life in a tiny apartment.

    October 16, 2017

    sick day in a tiny apartment | reading my tea leaves#157 Give Yourself a Sick Day

    I spent much of my childhood engaged in long drawn-out games of make-believe. Some of these games featured bucolic scenarios of apple picking or making feasts of mud soup for a celebration, but for the most part I pretended to be in the grip of tragedy. The scenarios I acted out with my best friend, Allison, were particularly bleak. Someone or another was usually in the midst of perishing from consumption or scarlet fever. (One winter, when Allison was unfortunate enough to come down with scarlet fever for real, we were thrilled by the diagnosis.) In our games we readied imaginary medicines, stoked imaginary fires, and brought another blanket to pile atop the stricken friend, no matter if we were playing in the middle of August’s hottest days. There was much hand wringing over each other’s imagined imminent demise.

    We can unpack the psychology of a childhood spent play acting suffering at another time, but the memories of those imaginary sick days come to mind on the mercifully rare occasion when someone in our apartment is, indeed, ill. Mostly because there’s an awful lot of bustling around the place while the poor suffering soul is laid up smack in the middle of it.

    So, how to have a sick day in a tiny apartment? Here goes: 

    Get out: We get by mostly by having as many healthy people as possible leave the apartment for as long as possible. This is our strategy for surviving life in a tiny apartment generally, but when someone’s not feeling well, we try especially hard to make sure that those who can are spending long days out of the apartment.

    Distract: Getting sick with little guys underfoot is a challenge regardless of the space you live in, but not having a bedroom door to shut, or a way to create a little physical distance can complicate things even more. When we have to be inside, we try to center the healthy person activity in just one spot—like the kids’ bedroom, or the corner with our kitchen—to try to afford the person who’s under the weather the space to rest. When a parent is sick, we find the best way to give that person a little space is to distract the rest of the family with an activity that’s fairly all-consuming like a baking project, or fort construction, or, even, a bubble bath. Build an epic enough fort or draw a bubbly enough bath, and someone might even be able to sneak in a nap.

    Quarantine: Containing germs when your sick bed is feet from the kitchen table is paramount, but we find that practicing regular good hygiene, like washing hands frequently, washing bed linens often, and putting a trash bin next to the bed to catch extra tissues, helps us from infecting the whole apartment when one of gets sick.sick day in a tiny apartment | reading my tea leaves


    For the curious:

    + The only storage in our tiny apartment bathroom is a partially broken mirrored medicine cabinet from the 1960s. We use that for toothbrushes and toothpaste and a few other toiletries, but our medicines and bandaids, thermometer and nail scissors, we keep out of reach of the kiddos in a wall-mounted first-aid box. It’s been the perfect small and simple solution for our needs. Maybe for yours, too.

    + We try to use washable hankies for day-to-day nose blowing, but when we’re really under the weather, we indulge in disposable tissues to keep laundry and germs under control. For when we do have a box in the house, this linen tissue box cover solves the dilemma of the ever-ugly tissue boxes. 

    What about you guys? Sick day challenges in your spaces? (Can I interest you in some elderberry syrup?)

    Tiny apartment survival tips #1-156, RIGHT THIS WAY.

    my week in objects (mostly).

    October 13, 2017

    five little things that made my week. 

    1. this umbrella.

    {and a rare moment of weather-related preparedness.}

    2. these moody hydrangeas.
    {for being even prettier all crisped up.}

    3. this relocated diaper pail.
    {because moving it to the other side of the dresser made all the difference.}

    4. these play silks.
    {in the colors of fall.}

    5. this organza scrap.

    {for muffling the door slams.}

    other things:

    native land.

    inflatable luggage.

    revive the ancient dream of knowing everything…”

    worn in new york.

    museums + snacks.


    a reminder.

    you are rarely presented with even a single good option.

    the man in the hotel room is to blame.

    make-believe: dreaming.

    October 11, 2017

    dreaming | reading my tea leaves


    We’re in that period of sleep post-baby where I’m starting to feel like I can’t even remember what it’s like to sleep through the night. Close your eyes in the evening and don’t open them again until morning? Start the day feeling refreshed? Preposterous. Silas has recently decided he very much wants to hang out with his parents in the middle of the night. (Not nurse. Not cry. Just chill, wide awake and wriggling.) We’re coping (and trying to convince him otherwise), but I’m admittedly very tired and very much daydreaming about a good night’s sleep. Here, a few dreamy objects to complete the picture:

    A quilted throw for snuggling under.

    A kyanite cluster for sweet dreams and meditation.

    moonstone for a bit of pretty and a bit of calm.

    A pillow filled with wheat berries for soothing tired eyes.

    A mobile for hanging above the bed.

    A stump for a bedside book.

    A carafe for whiskey water.

    A brass wall lamp that a baby can’t knock over.

    Tea to help sleep come.

    Slippers in case of emergency.

    In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few things we can do to help DREAMers today:

    To protect DREAMers and other immigrants: Get informed and pick up the phone. On September 5, 2017,  the current administration announced it would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Until October 5, 2017, certain DACA recipients had the opportunity to renew and receive a final two-year period of DACA. Now that the deadline has passed, we need to support immigrant youth more than ever. Understand the issues by familiarizing yourself with these handy explainer guides.

    To change the conversation: Help rewrite the story. Define American believes in the power of storytelling to make meaningful change. With a mission to use storytelling to “transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America,” Define American uses the power of media and entertainment to change the current political conversation surrounding immigrants. Do your part by joining the #wordsmatter campaign. Commit to changing the way you speak about immigrants.

    To defend immigrants’ legal rights: Support the Immigrant Defense Project, which “works to secure fairness and justice for immigrants in the United States.” Among their many initiatives, the IDP challenges unjust laws targeting immigrants, works to end the criminalization of immigrants, combats negative perceptions of immigrants, and empowers communities by providing important educational resources about the American legal system. Donate to support their work, here.


  • zero-waste progress report.

    A few months ago, at a dinner out, Faye popped her head over the top of the restaurant booth and saw the party next to us drinking from cocktails with plastic straws.  “That’s not…

    October 10, 2017 34 Comments
  • my week in objects, mostly.

    five little things that made my week: 1. this apple cider in this mug.  {because for a day there it was cool enough to warm it up and have a snuggle.} 2. this tub…

    October 6, 2017 12 Comments
  • baby proof: baby proofing.

    We’re in it. That mildly mind-wrecking moment when the tiniest human among us is making daily work of investigating every nook and cranny in our apartment and identifying for us yet another potentially hazardous corner…

    October 4, 2017 32 Comments
  • habit shift: natural cleaners.

    I’ll begin by stating the obvious which is that I have neither a degree in chemistry, nor a desire to wax poetic about the joys of house cleaning. I have a house that often…

    October 2, 2017 33 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week. 1. this sweater.    {i’ve got some colorful plans for you, little bud.} 2. this book. {spotted on the sidewalk by a little friend who insisted upon rescuing it…

    September 29, 2017 22 Comments