tradlands: a giveaway.

5.26.2015

tradlands + reading my tea leaves
A go-to button-up is a nice thing for any wardrobe, and an especially nice thing for a minimalist one. One good collared shirt can get you from a morning beach wander, to a business lunch out, all the way through to a cozy dinner back at home. Enter Tradlands.
tradlands + reading my tea leavesTradlands has taken the classic button-up and reworked it to fit women without adding frills or fuss, just timeless style. And they're doing it all right here in the USA with classic and beautiful fabrics and an attention to detail that surpasses just about anyone else out there.

This week, Tradlands is offering three (3!) shirts to three lucky Reading My Tea Leaves readers. Each winner will have the chance to take home a shirt of her own choosing. Over the long weekend, James and I took a little wander and I practiced my best catwalk along the beaches of my hometown. I'm wearing The Elms in these photos, a classic white oxford cut from the softest oxford cloth I've ever felt.
tradlands + reading my tea leaves
tradlands + reading my tea leaves
tradlands + reading my tea leaves
tradlands + reading my tea leaves
tradlands + reading my tea leaves
tradlands + reading my tea leaves
For a chance to win,  submit your email address using the giveaway form below. You'll be able to unlock bonus entries upon entering your email. The giveaway will close on Monday, June 1. Three randomly selected winners will be notified by email on June 1, 2015.

This post was sponsored by Tradlands. Thanks so much for supporting the smart, independent brands helping to change the way we think about fashion.

my week in objects (mostly).

5.22.2015

five little things that made my week.

1. these pots.
pots
{because sometimes the light's just right.}

2. these ice cubes.
ice cube
{because i'm not a huge ice girl, but 'tis the season for a little refreshment. and because i've been pouring the dregs of morning coffee over ice and calling it fancy. only me?}

3. this morning light.
light
{for reminding me of this time last year, minus the crib.}

4. these tiny swim trunks.
watermelons
{because we're headed to the beach for memorial day. and every once in a while, you gotta go for pink.}

5. these tiny leftovers.
flowers
{because they stuck around from last week.}

other things:
faye's amazing babysitter started a blog: it's all babies and beauty and awesome.
(and she nailed baby essentials.)
may milk moon!
filtered water on the go.
the key to a living wage for garment workers.
magic in a cup?
someone has a first birthday v. v. soon.
emails for breakfast via tradlands.

tiny tip: keeping lilacs fresh.

5.21.2015

keeping lilacs alive | reading my tea leaves
How do you keep lilacs alive, you ask? Pour them a drink, is the short answer. Help them to drink it, is the longer one.

In Brooklyn the lilacs are already just about on their way out, but since a few of you guys asked me how I've kept my lilacs from folding in on themselves, here's an answer. I'm hopeful that at least a few of you live in places where the lilacs are still in bloom or that you can still snag a bunch from the neighborhood grocery store still hawking them.keeping lilacs alive | reading my tea leaves
A lilac is a woody plant with a woody stem and once you clip its fragrant branches you've got to do a little work to make sure it can continue to slake its thirst for water. If you don't, you'll have droopy blooms in day's time, or less. Enter your tools. Floral scissors, or a hammer, or a sharp little knife. Really, anything you can use to slice and dice the end of your stem to allow more water up and into the stem.
keeping lilacs alive | reading my tea leaves
Making a long diagonal snip with scissors increases the surface area where water can penetrate the stem and get up to those blossoms to keep them perky. You can also use your scissors to cut crosshairs into the bottom of your stem—just divide the bottom of the stem into quadrants by making one vertical snip and one horizontal snip.
keeping lilacs alive | reading my tea leaves
If you don't have scissors handy, hammer time. I'd never done this before someone mentioned it in the comments last Friday, but I'll take any excuse to give something a good thwack with a hammer. The idea here is the same as with the scissors—give the stem a little increased surface area so it stands a chance of getting a proper gulp.
keeping lilacs alive | reading my tea leaves
If you've only got a knife around, you're in luck. I used our paring knife to slice along the side of the stem. In all honesty, this was probably the speediest method—no need to fetch the hammer or the scissors from the closet. Just slice the stems at the kitchen counter and pop them into water.

In case you're curious:
My hammer.
My paring knife.
My floral scissors.

See also: tiny flower arrangements.

life in a tiny apartment.

5.20.2015

life in a tiny apartment: unmake your bed | reading my tea leaves
Tip #121: Unmake your bed. No, under make your bed. Makeunder your bed?

I get a lot of questions from readers about how to make a bed. Not the pulling up of sheets and tucking in of corners. But: What should those sheets look like? Should there be a top sheet? A bottom sheet? A down comforter? A duvet? Two duvets? A Blanket? A comforter and a blanket? Throw pillows? No pillows? Buckwheat pillows? It's complicated business, sleeping.

I've gotten notes about husbands that sleep hot. Some men are radiators, apparently, all hot and bothered and sleeping in their own pools of sweat, heaven help us. Then there are stories of people who can't get warm enough. They have layer upon layer of mismatched comforters and throw blankets and nary a wink of sleep.

James and I have been sharing a bed now for almost nine years. But this post isn't about who hogs more of our double bed (James). Or whether it's appropriate to draw a line of demarcation down the middle of white sheets (tempting!). It's about what the heck to put on a bed in the first place.
life in a tiny apartment: unmake your bed | reading my tea leaves
Beds are kind of the ultimate example in matters of personal preference. And I think a lot of that comes down to what you're used to.

I grew up in a house where we made our beds with hospital corners. During the long New England winters, we layered wool blankets underneath comforters or quilts and over top sheets and tucked them all in neatly, folding crisp triangles of sheets and blankets at the ends of the bed and shoving them under the mattress. We didn't hop into bed, so much as tuck ourselves in like letters working their way into an envelope. In the summertime, I mostly remember sleeping on top of the quilt—too hot to deal with sliding between the sheets or taking off the quilt and finding a place to stash it.

But on the hottest nights, the sheets were wrested from their tucked-in corners and our parents would come into our rooms and give us wind baths. If you don't know, a wind bath consists of laying perfectly still in bed, while someone else raises and lowers the top sheet over you, making a glorious breeze. After a few snaps of the sheets, my parents would let go, letting the sheet settle softly over our skinned and mosquito bitten knees. If you ask me, a wind bath is the best arugment for having a top sheet that there is.
life in a tiny apartment: unmake your bed | reading my tea leaves
Matters of top sheets and hospital corners aside, coming from a woman who just replaced a couch with a cot, it won't come as any surprise that I like my bedding to be relatively spare. (Though don't think for a minute that I'd complain about a more comfortable mattress.) In the pursuit of simple bedding, this is what has worked for us:
life in a tiny apartment: unmake your bed | reading my tea leaves
- Two sets of white sheets.  For us, the classic American combination of top and bottom sheet means that we don't have to launder a duvet cover, or store a large down blanket in the winter months when it'd be too hot in here to use one. In the summertime without A/C, a white top sheet still looks relatively neat, even without a blanket to complete the ensemble. Having two sets of sheets keeps the bed clothed even after we take our weekly haul to the laundromat. And they're white because I decided that slight yellowing beats fading.

- A thick cotton blanket for 3/4 of the year. In New York City apartments with steam radiators, our cotton blanket has been thick enough to get us through almost the whole winter, with the exception of a night or two when we've added on a throw blanket for a little extra warmth. In the summertime without air conditioning, we go blanketless entirely. It's just us in our white sheets in our white room and if it wasn't for our blackberry-colored headboard and the crib at the foot of our bed, we might wake up thinking we were in a cloud.

- A few sets of extra pillowcases (one could develop quite a hobby of finding beautiful vintage varieties, I'll warn you) means that in a week when we forget to change the sheets, we at least have clean pillowcases.

- A white bed skirt hides our boxspring, and the few things we keep underneath it.

- Throw pillows have been relegated to the "couch," leaving only the pillows we sleep on, plus one, each for bolstering on the bed. (And yes, I have been trying out a buckwheat pillow lately. Though I admit I'm still in the learning curve stage.)
bed
I'm not opposed to a duvet on principle. In fact, I really love the look of a pillowy white duvet cover on a down blanket. And what a thrill to just pull the duvet up and have the bed made in one pass. You might very well see duvet on our bed one day, but for now, we're all cotton blanket and sheet sets.

What about you guys? Duvet devotees? White sheets? Patterned? Mountain of throw pillows? I'm curious.

In case you're hungry for more bedtime stories:
More thoughts on making the bed.
More thoughts on white sheets.

In case you're curious:
These are our favorite sheets.
This is our ticking stripe blanket.
This is the mattress of my dreams (just in case anyone wanted to get me a really nice present).
These are buckwheat pillows.

Tiny apartment survival tips #1 - #120, right here.

out and about: the high line.

5.18.2015

out and about: the high line | reading my tea leaves
Yesterday felt summery in New York in that heavy air kind of style that says winter is officially over. You know, in case the cherry blossoms didn't convince you.

We did the only reasonable thing to do in this season and ate a picnic dinner outside with friends, but first we took a family ramble along The High Line, which is beautiful in all seasons but especially so right now with its flush of pink and purple. That Piet Oudolf really gets it right with all of the wild looking greens poking up everywhere. Thankfully, Faye was kind enough to leave all of those tempting grasses intact for fellow visitors.
out and about: the high line | reading my tea leaves
Can you imagine living right there? People watching for days!
out and about: the high line | reading my tea leaves
Contemplative plant gazers.
out and about: the high line | reading my tea leaves
Amethyst Falls American Wistera (I think!) Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'—a cross between Baptisia australis and Baptisia alba
out and about: the high line | reading my tea leaves
Old tracks, new plants.
out and about: the high line | reading my tea leaves
Papa and babe.
out and about: the high line | reading my tea leaves
Lots of "walking" to be done.
out and about: the high line | reading my tea leaves
In case you're in the neighborhood:
The High Line
Visiting Details.
Stargazing.
Adopt a plant.

In case you're curious:
- The hat that I'm wearing in these photos was made especially for me by Brooklyn milliner Brookes Boswell, whose shoebox studio I had the great pleasure of visiting a few weeks ago. This exact style is coming out in a collection later this year, but you can browse all of her beauties here. Mine's made of Panama straw.
- I'm wearing the black version of the dress I was wearing in this post. Summer uniform, etc.
- Faye's blooms.

The High Line in another month and another year, right here.

my week in objects (mostly).

5.15.2015

five little things that made my week.

1. these may flowers.
spring flowers
{from my mama's garden.}

2. this wild mane.
mane
{because starting the week in western new york was a nice little change. and now i'm itching for more adventures.}

3. this library card.
library card
{for working overtime this week.}

4. this flask.
pyrex
{because 2,000 milliliters is a lot of milliliters.}

5. this door.
door
{because the best part about going away is coming home again.}

other things:
omg, hottie mcbjörn.
bandits and bonnets.
reading recos.
candied lilac!
this and this for summer sleeping.
my kind of kitchen makeover.
fairy doors.
dreaming about summer adventures.

me in other places:
planning an outdoor wedding, simply.

ps. last day to enter the bridge & burn giveaway.

tiny library: dept. of speculation

5.14.2015

tiny library: dept. of speculation | reading my tea leavesDept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Five words: Endearing. Heartbreaking. Raw. Poignant. Human.

Plus a few more: This came recommended by a few of you here and it was so good. Heartbreakingly good. Sharp-intakes-of-breath good. Though I'm actually pretty sure that I read the entire second half of the book with my breath held. Offill's stacatto sentences lept along in a way that made me feel like my heart could hardly keep up. I read it in one sitting and was honestly relieved when it was over even though I enjoyed it immensely. Baby, marriage, career, navigating the grocery store; it's all in there, wrapped up like a heartbreaking poem that sometimes makes you laugh but definitely puts a lump in your throat.

Here's a tiny taste: "She does not say, Last night, I pulled his hair. Last night I tried to pull his hair out of his head. 

It is so easy now for the wife to be patient and kind to the daughter. She will never love anyone or anything more. Never. It is official. 

She remembers the first night she knew she loved him, the way the fear came rushing in. She laid her head on his chest and listened to his heart. One day this too will stop, she thought. The no, no, no, of it."

For bookshelf or borrowing?: I borrowed this copy from the library, but this book would definitely be worth keeping on your shelf.

Your turn: What are you guys reading?

More tiny library reviews, HERE.

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