my week in objects (mostly).

    June 23, 2017

    five little things that made my week.

    1. these peas and beans.
    {because, well, they’re growing!}

    2. this sunscreen

    {so. many. recommendations. i bought this one for little guys (plus parents) and it’s not at all terrible. opposite! currently wearing.}

    3. these popsicle sticks.
    {for being washed and ready to go. again. on repeat.}

    4. this kettle.


    {for being just the kettle improvement we needed.}

    5. these toes.

    {as usual.}

    other things: 

    performing pregnancy. also.

    still we rise.

    squiggles, trees, and ribbons.

    tree map.

    a year of service.

    my son is a hashtag.

    common sense.

    like it or not, reproduction is hopeful and earnest and excruciatingly vulnerable.

    adolescence was our first confrontation with the magnetic unknowability of other humans.

    east coast edition, needed!

    call your senators. (here’s what pediatricians are saying. here are state-by-state talking points.) 

    simple stuff: laundry hampers.

    June 21, 2017

    simple stuff: laundry hampers | reading my tea leaves Simple Stuff: A new series devoted to talking about the stuff that might prove useful or helpful or otherwise necessary while making a home in a small apartment or anywhere. Its aim is to provide a bit of inspiration for simplifying your space sustainably and stylishly. Its contention is that what’s useful can be beautiful, and that you might already have everything you need.

    For me, one of the most interesting revelations of living in small spaces deals with precisely the conundrum that something as mundane as a laundry hamper presents. When you head off to sleep and eat your dinner and entertain your guests all within spitting distance (and plain view) of your laundry hamper, suddenly you find yourself invested in what it looks like. Apply this same scenario to most everything in your small home and you’ve got yourself a lot of thinking to do before buying anything new. 

    Lately, James and I have been spending inordinate amounts of time thinking about laundry, which is admittedly something of a bore. Does everyone have clean underwear? Are we out of burp cloths again? (Silas!) How many napkins can one family dirty in the span of a week? Where’s my only well-fittting bra? At the very bottom of the hamper, no doubt.

    For the last five years or so, we’ve been using a lidded cloth hamper, but with the addition of a fourth extremely spit-up prone member of our family, the hamper started to literally burst at the seams. So began our search for something larger but still sufficiently svelte for a small space.

    The good news is that while there’s an abundance of collapsible mesh hampers out there, there are simple, not-so-ugly options that work well in small spaces, too. In case you’re also spending too much time pondering the perfect laundry solution, here’s what we found to work for us:

    As with everything, specifics of laundry sorting and storing come down to preferences and facilities. In our family, a large hamper keeps our dirties contained until we bag them up to get hauled to the laundromat. Space constraints mean we need something narrow enough to fit in the space next to James’s dresser. It’s a spot that’s only half-hidden by a sheer curtain and so I wanted our hamper to be something that I don’t mind seeing first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I also wanted our solution to be one that felt like it would be workable in another space whenever the time comes for us to leave our current apartment behind. Unable to find a satisfactorily simple lidded option, I eschewed that criteria, and focused instead on finding a hamper that was slim, washable, and in my humble opinion, pleasant to look at. simple stuff: laundry hampers | reading my tea leaves

    Ultimately we opted for the Steele Canvas Small Bag Caddie made in Massachusetts. Designed for use on a factory floor, the sturdy caddy comes with a large canvas bag that stays in place with the help of tension and comes off easily for sorting and hauling. (Since we’re hauling laundry up and down four flights, for now we’ve decided to keep our canvas bag in place on the caddy and continue to use the cloth laundry bags we already own for the actual journey to the laundromat. We might eventually opt to buy a second bag from Steele Canvas if that proves more useful.) To cut down on laundry-day sorting, we keep a smaller canvas bag looped around the top and hanging into the main bag. Anything that needs to be hung dry goes directly in there, everything else goes into the main bag.simple stuff: laundry hampers | reading my tea leaves

    + For folks hoping to streamline their sorting even more, I love the idea of these Uashmama Laundry Bags (made from washable paper!). They’re sturdy enough to stand up on their own and can be purchased separately or as a set and attached one to the next to create a tidy package. 

    + For folks who are even shorter on space (and hopefully also shorter on laundry), I’m also a proponent of simply using a large heavy-duty canvas tote for laundry wrangling. I’ve been using this Tall Natural Canvas Tote from Steele Canvas to house the various RMTL-related stuff that comes in and out of our apartment, but it’s large enough that it could work as a terrific hamper in its own right. (If you want to go the full custom route, classic L.L.Bean totes are still made in Maine and you can pick all of your own colors (or lack thereof).)

    + For folks who already have a hamper, thankyouverymuch, but who might be looking for an alternative to the laundromat-issued nylon bag and an upgrade from the inexpensive cotton bags that we use (I’ve repaired small holes in them twice, for what it’s worth), these linen laundry bags from RMTL sponsor Son de Flor look lovely.

    What about you? Favorite simple hamper solutions? (Insert pun about airing dirty laundry here.)

    summer vacation, two ways.

    June 20, 2017

    summer vacation two ways | reading my tea leavesTomorrow is the first official day of summer. I’m getting my annual itch to play hooky, kick off my shoes, and run around barefoot.

    Whether or not you’ve got an actual summer vacation in the works, here’s a little encouragement to take extra advantage of warm weather, and long days, and, yes, pink wine season. In other words, here’s to luxuriating in every bit of summertime that you can, when you can, even if you’re doing it in the midst of totally average work week. 

    Where to start? Take a page from the book of childhood summers:

    Eat berries, two ways:
    Straight from the fridge, on the cool kitchen floor, in your undies.
    + Cozied under a blanket of drop biscuits.

    Play outside, two ways:
    + Practice the Japanese medicine of shirin-yoku. In other words, take a long walk in the woods.
    + Get yourself to Storm King to frolic amidst the sculptures.

    Go swimming, two ways:
    + Head to a pool, or a river, or the ocean. Do a cannonball.
    + Indulge in a special bathing suit

    Feel the wind in your hair, two ways:
    + Take free rides on the Staten Island Ferry. Wave to the Statue of Liberty.
    + Take a fancy sail on the Hudson. (BYO cornichons.)

    Tackle your summer reading list, two ways:
    + Dust off your library card (or sign up for a new one). Better still, read on the train.
    + Head to your local indie bookstore. Leave with a fresh stack to finish before the summer’s end.

    Enjoy a s’more, two ways:
    + Hunt for the perfect fallen twig. Turn it into a roasting stick. Gloat to your family members that yours is the best. 
    + Get yourself a set of fancy skewers. Miss out on some of the fun, but don’t risk losing your ‘mallow.

    Watch the sunset, two ways:
    + Sneak up to a nearby rooftop. Bring along a glass of chilled rosé.
    + Head to a slightly more sanctioned spot and take in the views from up there (plus pizza).

  • habit shift: sunscreen.

    I’m just a little less than two weeks from turning thirty-three. Yes, I’m feeling old. And vain.  Enter sunscreen. It’s no newsflash that I should be wearing it. Skin cancer rates are startling. The…

    June 19, 2017 181 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

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    June 16, 2017 18 Comments
  • make-believe: building sandcastles.

    When the truly hot weather hits (and it has), sometimes the only thing to do is brave the long subway ride to the beach. We’re dreaming up a breezy little Father’s Day trip oceanside. The…

    June 15, 2017 8 Comments
  • life in a tiny apartment.

    Tip #152: Love thy neighbor.  Come June, when the sun sets late and long days spent outside result in no nap for Faye and an early bedtime instead (thank goodness for small blessings), James and…

    June 13, 2017 40 Comments
  • zero-waste produce storage.

    Two weeks ago Faye and I found ourselves on a very early morning farmers’ market run. The intention had merely been to get out of the apartment where we’d been trying our best not…

    June 12, 2017 71 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

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    June 9, 2017 10 Comments