my week in objects (mostly).


five little things that made my week.

1. this tiny photo.
{because our tiny fam got photographed by these two cuties.}

2. this matelassé.
{because our girl needed something to loll around on that wouldn't leave her with fists full of all. the. fuzzies. not to mention my rapidly shedding locks. thanks, grammy.}

3. this snake plant.
snake plant
{for catching the afternoon light just so.}

4. this cd.
kokua festival
{for continuing to foster the hawaiian lullaby obsession chez casey-boyle.}

5. these shoes.
{because we're in those precious few weeks in new york when it's cool enough for closed-toe shoes and not too cool to go without socks.}

other things:
edible fleurs.
good news.
oud and eternity.
cute and comfy.

growing a minimalist wardrobe, step 5


Step 5: Streamline from the Bottom Up

Maybe this should be the first step. But I needed to ease in to this one, it being about underwear and all.

As it turns out, I'll air my dirty laundry all day, but revealing my underwear drawer secrets makes me squirm. If it makes you squirm, too, maybe start with step one, two, three, and four if you haven't already.

minimalist wardrobe, step 5 | reading my tea leaves
Let me start with a story:

A few weeks ago I went to the bridal shower of one of my very best friends who happens to live in India. She's getting married in November. And again in December. Bi-continental brides, man. They have all the fun. Innyway, as part of her pre-wedding festivities, we played a game wherein each guest had to bring the blushing bride a pair of underwear and she would in turn have to guess who had brought which pair.

With only very few exceptions, every person brought her a variation of the exact same pair: raspberry-mauve-peach-scarlet-magenta-blush-and-or-peony-colored lacy cheek huggers. Is that what they're called? Anyway, girl has her underwear chock full of matching skivvies.

Which prompted me to think about what kind of underwear people would give me. And three thoughts came to mind: cotton, neutral, and the fact that I just might be the most boring person on the planet.
minimalist wardrobe, step 5 | reading my tea leaves
But let me explain: Underwear is a tricky thing to approach minimally. I'll be honest and say that I like to have a good 15-20 pair collection. That sounds like a lot, but when you don't have your own washing machine, it's nice to have some extras to allow for wardrobe changes and general laziness.

I'm sure it will surprise exactly no one when I say that I like my underwear and outfits to match, so that means I stick to a palette of greys, whites, nudes, and blacks. And with only a few exceptions, I opt for plain jane cotton in the name of health and comfort and an ability to toss them into the dryer. (^^^I keep my underwear drawer fresh with a lavender sachet.)

Finally: Is it too embarrassing to reference the Sex and the City episode where Carrie wears Big's underwear? Yes? I'm going for it anyway. I remember watching that episode on this same bride-to-be's couch circa 2000 and declaring that wearing men's tighty-whities might be the best idea I'd ever seen. Choosing a simple array of well-fitting cotton underwear in neutral colors is the next best thing.

Other underwear sources I have my eye on should my wallet ever catch up: these with this, and these, and these, and just for fun!

What about bras? I'm still into these. Durable enough for breastfeeding, more or less comfy, not exactly sexy, but practical for now.

And now I've really bared all.

POSTSCRIPT: Some of you questioned my linking to this pair of dreamy postpartum underwear in the post I wrote about my hospital bag. First let me say that I still don't think those are the world's most bonkers choice. But let me also be the first to admit: I just didn't get it. I wore the birthing-center-issued disposable underwear for two full weeks postpartum. If you'd like to read my thoughts about the tender days post-baby, head HERE. And yes: four months out I just replaced my stretched-out, saggy bottomed pregnancy underwear. Don't ask me why I waited so long.

life in a tiny apartment.


cloth napkinsTip #113

My friend Rachel is getting married. She wants to put white napkins on her wedding registry. Practicality and a mother's loving opinion say get colored ones instead. And she's worried about her own messiness. 

She writes, "I can picture myself with a Tide Stain Stick in hand as I pour wine for a guest and then standing at attention ready to Tide-away all the spills and splashes. Now that you have a baby who will likely start eating foods that are not so conveniently white as breast milk, I imagine that you've thought about this and I wanted to hear your advice."

I say practicality be damned. If you have the space for just one set of napkins, get the ones you love.

Because nothing lasts forever. To clarify: nothing that gets used lasts forever. A set of napkins tucked into a drawer with a sweetly scented sachet and no intention of seeing the light of day? Those will last. They'll last and last until the silverfish or the moths get to them and then they will get tiny holes, but they'll still be kicking around a hundred years from now—a little yellower, a little stiffer, a little thinner—but still here. Trust me on this one. 

But napkins that get used? These will last for awhile and then one of two things will happen: they will get replaced or they will go on being used, stains and tears, and rumply seams to show the years.

White napkins will definitely get stained. Turmeric and tomatoes and those few precious strands of saffron will leave their mark. But the rust colored napkins? The ones that seem more practical? They'll get stained too. They'll fade in the wash upon wash that all of your raucous dinner parties will require. You'll make a big bowl of popcorn to watch with your favorite movie and the grease will leave oily amoeba-shaped spots. Your brand new husband will grab a napkin instead of a rag and use it to fix a squeaky bicycle chain and you'll be one man down (maybe two). One of you will wipe your one-day-baby's spit up with a light blue napkin and realize with a start that breast milk does stain. Who knew? These are the things that happen in tiny apartments and big ones. And thank goodness. Because drawers full of unused napkins are a sadder sight to behold than stained ones.

Sentimentality for messy dinner parties aside, I will share what we love for everyday: a set of ten striped linen napkins in grey and white. They were wedding gifts and they hide dribbles and wine dots beautifully. Because napkins and weddings go together, I also have a set of four white linen napkins from Ireland, a set of four goldenrod yellow napkins from France, a gauzy white and gold set of napkins and placemats from India, and a set of tiny vintage cloth cocktail napkins with embroidered peaches and more. We can only hope they all end up stained and spotted.

PS. If it comes down to it: here's a swap for that Tide stick.

PPS: As you can see, napkins in our house are a mostly wrinkled item. I don't lose sleep over it.

More on dinner parties, HERE and HERE.

Tiny apartment survival tip #1 - 111, right HERE.

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