my week in objects (mostly).

    March 5, 2021

    1. these shoots.

    {and urging on spring.}

    2. this clean-up.

    {well, mostly the sweets.}

    3. this hook.

    {for sweaters and other things.}

    4. my mom’s old loom.

    {and a selection of less-bright loops.}

    5. these hearts

    {made for a brother.}

    other things:

    like smog.

    “i had laid out my burden on the basement floor and kerrie had borne it away.”

    the cost of miscarriage.

    silence the voice inside your head.

    i’m not ready.

    hair freedom is what you need.

    she’s back!

    poetry and resistance.

    a type of social distancing that has been occurring since long before the onset of the pandemic.

    the nerola.

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    habit shift: non-alcoholic tipples.

    March 4, 2021

    There’s something to be said for the ritual and romance of an evening cocktail. In a year that’s been so terribly monotonous, to say nothing of impossible, I think it’s nice to home in on any of the habits that can make things feel even marginally better. Enjoying an evening drink even in non-pandemic times can demarcate the space and time between the work day and the everything-else-day. There’s simple pleasure in the time spent making something a little bit bubbly, a little bit herbacious, a little bit bitter, or flowery, or maybe all of these things at once. Looking forward to anything special that’s JUST FOR ADULTS, NO KIDS ALLOWED, well, in year of non-stop parenting, that’s nice, too. Drinking a cocktail feels rarified and special and fancy. When most everything else feels anything but, I say cheers to that.

    Still, especially in a crap year, falling into a pattern of drinking a cocktail or a glass (or two) of wine every single night wasn’t doing me any favors in the coping department. A few months ago when I found myself starting to troll the internet for tips on waking up every morning less miserable, it occurred to me that starting with eliminating a nightly drink might be a place to start. (I appreciated Julia Bainbridge’s thoughts on the subject and am curious to peek inside her book!)

    I still like to enjoy a delicious cocktail or a glass of wine once in a while, but I’ve been working on diversifying my diversions. Here, in the spirit of sharing, a few non-alcoholic drinks I’ve been enjoying lately:

    Seltzer water: In what’s an understandably precious sounding update, we’ve started to receive a monthly delivery of Brooklyn Seltzer Boys bubbly water. It’s an old-fashioned operation that delivers the most bitingly bubbly seltzer directly to our door. The bottles work out to $4.50 each, which isn’t terribly much more expensive than a regular habit of buying LaCroix, and certainly less expensive than a bottle of wine. Cost notwithstanding, the whole enterprise feels luxurious, which is partially the point. I can’t in good faith recommend that everyone support their local bottling company delivery service, but if you’re in Brooklyn and enjoy very fizzy water and maybe also have a penchant for old-timey things, you wouldn’t be wrong to give them a try. Best enjoyed cold, cold, cold (never frozen).

    Bitters: Once, in my pre-child days I attended a bitters making class and then came home, promptly forgot to ever agitate the jar and eventually lost track of it altogether. Now older and wiser, I take delight in buying my bitters. I love Bittercube’s Jamaican No. 1 and I recently I gave myself the gift of a Dram Apothecary Bitters Set.

    These bitters are beautiful, which is of course what I noticed first, but they’re also delicious to add into seltzer (or spirits) or even tea, et cetera! For folks who abstain from alcohol entirely, they’re glycerin-based and alcohol-free, which is nice to know! The Palo Santo Bitters are my favorite.

    CBD Seltzer: I’ve tried my fair share of CBD seltzers recently and I can’t really say they all pass muster. Still, some are yummy and feel appropriately special for the task at hand (which is, remember, feeling special). I don’t have any particularly strong evidence on whether the CBD is doing a huge amount to chill me out, but I do enjoy a good placebo effect. I like Dram Apothecary’s CBD Seltzers best of all, which are dangerously for sale at our nearest grocery. (Now that we have our own seltzer delivery, I’m curious about adding their water-soluble CBD mixer to my kitchen mixology practice.)

    Curious Elixirs: If mixing anything at all feels like too much work, or if you just want to rely on someone else’s expertise, these are delicious cocktails—minus the booze—in a bottle. We were recently able to try a whole box in the form of their Monthly Variety Pack and honest to goodness, they’re so good and fun and wholesome?!

    The elixirs have a vaguely healthful taste—the way that a good Bloody Mary can—which is nice. But I also appreciate that they don’t tip all the way toward vegetal in the way of, say, a wheatgrass juice. They’re effervescent and come ready for drinking, though I’ve also diluted mine slightly with seltzer for a lighter taste and I would describe that as success, too. Maybe most importantly, they’re not sweet or cloying like most mocktails out there! We’ve loved them all, but my personal favorite is the No. 4—a non-alcoholic take on an Aperol Spritz that’s super refreshing. James and I have both decided we could drink the spicy, margarita-inspired No. 2 nightly. (All the better with a salted rim.)

    Amass Riverine Non-Alcoholic Spirit: Beautiful bottle and branding aside, the non-alcoholic Riverine from Amass is a real delight. It tastes fancy and adult—though the lack of the alcoholic burn takes a minute to get used to. Like the bitters, this works as well as part of a classic cocktail as it does in anything mock. I especially like it mixed with tonic water and lime, like a slightly smoky gin and tonic minus the next day’s headache.

    What about all of you? Enjoying more or less of anything special lately?

    For the curious:

    Our ice cube tray.

    Our squat glasses and our taller glasses.

    Our bottle opener.

    Our linen dish towel.

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    apartment progress: a very vintage bathroom.

    March 2, 2021

    In a very vintage bathroom, my motto is to leave well enough alone. If you’ve ever looked for a rental apartment in an old building you’ll know this is not everyone’s motto. Partially renovated bathrooms are more the rule than the exception. In the best cases, there’s a mismatched toilet or a handful of replaced tiles in a different shade of pink (or yellow, or blue). More often, there’s also a lopsided particle board vanity where a pedestal sink used to be, or a hardware store medicine cabinet that’s twice as big as necessary and semi-detached from the wall. There’s nearly always laminate that’s bubbling up in a corner and grout that’s gone missing. In the worst cases, there’s a poorly constructed tub fitter that squishes underfoot when you shower and ceilings that sometimes rain and eventually collapse.

    Needless to say, our very vintage bathroom feels comparably like a real diamond in the rental bathroom rough. It’s pink. It has an enormous pink tub and a pink toilet and pink wall tiles bounded by maroon. The floor tiles are a color that can only be described as yellow-pink, which is probably just a convoluted way of saying brown. The bath and sink hardware are original or close enough and I’m grateful for their occasionally leaky, slightly squeaky charm. When we moved in, the shower head was a plastic handheld with a rubber hose that knocked us in the back as we stood to shower and so we replaced that with an inexpensive rain shower head that’s made all the difference.

    Mostly, we’ve recognized our good fortune and left things as they are. One of my friends is very hopeful I might still go the grandmother route and add in a matching 3-piece rug set, lest I (or the commode) catch a chill. I’m not tempted to wrap my toilet in a towel, but I do sometimes wonder if we should embrace some drama and go whole hog with some woodland wallpaper on the portion of the walls that aren’t tiled.

    Here, a few things that have made small improvements in this space, in case they’re helpful:

    + Matching Bath Toys. These silly little stacking cups are of relatively little consequence but most children’s bath toys are a scourge and my sister found these and I love them very much. They come in four different color ways, one of which is pretty much guaranteed to match a similarly vintage pink (or blue, or yellow, or green) bathroom. We have the original set and we keep them stored stacked up. They do sometimes need a scrub so when that happens we declare a toy cleaning morning and the kids have at the nooks and crannies with toothbrushes and forget entirely they’ve been put to work by their fastidious mother.

    + DIY Hooks. I made three little towel hooks out of vintage glass knobs and hung them up with Sugru Moldable Glue by tesa. I have a small partnership with this company going live on Instagram later today, but suffice to say, I could not love this stuff any more. It’s a small DIY miracle for renters or anyone; apologies in advance for getting lost in their Youtube Channel.

    + First Aid Cabinet: In my humble opinion, trying to squeeze more storage into a small vintage bathroom is usually not worth the effort. That said, some of you might recall that I replaced the bathroom medicine cabinet and hung a shelf in our last bathroom and I never regretted either upgrade for even a minute. Here, the original medicine cabinet is still in place and we added the same enamel first aid kit that we’ve used for years now. (I can’t find the larger size that we have anywhere these days, but even the mini version linked here would be useful for stashing first aid items.)

    + Towel bars, toothbrush holders, and other built-ins: We replaced a broken built-in towel bar in the tub when we moved in. I try hard not to buy new plastic, but I made a concession for this $5 towel bar and I don’t regret it. The handle on the built-in soap dish, alas, is ceramic and long gone, leaving the broken off bits something of an eyesore on the tub wall. I don’t have immediate plans to fix it, but I did very much enjoy this 1978 gem on the subject. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect-fitting, eco-friendly-ish, pretty toothbrushes for the whole family to fit in our built-in vintage toothbrush holder. Now, as in 2008, the struggle is real! For now, let’s pretend I live alone like some kind of Brooklyn Amélie Poulain and my precious toothbrush is the only one that need be propped daintily in a cup. Tra la!

    + Book basket: Kids, and sometimes adults, need books in the bathroom. It’s a fact of life. We keep our bathroom books wrangled in a little wire basket I found a few years ago, which is raised a bit off the ground and not too big for a funny shaped bathroom. My friend Chelsea’s gorgeous book, FIELD, FLOWER, VASE came out today and it matches the tile and Silas will sigh and tell me it’s “so beautiful” and so here it is.

    + Sized-to-fit Shower Liner: As with many vintage bathrooms, we have a tub that’s partially freestanding with an l-ring corner shower curtain rod installed above it. When we had one of these years ago, I did what most people do: hang two regular-sized curtains and curse them out daily. This time, I searched for an extra-wide shower liner to span the whole length of the rod and I’ve been so happy I did. It means less plastic, less cleaning, less billowing liner as I sing (or scream) in the shower. (If you embark on your own search, just measure carefully! Our rod is hung strangely high and I had to hang our liner on a double set of hooks to make it long enough to extend beyond the tub.) TMI: Our liner recently had a rather aggressive wash at the laundromat which has left it sadly beat up, so I think the next step might be to get a linen curtain custom-made to cover the battered liner.)

    Those are the details I can think to add. If you have questions to ask or vintage bathroom tales to tell, the comments are all yours!


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  • make-believe: a warm outdoor afternoon.

    March 1 and I’m fully ready for spring. More than ever, I need the promise of new beginnings and daydreaming about fresh air that’s warm enough to sit in without freezing my—er—toes off. Here’s…

    March 1, 2021 1 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    1. we’re in a ring moment. {and these have been very sweet for tiny fingers.} 2. this favorite bag from a favorite friend. {for somehow matching everything.} 3. this “vintage” tea set. {and being…

    February 26, 2021 7 Comments
  • simple stuff: a butter dish.

    Of all the things to send me over the edge, you might not suspect that the greasy waxed paper around a crumb-covered knob of butter would be the thing. Or perhaps you’ve been around…

    February 24, 2021 19 Comments
  • painted canvas floorcloth, FAQ.

    We have a wall-to-wall painted canvas floorcloth in our dining slash living room. I painted it myself last fall and while I’d love to take credit for the idea, painted canvas floorcloths predate me…

    February 23, 2021 30 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    1. this chair. {and fixing it.} 2. this stack. {and offering it.} 3. this bubbly water. {and our first delivery of a brooklyn delicacy.} 4. these hearts. {and stringing them up.} 5. this charger…

    February 19, 2021 9 Comments