Blue Bottle Tips

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Extremely enlightening things I learned while browsing Blue Bottle Coffee’s brewing guides:

  • French Press coffee should only sit/brew for four minutes
  • Pour all of the coffee out of the French Press as soon as it’s done brewing
  • Pour-over coffee should take 2.5-3 minutes of pouring to brew
  • A Moka Pot (Italian stovetop) is best done with already hot water
  • Pulling a perfect espresso shot is an art form.

The writing is a little snobby, but in a charming hopeless-nerd way. The photography is amazing. And the knowledge (particularly that French Press bit) is transformative. Nice website, guys!

favorite podcasts

One of my favorite things about living in the year 2013 is podcasts. Among my favorites:

  • spilled milk which is like having two giggly foodie pals over for dinner on the back porch
  • the sounds in my head which is like listening to the hippest radio station with a goofy self-deprecating DJ and no ads!
  • the writer’s almanac which, though just five minutes long, is like drinking a large glass of pinot noir while looking at the mountains
  • the longest shortest time which is like talking on the phone to your funny best friend about how your baby won’t stop crying and having your friend successfully calm you down and make you laugh.

I want to highlight the longest shortest time as I have a bunch of readers who are new moms and because she’s just launched two cool campaigns.

The first: free cards that you can send for to jump start conversations in playgroups, library meet-ups, drop off at your OB’s office, pin on the bulletin board at your local playground, and the like. Printed on heavy card stock with funny quotes from the show, they are beautifully done:


Read more about those and order them for free right here.

And: she just launched a kickstarter campaign so she can afford to begin a whole new season of episodes. I love Hillary’s style–she has a wonderfully relaxed way of interviewing and asking all the questions you hope she’ll ask. One of my favorite episodes had personal interviews with the two sides of the sleep-training debate. It was so refreshing for me to hear it all hashed out like that. I think once you have the chance to listen to a few episodes, you’ll be pledging for a second season, just like I did!

by the way, I use Apple’s free podcast app to easily download and listen to podcasts on my iphone when I’m cleaning up the kitchen, driving, or walking around in circles waiting for Joan to fall asleep.


oh life

Because each day of My First Week is uniquely woven with its own challenges, such as:

  • go outside
  • go outside and go to the pediatrician
  • go outside, get caught in rainstorm, find out Joan hates rainstorms
  • drive to the midwife and gently rear-end someone and resolve that midst newborn screams
  • go the grocery store with one in the cart and one in the sling
  • (and it’s only Wednesday!)

…I’ve been trying to jot down daily life notes more frequently. Of course this is the same goal I’ve had for awhile, and to that end I’ve used this easy set-up offered by Oh Life since last year:


Nice notes, but tragically widely interspersed, right? Once you sign up, Oh Life emails you at the end of every day and asks “How’d your day go?” Just respond to the email and they compile it all for you in a pseudo-journal (skeuomorphism!) style. Despite all our complaining, the internet is still full of great free things, I think.

It’s decompressing for me too. I find that the wonderful moments bob to the surface of my memory once I’ve written down a few of the more embarrassing and chaotic ones. For example, in the case of the unexpected rainstorm: after we arrived at our friends house totally drenched with Joan screaming, I settled on to their couch and watched Lux learn to cut out hearts and airplanes in sugar cookie dough. Soon it smelled like baking cookies and my sling, Lux’s shorts, and bunny (of course) were spinning in their dryer, and I decided I didn’t need to go to the grocery store that day after all.

And that’s really all this week adds up to, I think. Feeling embarrassed, exposed, disorganized, messy, and learning to love it or ignore it, as the case might call for.

5 Links

Happy weekend! We’re going to Maine and it’s going to rain but I still want to do everything we did last time to the letter. And stop by the More & Co shop in Portland, and Cape Porpoise Outfitters on the way home. And maybe pick some strawberries.

1/ Momfilter has an interview with the directors of the Birth Story. When is that documentary coming to Boston? I might just have to buy it on iTunes.

2/ This pretty pretty movie preview sent to me by Kellyn.

3/ This spring playlist by Kinfolk magazine.

4/ If I can write something like this by Kim Foster about my daughters making me breakfast someday, all will be well.


Hot summer bedrooms (not hot like sexy, hot like stuffy and “I waited the whole school year for summer and now this feels miserable, and it’s sunny but everything is not automatically fixed”). Summer homes and cottages, camp, secret neighborhood hangout spots like bridges, overpasses, rivers, and cemeteries. Feeling homesick. Taking sad baths. “Last Days of Disco” by Yo La Tengo/everything by Yo La Tengo. Miranda July’s short stories.Gerhard Richter‘s paintings that look like old photographs. Mark BorthwickCorinne DayRyan McGinley, and Sally Mann. Overalls, white cotton dresses, chain-link fences, the beach, lighthouses, clotheslines, backyards, watercolors, pencils, butterflies and butterfly nets, seashells, the pool and all the gross pool chairs, homemade lemonade, sunflowers, dandelions, straw, fields, all those dirty-looking flowers, and those vaguely Scandinavian floral patterns that you find on dish towels and shit.

-Tavi’s Editor’s Letter about Longing and Summer.



Do you have blogs you visit to escape? Some of the blogs I visit, I read every word, and then there’s some where the photos and I sit together for awhile and my eyes mull in the colors. Like listening to an album, but visually. Usually this ends up being relaxing and inspring. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and jealous. It’s a fine line, and I find it is up to the tone of the writer to make it work well. 101cookbooks is one that inspires me. She’s much healthier and more intentional than I’ll ever be, but I still feel comfortable in her presence.

In this case, I’m inspired to get some more interesting glassware. Photos below, the rhubarb & rosewater syrup, and the blood orange gin sparkler.

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5 Links

The internet has been down in our apartment since last Tuesday. I was trying not to panic, but I was definitely panicking. It’s back at last, and the good news is I have a bunch of stuff I want to post this week since I was so unfairly suppressed and sequestered last week.

In honor of its return, I thought I’d post a few things I’ve enjoyed (read via iPhone) in the last week.

This little collection of food photos with the stories behind them, by Youngna Park at First We Feast–she’s the best.

Kate’s dispatches from pregnancy-nausea-induced-couch-living made me laugh. Oh nausea–you’re so funny from far, far away.

Lisa’s post about useful things, and the small things behind them. Maybe if I get some good silver polish I will soon have a bucket with champagne chilling as well.

Betsy’s post at Eco-Novice about what she has bought and sold on Craigslist over the years. Oddly intriguing in that other-people’s-business way. I’d like to be someone who managed to use Craigslist more. (if you’re in Boston, I’m a fan of Crocodile Tears who super-curates local craigslist stuff and posts almost every day.)

This morning we went to the Brimfield Antique Fair; we seem to go to almost every spring and fall. I’ve read a lot of bloggers post-Brimfield recaps but I just loved Amanda Soule’s approach: what she wanted, why she bought it, how she used it.


Shoes I loved but didn’t buy

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Loafers are all the rage and it’s a trend I love–they are comfy and the slightly stacked heel is more flattering than flats. The Stubbs & Wootton options are both wonderfully quirky and ridiculously expensive. I have a couple vintage ones from goodwill but I tried these on in the Camper store in Rome. They weren’t a chosen souvenir from the trip, but I appreciated them nonetheless!

$135 from

Valentine’s Day gift swap

Allie is hosting a Valentine’s Day City Swap, in which you swap local gifts from your city with a paired-up stranger. I’ve already signed up, but you have until Friday if you want to join! She did this for Christmas too and had almost 100 people participate. She’s a design blogger so you know her readers have good taste. : )

pretty logo from Allison Lehman’s blog.

Tiny Bottle of Perfume

First of all, you should know that Joe loves nice smells. Whenever we have a chance to sit down together with a new fashion magazine, we flip to all the perfume ads and smell them. Then we make judgy comments about the scents, the advertising, the color. OR we make gushing comments. “oh yes. orange liquor and cobblestones in Rome.” This type of nonsense.

Sooooo when my aunt Anne sent me a perfume sampler from OLO I think for sure it was the most fun $24 gift I’ve ever received. You get four 1ml samples, tiny little things labeled with names like Dafne or Violet/Leather.

We carefully opened each one and hmm and ooo over them. Our absolute favorite was one labelled Cedar & Rose. I went to her blog to read about it, I was so allured. It’s interesting story: she (Heather, the owner) made a hair tonic (with argan oil, the stuff that makes that blue-labelled Moroccan Oil famous) and scented it with cedar and rose. Her customers loved the smell so much, they begged for a perfume of the exact scent. You can read about the development of it on her blog, here.

I said they were tiny (see middle photo for size) but actually 1ml is enough for about 12 uses. So now I feel like Cleopatra with a full collection in my kingdom (queendome. pyramidom.). But as soon as they run out, I’ll be ordering a nice bottle for keeps.

Do you have a signature scent yet, my friends?

Photos from OLO and the bottom one from Reading My Tea Leaves.