my week in objects (mostly).

    April 29, 2016

    five little things that made my week.

    1. this old rag rug.
    rag_rug_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8811
    {for filling up the edges of faye’s room a little bit more. for no longer smelling like wet dog. and for being utterly eco-friendly.}

    2. this book.
    blueberries_for_sal_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8810

    {because kuplink.}

    3. this tiny jar of extremely quick pickled radishes.
    radishes_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8844

    {for providing the little punch dinner needed this week.}

    4.  these american-grown beauties
    flowers_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8849
    {for being a totally unexpected surprise on an otherwise grumpy thursday.}

    5. this springtime view.herbs_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8851

    {because even though we’re going away, we decided we needed window ledge herbs for the next month anyway.}

    other things:

    more great podcast recs.

    help a honey out.

    the cost of making your own kombucha.

    how a blog post gets made.

    the woman card.

    good riddance to ‘strong women.’

    making america great again.

    i’m sure i’ve already shared this, but mother’s day marketing has me all hot and bothered.

    on bed sheets.

    April 28, 2016

    bed sheets | reading my tea leaves

    Getting a new bed in a new size, meant needing to make a whole bunch of decisions at once about new sheets. Oof. 

    Turns out it’s not as simple as saying, “I’ll take the cotton ones, please.” 

    I know I’m not alone in my consternation over bedding. Indeed: at the moment of writing, I’m sitting in a café (it’s a theme!) next to a newlywed man regaling his lunch partner with stories about his wife’s failure to notice how ill-fitting their bedsheets are. (I am not making this up.) He also has a complicated-sounding concern about a blanket that “oozes” from below the duvet, but suffice to say that if the end goal is a neat and comfortable bed, it appears that the route there is less direct than it may at first seem. In the words of this gentlemen: “It doesn’t really matter. But it does.”

    In hunting for bed sheets, there was a shocking lot of information to parse—and I’ll pause to say that while I’ve test-driven a whole bunch of sheets in the past month, I’m not an expert on the topic. Don’t ask me my opinion on thread-count, I beg you. (Some people swear by it; other people say it’s hogwash. Most folks agree that anything with more than a 500-thread count is false advertising.)

    Besides, beyond counting threads, there’s other stuff to wonder about. Questions of weave: sateen (smooth) or percale (crisp)? Origins of the cotton: American or Egyptian? Impact on the planet: Organic or conventional? Dyed? (Batch-dyed? Garment dyed?) Bleached? Doused in something or other to make them wrinkle free? There’s the question of what sheets feel like. Do they sleep hot or cold? Do they wear well? Do they hug the mattress or slide around all loosey-goosey? (My café friend would agree this last part is particularly egregious.)

    A lot of this wondering about sheets has to do with personal preference. You might like the way your legs feel jack-knifing over a freshly made bed with sateen sheets and it might make someone else’s skin crawl. You might want a bright white set. You might swear by colors.

    I don’t have all the answers. But through my work in this space I have learned about a few new and not-so-new companies doing nice things with sheets (and otherwise). So here’s a roundup of options I’ve recently vetted in case you’re on the hunt or might be one day:
    bed sheets | reading my tea leaves

    Coyuchi: Coyuchi is well-known for their commitment to the environment. We’ve really enjoyed their 300-Thread Count Percale Set. (They also have a range of sateen cotton and linen sheets should you prefer either.) The set we’ve used is lovely and crisp and cool. For the detail-oriented, they have elegant 7-inch wide hems on sheets and pillow cases that make them look a little more fancy than your average white sheets. They’re Fair Trade and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certified, so you know that more than only being made with organic cotton, the whole supply chain is up to snuff. For these sheets, Coyuchi uses organic cotton grown and woven in India. If you’d prefer an American-grown option, their 500-Thread Count Supima Cotton set are made from American organic Supima cotton and finished in Portugal. (Available as sets or individual sheets.)

    Flaneur: If luxury is what you’re after, Flaneur has your back. These are the only sateen sheets in the bunch. Full-disclosure: I typically think of myself as more of percale kind of person, but these guys are soft without being too soft. Flaneur’s Baudelaire Supima Golden-White Sheet Set isn’t dyed and the result is a beautiful golden-white color that comes from a sheet that’s not been heavily processed. These sheets also have the most beautiful finishes, including beautiful three-fold seams at the corners of the fitted sheets. The company has also made all sorts of other thoughtful choices, including using 100% DNA-tested American-grown, extra-long staple Supima cotton and biodegradable Lyocell thread. (Available as sets or individual sheets.)

    Snowe: I realize this isn’t as important as the sheets themselves, but Snowe Sheets Sets come in their own neat little envelopes and you all know how much I like a neat linen closet. Like everything else sold by Snowe, the idea here is about bringing luxury sheets to homes at more affordable prices by selling direct to consumer. These 500-Thread Count percale sheets are made from long-staple Egyptian cotton and finished in Italy. (Available as sets or—newly!—as individual sheets.)

    Authenticity50: I really appreciate the basic offerings of this white-sheets-only company. It’s another direct-to-consumer model specializing in Made-in-the-USA white bed sheets made from American Supima cotton. These A50 Sheet Sets sheets are truly no frills—and they shrunk a bit after washing a few times—but they’re comfy and soft and proudly made without the formaldehyde or other chemical additives used to make sheets wrinkle-free. They come with a 100-night trial period so you can make sure you really love them before committing 100%.

    Parachute Home: After years of wondering what they’d be like to sleep on, I decided to try out my very first set of linen bed sheets. And I surprised even myself by deciding to add Parachute’s Linen Sheet Set in fog—a lovely light gray—to our rotation of white sheets. I’m on a big-time mission not to overheat this summer in our apartment and linen sheets seem like they might be the answer. Even better: Linen, made from flax, is a more sustainable choice than cotton raw-material wise. As for sleeping on linen? It feels so fancy! We’d done it once before—the bed at Table on Ten where we spent the night this winter was dressed in beautiful charcoal linen—but getting to slip between linen at home felt especially luxurious. (If you’re linen-averse Parachute also sells percale and sateen cotton sheets.) All Parachute Home sheets are Oeko-Tex Certified; so you can rest easy about the supply chain here, too. (Available as sets or individual sheets.)bed sheets | reading my tea leaves

    PS: For the parents in the crowd: I’ll also let you in on the secret that we ended up opting for a waterproof mattress liner, just in case our early morning snuggler has an accident. We found this one affordably and so far, so good! It’s not loud or crinkly like some waterproof covers and it’s vinyl-free.

    PPS: Some folks have questions about how fitted sheets fit on our new 10-inch mattress. The answer is beautifully! All of these sheets have elastic that goes around the whole perimeter of the mattress, so as long as we pull it tight when we first make the bed, it stays in place throughout the week!

    Disclosure: All of these are sheets that I’ve had the chance to test-drive myself. They were provided free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own. 

    podcasting.

    April 27, 2016

    podcasts | reading my tea leaves
    I was marooned in a café recently, minding my own business, when a couple of bros sat behind me and began to wax expert on some kind of startup that at least one of them was very passionate about. There was a lot of dude-ing involved. I don’t know what exactly they were talking about but I do know that they were talking very loudly and that I was des-per-ate for it to stop. And desperate for anything else to drown out the noise. 

    Enduring their conversation did have the happy benefit of reminding me that I’ve been wanting to share a few favorite podcasts where I get to listen to women wax expert, or, be experts, or interview experts. Or just be generally funny.

    Unless I’m doing something with my hands, or editing photos, I can’t work very well while listening to podcasts, but when I am doing those things, podcasts make working by myself so much less boring. In case the same is true for you, here’s a little list of podcasts that I’ve been listening to lately. (I promise this isn’t my not-very-covert way of getting you to listen to podcasts that have had me as guests. It’s just that I’ve had the total pleasure of getting to make a few guest appearances on the shows of badass women this year.)

    2 Dope Queens: I snarf a minimum of five times per podcast. Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are hilarious (and smart and touching) in this hysterical podcast where they riff on race and love and New York City among other things. They bring on comedian friends to do a bit for each podcast. It’s short and funny and so good. PSA: It’s not for the delicate of spirit, so if you’re not comfortable with a bit of adult language every now and then, this might not be the right fit for you. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

    Call Your Girlfriend: I don’t know why it took me so long to really get into this podcast from Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, but I’m so glad that I finally started listening more regularly. I loved this episode with Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. It’s so refreshing to hear a fellow blogger speak candidly about the work of her work (if you know what I mean). Also this one on periods, because obviously. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

    Why Do We Have Things: Rita Mehta, who runs the American Edit, started this podcast with Erin Husted of Hackwith Design House at the beginning of this year. The podcast is a series of conversations with independent designers, artists, and small business owners (and your occasional book-writing blogger;)) about what they do and why they do it. Thoughtful conversations on creative process, product design, ethical businesses, and…stuff! My favorite topic of all. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

    A Few Things With Claire and Erica: I’ve mentioned here before how much I love the weekly newsletter from Of A Kind founders, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo. Their podcast is like a deep-dive into a few of the things they mention there, with the added bonus of getting to listen to the two of them finish each other’s sentences. It’s fun and funny and I learn something new every time I tune in. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

    That’s So Retrograde: When I was out in LA, I chatted away with Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari on their very-California-in-the-best-possible-way podcast. I especially liked their latest episode on zero-waste. (Also def comes with a parental advisory; you’ve been warned, kids.) (Subscribe in iTunes.)

    Please, oh please, share your favorites below.

    PS. More on some of this podcast-y stuff going into my May newsletter this weekend (along with an announcement about a special NYC event next week!). Sign up below in case you haven’t already.

    PPS. For more really great podcast recs, follow my friend Camille Storch (@WaywardSpark) on instagram. She’s a podcast-listening champ. Also, semi-relatedly, she’s a purveyor of amazing raw honey. Save the bees, buy honey.

    (Update: Thank you for all of the great Recommendations! Camille also just pointed out this amazing list of 111 women-hosted podcasts! Boom!)

  • leesa_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8415

    a new mattress from leesa.

    This post is sponsored by Leesa, a mattress company with the simple goal: “to help people sleep better”. I try to shy away from hyperbole. So when I say that our recent mattress upgrade…

    April 26, 2016 37 Comments
  • drop_cloth_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8719

    life in a tiny apartment.

    Tip #138: Keep a drop cloth hanging around. There were five times in the past month when I’ve wanted to ball up our canvas drop cloth and leave it curbside in hopes of never seeing it…

    April 25, 2016 20 Comments
  • tulips_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8635

    my week in objects (mostly)

    five little things that made my week. 1. these ruffly tulips. {because, ruffly tulips.}2. these new chair seats. {for mostly working the way i thought they might. thank god for helpful friends. more soon.}3.…

    April 22, 2016 9 Comments
  • on_trend_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8354

    growing a minimalist wardrobe: on trend.

    I use the subway as my barometer. Once I’ve officially started a seeing a pattern of women wearing the same confusing thing on the subway, I  know it’s a trend. Inevitably, I’m late to the…

    April 20, 2016 36 Comments
  • spring_tradlands_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8249

    new for spring from tradlands.

    This post is sponsored by Tradlands, a women’s clothing brand specializing in button-up shirts made in the USA.Just in time for weather that feels like spring, a new lightweight coat and seven organic shirts from Tradlands. Reading My…

    April 19, 2016 15 Comments
  • sublet_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8231

    a little bit of brooklyn?

    We’re taking off for little spell. Maybe you’re just landing?We’re leaving in late May to spend the month of June in the tiny Breton home of my godparents in France. While we’re on our adventure, we’re hoping…

    April 18, 2016 20 Comments