make-believe: a studio of one’s own.

    August 31, 2016

    a studio of one's own | reading my tea leaves
    Virginia Woolf wrote about the importance of having a room of one’s own in which to work. The slim volume—two essays really—is worth a reread, though I’d recommend not letting it derail your work morning as it did for me, recently. Woolf contends that on broaching the subject the women and fiction, “All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point—a woman must have money and room of her own….”

    I’m not a fiction writer, generally, but I’d agree that money and a room of one’s own are crucial elements for writing professionally. At this point, I’d also settle for the corner of a room. A quiet corner outside of the space where I also eat and cook and sleep.

    I’m on an unofficial, and certainly slow, search for a studio space to call my own. These last two years of making things work through a combination of perching in coffee shops and stealing back home after naps has started to wear on me.

    I’m ready for a little corner where I can get creative and leave a bit of a mess around (mess being subjective of course). Having the chance to occasionally work from my aunt and uncle’s garage while we stayed in France reminded me of how nice a dedicated work space can be. And how very different that feels from perching in a coffee shop, especially when in addition to writing there are photographs to be made and projects to complete.

    Yes: I’m thinking I need a quiet corner with white walls and a place I could plop my old workhorse of a table-turned-desk. I’d love for it to be close enough to home to make schlepping to and fro feasible and for there to be windows enough to make the space bright. It’s a tall order, but one’s got to get used to making them. Until I stumble upon the perfect spot, here’s a little fantasy list of of what else the space might include:

    A copy of the original.

    A tiny brass ball for burning incense. 

    A simple print frame for hanging inspiration.

    A hammock for lounging.

    A few hooks for staying organized.

    And baskets for the same.

    A stool for standing on to get right the shot.

    A black pendant for shedding a little light.

    A customizable planner to keep me on track.

    texture from garnet hill & eileen fisher.

    August 30, 2016

    linen bed sheets from garnet hill's eileen fisher collection |reading my tea leaves
    This post is sponsored by Garnet Hill’s Eileen Fisher Home Collection.

    I read something recently about someone ironing their sheets. Oh, the drudgery! But mostly: For shame! I love a good sheet wrinkle. No, let’s use the word rumple. Rumpled sheets, smoothed as best as possible and tucked neatly around the mattress, are the stuff that summer dreams are made of. linen bed sheets from garnet hill's eileen fisher collection |reading my tea leaves

    In an apartment with a bed that shares space with the kitchen table, sheet rumples are a thing you see. They’re right smack in the middle of things. And in the summertime, there’s no covering them up. Stylists will tell you that a bed needs texture. And I agree that there’s a time for adding quilts and blankets, but summertime in an attic apartment is not that time. No, a summertime bed in our place must be an exceedingly pared down affair. The only texture we need lately is the soft weave of a linen bed sheet. The set you see here is from the Eileen Fisher Washed Linen Collection from Garnet Hill and we’ve been luxuriating in it lately.linen bed sheets from garnet hill's eileen fisher collection |reading my tea leaves

    In a space without a lot that’s extraneous in it, the rumples in the sheets take center stage. Gigantic London plane trees outside our windows cast leafy shadows on our bed and make the light in our place dim in a way that feels welcome when the temperatures keep threatening to reach triple digits. No need for anything extra.linen bed sheets from garnet hill's eileen fisher collection |reading my tea leaves

    Garnet Hill first partnered with Eileen Fisher ten years ago. In their words, the partnership was born of a mutual interest in “the way natural fabric, fine texture, and soft color create a sense of home and well-being.” For the past ten years, the partnership has been built on a notion of beauty that’s “simple, pure, and elegant.” Clearly they speak my language. Made with the same attention to detail, simplicity, and sustainability that are the hallmarks of the Eileen Fisher brand more generally, their Garnet Hill home collection offers well-made, uncomplicated, and luxurious home essentials: sheets and towels and blankets and rugs. Things for adding a bit of texture, in other words. You can explore the whole collection, right this way.

    This post is sponsored by Garnet Hill’s Eileen Fisher Home Collection. Thanks for supporting the brands that support the original content on Reading My Tea Leaves.

    life in a tiny apartment.

    August 29, 2016

    dorm room decor | life in a tiny apartment |reading my tea leaves
    Tip #143: Consider A Dorm Room.

    I don’t know whether it’s some kind of fancy internet algorithm that keeps the posts coming across my radar, or whether there’s been an actual surge in dorm room style talk this summer, but I’ve seen a preponderance of posts from shelter mag style sites giving ideas for hacks and tricks and essentials for dorm room decor. 

    Needless to say, I have some thoughts. I know the demographics in this space probably don’t include a huge number of college-aged readers (though big shout out to my husband’s students…ILY2!). I still can’t help chiming in on the mania.

    First, I’ll be upfront: I took my dorm room seriously. I took a trip to Pier One Imports with my mom before my first year. I took another to HomeGoods. I had throw pillows to match the large Indian tapestry I’d bought at a music festival the summer before. I bemoaned my roommate’s choice of purple leopard print comforter and got to work making a sanctuary out of my side of the room. I was more likely than not insufferable. By the time I was a junior and had succeeded in securing myself a single room, my fastidiousness could really blossom. On more than one occasion I was told that my room would have been on the campus tour if not for the fact that it didn’t accurately represent how most college-aged students lived. I was, of course, extremely proud of the snub. 

    The dorm room decor articles I’ve read in the past few weeks all champion the notion that having a small space and a small budget doesn’t mean that the place you live can’t be stylish. I am very much on board with this idea. It’s just that the suggestions I’ve read for imbuing a space with a bit of personal style feel out of step with the proclamation. One article declared that matching roomie poufs were a necessity for climbing into lofted beds. Another recommended hiring a dorm room design service to help source bedside lamps. Yet another advocated, perhaps, that incoming students invest in their own furniture instead of using what had been supplied by the college. I’m afraid we’ve all gone mad.

    With full acknowledgement that hindsight is 20/20, I’d say that a dorm room is not a place to unpack an attic’s worth of decorative support materials. For the humorless, it’s a place to study. For the romantic (yours truly), it’s a place to sit with the reality of your cinderblock walls and dream about possibilities. It’s a time to unburden yourself from the stuff and to embrace the challenge of living without too much for awhile. It’s space made for fairy lights and photos stuck to the walls with tape. Express yourself, for sure, but no need to drain your meager bank account on a lamp that someone’s told you is a dorm room necessity. Nota bene: I’m 32 and I still don’t have matching bedside lamps. But I still do have the wooden crates I stored my books in.

    It’s my Catholic upbringing coming through, no doubt, but I think there are lessons to be learned in a bit of discomfort. The beauty of dorm room living is recognizing the catastrophe of your chipping fake-wood college-issued desk, then figuring out a way to live with it. We don’t need to flagellate ourselves for seeking creature comforts or deciding to upgrade a not-very-nice something to a much-nicer-something—for lots of us, that’s part of growing up—I’m just suggesting that a college dorm room offers a blank slate in a way that’s not as easy to come by as life moves on. There’s something to be said for embracing the life stage when the place you live is less than perfect. (And maybe even to decide you’d prefer to keep things that way.) Perfectly imperfect, I’d say.

    (I won’t link to matching bedside lamps, but if it’s pretty tape you’re after: right this way.)

    Tiny apartment survival tips #1-142, RIGHT HERE.

  • succulent_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_3210

    my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week.1. this tiny swim cap.{because we joined the local YMCA and we’re loving it.}2. these paint samples. {because you just don’t know ’til you know. and even then…}3. these cast-iron hooks. {because…

    August 26, 2016 21 Comments
  • roasted_peach_cashew_cream_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_3172

    roasted peaches + cashew cream popsicles.

    The temperatures have dipped a little this week. Not a ton. But enough to make things interesting. James started eyeing his sourdough starter with renewed interest. I made a tomato sauce and actually cooked it. We’ve…

    August 24, 2016 17 Comments
  • stowaway_contour_set_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_3106

    a summertime giveaway with stowaway.

    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…

    August 23, 2016 41 Comments
  • cords_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2982

    life in a tiny apartment.

    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…

    August 22, 2016 33 Comments
  • tomatoes_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_2925

    my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week. 1. this rainbow toast.{because it’s nice that something so delicious can be made in two minutes flat.}2. this envelope.{because cousin snail mail.}3. this pretty box from becca.{and it’s…

    August 19, 2016 10 Comments
  • 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 31 Comments