Wednesday, July 31, 2013

two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

A follow up to my last tip re: overnight guests in a tiny apartment.

This summer we've had more overnight guests than we've had in the past three summers in this apartment combined.

Two. We've had exactly two overnight guests: my best friend from high school and James's best friend from high school.

The tip is this: When best friends make their homes in far-reaching places like India and Alaska and they have just one night to crash in New York before getting on with their adventuring, you make room for them.

You blow up your camping air mattress, you pile on the blankets, you stay up until all hours catching up, and in the morning you send one significant other or another out for bagels so that morning time necessities can be taken care of with a modicum of privacy.

That is all.

Tiny Apartment Tips 1-73, right here.

{PS. I'm experimenting with a new title for these posts after learning that the lesser than sign (< ) in the title was causing some internet-related woes. Here's hoping this helps}!
You have read this article home / life in a tiny apartment with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

printing pictures.

printic prints
The last time that I printed photographs on a regular basis was in high school. I had a small black camera with a strap I'd made from a beaded necklace. I'd load it with whatever film I could find in my parents' pantry and my friends and I would take pictures of our various adventures, or lack thereof. These were pictures of people, not things. When we'd shot the last exposure, we'd pile into a car and bring the evidence to our local pharmacy to get printed. We always got doubles.

In a stroke of luck, I was born a good five years before I needed to worry (mostly) about these photos appearing suddenly on social media streams. I'm grateful that the pouty faces and the prom dates are tucked safely into shoe boxes beneath beds around my hometown and not popping onto my instagram stream. It's not that I don't like social media—or memories—it's just that I don't think my 16-year old self had the discretion that my 29-year old self has.

What I do miss about those photo-printing days is the tangible element. The photos tucked into the inside of lockers or the edge of a mirror. I take ten times the number of photos now that I did then, but I print them almost never. Printic* is a photo printing app that helps make printing possible, quickly. Maybe best of all, they send them off in pretty orange envelopes to recipients of your choice. Photos by post; I like the sound of that.

*Printic generously provided me with the credits to print these images. Words and images are my own; see more here.
You have read this article printic / printing photos with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Monday, July 29, 2013


cucumber lime

Cucumber, lime, jalapeno and rose petals, with a splash of gin added for good measure. I made the mistake of thinking I needed them to be more liquid-y, and instead of adding more gin, I added (more than) a splash of water. Rookie.

The good news is that less-than-perfect popsicles are still pretty good.

Happy Monday.

More popsicles here and here.
You have read this article food / life with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Friday, July 26, 2013

my week in objects (mostly).

1. these plums.
{because yum}.

2. this white wine
white wine
{because sometimes it's the best way to end a day}.

3. this guide book.
{because westward, ho!, baby. we're coming for you}.

4. these boots.
{and it being cool enough to wear them}.

5. this blanket.
{because it doesn't take much to make me too cool}.

other things.
perfect for tiny bathroom sinks.
vetiver for the win. so good.
worth a quick read.

things by me in other places:
natural mosquito bite remedies.
sunscreen 101.
handpicked flowers!
natural beauty.
sun tea with chamomile syrup.
You have read this article life / my week in objects with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Thursday, July 25, 2013

movies in the park.

green grass
corn salad
blue eyes
movie screen
I sometimes get a little misty-eyed for country life. All those fresh flowers and roadside stands and wide open spaces. But when it comes down to it, I love this city too much to really think about leaving.

A salad that withstands transportation, a picnic blanket for perching, and a willingness to walk a few blocks and sit among strangers is happily all we need to enjoy summer here.

The movie series at Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of my very favorite things about summer in this city and it makes heat waves and crowds and tiny apartments feel totally worth it. Two weeks ago we watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off with about 1 billion other people. During the parade scene, the entire lawn stood up to dance along to Twist and Shout. If that doesn't make you grin, I'm not sure what will.

More park love, here.
You have read this article brooklyn / brooklyn bridge park / life with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

Embrace your crazy corners.

It's possible that I should be the last person on the planet to recommend such a thing. Truth be told, there are a few corners in this apartment that could use significantly more attention. That weird alcove next to the bed? It'd look awesome with a built in bookcase made from reclaimed wood. The loft in general? A coat of paint could be transformative.

But the relative impermanence of our stay here, coupled with the more important limitations of renting our space and living on a restricted budget means that some projects don't happen, and won't happen.

Still. It can be worth the effort to work with the oddities of your small space, rather than against them. In our loft, the ceilings are less than 5 feet tall. {On the day that we ever move to a larger space, I will do somersaults on the bed, just because I can}. The short ceilings make hanging things on the wall difficult. But then—and this is largely related to Tip #22: Hold on to What You Love—sometimes you just have to hang something because you want to and not because it looks perfect in the place you have.

For our wedding last summer, one of my cousins framed for us a signed lithograph by Stow Wengenroth. It's about the most special thing we own and even though it's in a kind of funny spot, we went with it. In an effort to make the space work, I added a hanging basket {another v. special wedding gift} and hung the litho in line with the stairs to make for a cohesive look. It might not win "nook of the year,"and it's near impossible to photograph it well, but it's a sweet little corner in an apartment that doesn't have many of them.

Do you guys also suffer from strange corners? What have you done to make them work for you?

Tiny Apartment Survival Tips 1- 72, here.
You have read this article life in a tiny apartment with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

natural beauty.

beauty supplies
Face stuff.

That's the term that I use for all the products that I put–or don't put–on my face.

We've been over this before. I barely use soap on my face, let alone gunk up my skin with other products filled with dubious ingredients.

I wasn't always this way.

In high school I had a fondness for a certain liquid bronzer that would provide an insta-tan and would only cause trouble if there were Algebra Two-related tears, which was often. When that was the case, I was left with bright white streaks down my cheeks. Not a great look.
makeup brushes
Ten years out, I haven't stopped using products altogether, but I've certainly become pickier about what I put on my skin.

There have been enough studies linking dubious chemicals found in cosmetics to cancer for me to swear off the stuff found in the pharmacy forever. And no, just because I used the chemical-filled stuff in high school doesn't mean that I think it's too late to make the change.

Here's the thing: maybe the science is inconclusive, and maybe (ok, surely) there are other environmental factors that can cause cancer, but the fact remains that most cosmetics are filled with chemicals enough to make me pause. My desire to live a long healthy life trumps my vanity.

A few weeks ago, the very sweet Mara from A Blog About Love invited me to an evening devoted to natural beauty. I had the chance to chat with Jessa Blades, a fellow natural beauty devotee and an actual expert on the subject. I interviewed Jessa for a post on Gardenista and you can read what she has to say right here.
You have read this article beauty products / life with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Monday, July 22, 2013

a watery weekend.

fayerweather island light
Another heatwave, another weekend in Connecticut.
james with kayak
I haven't taken as much advantage of slipping away for the weekend since I was in college and homesick. But when you sleep in a tiny loft without air conditioning, the sea breeze is like a siren call. This weekend there was the beach and cousins. And parents who, overnight, became doting grandparents. Some kids have all the luck.
marsh grassDinner on the back porch, dinner at the beach, dinner on our laps after an epic game of keep-the-ball-up in the pool.
This is the stuff dreams and summertime are made of.
You have read this article life with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Friday, July 19, 2013

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. these ice cubes
{all of them. all the time}.

2. this black dress.
black dress
{because i wore it so much this week, i had to do a quick hand wash. dried in a flash}.

3. this ice pack.
{because most weeks i think it takes up too much room in the freezer. not this one}.

4. this fan.
{because it's nothing you haven't seen before, but in a week like this it deserves a shout out}.

5. this bag.
weekend bag
{because i finally have my very own weekend bag. to the beach we go}.

other things.
an affordable maxi, made in the USA.
if you read one new blog this week, make it my sister's.
for cooler days, this smock top.
i had the most delicious ice cream sandwich yesterday. can't stop thinking about it.
an outfit for commuting.
ice cream trucks on demand.

things from the archive:
eco-deo for sweaty days.
cold brew. how-to.

things by me in other places:
summertime delicacies.
no more more mothballs.
catch a firefly.
the ultimate porch swing.
chicken gardens.
a bike basket to love.

You have read this article my week in objects with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Thursday, July 18, 2013

summer buggies.

two finished moth sachets
spoonful of herbs
moth sachets filled with herbs and cinnamon

I'm paranoid about my woollies.

There have been too many winters where I've pulled a wool something-or-other out of a closet only to find that it'd been eaten alive in the off-season. Truth is: I'm still sans wool coat after an incident a few years ago when a particularly aggressive moth got its jaws on my go-to winter jacket. I can't even talk about my grandfather's beret.

Determined to rest easy about stowing my winter wools this summer (and knowing that mothballs are simply a non-option for reasons of toxins and odor combined), I embarked on something of a craft project.  And here they are, pint-sized sachets to keep the moths away and keep my closet smelling fresh, too.

The full how-to is on Gardenista. Along with another story about a bug I'm actually quite fond of. Coming soon: finding relief from mosquitos.
You have read this article elsewhere / gardenista with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

Post related to the summer heat #2,348.

The evenings around here lately have been a marathon of foot propping. If my feet swell this much from the heat, I'm afraid to think what they might look like if I'm ever pregnant. Sausages is the best metaphor.

To combat the sausage-foot phenomenon, James and I have been taking ice packs from the freezer and putting them on our chairs with kitchen towels draped over them.

"Would you like a chilled footrest, madame?"

"Why yes, monsieur. And while you're up, something cold to drink."

We've been passing the evenings listlessly with our two fans pointed directly at us until the moment when our eyelids feel like they might fall off from the assault of wind power and we're forced to direct them elsewhere for a bit. The condensation from our water glasses has ruined just about every surface in apartment (suggestions for beautiful coasters, welcome). Skin-to-skin contact feels like an oven scorch.

But! We have chilled footrests and each others' company. All this to say, it's hot and a little resourcefulness goes an awfully long way in a small apartment.

Tiny apartment tip 1-71, right here.
You have read this article life in a tiny apartment with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013


pétanque on smith street
On Sunday we celebrated Bastille Day with a quick walk to Smith Street where gigantic swaths of the street had been turned into sandy pétanque courts. Pétanque, for those of you who might be unfamiliar, is a game that I like to describe as the French version of bocce, but with prettier boules.
pétanque on smith street
The temperature on the courts was hotter than the surface of the sun, and so tempted though we were, we chose to sip on fruity sangria and eat lobster rolls while watching other people sweat it out. It's important to know your strengths, I say.
My only regret is that I didn't bring along my fabulously chic parasol to aid in the people-watching. Next time.

If you're looking for a pétanque set of your own, this one's pretty darn cute.

PS. Photos by James. I could get used to this.
You have read this article life with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Monday, July 15, 2013

cherries + dough.

cherries in a white bowl
This is not fancy. It's barely a recipe. And I wasn't going to blog about it until I became overcome with the way the cut up cherries shimmered in the waning sunlight in our apartment and I decided to take a few photos. It's a slippery slope, friends.
cherries, pitted
Adding a scoop of perfectly melty vanilla bourbon ice cream in time to catch the last bit of sun didn't fit into our plans for the evening, so you won't see that photo here. But here's my word that it happened and it was wonderful.
cherries and nail polish
I couldn't be bothered to stop everything and find my nail polish remover, so a chippy red thumb is what you get instead.
cherries and pastry dough
If I was in culinary school I'd be told that my crust isn't quite the right one for this kind of dessert. No doubt, I'd have failed my pastry rolling exam. None of that matters when it's 6 pm on a summer night and you find yourself with a bowl of cherries and a yearning for dessert. You have to be kind to yourself.
cherry galette
When I was in San Francisco last month, Julie made a fruit tart that's had me wanting another. And then Michelle wrote about Driveway Fruit Tarts, which at first glance sounds like a questionable kind of dessert and at second glance sounds like something descended from heaven.
cherry galette, cooked
I was in the mood for something similar, and though I waited patiently for my neighbors to come knocking with bounty from their gardens, I settled for cherries from the farmers' market.

Here's what happened:

For the dough: A stick of butter, a cup of flour, and a few tablespoons of sugar combined until crumbly. A glug or two of cold water to pull it all together.

{If you need more instructions, this recipe has them (minus the sugar). If you want a crust that's maybe better suited to a crostata/galette/fruit-filled something, head here}.

For the filling: I pitted my cherries, stirred in a bit of sugar, a tiny bit of corn starch and added a few leaves of basil in a move I'm not sure I'd recommend that you repeat.

For the tart: I plopped my cherries onto my rolled out dough, folded the dough in around the cherries, brushed it with a bit of milk and popped the whole thing in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or so.

Yes, it made the apartment incredibly hot. No, I don't regret making it. For a summery something that requires less heat, may I suggest whipping up some of this; swap the fruits for whatever's in season.
You have read this article cherries / food with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Friday, July 12, 2013

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this bundle.
{because the beginning of the week looked like this}.

2. this nightgown.
{because i know i linked to it last week, but it's that good. someday i will write an ode to the power of a good nightgown}.

3. these ice cubes.
coffee ice cubes
{because i woke up to find them in the freezer}.

4. this lip balm.
lip balm
{because who would have thought? so yummy}.

5. this little scene.
fruits etc.
{synchronicity in paper fruit baskets and dish towels}.

i want to go here.
this made me laugh.
biscuits in the east village. need.
sweetest idea for newbie cooks.

things by me in other places:
prettiest cutting flowers in all the land.
farmer's markets: oregon, north carolina, indiana,
You have read this article life / my week in objects with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Thursday, July 11, 2013

peaches, et cetera.

peaches in a white bowl
This morning's been a study in learning how to take photographs in a very dark apartment and waking up early for peaches.

I wanted to get to the farmers' market in our neighborhood while things were still bountiful so I slipped on an already worn sundress and tied my hair in a knot and called myself presentable enough for these city streets. I've been writing about farmers' markets in other places all week, and I figured it was time for me to pay a visit to my own. No kitchen counter's too small for peaches and sour cherries and the first of the season's tomatoes.

The winter months in this apartment make me forget how dark the summer months are. It's dark enough to need the lights switched on for the entire morning in this apartment, and again starting at 6:00 pm. This is mostly a good thing because it forces us outside, which is where we should be in the summertime. It also forces me to play with the knobs on my camera more than usual. Someday it'd be nice to know what all of these numbers and symbols mean, but for now I'm content to fuss until I get something that looks right enough for me.

Besides, on a morning like this one, peach juice is all the sunshine I need.
peach cut open
You have read this article farmer's market / life / peaches / summer with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

Here's something that I've never really officially covered but that gets asked of me a lot.

How did you find your tiny apartment?

I think the people who ask this question are fairly evenly split between two camps: on one side, there are the people who wonder on what level of hell does one find a 240-square-foot studio to share with her husband, and on the other, there are folks who, like us, move to the city all starry-eyed and eager and willing to live like sardines for the chance to hack it in New York. Being riddled with student debt can also help fuel the passion for tiny-apartment living.

If you too want the pleasure of living in a humble abode like ours, here are a few pointers for finding one.

Search for studios. The legality of this apartment is still under some degree of debate. Apartments in new construction need to be at least 400 square feet, but my understanding of rules for existing buildings is fuzzy. I promise I'll get around to researching this one of these days. An architect-friend of ours in the city told us that lofts like ours need to be billed as "storage" because the low ceiling and the ship's ladder means they can't classify as one-bedrooms. So don't look for one-bedrooms; it's a studio you're after.

Use Keywords: Mezzanines and Lofts. Search terms like mezzanine and loft will help you find the loft set-up like we have. I've done enough evening walking in this neighborhood to know that we're not the only ones with a similar set-up. Historic brownstones with ceilings over 12 feet lend themselves to being hacked in two (good for us, sad for the building). It's unlikely that you'll find a similar situation in a newer building, unless it's been specifically designed to accommodate sleeping lofts.

Look often. Here's the real secret. James looks at apartments for rent almost every day. It's become like a hobby. The same way that you might drool over Pinterest, dreaming up romantic plans for picnics with individually wrapped sandwiches, James sits at the computer and ogles rental listings. There's a lot out there, and a lot of it isn't good. It helps to search regularly. 

Craigslist/Padmapper. We found our apartment directly through the landlord on Craigslist. Padmapper is a genius website that pulls in listings from a few different platforms--Craigslist included--and puts them on a Google Map so that you can see where they are.

Any other small-apartment-dwellers care to weigh in? How did you find your space?

Tiny Apartment Survival Tips 1-70, right here.

You have read this article life in a tiny apartment with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Tuesday, July 9, 2013


bumblebee in veronica
bumblebee in catmint by james caseybutterfly in catmint by james casey
butterfly in catmint by james casey
butterfly in catmint by james casey
butterfly in catmint by james casey

We have family friends that refer to James as Turtle Boy. Seven summers ago when I returned to my hometown after a summer spent working falling in love on Jekyll Island, Georgia, I made an entire roomful of people watch a slideshow of images I'd snapped over the summer. There was so much to share: live oaks dripping in spanish moss, the Rockefeller mansion I'd been helping to restore, the baby sea turtles James was busy saving. But mostly there were pictures of James and those blue eyes. It's mortifying to think about subjecting my family and friends to my personal ode to summer love, but I'll chalk it up to being 22 and head over heels.

James isn't doing work with sea turtles at the moment, and in the lab where he works now he's recently turned his attention to honey bees. In a change that echoes the changing size of our apartments, he's swapped charismatic megafauna for charismatic microfauna.

I'm usually too busy hogging the camera for James to get a chance to take any snaps, but this past weekend there was the sea and sand to distract me, so James had a chance to get up close and personal with his new favorite subject: pollinators.

I dare you not to coo at these fuzzy bees and butterflies.

Photos by James Casey.
You have read this article life / pollinators with the title July 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!