my week in objects (mostly).

    July 22, 2016

    five little things that my week. 

    1. this harmonica.harmonica_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2072

    {because it’s been lost at the laundromat for two months, but it finally made its way home.}

    2. this tiny garden.herbs_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2072.jpgIMG_2063

    {because i finally cleaned it up after our month away. and the view looks right again.}

    3. this tiny brass ball.incense_ball_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2056

    {because i’ll take any calming ritual i can get.}

    4. these cherries.cherries_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2072.jpgIMG_2070

    {because sometimes everyone needs to snack straight from the fridge.}

    5. this shell.shell_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2072.jpgIMG_2060

    {because it made me kinda sad that it finally broke, but it had such a sweet run as a necklace charm.}

    other things:

    being honest about trump

    passion for collecting. (to visit.)

    old ‘n new.

    senior move managers.

    estate sale wallpaper via frolic.

    boards, reorganized.


    a brief yet glorious window. (live cam!)

    caring for yer linen.

    make your own: maraschino cherries.

    July 21, 2016

    make your own maraschino cherries | reading my tea leaves

    It’s sour cherry season here in New York. Blink and you’ll miss it, so here’s a project to make it last a little longer.

    First, a few facts:

    Maraschino is a dry liqueur made from Marasca sour cherries.

    Maraschino cherries were traditionally made from stewing fresh fruit in water and sugar and preserving them in a bath of the cherry-flavored liqueur that gives the cherries their name.

    The modern-day Maraschino cherry  that you find bobbing up and down in Shirley Temples and falling down the sides of sundaes has little to do with the original. They’re typically made from cherries that have been bleached and then re-infused with red dye and corn syrup and other unsavories. These imposters were born during the Prohibition when boozy cherries were banished and they’ve remained the most commonly known cocktail and sundae cherry ever since. 

    But! If you like to frequent fancy Brooklyn ice cream parlors—and I do—you will often find Luxardo maraschino cherries on the menu. In contrast to the sickly sweet bright red cherries of my favorite childhood mocktail, these cherries are made using Luxardo maraschino liqueur and the cherries that result are a deep red and very delicious.

    You can find Luxardo cherries pre-made in speciality shops, but at more than $20 a jar, they’re a definite luxury. And so? Make your own!make your own maraschino cherries | reading my tea leaves

    To be clear: making your own Luxardo cherries is still something of an exercise in indulgence. Sour cherries at our local farmers’ market run about $5/pound and a large bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur cost me about $30. But even at this rate, you could make yourself a jar of cherries every summer for the next five summers and still come out way ahead. (You could also clean out your local sour cherry farmer and make a large batch in one go to preserve for future summers.)
    make your own maraschino cherries | reading my tea leaves

    The process is simple; the results delicious. My cherries came out slightly brighter in color than the Luxardo cherries I’ve enjoyed out and about, but I think that mostly has to do with the color of the sour cherries I started with. I cobbled together my recipe from recipes found on Brooklyn Brainery and A Cozy Kitchen.

    Maraschino Cherries

    What you need:

    1 pound or so sour cherries, washed and pitted (you can also use sweet, if you prefer.)

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/2 water

    juice from half a lemon

    1/2 fresh vanilla bean (or vanilla extract to taste)

    1 cup Luxardo maraschino liqueur

    make your own maraschino cherries | reading my tea leaves

    What to do:

    1. Wash and pit your cherries. Note: If you’re my mom, that means you pull out your very handy cherry pitter and get to work. If you’re me, you whip out a chopstick. I promise it’s nearly as easy to pit a cherry this way. Just remove the stem and poke your chopstick into the place where the stem was and into the center of the cherry. If you don’t care about having two holes, you can push the pit easily out the other side. If you want limited damage done to your cherry, make your hole in the top and then just urge the pit out with a little squeeze of your fingers.make your own maraschino cherries | reading my tea leaves

    2. Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla into small saucepan. (I split my vanilla bean open and scraped the inside into the pot before adding the rest of the bean.) Bring to a boil. Add cherries and simmer for 5-6 minutes while the syrup thickens. make your own maraschino cherries | reading my tea leaves

    3. Remove cherries from the heat and add Luxardo liqueur. Allow to cool before pouring into a clean jar for storage. (If you want to give your cherries as gifts, consider processing them in a water bath as you would jam or jelly to preserve them. Otherwise, refrigerate and use within a few weeks. Or days. Or minutes.)make your own maraschino cherries | reading my tea leaves

    For the curious:

    I found my Luxardo locally at Heights Chateau.

    The pretty checkered napkin is from Everyday Napkin Co.

    The delicious ice cream is from local favorite, Van Leeuwen.

    make your own maraschino cherries | reading my tea leaves

    growing a minimalist wardrobe: summer shoes.

    July 20, 2016

    I’ve already written my two cents on shoes and a minimalist wardrobe. I don’t have a perfect formula, but I do have a few thoughts about comfort and quality. (You can read all about that here.)

    While my current personal collection is motley mix of shoes from both conventional and ethical sources, I thought it might be nice to point out seasonal options for folks looking to grow their own collection of shoes with an eye toward sustainability and ethical production.

    As always, I’m not suggesting throwing all of your shoes to the curb and filling up your closet with new ones. But should new summer sandals be something that you need, and in case you’re on the hunt for a pair that’s been thoughtfully made, here’s a list of summer shoes—dress up and casual—that I’ve come across that might fit the bill. 

    Bryr Clogs: It’s no secret that I love a nice pair of clogs. If I were to invest in a new pair, I’d choose one of the stunners from SF-based Bryr clogs. Their shapes are super elegant and I love the attention to detail and the colors of the leathers that they use. I think the Hannah Spanish Toe Sandal is my favorite. All of their clogs are made to order; custom orders available. Made in the USA.

    Marais USA: For the vegans in the crowd, these guys have your back. I wore a pair of their faux patent-leather oxfords to my wedding going on four years ago. It was their colorful collection of slides that really caught my eye this year. Founder and designer Haley Boyd moved her production (and herself) to LA last year. (Follow her instagram account for a daily movie starlet vibe and peeks behind-the-scenes.) Made in the USA.

    Mohinders: I met founder Michael Paratore in New York this spring and he sent me home with a pair of his City Slippers to try. I admit they took some getting used to. I kept flinging them off my feet at first, but they’ve since fully molded to my feet and I never want to take them off. I’ve worn them almost exclusively since coming home from France. Not dressy, definitely comfy. (Shown above.) Ethically made in India.

    Nisolo: I’ve found the solution to my summer (and winter!) dress shoe woes in Nisolo. The Nashville-based company makes their shoes ethically in Peru. I purchased a pair of their Elizabeth Slides to wear to weddings this summer and they’ve been so comfortable and easy to wear. Worth noting: Their shipping and returns process is unusually friendly and efficient. Ethically made in Peru.

    Proud Mary: This Charleston-based brand works with global artisans to execute modern designs using traditional methods. They’ve worked with artisans from Morocco for a number of years to produce romantic raffia sandals for summertime. This year, their strappy sandals are my favorite. Ethically made globally.

    Zuzii: I first learned about these guys after admiring their very elegant baby shoes, but have since fallen for their line of shoes for grown-ups. Their lace-up sneakers and sandals look especially wonderful. All of their shoes are handmade to order; custom orders also available. Made in the USA.

    Any others I should know about?

    PS. I get tons of questions about the Saltwater Sandals I wear. I love them—they were one of two pairs of shoes I brought with me to France—but they don’t win any particular prizes for sustainability beyond their ability to last for really a long time. (No small feat!) 

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    habit shift: water.

    This post is partially about shifting a habit so that I drink a reasonable amount of water in a day. And partially about shifting habits in an effort to conserve water.The two ventures can…

    July 18, 2016 42 Comments
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    my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week. 1. this brush.{because it’s me against the daily ton of playground sand coming into our apartment (i’m losing.)}2. this “gallery.”{courtesy of grammy.}3. this fleur de sel.{a sprinkle on…

    July 15, 2016 8 Comments
  • make-believe: summer reading | reading my tea leaves

    make-believe: summer reading list.

    Oh, the joys of a summer reading list. So much time, so many options, so many opportunities to collect gold star stickers for all of your efforts. As an adult the gold star stickers…

    July 13, 2016 35 Comments
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    summer comfort with tradlands.

    This post is sponsored by Tradlands, a women’s clothing brand specializing in button-up shirts made in the USA.It’s a conundrum: your favorite worn-in button-up is just right for most occasions and just wrong for others.…

    July 12, 2016 41 Comments
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    sunprints for a sunny day.

    Sometimes you just have to make yourself do something. You have an idea, or the memory of an idea, and you say: Oh, I should find the time to do that again. What fun…

    July 11, 2016 10 Comments
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    my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week.1. this blanket.{and picnics.} 2. these books. {because it’s so nice to be reunited.}3. this fan. {for working overtime.}4. this scene.{because you never know what’s gonna amuse.}5. these cherries.{and eating…

    July 8, 2016 26 Comments