Behind the Blog with Reading My Tea Leaves
January 14, 2014
Behind the BlogBloggerAt Work

She still uses paper calendars, she believes in covering ugly book but letting the goods ones shine bright, she makes and crafts and cooks and dreams. She's Erin of Reading My Tea Leaves and today, she's letting us into her home and into her world. With photographs by Bryce Covey, this is one Home Tour + Behind the Scenes that just might make you smile. Click here for even more.

SMP: Some words you live by?

ERIN: “You can’t test courage cautiously.” – Annie Dillard (I need a daily reminder on this one).

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?

ERIN: Hot chocolate on my way into the office. Full disclosure: I don’t actually feel guilty about it, just maybe a little shy that my wintry beverage of choice is the same now as it was when I was eight.

SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?

ERIN: I still sometimes find myself practicing my weepy Oscar acceptance speech…

SMP: What's your favorite quote that describes your creative process?

ERIN: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

ERIN: You need fewer things in your life, and more people, than you think you do. Flowers help, too.

SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?

ERIN: I can’t think of anything scarier than a blank slate. Every conversation, college course, bump and bruise has led me to where I am now; the pitfalls are as important as the triumphs.

SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give to a blogger just starting out?

ERIN: Spend less time doubting yourself and more time proving to yourself how great you are.

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SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?

ERIN: A set of four tankard mugs from Bennington Potters. Most good conversations happen over a cup of hot tea.

SMP: What's your best tip for balancing work and personal life?

ERIN: Blogging demands a kind of closure between work and personal life that’s thrilling and exhausting. It’s important to take a step back sometimes and remember that not every breakfast scone needs to be photographed, and not every family gathering is an opportunity for a photo shoot.

SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like your blog was going to thrive?

ERIN: For me, the tipping point came when I took a full-time position as Associate Editor at Gardenista. Joining a team of smart, discerning women and working on growing (pun intended) a different kind of site has given me a new perspective about my own blog. Knowing that I’m working on a blog that reaches a much wider audience is exciting and challenging and knowing that I still have my own little space that faithful readers return to just makes me feel really lucky.

SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you've ever learned?

ERIN: One of the hardest lessons is also the most obvious. It’s the same struggle that newspapers and magazines have had to struggle with since the beginning: that most of our content is paid for through advertising and bloggers have to walk a fine line between staying true to their vision while also making sure that we get paid and pay our contributors for what we do.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question... what's the one cocktail you would take with you?

ERIN: Anything with bubbles and elderflower.

SMP: What color do you think will stand the test of trend time?

ERIN: Bare wood. Which is really just a nicer way of saying, “brown.”

SMP: One thing every style savvy homeowner should have?

ERIN: I’m not a homeowner, but I think everyone—renter, owner, or squatter—should be equipped with a well-stocked toolbox. The best thing about being style savvy is having the capacity to make things happen for yourself. Want to turn that piece of driftwood into a curtain rod? Pass the electric drill.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?

ERIN: Really fancy linen sheets and the accompanying pajamas and robe (is that three things?). I’m a sucker for bedtime accessories and I don’t think it gets more luxurious than linen sheets.