Look out world: I have discovered the magic of Instacart. It is a grocery delivery site and app that is, in a word, amazing. I can now do my grocery shopping from my couch in my PJs. What a time to be alive, yes? Some kind person shops for me and delivers my groceries for a low fee, and I get some of my life back! Win! I was initially hesitant due to the yearly fee, but now (much like Amazon Prime) I am hooked.
The one drawback to Instacart is that seeing tiny product images on one’s screen is quite different from grabbing something on a shelf in real life. I accidentally ordered key limes instead of regular ones recently, and didn’t realize it until I saw the bag of tiny citrus fruits in the bottom of my grocery bag. Not all was lost, however. I figured it was as good a time as any to try my hand at key lime pie! I turned to my beloved Deb of Smitten Kitchen and made her delightful pie over the course of a lazy Saturday afternoon. It. Was. Perfection. Ideally balanced between tart and sweet, great flavor in the crust — just lovely. Sunshine on a plate.
If you decide to tackle this recipe (and I hope you do!), know that I needed many more key limes than she indicated to get 2/3 of a cup of juice. I’m not sure if my limes were tiny or hers were gigantic, but I needed about double the number of key limes she did to get enough juice. Also, since those suckers are tiny, I’d love a juicer like this to make the juicing process easier next time. Lastly, I found the pie to be most flavorful and easiest to get out of the pan if it got closer to room temperature before serving. Easy recipe, yummy results, and an accidental ingredient utilized. It’s the classic lemons to lemonade scenario, although I think I made out even better — because pie!
My pink glass pie plate can be found here. If you’d like to try Instacart, get $10 off here.
Good morning! Here are a couple great things to start off the week:
Selfishness or survival? Anne Helen Petersen gets it. Her piece simultaneously discusses four different narratives surrounding the low American birth rate while also deftly and intelligently peeling back the layers regarding the choice to not have children and the impossible financial position that many young people find themselves in. A great read.
It’s been a little while since I shared some inspiration images, so here are a few lovely things that have caught my eye on this fine Friday. A blend of fresh and moody colors and sunshine are on my mind — and judging from the variety of locales, I seem to also be feeling a tinge of wanderlust. Enjoy, and have a good weekend!
That carved wood cabinet on that wood wall at Casa Warrandyte in Australia is perfection. Warm woods and leather with all that greenery? Yes and please.
Dying over this moody teal hex tile, especially paired with a grey concrete shelf.
This sunshiny corner at Sonoma’s Scribe Winery encapsulates their “falling down but still soulful” aesthetic delightfully.
Sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey’s Brooklyn apartment is a maximally chic adventure in design. (And seriously, how great are their names?)
This serene and light-filled seating area in Sint-Niklaas is exactly where I wish I could spend the weekend.
Some time ago I helped a friend pull together some inspiration for his new studio apartment. I love the color combo even though it is a bit of a departure from my own home — it is fun and eclectic with the blues and rusty tan hues in a mix of patterns.
For a cleaner, more streamlined vibe, just swap out the pillows and the rug. There is still a lot of visual interest with the combination of textures and materials, but less pattern and a tighter color palette give it a quieter overall feel.
Which do you prefer? Either way, that sofa and leather chair have my heart!
A chat with a friend last month got me thinking long and hard about goals. Goals — those things we had all throughout our growing-up years, shimmering ahead to work towards, keeping us moving ever-forward. A week or so prior to our talk, I realized that hovering here in my mid-thirties, goals are conspicuously absent. I mean, I have the vague desire to travel as much as possible, to succeed at work, to surround myself with people I love and trust… but those big goals I had outlining my paths over the last three+ decades? Conspicuously. Absent.
This worried me. My school years were full of both immediate and longer-term goals. Learn to ride my bike. Get straight A’s. Become section leader in band. Pass that year’s Advanced Placement exams. Get into a good college. Graduate with honors. Get into a good grad school. Get an advanced degree. Get married after getting my degree. Find a job. Find a job in my field. Find a full-time job in my field that would allow me to do the very adult thing of saving for retirement. The realization that I didn’t have an immediate goal hovering out there… bothered me. I wondered if I had gotten less ambitious. If perhaps I was less driven than I had been. That possibility rattled me as much as the lack of a goal, to be honest. Being smart and driven were things I felt were part of my identity. If I wasn’t, then what was I?
(To be clear, I do have some “goals” in the back of my mind, but they are the kind that are on autopilot. Pay off my student loans in X number of years. Keep saving for retirement, that pie-in-the-sky happening that may not ever materialize for my generation.)
As my friend and I chatted, she reminded me of the plethora of things I am doing right now that I should be proud of, and I am so immensely grateful for her reminders. It helped me find a little perspective, but it also made me wonder: are we focusing so hard on setting goals that we are missing the joys of those we have successfully achieved? To be honest, I am not sure I ever have stopped to enjoy mine. What a sobering realization.
This past weekend I had very little desire to do much of anything. I felt guilty napping the hours away, but a small part of me did realize that there is a season for everything, and there is an ebb and flow to life. We need idle times to give productive ones their verve and satisfaction, just like we need seasons of striving and seasons of reaping what we’ve sown. That seems to be my big lesson recently in terms of goals: that I can be a person rather than a perpetual motion machine, and that I can (and should!) enjoy the fruits of my labors from time to time. Otherwise, what is the point?
Hot summer days mean I am craving light, bright pieces to match the heat and sun. Lucky for me (and you!), Madewell is having a great sale right now with an extra 30% off sale items with code BIGMOOD, so these pretties are on their way to me. Sunny days ahead!
A couple weeks ago I had the immense pleasure of attending a book talk by none other than the amazing Lauren Groff. She was at Vroman’s in Pasadena promoting her new book Florida with grace, poise, and temporary tattoos (!) for all of us in attendance. As a huge fan of both Fates and Furies and Arcadia, it was a delight to hear her speak about reading, writing, politics, and a love/hate relationship with Guy de Maupassant.
Groff treated us first to a reading from the first story in Florida, “Ghosts and Empties,” followed by a refreshingly direct Q&A session. When asked about a writer’s responsibility and political engagement, for example, Groff deftly explained how she abandoned a recently finished draft just after the 2016 U.S. elections — that it was a kind of book we could no longer afford to indulge in. She does not write overtly politically, but rather tries to work sideways to get to the things that really matter right now. She finds she is writing less and throwing more away, as I am, so I found immense comfort in her assurances that it is okay to admit we are struggling as writers in the current environment. I was likewise pleased by her encouragement to spread empathy and be kind to each other.
Groff’s writing shows great consideration for words, so I was intrigued but not surprised by her ability with languages. She spent time in France as a teenager where she discovered and loved the work of Guy de Maupassant, that master of the short story form, before beginning to hate him as an avatar of toxic masculinity. To this day she tries to read in French at least once a week, and admits that French has deeply affected her English. She self-deprecatingly says she is terrible at writing in French, although she she’d love to do so. Or Italian. Or German. (I find written German to be deeply satisfying from a grammatical perspective because I am such a nerd, so I can relate.)
An anecdote about reading to her son, and how it created a special bond between them, really resonated with me. It is amazing how reading together gives you the same points of reference. You share and can understand each others’ canon. It crystallized for me how much I enjoy reading the same books as a close friend, or watching a show with someone dear. It enhances your ability to speak each others’ language.
As far as her new work, Florida is where she calls home, so the stories she weaves in this collection are steeped in a sense of place all the more authentically. The women she writes about are her but not her. And while she lives with her novels every day, her short stories orbit in the back of her mind until they demand to be written. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes out of her orbit.
Next up is a maker a could not be more tickled about: meet Zuri, a company striving to embody good in everything they do. Zuri offers a streamlined product lineup that includes dresses, shirts, bags and baskets that come in tons of amazing prints and colorways, all inspired by kitenge and ankara, the traditional wax print fabrics of east and west Africa.
“The history of African textiles is a global story, both ancient and modern, and a powerful symbol of the changing tides of culture, politics, and trade. While we are continuously inspired by the beauty of these textiles, we’re also motivated by the history that they represent and the opportunity they offer to create social and economic change.”
Founders Sandra and Ashleigh spent a combined 8 years in Nairobi, and saw firsthand how both corruption and aid can distort markets. It is their hope “that by paying fair wages, sourcing locally, and making a product that our customers truly love, we will be helping to support a long-term, sustainable economy in Kenya.” Zuri’s production partners SOKO and Tushone in Kenya are focused on ethical and sustainable practices, and also on building and supporting communities. Their clothing is wax-print cotton, and their totes are crafted with all-natural fiber Kenyan sisal.
Not only do they do well by their production and suppliers, but they offer a more inclusive size range than many brands out there. Many of their items are available from size XS through to 2XL, with styles that are made to flatter most body types. Sustainable, ethically produced, community-oriented, AND size-inclusive? I am sold.
I purchased the Nuclear print dress and loved it so much that I purchased the Trivial Pursuit version a few weeks later. I don’t think I have ever gotten as many compliments on a single item of clothing. And as a delightful extra touch, each was shipped in a surprise printed tote bag.
Their name is inspired by the Swahili word mzuri, which means good. And their tagline? “Look good. Feel good. Do good.” I feel great in my dresses, and I feel even better knowing what a difference you are making in so many people’s lives. Bravo, Zuri!