Monday, July 30, 2012


as good a reason as any to get married in august.

over the next few days, we'll be stuffing them into vases and our mouths with gusto.

it's good to be home.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

1. these bloomers.bloomies
{given with love by a dear friend who happens to read a few make-believe tea leaves}.

2. this glass bottle.
{because drinking from a pretty glass bottle increases my water intake by about four times. this one originally housed fancy sparkles}.

3. this mint.
{and the oregano and the tarragon. but mostly the mint because it perked right up}.

4. these 'socks.'
{because i've been using them to help break in my wedding shoes all week, despite the fact that the french tourist standing next to me during my purchase described them as a bit mémère. harumph}.

5. this white pen.
{because it helped me write about a million place cards}.

other things:
summer comfort food.
wedding lips. headed here, here, and here to investigate.
this story.
these kind words about our tiny apartment.
i'm desperate for a bathing suit.
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

make-believe: pie making.

it's been hot enough around here lately that i haven't wanted to turn on the oven, but it doesn't mean i'm not tempted to. we're just about one week away from our marital extravaganza and all i've been thinking about lately is pie. we're not having pie at our wedding, but when my sister cait got married four years ago, we spent the day before the wedding making 18 marion berry pies. best darn pies i've ever tasted and the reason that in my mind at least, weddings and pies just go together.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

take out your recycling.

i know we've talked about garbage already. and two weeks ago we talked about cutting down on bathroom supplies to reduce waste and improve sanity, but it occured to me this week that we hadn't yet covered garbage's twin sister, recycling.

the theme is obviously the same: get rid of it. but the process can be somewhat different.

picture this scene: i'm making dinner. chez moi this means copious amounts of milk, butter, and heavy cream. let's say i'm whipping up a heavy macaroni and cheese with a bechamel sauce. just the thing for this weather we've been having...

to begin, i look for butter. the butter dish is empty and so i wrestle the contents of my fridge until i find the cardboard box of butter hanging out by the jar of pickles i'd forgotten about. one stick left! i unwrap the butter and plop it into its much more refined glass house. recycling rules 101 say i can't recycle that shiny wax paper covering the butter, but i now have an empty box. cardboard box #1.

i get the butter melting and add a few tablespoons of flour, and it's time for the milk. whoops, just a little bit left. i add it slowly until nary a drip comes out and now i'm left with cardboard box #2.

my magical mystery assistant has been grating cheese and doing other useful things, like putting a pot of water on to boil. it's roiling away, time to add the pasta. we're hungry so we go for the entire pound. cardboard box #3.

all of this cooking has made me a little thirsty, so i decide to finish off the last of that rosé that's been tempting me all day. sorry assistant, just enough for one. we've got bottle #1, item to recycle #4. i'm practically floating in recyclables.

what to do?

recycling is unruly. differently sized boxes and bottles and cans don't smush neatly into a cabinet. in a tiny apartment, there's no room for an elaborate recycling holding area and this means the stuff is just hanging out in plain sight. of course, i've been in a fair few apartments that are not at all small where the recycling has long overflowed its once tidy compartment.

for me, there are only two options: 1). make a quick break out the front door, down the stairs and to the side of the road where our building's recycling bins stand guard, or 2). neatly arrange various items in a spot near the door and off the counter, to be recycled after dinner. if you live five flights up, consider devoting a canvas bag to the purpose of collecting these items. hang it on your doorknob and take it out in the morning. i promise you, clearing the clutter is like being able to breathe a deeper breath.

now to ponder how we limit all this waste in the first place. anyone have a cow?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


seedling 3
yesterday, seedlings from a friend. today, a post on the equals record about friendship and tiny tokens. overwhelmed lately by the incredible generosity of friends and family in these past few weeks as we prepare for our wedding. more on that later, but for now, just a simple acknowledgement that we're lucky indeed.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

coffee, lately.

cold brew
i'm not a coffee snob. i admit, there are things i can be snobbish about, but coffee isn't one of them. the number of bodega coffees i consumed on morning commutes to my last job should tell you this. still, i recognize a delicious cup of coffee. rich and nuanced and something you can smack your lips at.

lately, we've been guzzling cold brewed coffee made at home. if you've not already been schooled on the delights of cold brew by your local suspendered and bearded barista, let me explain the process as understood and executed by yours truly.*

1. put typical number of heaping spoonfuls of roughly ground coffee into your trusty french press
2. fill up with cold water and cover, but don't plunge the mesh filter
3. refrigerate overnight
4. in the morning, plunge that filter, pour that coffee, top off with simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water, boiled, simmered and cooled).

perfect for the steamy mornings we've been having lately and one more reason to retire that drip coffee maker taking up all your kitchen counter space.

*if you wanna get really intimate with iced coffee brewing, check out this class.
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Friday, July 20, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this bowl of plums.
{because they're just the right size for snacking}.

2. this stack of replies.
{because it's getting us so excited to boogie}.

3. these sweet cheeks.
{because we get to kiss them at our wedding. two. weeks}.

4. queen anne's lace and pink yarrow.
{because if you can't pluck them from your own garden, it's nice to have farmer friends who give them to you}.

5. these two packages.
{because they arrived. can't say anything else quite yet}.

other things:
these sweet sneaks.
some of these apartments make ours look enormous.
beautiful & useful.
i usually prefer a bare table. but this, i'd take.
i could wear chambray every day.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

make-believe: a good night's sleep

as my high school latin teacher used to say: it's been hotter than hades lately. i'm not usually one to complain about the heat, so bitterly do i hate the cold, but sleep in our luxurious loft* has been hard to come by these past few nights. today, i'm dreaming of the perfect summer sleep conditions: a slight breeze from the fan on low, a temperature cool enough for lightweight summer blankets, but warm enough to sleep in undies (the bra's only there because i thought undies alone might be too shocking), the sweet smells of lavender and jasmine, and drifting off to sleep, the weight of a good book on my belly. yes, sounds about right to me.

 1. ship-in-a-bottle pillow 2. sleep sachet 3. fan 4. pintuck bra 5. undies 6. the marriage plot 7. blankets

*another tiny apartment video, for which i forgot to brush my hair and j. forgot to smile. whatchagonnado?
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

hold on to what you love, part with what you don't.

when we first moved into this tiny space, we were nervous about which of our biggest pieces of furniture we'd have to leave behind. five years of living together meant that we'd already managed to build a pretty solid collection. we'd scoured yard sales and craigslist listings and driven down questionable driveways to find just what we wanted. we'd scrubbed and painted and when we found something we liked even better, we'd listed our own pieces and invited strangers down our driveway to relieve us of our castaways.

even though moving meant we had to part with some of our furniture, we also resolved that we wouldn't just give everything up willy nilly and start over. some things were easy to part with (goodbye terrible futon). other things were more difficult (we know you're in a good home,  sweet chifferobe). mostly, we kept what we had. this decision doesn't mean that each piece of furniture is the best option for our particular space, but it does mean we're surrounded by things that are special to us. we chose love over efficiency and yes, i've always been a sucker for inanimate objects.

the advice is this: don't think that just because you live in a tiny space you can't surround yourself with things you love. sure, some things in here could work better. the space above this dresser, for instance, is a huge open wall. a savvier apartment dweller might choose to fill the space with a vertical wall unit, to build up, and maximize storage space. the romantic apartment dweller loves the old dresser that she bought for $35.00 in north carolina and painted herself. bottom line, go for the romance. if you love something, you'll make it work, whether it was built with maximum efficiency in mind, or not. 
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

volume three.

star map
avec amour - en ariege
abstract nature
amalfi coast
it is with great pride and much appreciation for all of the incredible hard work that goes into readying a publication for print, that i gush about pure green, volume three. my copy arrived by mail on friday and it is terrifically beautiful. filled with stories and recipes and how-tos, there's enough inspiration packed into the slim volume to last you the rest of the summer. this spring, i had the chance to chat with tiziana agnello about her williamsburg apartment. you'll find that story, with expert photographs and styling by william and susan brinson, in there, too! if you haven't gotten your hands on a copy already, you can order one online, or check out the complete list of stockists to find one near you. happy reading.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

eggplant caviar.

this past week, the news was all about how to survive in tiny apartments. okay, fine. a few other things happened too, but let's just say all of our news was about how to survive in a tiny apartment. there have been photographers and film crews and requests for interviews with brazilian radio programs. in an effort to regain a bit of normalcy in this tiny place, i decided to make one of my favorite summertime comfort foods: eggplant caviar.
i first learned how to make it while living in france, and since then, every summer it makes at least a few appearances. it's not perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing dish, but as the name suggests, the taste is salty and delicious and even, a little bit fancy. if you've been reading my essays over on the equals record,  you know that i've joined james at the union square farmer's market on saturdays. we sell vegetables for a farmer from upstate and this weekend was the first that we sold eggplants. they're japanese eggplants, a slender variety that, for the modest among us, are difficult to photograph without blushing.
eggplant caviar is simple to make, but if you don't have a grill, it does require a hot oven. i broiled the eggplants while james was out of the apartment for a few hours. this choice had the double advantage of meaning he couldn't complain about the heat, and i didn't have anyone to complain to but myself. 
roastedwhen it was ready for eating, we blended ours into whole wheat pasta with thinly chopped summer squash and fresh basil and packed our dinners into containers to bring down to the river. the very best part about our tiny apartment? living so close to a view that takes my breath away, every time.finish
here, a sort of recipe:

one large eggplant, or several smaller ones
a tablespoon, or so, sea salt
a tablespoon, or so, ground cumin
two cloves of garlic, chopped
juice from half a lemon

 - using a small knife or fork, puncture several holes into the side of eggplant to help release steam while roasting
-  place eggplant on a baking sheet and drizzle in olive oil
- depending on size, broil eggplants for 20 - 40 minutes, turning once
- when eggplants are soft and withered, they're done. remove from oven and allow to cool
- in the meantime, chop garlic cloves and blend with salt and cumin. if you have a mortar and pestle, this is the time to break 'er out. if you don't, do what i did and use the back of a wooden spoon for mashing.
- when eggplants are cool enough to handle, use a knife to make a long slit down the center. with a spoon or the side of a fork, scrape the cooked eggplant out of its skin and into a bowl
- add the cumin, garlic, & salt mixture and juice from half a lemon to eggplant and stir
- allow caviar to sit for several hours to allow flavors to blend
- garnish with fresh basil and serve at room temperature. it's equally delicious on a piece of toasted baguette or grilled pita as it is stirred into pasta

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Friday, July 13, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. these beans.
{because they were fresh and skinny and still fuzzy from being just-picked}.

2. this article.
{and the others like it. it's a wild time for life in this tiny apartment}.

3. this queen anne's lace.
{because it's my favorite and a favorite of empty lots, which means flowers for me}.

4. this pasta maker.
{because carrie used it to make us white bean stuffed tortellini. so good}.

5. this big screen.
{because when you can watch movies with that view as a backdrop, i say life is pretty grand indeed}.

other things:
these gorgeous bangles.
issue three is out. can't wait to get my hands on it.
favorite tattly set yet. 50% off through sunday!
these sound wonderful. i'd be tempted to triple the blackberries.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

make-believe: bathroom accessories

in keeping with yesterday's post about bathroom supplies, i thought it would be appropriate to round up a few lovely bathroom accessories that i wouldn't mind displaying in my own mini water closet.  just a few things to keep things simple and sweet and smelling fresh.

 1. wooden toilet brush 2. bamboo toothbrushes 3. toothpaste 4. candle 5. jar 6. towels 7. eco-friendlier shower curtain
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

limit your grooming supplies.

jessie wrote last week with a question about how we handle our bathroom storage, so i decided i would indulge, heinous photograph and all.

i really wish that what i had to show you was prettier. getting to use this toothpaste regularly, for example, would help things. if someone could start a contact solution company a la common good, that'd be perfect, and prettier packaging on floss wouldn't hurt either (bring back the tins)! but painfully, not ever square inch of my life is yet perfectly polished, and so, here they are, our motley crew of bathroom supplies.

here's the thing about bathroom storage solutions: it's hard to write universally about them.  in every bathroom that we've lived in, we've had to work around different challenges. in some apartments there have been bathroom mirrors with shelves tucked inside, in others we've nearly ripped the mirror off the wall searching for them. there have been towel hooks and no towel hooks, shower heads that accomodated a shower caddy, and others where the thing slid right off. there have been tubs with corners for stashing conditioner, and tubs of the clawfoot variety, where bottles slipped out and over when we were fool hardy enough to attempt a balancing act. in all of these places, i've found the number one most useful tip is to simply limit what we need to store. (watch this film about single-use plastic and you'll start mourning every shampoo bottle you've ever purchased, promise).

but seriously.  some people have bathrooms that more nearly resemble the local duane reade. i say, choose your shampoo carefully and stick with it 'til it's empty. if you're up for it, try your hand at solid shampoo. and please tell me that you're already using bar soap.


in case you've already limited your personal grooming supplies to a jar of baking soda and a good washcloth, and you'd like actual storage solutions for other sorts of bathroom-y things, here are a few other tips that have consistently worked well for us:

1. towel bars on the back of the door. two of them, one toward the top, one toward the middle. towel hooks don't work. also, pretty towels make all the difference.

2. a basket perched on the back of the toilet. it feels a bit '90s, but as long as it doesn't include a stenciled duck, it'll work. thermometers, ibuprofen, extra contacts, band-aids, tampons, shove those in there. neatly, for heaven's sake.

3.  hand towels as bath mats.

4. keeping everyday things (if you're me that's mascara and lip balm and if my skin's lucky, moisturizer) in the same bag you use to travel (i use one of these). i'd rather pop creams and potions into one neat spot than seeing them strewn about. plus, this makes for super speedy packing (and unpacking).


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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

long grain | camden, maine

summer rolls
pad kee mao
pad thai
believe me when i say that last week, we ate plenty of lobster. it was fresh and delicious and decidedly maine-y. but we also had our fill of a less-expected cuisine for a trip to coastal maine. before we left brooklyn, a friend recommended long grain in camden to james. i'd be lying if i said we weren't all more than a little skeptical at the mention of world-class thai food in coastal camden. still, our friend knows a thing or two about food and so we took her up on the recommendation. thank goodness. best dang thai food we've ever had. if you're in camden, run don't walk.

long grain | 31 elm street | camden, maine | 207.236.9001
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Monday, July 9, 2012


last week, there were all the best things. our friend, ian, invited us to his family's home in mid-coast maine. we spent two days drinking our friends' wine and making up silly songs. there was a freshly mowed baseball diamond and an outfield for picking blueberries and scratching at mosquito bites, a barn stuffed with treasures found in old chairs and lemonade stand signs, a banjo and a mandolin and an ipod plugged into an 8-track, oysters and lobster and a make-shift table for fitting all the merry-makers. and more fireflies than i've ever seen. 

it feels selfish now, this ache to go back. but i'd give anything to be there now. 
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