finally, a pretty music box.

    ps. i’m experimenting with a new newsletter model this week. check your inboxes later this afternoon! (sign up below!)

  • blackout_curtain_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2882

    baby proof: blackout curtains.

    My philosophy on baby gear mostly follows the simple guideline of “wait and see.” That all babies need all of the things is a fallacy manufactured by the people trying to sell babies (or their…

    August 17, 2016 30 Comments
  • rearranging_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2861

    life in a tiny apartment.

    Tip #141: Hone Your Rearranging SkillsI was not a kid who grew up rearranging my bedroom. When I was little, my sister Cait and I shared a room and we didn’t have much of…

    August 16, 2016 34 Comments
  • plum_shrub_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2730

    make your own: plum shrub.

    No, we’re not crafting woody plants with very low hanging fruit. We’re making summery drinks. Allow me to explain. First things first: To get down with shrubs, the drink, you need to have a healthy relationship…

    August 15, 2016 29 Comments
  • guitar_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2577

    my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week.1. this guitar.{and lots of tiny finger strums.}2. these paint cards. {well, actually they kind of bummed me out. picking a paint color is hard. yes, i just wrote…

    August 12, 2016 26 Comments
  • habit_shift_morning_walk_IMG_2515

    habit shift: morning walks.

    I’ve talked about my morning walk habit on and off for years. I’ve been on them, I’ve been off them. I’ve been a daily walker and I’ve fallen into a wintry malaise and hardly…

    August 10, 2016 50 Comments
  • tomato_galette_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2494

    farm stands and tomato galettes.

    A summer tomato fresh from a farm is a thing to eat if you’re feeling like you need a boost of the spirits or a restored faith in magic. That a summer tomato starts as…

    August 9, 2016 17 Comments