make-believe: non-toxic masculinity.

    November 18, 2019

    What sounds better than a fall afternoon spent hiking through fallen leaves, baking fresh bread, and sitting by the fire with a hot cup of espresso and a good book. For men—or anyone—here’s a little make-believe heavily influenced by my own espresso-sipping, bread-baking, partner-in-parenting husband.

    A waffle-weave sweater for channeling fisherpeople.

    All-weather boots for tromping around in.

    Hemp socks for staying cozy.

    Sturdy jeans for wearing (and eventually repairing).

    A trio of beautiful flours.

    A bread bag for freshly baked loaves.

    A maple bowl for serving.

    Greek olive oil for drizzling.

    A walnut spoon for stirring.

    Espresso for sipping (plus espresso cups and a handy scoop).

    A calming balm for what ails you.

    A copy of Burn It Down for better understanding.


    Take action:

    In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few very real places to direct our attention:

    + Ask your member of congress for paid family leave. The United States currently has no federal paid family leave policy, making it the only industrialized country absent a paid-leave policy on the national level. PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) is on a mission to make paid family leave a reality in the US by 2022. Learn about the issues; sign the petitions; demand better.

    + Tune into #MenCareLive this week. MenCare is an international non-profit with a mission to “promote men’s involvement as equitable, nonviolent fathers and caregivers in order to achieve family well-being, gender equality, and better health for mothers, fathers, and children.” To achieve that mission, they call on men to “be allies in supporting women’s social and economic equality, in part by taking on more responsibility for childcare and domestic work.” Their global meeting is taking place this week, November 19-21.

    + Take the Pledge for Paternity Leave. Less than 1 in 5 men in the United States are offered paid parental leave and worse, many dads who are offered leave don’t take it. Dove is pledging $1 million dollars to fund parental leave for fathers and earlier this year they launched a simple Paternity Leave Pledge that might be a nice starting point for raising awareness and offering funds to dads in need.

    + Nominate a woman to run: When women run for office, they get elected. She Should Run is a nonpartisan non-profit promoting leadership and encouraging women from all walks of life to run for political office.

    This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

    my week in objects (mostly).

    November 15, 2019

    1. these prunes.

    {because pregnancy is no joke and i’m not here to sugarcoat it.}

    2. this projector.

    {a birthday present for james (and all of us). for family movie nights et cetera.}

    3. this bracelet.

    {made for me on a night when i wasn’t home for bedtime.}

    4. this handy heating pad warmer.

    {because now it’s ready and warm whenever i need it (always).}

    5. these “flashcards”

    {in hopes that the pride in and enthusiasm for learning new things never goes away.}

    other things:

    letting boys be (emotional) boys.

    seek and find comfort and laughter and riotous good times in each other.

    related: i’m wondering what purpose my grim restraint has served.

    20 billion a year.

    throw down your ladders.

    self-care, visualized.

    a gold standard of menschiness.

    how extraordinary, how totally bananas.

    This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

    natural beauty: on my face, recently.

    November 13, 2019

    natural beauty, lately | reading my tea leaves

    It took me until I was past thirty to find a regular hair stylist. Before that, I’d hop around from place to place, partially because I moved so much in my twenties, partially because I never found sometime to really love, but mostly because I associated regularly visiting the same hairdresser with something that only fancy people did. Not considering myself fancy, I convinced myself that returning to the same stylist for more than one cut was somehow indulgent or spoiled or just a thing that people like me simply didn’t do. (Truly, whatever that means.) I am now someone who is very much enamored with my stylist (Christine Morris at Fringe Salon in Manhattan, ilu) no matter how infrequently I visit her or how often I allow my bangs to become a mess before getting them trimmed. 

    This post is not about hair, but it is about focusing a bit of time on myself and reveling in it; developing a routine and sticking to it, for a while anyway. Specifically, it’s about my face and what I’m doing to take care of it and feel comfortable in it. Mostly, it’s about finding something that’s working for me and embracing it. What works for me might very well not work for you, but so it goes. Clearly, to each their own on all of this forever and ever, amen. 

    As always, I try to use products that are gentle on my body, gentle on the planet, and thoughtfully made. In a few cases, the products mentioned were sent my way as press samples, but in all cases my reviews reflect my personal experience, opinions, and point of view and I haven’t shared anything here that I don’t use use myself.

    Here’s what’s happening skin-wise lately:

    natural beauty, lately | reading my tea leaves


    I’m not much a face-washer generally, as you might recall. But when I recently shared that fact with a facialist (thank you James for the birthday gift; I only regret waiting four months to use it), she was mildly appalled and started saying something about congestion. Well. I’m not usually persuaded by other people telling me to add anything to my routine, but she had me convinced that perhaps at the ripe age of thirty-five I should be cleansing my skin. More than that, in pregnancy I’ve been wearing slightly more makeup than is typical for me, and I knew that I could really use something with a bit more power behind it than New York City tap water alone. This is what I’ve been using lately:

    • I’ve been rinsing the cleanser with the help of my Washable Cotton Rounds (note: this shop is temporarily closed, but will be back again soon!) or a Cotton Washcloth, both of which I’ve taken to hanging in my bathroom using one of these beauties and a magnetic hook stuck to the burning hot steam pipe.
    • After cleansing, and any old time I’d like, I love to use a toner or facial spritz. It’s my longest standing skin-care ritual and not one I see myself ever giving up. My very favorite, and I’ve tried many, are the tonics from Marble & Milkweed. I just started a new bottle of Briar’s Rosehip & Calendula Tonic and it’s as lovely as everything else she churns out of her Lower East Side studio.
    natural beauty, lately | reading my tea leaves


    My skin tends to be on the dry side, especially in the winter when the steam radiators and city wind tunnels blast it into oblivion. Here’s what I’m doing to prevent winter wreaking havoc:

    • Following an enthusiastic spritz with my toner, I’ve been letting a pump or two of Naturopathica’s Carrot Seed Soothing Facial Oil soak into my skin. This particular blend came recommended by my dear friend the aforementioned, slightly concerned facialist. It’s really mild and lovely. Carrot Seed Oil has been recommended to me several times by women of a certain age who have noticed their cheek creases no longer disappear so quickly post wake-up and I can confirm that it does seem to be performing something of a miracle in the way of plumping my apparently prune-like skin into something closer resembling a plum…? Anyway, I really like it.
    • I’ve been following the facial oil with Naturopathica’s Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream, also recommended by you-know-who. I’ve been using facial oils for years, but I think perhaps I didn’t appreciate how much they could be improved upon with something that seals in all that goodness. My parched skin takes a dose of this golden stuff twice a day, morning and night. Would you believe me if I said the combination appears to be truly diminishing my fine lines? ‘Cause sure does seem to be.
    • When I’m feeling virtuous I wear sunscreen. Sundaze C-Shells Broad Spectrum Daily Sunscreen is the one I’ve been using lately and despite being a physical sunscreen, it doesn’t leave a terribly white cast behind, which is about the highest endorsement I can give to any sunscreen.
    natural beauty, lately | reading my tea leaves


    I’m really not much of a make-up person. I never really learned to apply it properly, for one thing, and for another, I just don’t really like the way it makes my skin feel. If I ever need to wear full makeup, I spend the day with my eyes smarting and feeling like my skin can’t breathe. Still, sometimes I find it useful, even pleasant. In pregnancy, when contending with dark eye circles and blood vessels bursting to the surface of my cheeks, nose, and chin, I’ve found a bit of covering up has improved the old spirit. Here’s what I’ve been using:

    • RMS un-coverup has been so handy for subtly covering areas I’d like to blend in a bit more. It’s light and easy to apply and even though I still feel like I want to wash my face at the end of the day, it’s not heavy or oppressive in the way that I find so many other similar products to be. I bought mine at a local shop that helped me find the right shade (22!).
    • My go-to bit of color these days is the Marble & Milkweed Rosy Lip Tint. I use it on my lips and my cheeks and while it does need to be reapplied to maintain its hint of color over the course of the day, it’s so easy and soothing to put on, I don’t mind a bit. I love that it looks (and is) totally natural, but still makes an impact.
    • I’m a fairly regular mascara-wearer and for the past few months I’ve been using Blinc Mascara. It’s a tube mascara, which I prefer over most others that tend to flake and smudge and generally leave the skin under my eyes looking like a mess. (Full disclosure: A few years ago I had a long post about mascara planned and drafted, but at the end of the day, after trying a bazillion natural mascaras, I couldn’t find any I truly wanted to recommend.) This one, on the other hand, stays put all day and washes away easily with water and without leaving even a trace behind.
    • If I’m going out someplace special, I sometimes use a bit of Noto Hydra Highlighter. I usually rub it down the bridge of my nose and on my cheekbones. It’s a bit of a wild card for me and I have no idea if I really use it properly, but I like the little shimmer it adds and so that’s that.
    • Finally, and only occasionally, I’ve been experimenting with eyeliner. After being photographed at an evening event where I felt like the photographer was showing me a shot of a very tired and pregnant ghost, I decided to expand my makeup collection with a bit with eyeliner. I have a hard time finding an eyeliner that doesn’t irritate my eyes, and while I can’t say this one is completely perfect, I’ve been using the Ilia Clean Line Gel Liner in Twilight and find that it’s really pretty good, easy enough to apply, and not too terribly smudgy.

    And, that’s it. Written down and photographed all together, it feels like kind of a lot, but it’s really a pretty simple routine that I’ve found to be totally manageable and quite lovely. I don’t always bother with the makeup bits, but committing to the the cleansing and protecting parts have been nothing short of wonderful. Cheers to cheeks, etc.

    This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

  • make your own: trivet.

    We’re notoriously rough on our tables around here. Sometimes-work surface, sometimes-dining table, sometimes-roof for weekend forts, the tables in our apartment see a lot of use. And while I couldn’t be more excited to…

    November 11, 2019 9 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    1. this bundle of candles. {ready and raring to go.} 2. this creamy elixir. {the heat is on, the temps have dropped, i’ve been wearing this nightly and loving it.} 3. these child-height utensils.…

    November 8, 2019 8 Comments
  • simple stuff: china markers.

    By now, you know how I feel about labels. When made by someone else, that sucker’s most likely getting ripped off the minute after it comes in our house. But even when made by…

    November 4, 2019 28 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    1. these darned socks. {heh.} 2. these wax pastels. {for doubling as face paint (even if they also inspired more than one last-minute costume change).} 3. these rain boots. {because gloomy weeks are made…

    November 1, 2019 4 Comments