Guard Your Supplies and Equipment From Summer Heat!

This is just your yearly reminder to take preventative measures against the summer heat. When you’re dealing with chemicals and heavy-duty machinery, the heat is no joke and can do some real damage. […]


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growing a minimalist wardrobe: t-shirts (again).

t-shirt update | reading my tea leaves


What’s a t-shirt? A bit of cotton sewn into the shape of a T; holes for head, arms and torso. A t-shirt is a t-shirt is a t-shirt you might say and you’d be half right. But anyone who wears this particular item of clothing on a regular basis knows that indeed the opposite can also be true. It’s a challenge to find a favorite tee. No doubt some of you have gone through the heartache experienced when a beloved t-shirt inevitably wears through. No doubt some of you have tried and failed to track down a replacement. (And if we’re being honest, no doubt the success rate of such an endeavor has been mixed.) No two tees alike, it seems, even when all obvious signs point to your having found a twin.

The t-shirts on this list won’t last forever and this isn’t a list of must-have tees. No, you mustn’t have these tees. But you might have these them and be quite pleased indeed. In case a new t-shirt is something that you’re looking for, here are a few new-to-me suggestions to update the list I wrote last year. The t-shirts on this list were made with a bit of thoughtfulness and shaped with a bit of care. 

For myself, I’m on something of a crew-neck kick and have mostly transitioned my remaining v-necks into the for-sleeping-in pile and am sticking to classic crews for daily wear. I’ve found myself partial to slightly off-whites, which seem more forgiving in summer heat. I’ve liked the look of a slightly more fitted tee lately, though I still have a loosey goosey one or two for days when anything that sticks won’t do.

Herewith, an addendum to the original list of tees that I wrote about almost exactly a year ago. Please feel free to add any favorites that I’ve missed to the comments below.t-shirt update | reading my tea leaves

American Giant: I love a nice cotton slub and the Supima cotton Premium Crew T from American Giant looks like a queen among them. I love the center seam down the back and the neutral, muted color selections. (Made in the USA.)

Amour Vert: A relatively new-to-me place to shop for thoughtful clothes, Amour Vert stocks a long list of t-shirts of various stripes (literal and figurative). I’m partial to the Mikki for a tee-shirt that offers a romantic change from a more classic crew. And for linen tee enthusiasts, the Ryan looks like it would do the trick. (Made in the USA.)

Brook There: RMTL sponsor Brook There recently added a few simple cotton tees and tanks to their lineup of thoughtfully made undergarments. I love the deep hem detail of their linen slouch tee; made from linen jersey milled in the US. (Made in the USA.)

Jungmaven: Move over cotton. Jungmaven’s on a mission to get everyone in a hemp tee by the year 2020 to mitigate climate change. Very ambitious hopes aside, I like the idea of folks thinking outside the box. The t-shirt doesn’t start out as soft as Pima cotton, but it’s got that lovely worn-in look that some days really call for. It would make a solid replacement for your favorite vintage tee that finally gave out. In my experience, they run a tad on the large size. I got mine from the ever-lovely RMTL sponsor, Wilson and Willy’s. (Made in the USA.)

Victor Athletics: When James and I both bought and adored the Victor Athletics hoodie this spring, I also tried one of their pocket tees on for size. Their new tees are a slightly different design than the one I have, but no doubt the quality and care that’s gone into their making has been the same. Every shirt is made from single origin Organic cotton grown and milled in the US.  The designs and color choices are classic and simple. (Made in the USA.)

The original t-shirt roundup right this way. All those other minimalist wardrobe posts, right here.

baby proof: sleep away from home.



There have been a lot of questions and so here’s my best effort at answering how we’ve handled sleep and a toddler while spending more than a month away from home.


Here’s the thing: In my experience sleep away from home mimics pretty nearly sleep at home, which is to say, it’s anyone’s guess how it’s all gonna go down on a given night.

It will likely shock no one reading that we don’t own a travel crib and that therefore we don’t travel with one. We also don’t bring anything in the way of special bedding for Faye. For sure, she sleeps with her own set of blankets and other lovies while at home, but we don’t feel any urgency to tote that stuff with us and I don’t think it makes a lick of difference in how she sleeps. (We did bring a doll, which we promptly left behind at the second stop of our trip. Not to worry: she adopted a new bunny friend while visiting our dear friends this past week.)

On a typical night at home she sleeps soundly in her own crib-turned-toddler-bed for most of the night, but inevitably comes crawling into our bed around 5 o’clock in the morning. Hers are mostly welcome morning snuggles and at any rate, two years in we’ve grown accustomed to them. In general Faye sleeps fairly badly in a travel crib-for forty-eight different reasons, I’m sure-so unless there’s a real bed for her to sleep in all by herself, she tends to spend more time than usual in bed with us when we stay in hotel rooms.

If you’re not used the sensation of a two-year-old’s tiny elbows and knees jamming your ribcage, then this will undoubtedly be something of a shock to the system. If you are used to that particular kind of joy and if you find yourself suddenly in a hotel room with a king-sized bed, well, then you might feel like you’ve won the lottery and you might very well enjoy the best night’s sleep you’ve had in a while. No doubt there are families for whom any kind of co-sleeping is a non-option, in which case, I’m afraid I don’t have much in the way of advice to offer, other than reassurance that in every place we’ve stayed a crib has been at the ready and no one has blinked an eye when we’ve either asked for one or not asked for one.

When deciding between staying in an apartment or home versus hotel, it’s clear that a home offers a nice change of pace, a bit more privacy, and the chance to, say, enjoy a bit of adult conversation in the evening after putting a kid to sleep. But if that’s not an option, I’ll admit that we’ve also found that on nights when we’re staying in a more traditional hotel room, we’ve usually so exhausted ourselves during the day that everyone falling into the bed at the same time feels like the preferred option anyway.

The point is, I’ve found we can really make just about anything work. For myself, I believe in taking the path of least resistance which means that there’s a little bug in the bed next to me more often than not. As we say in France, tant mieux.

evening in saint-malo.


On the evening that we arrived in Saint-Malo, the light made the city glow like a colorized old-timey postcard. You know the ones? Everything cast in a pale yellow or green-blue or washed-out gray. Instead of parasols and bustles the beach goers wore hoodies and skinny jeans, but the sea air filling their lungs no doubt felt nearly the same as it would have a hundred years ago.

The early evening sunlight filtered through thick clouds that would open over the course of the next day and render photographs from the second half of our trip-an adventure up through Northern Brittany and Normandy-close to impossible. Not to worry: We won’t soon forget sloshing up the steps to the top of Mont Saint-Michel or scampering along slick cobblestones in Honfleur. I, for one, am grateful that a lack of photographs means that our drowned-rat dishevelment will be left out of the historical record. As I’ve said before: mine is an incomplete travelogue. Too busy checking out, to always check-in, as it were.

We stayed in Saint-Malo for only one night, but it jogged memories of visiting as a teenager and satisfied my reader’s itch to walk the same streets as Marie-Laure.

The historical walled city, known as intra-muros, was all but destroyed in August of 1944 when Americans bombed the town in an effort to wrest it from Nazi control. The city was rebuilt over the course of 16 years and it’s a sobering and fascinating experience to walk through the streets and notice new stones mashed up against the old ones. 

Here, a few shots of our visit and a few small details from our visit in case anyone’s planning a wander there themselves.st_malo_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1372st_malo_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1376 st_malo_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1388 st_malo_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1395 st_malo_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1401 st_malo_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1406 st_malo_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1410

For the curious:

Where We Stayed: The very lovely bed-and-breakfast, La Villa de Saint-Raphael is just a ten-minute drive from the walled city. The room where we slept was lovely and the hosts generous and kind.  (True story: I found the place by googling “simple, pretty bed-and-breakfast Saint-Malo.” Ask and ye shall receive.) The entire place is a gem, entirely restored just four years ago. (If you go, ask to see the photo album of the process!) (No pictures, alas: but in Honfleur in Normandy we stayed two nights at the very lovely at La Chaumière. Highly, highly recommended.)

Where We Ate: Breizh Café was recommended to us in Paris, but the Saint-Malo location was a true delight with nary a waiting list to contend with! We had an extremely delicious meal served by a warm and friendly staff (plus crayons!) (In Honfleur, a dinner at La Chaumière does not disappoint.) 




On me: My trusty Hackwith Design House overalls (limited edition – out of stock!); an Everlane heavy-weight tee; summer salt waters

On Faye: A genius little Mabo linen dress from last summer that’s serving as a tunic this summer (like this one); equally long-lasting little pants from Red Creek Handmade (like these ones); summer salt waters

On James: A sweatshirt from Marine Layer from half a decade ago (like this one); linen shorts from Bridge & Burn (same style, different color).

baby proof: travel tips from a toddler.



It must be known that a two-year-old is an intrepid traveler: all gut checks and self-care and general enthusiasm for the new and unexplored. 


To be fair, a two-year-old is also a terrible traveler: indifferent to the desires of the group, unimpressed by cultural monuments, and utterly lacking in discretion or restraint when it comes to airing opinions.

We can’t all be perfect all the time.


toddler_travel_trips_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1280And despite the sometimes-terrible, there’s still much to learn from the often-intrepid. Indeed, I think that there are a number of tips from The Toddler’s Guide to Travel that we’d all do well to follow. (Note: I’m not positive that such a volume exists, but it seems to me that tiny humans must get their behavioral dictums from one place or another-and that they’re certainly not always from their well-intentioned parents. The Guide to Travel is no doubt shelved not far from the Guide to Ceaseless Sing-Alongs. To be investigated.)toddler_travel_trips_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_1296


Herewith, the tips I’ve gathered from my own tiny tyrant traveler.


1. Learn a few words of the new language and employ them with great gusto whenever the proper occasion arises and even when it doesn’t. If you sometimes shout “Merci!” to strangers passing you on a hike, they will smile cordially and wonder about what nicety they unwittingly extended. Please, thank you, hello, goodbye and croissant are all terribly useful.

2. Nap it off. Everyone the world over could use a little post-lunch siesta. Stop pushing yourself on to the next museum and give yourself a moment or two to rest. Your feet are tired, you’re getting grumpy, and your family members love you very much but could probably use a small break from you.

3. Eat often. No one travels well on an empty stomach and a chief joy of being in a new place is to partake in the local culinary customs. It would be a shame to leave a place without sampling one of everything from the pastry shop. Begin your sampling early, return often, and leave no crumb behind.

4. Embrace the great outdoors. You might get ten glorious minutes out of an art museum, but find a pile of sand and a bucket to shovel it into and there’s potential for an hour of delight. Running pell-mell through any open space is to be encouraged.

5. Revel in inclement weather. A rainy day is a chance to splash in puddles. Soggy shoes make hilarious noises. Mud is friend, not foe. Run in the rain now and laugh about it later.