I’m in my two-week countdown toward full immunization. I’m planning monthly summer field trips with homeschool friends. I expect to host once or twice this summer. The girls are signed up for overnight camp. There’s a wedding on the calendar. So yes, it feels like things are “ramping up/opening up,” alll the euphemisms we use to describe the normal none of us even remember all that well now.
One particular aspect of the former normal, I’ve been thinking about friendships and how much it seems like the terms have changed. The primary and most important elements for friendship right now are patience, understanding, empathy, and…patience again. Speaking from the experience of finding myself with an irrationally drained well for sympathy, I suppose it will take pathfinding to get back to that cool meadow where we understood each other fully and felt comfortable leaning on each other.
a couple things of I’m looking forward to this summer, be it what it may…
Contemplating an outdoor shower. A meditational experience that requires no action, only imagination.
Foraging more. As each season I ends, I realize which plants were the plants I was looking for, like, “ooo that was blood root” after seeing the peppy tiny white flowers by the roadside all spring. Then, the following year I come into it so ready. This year, for the first time, I was prepared for ramps and fiddleheads. I was prepared to ask my friend for nettles before they went to seed. And to ask for rhubarb at the point in the season when there was plenty to share. Forestbound’s forage pinterest board is full of dreamy wandering inspiration.
To make: day pickles. Cucumbers sliced really thin, sprinkled with salt and vinegar, and refrigerated.
To make: Popsicles, always a riff on Molly’s recipe, which itself is a riff on David Lebovitz’s recipe. Please don’t try to skip the sugar. There is something about tart raspberries mixed with chillingly sweet sugar that can’t be replicated by honey. (I don’t bother to strain out the seeds.) Her recipe makes more than enough for our six small molds. So I either put the extra mixture in the fridge and re-fill the popsicle molds after the girls have eaten them, or serve the extra as a sweet smoothie while we wait for them to freeze. Speaking of popsicles, we have these IKEA popsicle molds from eight years ago, and I thought I was in the market for an upgrade. But actually, I think I may just want a second set of those same IKEA ones. I like the size (small, very kid friendly amount), they are easy to pop-out, and the reusable sticks.
Visiting a friend’s garden. Once you begin gardening and have made a healthy amount of mistakes, you learn SO much from seeing friend’s gardens! I like to plan stop-bys in late June when everything thriving.
So. much. reading. Lux is in an online reading group this summer. Theme: Growing Up is Hard to Do. I think I’ll read all of the ones they are reading, just a week behind. A couple of the titles on the list are: The Red Pencil, Wonder, and A Monster Calls.
Potato chips with sour cream. This is the snack I put on the table outside when I’m watching adult education things on zoom. The children descend and eat until the bowls are empty, stare at the screen for a bit, stare at me to see if I’m actually interested in this stuff, and then disappear. Classical Conversations has online tutors training that I’ll be working through, notebook at my side. I’m also thinking about signing up for this natural wine conference, since we’ve been learning about growing grapes here in Vermont. Are there any online education events you’re looking forward to?
To order: a takeout burger, with fries. Thankful thankful to have an excellent burger and fries available at the Brownsville Butcher, not far from us. Soft serve too.
Making dinner in the afternoon when it’s hot and sleepy, so you can settle into your evening and enjoy the best time of day.
Staying too late at the water (pond, lake, etc). Staying through dinner because the light and the temperature are perfect. Even if everyone cries in the car on the way home.
Iris & Ink
lemlem x H&M
a style post by my sister Joanie. I usually try to post in between Joanie’s style updates, but she had this done and I thought it had such gems, it couldn’t be delayed.
We’re entering post-covid life and if your world feels anything like mine here in LA, the energy and excitement is electric. This summer and fall are going to have more weddings, outings, beach trips and vacations than we’ve seen in a while and I’m ready for it. Most of us have probably spent the last year not getting dressed up and not buying many clothes but that’s about to change. My brother is getting married this summer which means a great excuse to buy a fun dress and I’m also looking forward to wearing lots of color and patterns. Below is a collection of some fun things I’m into and are fit for everything from a wedding to sitting poolside. Also, as a follow-up to the last Everlane post, the bike shorts and the barrel pants are both stand out items that I’ve been wearing often. The bike shorts feel like the lululemon align shorts, which I also love, but at a better price.
Iris & Ink
My friend Julie was wearing this dress a couple of weeks ago and it looks even better in person than it does online. A total steal at $25. It is meant to be oversized, almost mumu like so know that going in. I bought my normal size, small, and it has a great oversized fit PLUS pockets! I also like the vibrant purple of this dress.
I know everyone is hesitant to buy from an online shop you haven’t purchased from before but there is a reason I always like the outnet, it’s such a great digital shopping experience. I love the elegance of this velvet trimmed dress and it can be worn all year long. It has a really beautiful pleating detail, a timeless dress.
Ganni is known for their flattering wrap dresses and I love the sweet green print on this one. These dresses are very wearable, meaning they are comfortable and simple to throw on and you can wear them on a Wednesday with sneakers or a fancy sandal for a wedding/party. I also love the same print but in this version with buttons down the front, there is something very chic about buttons.
Hard to resist the combo of blue and white stripes in the summertime. This dress is a classic that you can wear a hundred different ways. Those long vertical stripes will also make you look very tall!
Am I the only one who has noticed how many cute things Gap has right now? This skirt is a combo of two trends that are in full force: tiered and gingham. It is currently on major sale and would be an example of something you can pair with one of the simple tanks below. Also, while we are at it – this linen shirt dress is ace.
I’m planning to wear lots of separates this summer and I’m always on the hunt for simple tanks that I can tuck into skirts and pants. Investing $50 in a simple top might seem crazy but they will become one of your most worn items and a great fitting basic is worth a little investment. I like this one because it would be easy to wear a bra with it, this is jersey so it’s going to feel fitted which will give you a nice clean line, and this ribbed option that comes in a pretty neutral shade.
lemlem x H&M
Captivated by this red dress! Great color, good price, 100% cotton and has the nice detailing of the laced up back.
Lemlem did a colorful (and affordable) collaboration with H&M. This slip dress is under $20 and can be worn as a swim cover up or dressed up.
My cousin introduced me to the brand Farm Rio and now I’m hooked. I love their bright colors. This is the happiest mini dress.
Thank you Joanie! Another thing I love that Joanie does–she also (ironically?) writes a finance column on instagram for designlovefest.
a style guest post, from my sister Joanie.
I have never done an entire post dedicated to one brand but Everlane is a favorite of mine, and judging by these columns, a big favorite of yours as well. They recently launched swim which sent me down a rabbit hole of looking at all their new releases and there are a lot of good pieces right now. i ordered a bunch of things to try and i’m excited about many things but especially two new pants. Do you have a favorite Everlane item that you swear by? Do tell.
a/ For starters, this black square neck one piece. i love swim in classic colors like white, black, red and navy. A square line is always very chic and i appreciate the full coverage underarm. i don’t like pulling and adjusting my suit for side boob and full coverage will solve that problem.
b/ This is a great classic top option. Again, they nailed it with the under arm coverage. I can’t tell you how many suits have too much center coverage and not enough on the sides. I also like that this is a tie-back which will let you adjust as needed. Excited for this one to arrive. I got the black.
c/ Better act fast on this one, limited sizes left because of the deep discounted price! This reminds me of the denim jacket I have and love from Sezane. A wear with everything all year round kinda coat.
d/ I was shocked to see that these boots went to the sale rack because I own them and absolutely love them but then I remembered that the sizing is off and that’s definitely why they got discounted. Sizing aside they are an excellent boot and I highly recommend them. I ordered a half size up. I’m wearing them in the photo below along with the super straight jean.
e/ I’m very excited about these pants and ordered them in the bone and cashew color. I ordered a size 2 and 4 to try. I don’t want them to be tight. I’m hoping for fitted in the waist, loose in the leg and tapered at the ankle. I’m always looking for a pant alternatives that aren’t denim and these are perfect.
f/ Also very excited about these barrel pants. To me, a green pant is as versatile as any pair of jeans you own. I am looking forward to trying them in the green and black. I love a lightweight black pant for summer. These are cotton/linen which makes them perfect. Black with a pair of tan sandals, is timeless.
g/ From the men’s section, I’m into this deep brown half zip sweater. I like the structure of a half zip, the collar really stays in place and this one is a great weight. I like it oversized and half tucked into pants or paired with denim shorts. Many of the sweaters I own are from the men’s section.
h/ Half zip mentioned above would be very cute with these bike shorts. Bike shorts are the summer version of leggings. They are a bit on the nose as far as trend but they are so comfortable and surprisingly flattering.
i/ The detailing on this white henley is very similar to the one sold by Doen. Both are strongly inspired by 1970’s long underwear, and I love them both! A white long sleeve shirt is great for warmer months when you want something to wear after a day at the beach that isn’t heavy and feels fresh.
All links are affiliate. Thank you Joanie!
I’m feeling very inspired by the idea of summer book clubs. Planning for summer things in advance, as our other commitments are winding down, is always pleasant for me, whereas coming up with anything particular in that moment summer has arrived–forget about it. There’s also the urging to mark the end of something and celebrate, and herald the beginning of something else–that takes planning too. So I’m thinking through which books we may like to read and invite friends to read with us. Last summer for Lux was all about the four-volume Green Ember series, a family-friendly fantasy series about warrior rabbits. It’s no Tolkien, but kids love it and it has positive messages about integrity, friendship, and honesty.
Listening to this podcast interview with Amber Johnston, I was so surprised to hear she read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry as a 4th grader. I read it in middle school, and didn’t really understand it. Or maybe I just had no understanding of where Jim Crow laws, lynching, and sharecropping placed in American history. Either way, the opportunity was missed. Amber discusses how influential it was for her, and how she is now reading it to her daughters in their elementary years, and I would like to do the same!
(Definitely listen to the whole interview with Amber, linked to above, it is excellent.)
Do we homeschool year round? Of a sort. Classical Conversations ends this week. Online Latin ends at the end of May. That’s just in time because with the change of seasons and the sudden pleasure of being outside, we’ve all grown terribly tired of memorizing…anything. But we seem to do best* when we have about three things we’re doing all the time–reading something aloud together, working on reading lessons for those who need it, keeping up with handwriting practice or copy work (as I type this, two of the girls have printed off the first page of wikipedia on *wolves* and have carefully copied out three handwritten pages from it. Their idea, but nonetheless it counts towards all sorts of things academically), and working on something specific, like science experiments, categorizing rocks, identifying plants in the woods, or meeting up with homeschool friends to discuss a book.
*By “best,” I mean that interacting with each other around some structure each day results in the most pleasant interactions and better expectations, on both sides, of what those interactions may be.
A friend of mine remarked to me that her boys enjoyed the the transition from summer to fall because she starts paying attention to them again, after a heady summer of managing her thriving vegetable and flower gardens. That kind of seasonally inspired neglect fascinates me, but it’s not really the case in my house. And I find with homeschool, it’s often the case that all you need to do is switch up the routine a bit and you’ll still enjoy “doing things” year round.
You can preorder what looks like an amazing title about Summer Book Clubs from Wild & Free. Reading through the list of books they’ve planned activities, themed gatherings and discussions around is inspiration enough. I am a wary follower of Wild & Free because they have a lot of magic childhood phrasing, all the time, which isn’t the best influence on me when I’m scrolling social media for affirmation and encouragement (isn’t that why we’re usually on that app?). Personally, I don’t feel the pysche of childhood is all that magical, but rather grounded in boredom with omnipresent pursuit of stability, and habit. But Ainsley does an incredible job of gathering influential mothers as writers and encouraging them content creators, and I really admire that.
Last thought on summer titles…and I’m thinking about suggesting The Martian to Joe as his next read aloud. I think he can manage the sage contextual work of editing out the curses and f-words as he goes! Perhaps they can celebrate with NASA shirts at the end.
I received a request to do a post on things that look good on camera which I thought was an excellent question. It’s a subject that I know first hand as I was once on a TV show and wore absolutely everything that shouldn’t be worn and had to learn the hard way by watching myself on screen while shaking my head in horror.
[This is a new post by my sister Joanie, who writes a regular style column for me. All links are affiliate. I love her thoughts on this question -Rachael]
This isn’t just a post for people who will be on TV. We live in a digital age and there are a variety of ways that you may encounter some camera time, be it still images or video. These tips even apply to things like family portraits, etc. Have you ever worn something you thought was amazing only to see photos afterwards and want to burn them? Only me?
So first a couple of rules.
#1: it is very tempting when presented with a fun opportunity to film something or take some photos to rush out and buy new clothes. I would highly caution against this, there is something that happens with new items where were are blinded by the newness of it and we can’t yet see it clearly. Which means, because it’s new you might think, “Wow, I look amazing.” and then decide in two weeks that in fact, you hate it. It’s best to go with something you’ve owned for at least a month and worn several times, minimum.
#2, this is not the time to pull out your trendiest outfit that you’d wear to interview at a fashion magazine. This is the time to wear something that feels like you. Looking comfortable is better than looking hip. Along that same line, no wacky/wild prints, stripes, etc. And nothing too flow-y, if you wear a flow-y top, balance it with something fitted on the bottom and vice versa.
#3, if you invest in anything, make it tailoring. Instead of buying a heap of new clothes, get somethings altered to perfection. Get the waist of a dress pulled in by an 1”, hem the pant to hit at the right spot of you ankle, shorten the sleeve of a blouse, etc. Also, shy away from anything too tight or too loose. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with your body, don’t give into the feeling that hiding in a large oversized dress will make you feel better. It won’t, I’ve tried it. Instead go to a full length mirror and tell yourself “I love you and you’re perfect just the way you are” 10x, even if you don’t believe it, say it (I’m not joking).
I’m going to suggest some pieces below that would be great on camera. They may seem boring to you but that’s intentional. And if you’re not going to be on camera, these are all great closet staples. Look up someone who is on TV a lot, like Joanna Gaines, notice what she’s wearing, essentially elevated basics, all the time. You never look at her and think, “wow, what a bore, mix it up would ya”. You think, “gosh, she looks incredible!” because she does and you will too.
a/ Banana Republic
b/ Banana Republic
a/ This is a great dress, it has really clean lines, it’s not too low cut so you won’t be pulling it up all the time. Color is really important on camera, pay attention to shades you know look good on you. I like all three of these colors but not the nude, it could make you look like your naked on TV.
b/ Another winner. If you feel uncomfortable showing your arms (and many woman do!) opt for something with a fitted sleeve. This blue is beautiful, highly recommend this one.
c/ I have a top from Ulla Johnson that I adore but photographs terribly. It’s because it has a big dramatic sleeve and a high neck. Unless you’re wearing something really fitted like a tight turtleneck which generally looks good in photos/video. I recommend balancing a top with some skin. open a few buttons at the neck can really help break things up. Otherwise, it might feel like your top part looks like one big block. This is an example of a perfect top, I’d recommend a full tuck in if you wear it. This and this are also chic and great options.
d/ For pants, keep them simple. Fitted, not too much fabric. Straight and skinny jeans are great options. I like these pants from LOFT. They’d be great with the white button down shirt from Everlane.
e/ I know I said no prints but this one is tonal (meaning the print is the same color as the top itself) so it works. I like how delicate it is and the vibrant color. This is an example of a top that is very cute but I would NOT recommend wearing on camera, it’s too loud and busy.
f/ This one wouldn’t work for me (I have a large bust) but if you don’t this is also a great option. I wouldn’t wear it if your skin is too pale but it’s a simple cut and would be cute with a pair of sneakers or flat sandal, no heels!
g. This whole outfit is a great on-camera look. Neutrals, not too tight, no prints, delicate jewelry, well tailored… It’s also worth noting that if you sweat a lot, which I do, to wear a dark color. Nothing worse than stressing about sweating and that stress making you sweat.
h. The same rule we talked about with blouses applies for pants. If you want to wear a wider, looser pant, balance it with a fitted top. Vince makes amazing basics and these pants are a great option. I would tuck in whatever top you wear with it. Something simple like this would look great tucked in to them.
i. A slip dress is also a good option. If you wear one, pair it with a denim jacket or a longer blazer. It can be too much skin for camera on its own but there is something very relaxed and easy about a slip dress. This is my favorite, I wear it all the time.
What are you making for Easter? If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you are probably aware that I really admire and borrow from Jewish traditions throughout the year because they are often richer than strictly Christian traditions. Jewish traditions seem to involve sustenance, symbolism, repetition, and community. This habit could also be influenced by how much I liked The All-of-a-Kind Family series as a girl.
Either way, I was happy to learn this week about Easter/resurrection cookies–meringues made with egg whites, sugar, crushed nuts, a touch of vinegar, ingredients mixed together while reading aloud specific passages from the Bible, then the pan of cookies is placed in a warm oven and opened the next morning. It has all the marks of a lovely tradition. Going to try it on Saturday. This link is to a pdf with all the directions, but you can find lots of images online as well.
Definitely going to make this mustard sauce as well.
Nothing will quite soothe the longings to be back in the enormous ornate church with a choir waiting to sing. The bundles of flowers everywhere you look mixing yellow, white and green; all of the stems leaning toward the congregation in the pews. The rush to get dressed in the morning, managing to find a dress to fit each girl, not bothering to worry about clean hair or fingernails. Waiting to shout hallelujah! together. The electric excitement of children already fueled by morning jelly beans, lining up to see baby animals brought in that morning by a man from outside the city and now waiting in the library just off the sanctuary. And after that, watching as they find even more candy nestled within the nearly neon plastic eggs scattered in the church garden. You, drinking very hot but very bad church coffee, thinking maybe you might only ever dress your children in white, they look so nice.
Tartan Blanket Co.
Hawkins New York
a style post by my sister, Joanie Cusack
Rachael suggested blankets and I instantly had five favorites that I wanted to share. I use my throw blankets every single day, I love rotating them to mix things up. I like to throw (literally) them on my bed or wrap them around my shoulders while I read. A blanket and a candle go a long way to making a weekday evening of reading feel more like a trip to the spa. I always keep one in my car for outdoor occasions and you would be surprised by how often a car blanket comes in handy. I (along with the rest of instagram) am into quilts right now, the more colors the better. I don’t require all of my blanket to be super soft and cuddly. I also like the heavier ones too that lay nicely and can be used with vigor.
a. Tartan Blanket Co.
a. Somehow this blanket manages to be waterproof which makes it the ideal thing to stash in your car for park and beach trips. And you can’t go wrong with a tartan blanket, it will forever be in style. Also, I love this shop in general, they are a florist in New York and have great curation.
b. Hay is a favorite shop, they have a fun mix of things and it’s a great spot to find gifts. This wool blanket is a on sale right now and I love the deep green.
c. If you haven’t noticed yet, checkered print anything is all the rage right now and this blanket is really working it. It’s alpaca which means it’s very soft but don’t make the mistake I made and wash it, you will end up with a very small baby blanket.
e. Happy Habitat
f. Hawkins New York
d. I love all things ribbed and this blanket looks like a very glamorous sweater. Everything I own from Parachute Home has held up really well, I recommend.
e. I really love happy habitat blankets. They have an incredible selection so many fun prints and colors. Their blankets really hold up and they are machine washable which means you can bring them to the park and get them dirty without stress. Hard for me to pick a favorite but I like this happy print.
f. A more expensive option but it this more of a bed spread. I love Hawkins New York, they have the prettiest things. This terra cotta quilt is 100% linen and would be a happy addition to your bed in the warmer summer months.
g. Kaufmann Mercantile
g. I’ve already confessed my love for pint and i think this tonal blanket is very chic. We have a very conservative gray couch in our house that could benefit from the splash of color.
h &i: My ebay obsession is the perfect match for finding vintage quilts. We recently got one and it has been my blanket of choice for movie watching. There are so many good ones but here are a couple favorites, this one is pricy but that color is so vibrant and remember, always make an offer when that option is available! I like how classic this one and this are, they’re both asking to be used at a summer cottage, left in stack by the door for picnics and fireside chats.
I don’t think there’s a blanket in my house that isn’t regularly dragged out and cuddled with. They are all so loved! Thank you Joanie!
For the last two weeks I’ve been wrestling with a failure. Not such a big thing, just a thing that wasn’t going well and I was privately humiliated over how it was going. More: my involvement with it was as a volunteer, so it didn’t matter either way how it was going, which further frustrated me because why was I bothering with something I was only doing to be helpful, and evidently not doing all that well!
Puzzling over this and the frustration dead-end it represented, I came upon the most recent On Being episode. It’s an interview with a psychologist about what the last year has done to our psyches (battered em, you may mutter to yourself.) Hostility is mentioned. Lack of empathy is mentioned.
Toward the end she makes some suggestions about how to essentially make ourselves feel better and settle down. She admits the suggestions sound way too simple. But that’s the point: reach gently and slowly toward the shivering little rabbit in fight-or-flight, resting just below our active conscience. Connecting with yourself: placing your hand on your heart. Placing both feet on the floor, grounding them. Imagining biting into a lemon slice, savoring. And: curiosity.
This one caught my attention. I realized I could look at my problem with curiosity. Ask, instead of with resentment tinged with failure, ask with curiosity why wasn’t it going well? What about it could be changed? Was it actually sort of interesting that it wasn’t working?
Instantly the whole scene lighted up for me. The puzzle felt almost playful, something to be solved. And it went better. More, I stopped worrying about it.
So, I recommend that episode, with Christine Runyan, to you. Perhaps you too will find in it a method to smooth whatever’s bothering you at the moment.
It’s raining here, most of the snow is gone except the really gravelly grey bits; they are small mounds of the saddest icebergs. Lawn icebergs. I made French onion soup, which the kids complained tasted of onions and wine, and I agreed. But I also made broccoli and sausage pasta from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat which was startlingly simple and delicious, and pleased everyone. Joe gathered enough sap from the trees to boil one enormous pot of sap into the darkest syrup we’ve ever made (see Instagram for details). I planted six tomato seeds inside, Joe planted the acorns that he gathered last fall. On the warm days we did an hour, maybe two, of school, then rushed outside. Time seemed to fly by until it was past dinner when I looked up again.
I avoided putting the youngest down for a nap several days, not wanting to face the disruption and initial tears (that do always subside into snores within minutes), and deeply regretted it by 5pm when she was often clinging to me, half asleep or actually fully asleep. After these sad half naps I pulled what I consider a veteran-mom move of covertly giving her two pieces of Hershey chocolate to hurdle over the awful late-nap-blues. She was back to the races shortly, and the older sisters didn’t guess her secret. Rite of passage when one is debating whether the two yr old is dropping their nap and learn: no, they are not dropping it.
This morning, most of the kids were chatting up in their room far past breakfast time, so I watched a documentary about the Dutch gardener Piet Oudolf. He is a landscape gardener who crafts stunning wild-form field plantings. You watch him wandering through nature, appreciating, mixed with watching him draw sheets of landscapes with lovely, different colored, pens. You have to pay $15 to rent it for just one showing, $5 for extra footage on specific topics if you like, but I think it’s worth it.
We went out today and walked across the snow that is still frozen thickly enough to hold you up. Down by the road a stream is frozen on top but fresh melted water gurgles below, bubbles of it looking like puff creatures from a Miyazaki film, slipping underneath the crunchy raft of ice. The girls stomped on the ice layers and brown water emerged mixed with glittering silt that looked exactly like gold dust. Must have been gold dust.
The snow is everywhere so the 100 daffodils Joe planted last fall haven’t even had a chance to feel their soil be sun-kissed yet. No signs of spring flowers at all on our hill. But dinner is later, and the sun feels bright at 5pm, which means a lot. Avocado is our one loyal delicious green in the kitchen, Samin’s avocado slatrix from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat refreshing my memory of uses.
The sap has not been dripping into the buckets tapped onto trees by Joe and the girls (primarily Joan this year) because the temperatures have settled primly below freezing on most days. I called down to the town office to ask about a few things and quizzed the clerk as to whether others were getting much sap. Whether to reassure me or because it was true, she told me she hadn’t heard it was flowing well yet for anyone.
One of my favorite spring things to think about is this passage from Edna Lewis:
I remember when I was very little, our neighbor Mrs. Towles came over one bright afternoon and invited me for tea as she often did. As I walked along the path behind her, we came upon a nest of colored candy Easter eggs. I had never seen anything so beautiful in all my five years of life.
The unexpected gift of color, a thoughtful neighbor, a tradition and ritual–so much delight in one passage.
Few people are better on spring than Edna Lewis’s chapters from her A Taste of Country Cooking. She writes about the whole year of meals at Freetown, the community founded by emancipated slaves in Virginia where she was raised. Her writing is precise, firm, and rich with details. The community she describes sounds like heaven.
Just as an example, about coffee she writes…
Coffee also separated people by age. As I said, we children weren’t allowed to drink it and aged aunts, uncles, and grandparents never drank coffee from a cup. That was a waste of time. Every aged person in Freetown drank their coffee from a bowl.
And this passage on breakfast and dandelion wine…
Breakfast was about the best part of the day. There was an almost mysterious feeling about passing through the night and awakening to a new day. Everyone greeted each other in the morning with gladness and a real sense of gratefulness to see the new day. If it was a particularly beautiful morning it was expressed in the grace. Spring would bring our first and just about only fish—shad. It would always be served for breakfast, soaked in salt water for an hour or so, rolled in seasoned cornmeal, and fried carefully in home-rendered lard with a slice of smoked shoulder for added flavor. There were crispy fried white potatoes, fried onions, batter bread, any food left over from supper, blackberry jelly, delicious hot coffee, and cocoa for the children. And perhaps if a neighbor dropped in, dandelion wine was added.
Edna Lewis had her niece, who was 12 and had taken a typing class, type up the manuscript for her! All those beautiful sentences, brought into print to begin by a twelve-year-old niece. I loved learning this fact because I’ve had typewriters on my mind lately. The girls recently inherited one from Joe’s grandfather. We haven’t even managed correct typing for the 9 yr old yet, to say nothing of the 7 yr old. They are just pecking at the keys like birds so far.
But I’m mentally collecting a list of writers who began on typewriters as kids. Ann Patchett is now on the list, thanks to her mention of it in this warm essay about cleaning and giving things away.
* photo of hamburger buns from the Bread, Toast, Crumb cookbook. She has not posted the recipe online, so I can’t share it.
A new denim post by my younger sister Joanie, featuring scary wide pants! Isn’t it funny how one can become so attached to the jean shape of their last decade? I always appreciate her encouragement to try something different. I must admit I’m still attached to the period of the skinny jean, but I am also super curious to try something different. Speaking of shopping, if you haven’t checked out Joanie’s Money Talk series on the DesignLoveFest instagram, do it!
The last denim post was a hit so I thought I’d do an update and gear it towards spring/summer denim and throw in an overall, skirt and short options. To be totally honest, I am personally not a big denim short fan. Unless they are the perfect cut I think they can look really bulky and I don’t find them to be that comfortable. I like shorts in general but find that denim can be hard.
There has been a lot of chatter about skinny jeans lately and as I said in my last post and I’ll say again, I don’t think we should strictly be following denim trends. There really is so much personal preference involved and the majority of personal fashion is being comfortable in what you wear, confident in your clothes is the key factor to style. What can happen sometimes, is that we become conditioned by trends/style/ads to see that a certain type of denim is best, i.e. we have all been heavily targeted by skinny jean mania for years and that those are the best and only jeans to wear. When in fact they may not be the most flattering/ideal jean for you. And you’ve been pushed into them by going to Madewell and seeing an entire wall of them so it feels like, “well I guess that’s it.”
There are some serious pros to skinny jeans like the clean line they give you and how great they look with oversized things, etc. But, also some cons, I think they are restrictive, the high waist often cuts into my stomach but if you size up they slide down your hips and you end up doing a little wiggle dance to pull them up every 30 minutes. They don’t look great with belts, and I love a good belt + denim combo and because skinny jeans are so minimal and the fabric often thin they don’t work well with a big beautiful belt, etc. All that to say, I hope that you’ll experiment with you denim and see if maybe there is a different pair out there that feels good to you. Remember there is no one style/size/design that fits all. We each get to pick what feels good to us and sometimes we lose that personal connection to what we wear. I want you to wear less of what you think you should be wearing and more of what you want to wear.
Personal style is after all, personal.
a. I like the classic deep blue wash of this slim leg pair by Current/Elliott. And the subtle
distressing gives it a relaxed vibe. The styling notes say that this pair runs one size large but I don’t know if I would follow that, they seem pretty true to size based on the model notes. The Outnet is also one of my favorite places to shop, quick shipping and easy returns on items that would often be final sale elsewhere and epic discounts.
b. Denim by Acne is very popular. I have never purchased a pair because I think the price point is too high but I love the classic look of this pair and it’s 50%+ off. It’s a 100% cotton which means it will stand the test of time and only get more wearable with age.
c. This is the perfect spring/summer jean. A creamy off-white color, the line down the front and pocket detailing give it a subtle spin that makes them unique but still very wearable. Weekday is a new to me brand that our brother Alex’s girlfriend Vicky told us about. The price point is great. Pay attention to the size chart as sizing is European. I also like this beige trouser pair they have as well.
d. Rag & Bone
f. Calvin Klein
d. If you want to test the limits of your denim wearing I highly recommend ordering a pair of wide leg jeans (
the cream pair is excellent too!). They will take you a minute to get used to but then you’ll have fun playing with tucked in t-shirts that pair perfectly with the wider silhouette and the freedom of a pair of jeans that is easy to move in. I’m a Rag & Bone fan, I think they do denim really well (I’m also very into these chic sandals.) At that price point these will sell out in many sizes quickly!
e. I’m into denim jackets regardless of the fact that they fall in and out of style frequently. I think they are an ideal summer jacket. I love them paired with a dress and sneakers or with army green pants. I own this one and it’s a classic. It’s hearty, order one size up for the oversized effect.
f. The combo of Calvin Klein and denim skirt is almost painfully 90’s but if it’s a good skirt, it’s a good skirt regardless of the decade. Denim skirts can be a tricky line to walk, I don’t like them distressed, too short, too long and I want them to be a solid color. This one is perfect and I’m including it even though I know at $38 it will sell out very soon. (FYI this is final sale!).
g. Old Navy
g. I bought a pair of black overalls from Old Navy years and years ago and this one is very similar to what I own. I like the black and I think it’s wearable all year round. They look great with a feminine blouse underneath and they are surprisingly useful and comfortable.
h. I scored the internet for the best of denim shorts and came up with very few options. I refuse to even link to a pair of $120 denim shorts. But I found these at Levi and I think they are good. I like the price and the wash. I also really like the cotton twill shorts from Everlane, not denim but a very solid wearable short that comes in great color.
i. In general, I don’t gravitate towards colored denim but wow, I love the wash on these Madewell jeans. Fresh and perfect for spring/summer.
Thank you Joanie! all links are affiliate.