on bed sheets.

bed sheets | reading my tea leaves

 
 

Getting a new bed in a new size, meant needing to make a whole bunch of decisions at once about new sheets. Oof. 

 

Turns out it’s not as simple as saying, “I’ll take the cotton ones, please.” 

I know I’m not alone in my consternation over bedding. Indeed: at the moment of writing, I’m sitting in a café (it’s a theme!) next to a newlywed man regaling his lunch partner with stories about his wife’s failure to notice how ill-fitting their bedsheets are. (I am not making this up.) He also has a complicated-sounding concern about a blanket that “oozes” from below the duvet, but suffice to say that if the end goal is a neat and comfortable bed, it appears that the route there is less direct than it may at first seem. In the words of this gentlemen: “It doesn’t really matter. But it does.”

In hunting for bed sheets, there was a shocking lot of information to parse-and I’ll pause to say that while I’ve test-driven a whole bunch of sheets in the past month, I’m not an expert on the topic. Don’t ask me my opinion on thread-count, I beg you. (Some people swear by it; other people say it’s hogwash. Most folks agree that anything with more than a 500-thread count is false advertising.)

Besides, beyond counting threads, there’s other stuff to wonder about. Questions of weave: sateen (smooth) or percale (crisp)? Origins of the cotton: American or Egyptian? Impact on the planet: Organic or conventional? Dyed? (Batch-dyed? Garment dyed?) Bleached? Doused in something or other to make them wrinkle free? There’s the question of what sheets feel like. Do they sleep hot or cold? Do they wear well? Do they hug the mattress or slide around all loosey-goosey? (My café friend would agree this last part is particularly egregious.)

A lot of this wondering about sheets has to do with personal preference. You might like the way your legs feel jack-knifing over a freshly made bed with sateen sheets and it might make someone else’s skin crawl. You might want a bright white set. You might swear by colors.

I don’t have all the answers. But through my work in this space I have learned about a few new and not-so-new companies doing nice things with sheets (and otherwise). So here’s a roundup of options I’ve recently vetted in case you’re on the hunt or might be one day:

 

bed sheets | reading my tea leaves

 

Coyuchi: Coyuchi is well-known for their commitment to the environment. We’ve really enjoyed their 300-Thread Count Percale Set. (They also have a range of sateen cotton and linen sheets should you prefer either.) The set we’ve used is lovely and crisp and cool. For the detail-oriented, they have elegant 7-inch wide hems on sheets and pillow cases that make them look a little more fancy than your average white sheets. They’re Fair Trade and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certified, so you know that more than only being made with organic cotton, the whole supply chain is up to snuff. For these sheets, Coyuchi uses organic cotton grown and woven in India. If you’d prefer an American-grown option, their 500-Thread Count Supima Cotton set are made from American organic Supima cotton and finished in Portugal. (Available as sets or individual sheets.)

Flaneur: If luxury is what you’re after, Flaneur has your back. These are the only sateen sheets in the bunch. Full-disclosure: I typically think of myself as more of percale kind of person, but these guys are soft without being too soft. Flaneur’s Baudelaire Supima Golden-White Sheet Set isn’t dyed and the result is a beautiful golden-white color that comes from a sheet that’s not been heavily processed. These sheets also have the most beautiful finishes, including beautiful three-fold seams at the corners of the fitted sheets. The company has also made all sorts of other thoughtful choices, including using 100% DNA-tested American-grown, extra-long staple Supima cotton and biodegradable Lyocell thread. (Available as sets or individual sheets.)

Snowe Home: I realize this isn’t as important as the sheets themselves, but Snowe Home Sheets Sets come in their own neat little envelopes and you all know how much I like a neat linen closet. Like everything else sold by Snowe, the idea here is about bringing luxury sheets to homes at more affordable prices by selling direct to consumer. These 500-Thread Count percale sheets are made from long-staple Egyptian cotton and finished in Italy. (Available as sets or-newly!-as individual sheets.)

Authenticity50: I really appreciate the basic offerings of this white-sheets-only company. It’s another direct-to-consumer model specializing in Made-in-the-USA white bed sheets made from American Supima cotton. These A50 Sheet Sets sheets are truly no frills-and they shrunk a bit after washing a few times-but they’re comfy and soft and proudly made without the formaldehyde or other chemical additives used to make sheets wrinkle-free. They come with a 100-night trial period so you can make sure you really love them before committing 100%.

Parachute Home: After years of wondering what they’d be like to sleep on, I decided to try out my very first set of linen bed sheets. And I surprised even myself by deciding to add Parachute’s Linen Sheet Set in fog-a lovely light gray-to our rotation of white sheets. I’m on a big-time mission not to overheat this summer in our apartment and linen sheets seem like they might be the answer. Even better: Linen, made from flax, is a more sustainable choice than cotton raw-material wise. As for sleeping on linen? It feels so fancy! We’d done it once before-the bed at Table on Ten where we spent the night this winter was dressed in beautiful charcoal linen-but getting to slip between linen at home felt especially luxurious. (If you’re linen-averse Parachute also sells percale and sateen cotton sheets.) All Parachute Home sheets are Oeko-Tex Certified; so you can rest easy about the supply chain here, too. (Available as sets or individual sheets.)bed sheets | reading my tea leaves

PS: For the parents in the crowd: I’ll also let you in on the secret that we ended up opting for a waterproof mattress liner, just in case our early morning snuggler has an accident. We found this one affordably and so far, so good! It’s not loud or crinkly like some waterproof covers and it’s vinyl-free.

PPS: Some folks have questions about how fitted sheets fit on our new 10-inch mattress. The answer is beautifully! All of these sheets have elastic that goes around the whole perimeter of the mattress, so as long as we pull it tight when we first make the bed, it stays in place throughout the week!

Disclosure: All of these are sheets that I’ve had the chance to test-drive myself. They were provided free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own. 

podcasting.

podcasts | reading my tea leaves

 

I was marooned in a café recently, minding my own business, when a couple of bros sat behind me and began to wax expert on some kind of startup that at least one of them was very passionate about. There was a lot of dude-ing involved. I don’t know what exactly they were talking about but I do know that they were talking very loudly and that I was des-per-ate for it to stop. And desperate for anything else to drown out the noise. 

 

Enduring their conversation did have the happy benefit of reminding me that I’ve been wanting to share a few favorite podcasts where I get to listen to women wax expert, or, be experts, or interview experts. Or just be generally funny.

Unless I’m doing something with my hands, or editing photos, I can’t work very well while listening to podcasts, but when I am doing those things, podcasts make working by myself so much less boring. In case the same is true for you, here’s a little list of podcasts that I’ve been listening to lately. (I promise this isn’t my not-very-covert way of getting you to listen to podcasts that have had me as guests. It’s just that I’ve had the total pleasure of getting to make a few guest appearances on the shows of badass women this year.)

2 Dope Queens: I snarf a minimum of five times per podcast. Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are hilarious (and smart and touching) in this hysterical podcast where they riff on race and love and New York City among other things. They bring on comedian friends to do a bit for each podcast. It’s short and funny and so good. PSA: It’s not for the delicate of spirit, so if you’re not comfortable with a bit of adult language every now and then, this might not be the right fit for you. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

Call Your Girlfriend: I don’t know why it took me so long to really get into this podcast from Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, but I’m so glad that I finally started listening more regularly. I loved this episode with Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. It’s so refreshing to hear a fellow blogger speak candidly about the work of her work (if you know what I mean). Also this one on periods, because obviously. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

Why Do We Have Things: Rita Mehta, who runs the American Edit, started this podcast with Erin Husted of Hackwith Design House at the beginning of this year. The podcast is a series of conversations with independent designers, artists, and small business owners (and your occasional book-writing blogger;)) about what they do and why they do it. Thoughtful conversations on creative process, product design, ethical businesses, and…stuff! My favorite topic of all. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

A Few Things With Claire and Erica: I’ve mentioned here before how much I love the weekly newsletter from Of A Kind founders, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo. Their podcast is like a deep-dive into a few of the things they mention there, with the added bonus of getting to listen to the two of them finish each other’s sentences. It’s fun and funny and I learn something new every time I tune in. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

That’s So Retrograde: When I was out in LA, I chatted away with Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari on their very-California-in-the-best-possible-way podcast. I especially liked their latest episode on zero-waste. (Also def comes with a parental advisory; you’ve been warned, kids.) (Subscribe in iTunes.)

Please, oh please, share your favorites below.

PS. More on some of this podcast-y stuff going into my May newsletter this weekend (along with an announcement about a special NYC event next week!). Sign up below in case you haven’t already.

PPS. For more really great podcast recs, follow my friend Camille Storch (@WaywardSpark) on instagram. She’s a podcast-listening champ. Also, semi-relatedly, she’s a purveyor of amazing raw honey. Save the bees, buy honey.

a new mattress from leesa.

leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves

 
 
 

This post is sponsored by Leesa, a mattress company with the simple goal: “to help people sleep better”.

 

I try to shy away from hyperbole. So when I say that our recent mattress upgrade was the most significant change we’ve ever made to our home-ever-I hope you trust that I’m telling the truth.

After nearly ten years of sleeping together on a double mattress-and with the addition of a tiny human who very much enjoys snuggling between her two parents in the early morning-we were ready for a little more leg room. Arm room. Elbow room. Everything room.

Our decision to finally upgrade to a Queen came after our trip to Southern California in early March. Vacations have a way of making you look at your house differently, don’t they? It’s practically required that you sleep better on vacation, but when you have the distinct sense that the better sleep is thanks to your ability to roll over without getting jabbed in the ribcage, and then when it dawns on you that you don’t need to move to sunny southern California to sleep better, but you do need to improve your bed at home, you decide to make a change.leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves

 

And then, of course, the searching begins. It’s crazy out there in mattress-land. There are so many options and some of them sound stellar on paper but come with a price tag that’s out of reach, or they feel great, but are made from materials that make you cringe. Then there’s the idea that you’re supposed to be able to flop onto a mattress with a salesperson hovering above you and know that you’ve found the right fit for you. 

 

We’ve been on our Leesa mattress for over a month now and we’ve looked forward to climbing into bed every single night.  

Like other new disruptor mattress companies, Leesa is selling their mattresses direct-to-consumer in boxes that arrive on your doorstep. It’s a little trippy. The compressed mattresses only need to be unboxed and unfurled and they grow before your eyes.

 

Leesasleesa mattress | reading my tea leaves are 10” hybrid foam mattresses made with 3 foam layers: A 2-inch top layer is perforated to keep you cool and provide cushiony bounce while two inches of memory foam make up the middle layer for what folks in the biz call “body contouring.” The mattress core is made from a 6-inch dense foam for durability and edge support.

 

I’ll admit I had some serious reservations about a foam mattress, but I did a little digging and learned that Leesa‘s doing a lot of things right. The mattresses are CertiPUR-US certified, which means they’re free of ozone depleters, PBDE flame retardants, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. There’s no formaldehyde or phthalates. Instead of the chemical flame retardants-something I was particularly adamant about avoiding-the mattress is covered in a fabric sleeve that’s inherently flame resistant, not coated in toxins. And the mattresses have low-VOC emissions. (We didn’t experience any odor at all when we unfurled our mattress.) Added bonus: Every part of the Leesa is made in the USA.leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves

To put it bluntly: We’ve been resting easy. Really easy. Beyond the incredible added advantage of a larger bed, we’ve been just totally pleased with the whole experience. The mattress shipped quickly and was a breeze to set up. The memory foam means that we don’t get bounced around if one person or another shifts in their sleep. The trim, crisp lines and low-profile of the mattress just look better than our old one-and it can be used on a slatted or platform bed without a boxspring.

We’re especially excited for summertime because the Leesa sleeps really noticeably cooler than our old mattress. We actually started sleeping with an extra blanket on our bed because the difference in heat trapping meant we actually had the luxury of sleeping on the cool side for the first time in nearly ten years.

Matters of materials and sleep aside, Leesa’s social impact programs are also impressive. Leesa’s One-Ten Program donates one mattress for every ten that they sell. Since the program began in January 2015, more than 4,000 mattress have been donated to local partners working to find solutions for problems related to homelessness. Their One-Earth Program plants a tree for every single mattress sold. Leesa has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 1 million trees by 2025.

 

leesa mattress | reading my tea leaves

 

If you’re interested in giving the Leesa mattress a try, it comes with a 100-day return policy so you can really make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. (And if at the end of 100 days, you’re not satisfied, the company will do their best to make sure that your mattress gets donated to an organization that can put it to use.) Best news: Use the code TEALEAVES to get $75 off your order.

This post was sponsored by Leesa. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.

my week in objects (mostly)

five little things that made my week.

 
 

1. these ruffly tulips.

 

tulips_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8635 {because, ruffly tulips.}

 

2. these new chair seats.

 

chairs_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8649

 

{for mostly working the way i thought they might. thank god for helpful friends. more soon.}

3. this little bag of compost.

 

compost_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8640

 

{because it’s a sweet reminder that our food scraps get turned into something good.}

4. this little tapestry for sitting on.

 

blanket_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8652

 

{and the sweet bag to tote it in. because we brought our dinner to the park four nights this week. working on five. YAS.}

 

5. this rendition of the moon.moon_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8662

{THE MOON.}

other things:

getaway: new york edition.

rooms.

 
 

spring at schoolhouse electric.

 

the dark side of comments.

…nor do I have a Robert Mapplethorpe hanging around to snap me on the fly.”

pretty new bath duds.

every kid in a park.

tiny apartment survival checklist.

not crying is not an option.

manologues.

busty bralettes.

me in other places:

spring cleaning and chance to win a copy of simple matters.

 

growing a minimalist wardrobe: on trend.

on_trend_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8354

 

I use the subway as my barometer. Once I’ve officially started a seeing a pattern of women wearing the same confusing thing on the subway, I  know it’s a trend. Inevitably, I’m late to the party. Flared jeans hacked off above the ankle and hovering above a pair of clunky white leather sneakers? Surely this girl’s marching along to her own drummer, I think. But then I get off the subway and I see another woman with the same crop. Same loose threads a flying. Same white sneaks. 

 

Oh. It’s a thing. With rules. Now I’m on the lookout.

How many pairs do I see on the streets in a given day? One pair? Two pairs? Now they’re at the park, too? It’s official. I start wondering how long it will be until a pair wends its way into my life. A month? Two? Three years from now, when I finally climb aboard only to discover that people are now wearing jeans with zippers in the knees? I don’t know. Maybe they never make it into my drawer-or onto my body-at all.

Here’s the thing: you’ve got to find your own way. You either dig something or you don’t. And sometimes you come around to something and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes a trend seems so abhorrent that you’re just positive you’ll never and then your friend who always looks fabulous shows up wearing a pair of cropped flares and before you know it the thing that looked bizarre looks amazing. So chic!

It’s funny how these things crop up. (Pun, of course, intended.)

One minute you’re feeling perfectly comfortable in your pair of neat and trim skinny jeans and the next your telling your husband that no, you can’t watch another episode of The Americans, because you’ve got things to do. And things is trolling the internet for the perfect iteration of the cropped flare to suit your inner wild woman. (Inner sheep? Ewe?) And maybe after lots of searching it turns out that cropped flares might just never be your thing, but a cropped wide-leg? Minus the stringy bits? You can dig. Sailor pants? Okay! Let’s do this. In white? In blue? In indigo? Maybe I’ll buy nothing and maybe I will. Maybe it’ll take me a year.

I guess the point is that we get to have fun. And we get to take risks. We get to be perplexed and we get to change our minds. We get to dress up like our much cooler friends if we want to. We shouldn’t throw our money around like lunatics or exploit people in distant lands for the sake of a little trend fix, but if we want to experiment with what it feels like to wear a cropped pant? I say we go for it. We get to live a little. And if living a little for you-or me-means wearing some ivory-colored cropped pants with your trusty sweatshirt of the same color and a pair of high-topped sneakers, and if that makes you feel sort of like a painter out of central casting circa 1950, and if feeling like an old-time movie painter makes you feel wonderful for whatever the reason, well, then, terrific. Break rules when you want to. Follow trends when you want to. Don’t forget to have fun. Three cents for a Wednesday.

new for spring from tradlands.

tradlands chore coat | reading my tea leaves

 
 

This post is sponsored by Tradlands, a women’s clothing brand specializing in button-up shirts made in the USA.

Just in time for weather that feels like spring, a new lightweight coat and seven organic shirts from Tradlands

Reading My Tea Leaves newsletter subscribers might recall that Tradlands launched its first big departure from women’s shirting in the shape of a chore coat earlier this month. For the uninitiated, a chore coat is a classic bit of Americana most often associated with men’s workwear. While shapes and styles differ among designers, a classic chore coat is a lightweight outer layer cut from rugged fabric and designed to hold up to, well, chores.

 

tradlands chore coat | reading my tea leaves

 
 

In keeping with tradition, the Tradland’s chore coat is cut from water-resistant 10-ounce duck fabric-the same stuff used to make the high-quality men’s coats that inspire the look. And while it’s sturdy enough to hold up to whatever hard work you’ve got ready for it, it’s not for chores only. Here in Brooklyn, it’s been exactly the right thing for the warmer days and cooler nights we’ve been enjoying lately. I’ve been wearing the caramel colored coat around town and the other day my friend told me that she was, and I quote, “digging my seventies vibe.” (Formally considering my sartorial goal to channel laid-back Jane Birkin one step closer to being realized.)

 

tradlands chore coat | reading my tea leaves

 

About the coat, Tradlands’ founder Sadie Roberts says, “It was important to craft a coat that can be worn by women everywhere, from bakers and gardeners to mothers and daughters.” She describes the coat as “a modern, heirloom-quality coat for you and the next generation of strong women.” And in case you needed any encouragement, an embroidered detail on the inner cuff urges you to “Wear it Well.” 

 

tradlands organics | reading my tea leavesFor readers on the lookout for shirting, this spring Tradlands expanded their organic cotton options and there are now seven organic cotton shirts in the Tradlands collection. On the process of expanding the company’s organic offerings, Sadie confides that “A difficult side of manufacturing in a conscious, ethical way is making sure your fabrics are coming from a great place and that the quality is consistent. [Fabric] is a huge part of the overall integrity of a piece of clothing. With that in mind, organics is something our customers had been requesting for years, so we set out to find the best organic fabrics we could get our hands on.” Mission accomplished. tradlands organics | reading my tea leaves

 

Pictured above, the Quinn shirt in organic navy gingham is a new favorite of mine. The gingham fabric is incredibly soft and overall look is relaxed and classic. For a more tailored look, the classic Bobbie is a traditional button-down oxford. It’s also insanely soft. (Aside: I didn’t realize that the term button-down referred to the tiny buttons pinning down the collar of a button-up shirt until I was in at least my mid-twenties. Anyone else?)

 

tradlands chore coat | reading my tea leavesIf you’ve been waiting to bite the bullet on any Tradlands piece, but haven’t yet: now might be the very best time to consider it. Tradlands is offering Reading My Tea Leaves readers a $25 discount on every item in their carts. So, if you want to outfit yourself in the new line of organic shirts in every colorway, you can. (And you’ll get $25 dollars off each one.) Use the code SPRING25 to receive the discount and enjoy free shipping and returns in the US (International shipping is also available: $5 to Canada and $10 to everywhere else!). Offer expires May 3, 2016.

 

This post was sponsored by Tradlands. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support original content on Reading My Tea Leaves.

a little bit of brooklyn?

sublet_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8239We’re taking off for little spell. Maybe you’re just landing?

We’re leaving in late May to spend the month of June in the tiny Breton home of my godparents in France. While we’re on our adventure, we’re hoping to rent our apartment to someone who needs a little dose of Brooklyn.

Any plans to stay in New York? Needing a place to stay for a month while you’re in between apartments? Looking for a spot for new grandparents to hang out while you welcome a new baby?

We’d love to have someone enjoy our home while we’re away in June.sublet_reading_my_tea_leaves_IMG_8231

You already know what the apartment looks like (here’s a refresher), but rest assured we’ll make it the little landing pad in the city you’ve always dreamed of (and we’ve got a brand-new bed to entice you). We’re subletting our place fully furnished with utilities and wi-fi included. Our place is in Brooklyn Heights and a super short walk to just about every major subway line this city has to offer. And yes, you’re remembering it correctly: June is my absolute favorite month of the year in Brooklyn.

If you’re interested in renting our place, send me a note at erin@readingmytealeaves.com with the subject line June Brooklyn Sublet. 

flowers with lisa przystup of james’s daughter.

flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

It’s a handy thing to know a talented floral designer or two. Last week, my friend Lisa Przystup of James’s Daughter Flowers came over to play with some spring flowers. The day happened to be unseasonably blustery and cold and a hit of springtime was exactly what we needed. flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

While I tend to be a stick-a-branch-in-a-bottle-and-call-it-a-day kind of woman, I like to occasionally dabble in the more complex art of flower arranging and I really love watching a floral designer at work. One minute you’re chatting away, the next minute there’s a mini masterpiece sitting in front of you.

In case any of you have a hankering for a bit of sunshine and flowers, I asked Lisa to share a few of her best tips for those of us interested in dabbling in the fine art of floral arranging.

 

flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leavesOn choosing a vessel:

 

 

Lisa implores us: “Guys: you don’t need fancy vases to make a pretty arrangement. There are a plethora of vessels kicking around in your home just waiting to be repurposed: mugs (yes, mugs), old jam jars/mason jars/honey jars (basically, any jar you’re about to toss into the recycle bin), small deep bowls, pitchers…the list goes on an on.”

The key to a great flower arranging vessel is this: “the wider the mouth of the vessel the larger you can build out your arrangement-a smaller mouth will limit the number of stems you can fit.”

When Lisa first began arranging, she thought she had to buy a huge vase to build a larger arrangement, but she explains that “the reality is that you can actually build out a pretty decent size arrangement using smaller vessels.”

For reference, the mug in this post is tankard mug from Bennington Potters. Its mouth is three inches wide and it stands four inches tall.

 

flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leavesOn keeping flowers in place:

 

 

Successful flower arranging takes a little bit of smoke and mirrors in the form of hidden support. The armature is a term florists use to describe the solid base that fits inside your vase and provides structure for your arrangement. It’s a key element in these kind of arrangements and happily the supplies needed to make one are relatively humble. Lisa suggests two ways to make an armature, depending on the type of vessel you’re using. flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

 
 

+ Solid vessel? Chicken wire to the rescue. Lisa suggests ducking into your local floral/garden supply store (or placing an order online) to get yourself some coated chicken wire and a pair of wire cutters. Next step? “Cut a small square of the chicken wire and fashion it into a loose ball. You want it to be small enough to fit into the bottom of the vessel of your choice but large enough that it won’t be knocking around loose at the bottom.” She says not to worry if the chicken wire ball is too big: “You can squish the wire to make it fit. The idea is to have a snug fit so the flowers don’t shift.”

 

+ Clear vessel? Lisa suggests making a tape grid. “You can use Scotch tape to create a grid pattern across the top of the vase that will help give your flowers structure and a place to live.”flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

Lisa used a pair of wire cutters to trim a square of coated wire and shape it into a ball.

 

flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

 

On making an arrangement budget friendly:

Flowers are expensive. But Lisa explains that there’s no need to spend an enormous amount in order to make a pretty arrangement: “When I first started learning about flowers I didn’t have the budget (or the gigs) to justify heading to the flower market to buy wholesale. But I still wanted to learn and play with pretty blooms. My solution was this: head to the bodega (or grocery store) and buy some affordable flowers and then head to my local speciality flower shop and buy 5-6 stems of some special, more obscure blooms. That way I could satisfy my yearning to work with those top-drawer stunners while learning how to maximize the beauty of regular everyday flowers. You can also use your own backyard as a source-springtime brings all sorts of flowering branches that add a lot of drama and impact to an arrangement. (Hint: you’ll need a pair of clippers.)”flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

We stopped into a neighborhood flower shop to pick up a few special stems: pale pink sweet peas, the most gorgeous sherbet-colored garden roses, and a spray of spirea to give the arrangement some shape.flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

Then we found a variety of more affordable flowers from a neighborhood bodega: pink hyacinths, traditional white roses, and yellow freesia.flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

Lisa ended up using ferns that the bodega included with the white roses to fill out the arrangement.

 

flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

 

On choosing a color palette: 

Lisa suggests keeping the schemes simple, especially as you get started. She suggests sticking to one or two color families and taking a look around the internet at floral arrangements that you like. Paying attention to the color schemes used in arrangements that you like can help give you a sense of what works well. flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

For this arrangement Lisa stuck with spring-y pastels: pale pinks and peaches with a pop of yellow and some white.

 

flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

 

On Longevity + Life Expectancy:

To prepare stems for maximum longevity, Lisa suggests cutting them at an angle to help increase the amount of surface the stem has to take in water. To further preserve your delicate blooms, she suggests “keeping your arrangement out of direct sun and making sure the water levels are high enough that all the stems are reaching their life source.”flowers with lisa przystup of james's daughter | reading my tea leaves

Most important: “Remember that flowers are ephemeral beauties. I’ve had flowers last a full week (on the long end) and three days (on the short end). The sad reality is that these lovely things are perishable items. The moment they’re cut they are dying. Appreciate their fleeting presence in your life. If you’re making an arrangement for, say, dinner, make it the day of to enjoy the blooms at their maximum freshness then keep them around after and enjoy all the stages of their beauty.”

 

lisa przystup | reading my tea leaves

 

 

 

Lisa Przystup is a freelance writer and the sometimes-florist behind James’s Daughter Flowers.