my week in objects (mostly).

    February 5, 2016

    five little things that made my week.

    1. this little bug.faye_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_4617{for being all kinds of brave while her parents were decidedly under the weather.}

    2. this ginger tea.ginger_tea_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_4620{and every other gingery thing i managed to keep down this week.}

    3. these stripey socked feet.goatmilk_socks_reading_my_tea_leaves_4609
    {for being the cutest. (socks!)}

    4. these clean pillowcases.pillow_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_4607
    {for making a host of sins feel much better.}

    5. this scene.snowy_window_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_4627{because green inside and snowy outside is the way winter’s supposed to look around here.}

    other things:

    not concerned about my hipster cred, but these recommendations are great.

    peignoir and eight other beauties.


    little key fobs for a little ballerina

    can’t stop thinking about having a dedicated studio space.

    lots to admire about this new shop.

    me in other places:

    talking ’bout entertaining essentials with terrain.

    confidently yours, on OKREAL.

    natural beauty: cheek color.

    February 2, 2016

    IMG_4602If I was tasked to come up with names for makeup, I’d call my favorite cheek color Snow Day Pink. Forget all those flower names.

    Maybe this is strange to say, but I feel especially beautiful when I come back inside from being outside in the snow. I dunno: something about all of that vasodilation that produces the perfect rosy glow. Doesn’t matter if my hair is matted and I’ve had to peel off layer after layer until I’m left standing in nothing but leggings, a t-shirt, and socks pulled up to my knees. If I’ve got a good snow blush going, I still feel pretty.

    Since I can’t always have just returned from a day in the snow, I rely on a little cheek color—in the winter especially—to keep from falling into the depths of despair when I see my wan reflection in the mirror.

    I’ll add a note: When you venture past skincare, natural beauty can get a little more tricky. There are just more ingredients needed to engineer cosmetics. For me, that means identifying brands that I feel like have done their homework. It requires a certain leap of faith and a lot of trust. I consider myself to be a fairly well-educated person, but it’s hard for me to to find a blush, for instance, with ingredients whose names I can really understand, even from cosmetics companies that I admire. In the name of beauty—er, vanity—I decide to trust what I read and choose cosmetics companies that adhere to strict safety guidelines, that go above and beyond in terms of sourcing thoughtful ingredients, and that proudly proclaim their commitment to making safe cosmetics. I’m the first to admit it’s not a foolproof system, but I’ll also say that girl wants a little cheek color come January. I don’t think I’m the only one.IMG_4598

    Do It Yourself.

    + Gather red things. Beets? Hibiscus? Anyone who has ever peeled a beet or brewed hibiscus tea knows that both can provide a nice little natural stain for fingertips (and countertops). So it stands to reason that using either in a little DIY concoction made for staining your cheeks would work too. Most recipes I’ve seen call for adding the natural color to a carrier oil or similar neutral base, like vegetable glycerin. Full disclosure: I’ve never made my own beet blush. And I’m not sure I ever will. But here’s a nice-looking beet tutorial if your interest is piqued. Any beet blushers out there who want to chime in?

    + Pinches. You do this, right? Pinch your cheeks before a photo? It’s the oldest trick in the book, and I almost never remember to do it, but one of my best friends is a cheek-pinch devotee and gives a little squeeze before every photo. And she always looks rosy!

    Have Someone Else Do It For You:

    W3ll People Universalist Multi-Stick Luminous*: I’ve had this for a few months and it’s really terrific. It’s creamy and goes on easily without looking too luminous. (They also let you order samples so you can get the color just right!)

    Stowaway Cheek & Lip Rouge*: I have this little guy in Peony and Cantaloupe. Extra huge bonus: It’s terrific on cheeks and lips. 

    Josie Maran Coconut Water Cheek Gelée: This is one of very few makeup products that I’ve bought and used all the way up. The gelée name is apt since this isn’t creamy like the others on the list. It goes on smoothly and the extra moisture feels especially nice in the wintertime.

    RMS Lip2Cheek: While I’ve never tried this myself, this two-in-one product has been recommended to me by friends on many occasions. A kind of natural-beauty cult favorite, my friends who have used it rave about the combination of color and moisture, on cheeks and lips.

    What about you guys? Any great finds for a little natural blush?

    Disclosure: I am sometimes sent beauty products to review for this series (or otherwise). When I love them and think you might too, I write about them. Items that were sent to me for review are marked with an asterik. All opinions are my own.

    make your own: vegetable broth.

    February 1, 2016

    vegetable broth | reading my tea leavesWe had our first real bout of the stomach bug this weekend. And by we, I mean Faye. The parental units of this family are still in good health—fingers crossed—but when a toddler wakes up vomiting every half-hour for hours on end, I think it’s fair to say that the whole family is victim. vegetable broth | reading my tea leavesAs I write, our own little bug is mercifully sleeping away. I have a drying rack filled with rags—washed and boiled and waiting to see if there will be time enough for them to dry before being put to use again. And as of a few minutes ago, I have mason jars filled with amber liquid, cooling and waiting their turn in the freezer for the next time disaster (or dinnertime) strikes. 

    Not much a good pot of warm vegetable broth can’t make better, I say.

    The beauty of broth is that you hardly need a recipe at all. And there are about a million similar kinds of non-recipes floating around the internet, should you be interested in seeing other variations on the theme.

    This one from Food 52 is wonderful and pretty to boot.
    This one from Bon Appetit is similarly inspiring. 
    + And this beautiful riff on the former is from my friend Alexa.vegetable broth | reading my tea leaves

    Vegetable Broth

    For the pot I set to simmering this morning, I used:

    2 carrots and their tops
    5 or 6 crimini mushrooms
    1 onion, halved with the skins on
    5 garlic cloves, skin on
    1 large bunch of thyme
    1 large bunch of parsley
    2 bay leaves
    6 or 8 black peppercorns, who counts?
    and a thick rind of parmesan

    I scrubbed the veggies and put them along with the herbs and cheese rind into our large dutch oven, filled it up with water, added a healthy sprinkle of salt and brought it to a boil. (There are two schools of thought on whether or not to chop the vegetables first; I, clearly, take the path of least resistance.) Once boiling, I covered the pot, turned down the heat, and set it to simmer on the stove for a few hours while we read Brave Irene twenty times and became increasingly excited every time we got to the page with the DOGGIES (soft g.) (A stomach bug has nothing on toddler enthusiasm for four-legged friends.)vegetable broth | reading my tea leaves At the end of a few hours, when the vegetables were looking considerably less photogenic, I strained the broth through a fine sieve. I reserved a quart or so to use for dinner, a cupful to serve to Faye tea-party style, and poured the rest into two quart-sized mason jars to freeze for later. And that’s mostly that, but here are three more things:
    vegetable broth | reading my tea leavesA note: If you’re freezing your broth, leave a bit of headroom in your container to allow for the broth to expand in the freezer. On the day before you plan to use the broth, let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight so it’s ready for pouring (or let it come to temperature sl-o-o-o-wly in a water bath).vegetable broth | reading my tea leavesA plea: Save your parmesan rinds. We go through an enormous quantity of parmesan cheese in this household. This is partially because we eat an exorbitant amount of pasta needing a fresh shave or twenty, and partially because I’m addicted to adding the rind to just about every stew or soup or potful of dinner that I happen to be making. I store rinds in the freezer if I don’t have an immediate use for them, and I’ve certainly been known to lop the rind off the cheese as soon as I bring it home, just to get to the prized part more quickly.vegetable broth | reading my tea leavesA promise: I’ve written before that we freeze our food scraps and bring them to the farmer’s market for composting, but for some reason I’ve never gotten into a good habit of putting useable food scraps aside to use for broth. I’m vowing to do better this year: separating some of the ends of onions and carrots and other tasty bits from the egg shells and coffee grounds and other nasty bits.vegetable broth | reading my tea leavesWhat about you guys? What have you been filling your pots with lately? Do you make your own broth? Any secret ingredients you care to divulge?

  • mail_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_4453

    my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week.1. this beanie. {a little present to myself in celebration of my book being born. treat yourself, etc.}2.  this cream.{and the tiny finger gouges. faye’s extremely into giving her little cheeks…

    January 29, 2016 21 Comments
  • erin_boyle_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_4069

    habit shift: cloth napkins.

    I grew up in a house where we used cloth napkins for most meals, so I’ll admit off the bat that embracing cloth napkins wasn’t really a shift for me. Still, I know it’s…

    January 28, 2016 79 Comments
  • growing a minimalist wardrobe | silk camisoles

    growing a minimalist wardrobe: silk camisoles.

    If you read enough about so-called capsule wardrobes, you’ll quickly come across mention of the indispensability of the silk camisole (adorable shorthand: cami). Today’s post will demonstrate that among other things, I do not…

    January 27, 2016 45 Comments
  • brook_there_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_3882

    fancy underthings with brook there.

    This post is sponsored by Brook There, a sustainable clothing and lingerie company selling garments that are designed, cut, and sewn in the United States.Sometimes you need fancy underthings; impending holidays loosely related to…

    January 26, 2016 6 Comments
  • snow_day_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_4373

    snow day.

     Just a little snow report for a Monday morning. We had exactly the snowy, time-stopping kind of weekend I’d wished for: Grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies with neighbors; a shoelace rope, a…

    January 25, 2016 18 Comments
  • bulbs_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_3771

    my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week.1. these bulbs.{because new beginnings.}2. these pom-poms.{for being mostly still not destroyed.}3. this “car.”{for providing week-long entertainment.}4. this book.{for being just so deliciously sweet (and for inspiring the above).}5.…

    January 22, 2016 22 Comments