my week in objects (mostly).

4.24.2015

five little things that made my week.

1. these daffs.
daffodils
{because they're from my mom's garden.}

2. these pillow cases.
pillow
{we were in desperate need of an upgrade. these did the trick and then some.}

3. this hat.
hat
{because we swapped it in for the little red jacket that's been hanging on the door all winter. sunshine!}

4. this tiny package.
box
{and getting it ready to mail off to a new little niece.}

5. this little corner.
wood
{because we have a little something new in our place. more next week.}

other things:
best stripes i've seen in a long while.
sound advice.
green is the new denim.
why we loved gilbert blythe.
mother, artist, & the space between.

me in other places:
chuffed to be in such nice company.

ps. last chance to enter!

growing a minimalist wardrobe: fashion revolution day.

4.23.2015

growing a minimalist wardrobe: fashion revolution day | reading my tea leavesYesterday, technically, was Earth Day. Tomorrow, technically, is Fashion Revolution Day. Today might very well be National Sparkly Shoe Day. It seems there are no shortage of days to commemorate something or other lately. But while some seem trite and others feel gimmicky, I'm not sure I can honestly find much to fault. For even the most proactive among us, a yearly rallying cry for earthly stewardship rejuvenates. And sometimes we need a little call to action to remind us of our values and reevaluate our habits.

On April 24, 2013, 1134 people were killed when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The majority of them were women making clothes destined for shops where many of us have purchased goods. An urgency to produce goods cheaply and a disregard for the human beings making those goods led to the tragedy. We can do better. First, we need a fashion revolution.

On Tuesday evening I had the chance to attend a panel discussion hosted by Zady at FIT. Eileen Fisher, Paul van Zyl of Maiyet, and Linda Greer of the NRDC all spoke on the subject of sustainability, corporate responsibility, and ethical fashion alongside Zady co-founders Maxine B├ędat and Soraya Darabi. The evening was a stark reminder of how far we have to go and a celebration of moving in the right direction.
growing a minimalist wardrobe: fashion revolution day | reading my tea leaves
In case any of your guys are feeling moved to participate, the goal of Fashion Revolution Day is to raise awareness about who makes your clothes. Here's what you can do:

-Take a selfie showing your clothing label (turn your clothes inside out if you need to)
-Tag the brand who made it
-Post the hashtag #whomademyclothes

As far as I'm concerned the post can be a question posed because the answer is obscured or a question posed where the answer is knowable—a celebration of a job well-done. To the event on Tuesday I proudly wore a dress made in Minneapolis by Hackwith Design House (my jeans above were made in California by J. Brand). If you're interested in learning more or participating yourself, here's a schedule of related events.

tiny garden: a window box to last all summer.

4.22.2015

blooms to last all summer | reading my tea leaves
A window box to last all summer. It's a tall order, but nothing's impossible.

It's been nearly three years since I planted my first city window box. I bought my narrow teak box on a whim one afternoon and then prowled around Brooklyn looking for plant sales and nurseries stocked with starts to fill it with. James and I planted the box with friends on the double-wide sidewalk that stretched in front of their apartment. Down the block, elderly Italian men sitting in lawn chairs saluted our attempts at green thumbery with their cigars. After dark we strapped the filled up box to the back of my bike and walked the precious cargo fifteen blocks home.

Since then I've added another window box and a few small pots to the collection and moved the whole gangly mess down the street and up four flights. I'm waiting until there's a little more variety at the market to fill up my window boxes, but since I've been hankering for a little splash of color outside the window, I decided to pot up a cheery early planter with flowers meant to last through the summer.
blooms to last all summer | reading my tea leaves
At four dollars a pot, it's easy for me to measure my annual tiny garden investments in lattes not ordered and feel a little better about where my few extra dollars are going. But I still want my plants to pull their weight. And when you only have a tiny garden, it's kind of nice to have it be one that stays in bloom. This week, I stopped by the farmers' market to search for plants with plenty of flowers but that can still thrive in part shade.
blooms to last all summer | reading my tea leaves
When we moved to our new apartment last winter we gained a big window ledge and four flights, but we lost even the few hours of truly direct sunlight we had in our old place. It's not truly shady up here, but there's also not much in the way of bright white sun beating down on our north-facing ledge. Last summer's plantings suffered through a little bit of new-apartment trial and error coupled with a little bit of brand-new-baby-in-the-house-related neglect. (Lavender, for example, was very wishful thinking.)
blooms to last all summer | reading my tea leaves
This year I chose my favorite salmon-colored geraniums, a white euphorbia which should billow out in no time, a variegated plectranthus for a little green and a little intrique, and a bright white trailing bacopa.
blooms to last all summer | reading my tea leaves
The geraniums I added to my window box last summer just after Faye was born did the best of anything I planted (and lasted well into early fall), so I'm shooting for a repeat.
blooms to last all summer | reading my tea leaves
Delicate-looking euphorbia is always one of my favorite window box plants, and with enough water I've found it's really hardy and goes gangbusters pretty quickly.
blooms to last all summer | reading my tea leaves
Finally, I got proactive about pest control. As part of my ongoing effort to terrorize the neighborhood squirrel (just kidding!), I sprinkled cayenne pepper along the edge of my pot and on the geranium leaves to discourage too much snacking. When I finally got around to doing it last summer, it worked like a charm, so here's hoping.
blooms to last all summer | reading my tea leaves
There she is. Taking photographs of a newly planted window box isn't really terribly fair—the poor thing should be given some time to fill out a bit—but I couldn't help it. Happy Earth Day!

Now: what are you guys planting?

pigeons in flight.

4.21.2015

white pigeons | reading my tea leaves
I get an occasional note from readers who are mystified by my choice to live in New York City. All that subway taking. All those stairs to climb. That small apartment at the end of them.

I imagine that my decision to live in this place has to do with the same things that dictate other people's reasons for living where they do: family and jobs and a general appreciation for the good that outweighs the bad.  And like anywhere, there are moments in New York that feel so quintessentially belonging to this particular place that their existence makes my pulse quicken, as if to say, "This is it. This is why."

Two weeks ago, we were walking to dinner at my sister's in the East Village when we looked up to see a flight of bright white pigeons soaring against a perfectly blue sky. The birds turned and twisted while on top a roof somewhere an invisible puppeteer directed them in their synchronized dance.
white pigeons | reading my tea leaves
We watched the pigeons for ten minutes, necks thrown back. James took these shots while I stared at the sky, trying in vain to get Faye to notice her good luck. Magic happens whether we stop to pay attention to it or not, so here's a reminder for wherever you are: look up.

Other things:
These are the pigeons we spotted.
Bird group names. (A bouquet of pheasants!)
Pigeon fliers of New York.
The Global Pigeon.

artifact uprising: an everyday card giveaway

4.20.2015

artifact uprising everyday cards | reading my tea leavesI'm not making any claims to being the world's best correspondent. But that doesn't mean I don't have good intentions.

I have found that keeping a stack of notecards handy for sending means I'm much more likely to remember to slip a kind word in the mail. Even better when they're cards I've been able to make pretty myself.
artifact uprising everyday cards | reading my tea leaves
Artifact Uprising's new Everyday Cards are hands down my favorite product of theirs to date. I think it's the fact that they come in such sweet little sizes (I chose the mini 3.5" x 4.9" when I made mine) and that they can be used for any occassion, like saying hi to your mom or sending a love note. I decided to put all of my neighborhood flower gawking to good use and delved into my photo archive to select a few of my favorite shots from the past few springs in Brooklyn. This way, I've got a little something cheery to scribble on should the spirit move me.
artifact uprising everyday cards | reading my tea leaves
This week, Artifact Uprising is offering a Reading My Tea Leaves reader a chance to make a pack of 20 Everyday CardsFor a chance to win, enter your email address in the form below. A winner will be chosen at random and notified on April 27. 

This post and giveaway was sponsored by Artifact Uprising. Reading My Tea Leaves is proudly supported by thoughtful, innovative, and creative entrepreneurs and businesses. Thanks so much for supporting brands that keep Reading My Tea Leaves afloat.

my week in objects (mostly).

4.17.2015

five little things that made my week.

1. this empty-ish space.
crates
{excited for a little something new in this spot, fingers-crossed my hare-brained idea works.}

2. these clamps.
clamps
{for keeping sliding closet doors closed around curious babies.}

3. this watercolor thank you note.
watercolors
{toddler art beats most.}

4. this tiny tray.
tray
{for keeping tiny pepper strips and bits of cheese neat and tidy. you know, for thirty seconds or so.}

5. this wire basket
basket
{because it's emptied of winter hats and scarves and gloves. finally.}

other things:
sunscreen season is upon us.
closet upgrade courtesy of wire hangers, muslin, and a little patience.
field guide to american sandwiches.
starting a family in nyc.
there's a new mansion in the neighborhood.
pretty new stuff to sniff.
baby or career? skip right to the advice part. best thing i read all week/year.
"they call it a suit."

tiny library: we should all be feminists.

4.16.2015

A new little series featuring quicky reviews of what I've been reading lately. Books of all sizes considered.
tiny book review: we should all be feminists | reading my tea leavesWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Five words: Smart. Practical. Succinct. Elegant. Empowering.

Plus a few more: This (literally) tiny volume—an essay adapted from Adichie's TEDx talk of the same name—is adorable, but that's not the reason to read it. Nigerian-born writer Adichie tackles 21st century issues of feminism and equality in an essay that reminds us of how far we've come and how far we've got to go. Potentially depressing but ultimately uplifting, Adichie's focus on reassessing the way we raise our children was especially poignant for me.

Here's a tiny taste: "Gender matters everywhere in the world. And I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently." "What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?"

For bookshelf or borrowing?: This is the kind of book that belongs on a bookshelf. Or maybe on a bathroom shelf. You know, smart reading for lingering guests. You could read this in one sitting at the bookstore, but you're going to want to want to return to it and even in a small space, it won't crowd you out.

Your turn: Have you read it? What did you think? Read another amazing book lately? Spill.

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