Great style is about more than simply having a lot of stuff, and one woman who totally nails that is Erin Boyle, who we are so excited to have as June’s Guest Editor for The Stylist. While minimalism might be “on trend,” we love the undercurrent that supports this movement: Intentional purchases, intentional living, quality over quantity.
Erin’s blog, Reading My Tea Leaves, chronicles life living in a tiny — tinier than normal — NYC apartment with husband and young daughter, and she shares realistic advice for how to live a pared-down life without an ounce of pretension. Her book, “Simple Matters,” is evidence of that. It offers a “start here” approach for curating closets, cabinets and homes that are full of meaning and lacking in clutter. Want to get to know Erin more? We thought so. We’re sharing our chat with her, below.
1. What inspired your blog title, “Reading My Tea Leaves”?
When I first began my blog I was in a kind of funky mid-twenties spot. I had a job I didn’t love, I lived in a state far away from my family, I was living with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, but we weren’t married, I had just applied to graduate schools all over the country and was waiting to hear back from them. I felt a little bit in limbo and like I was reading my proverbial tea leaves to see what the future held for me. I think I’ve gotten a lot better about being comfortable with uncertainty since then, but to some extent there’s always an element of tea leaf reading happening around here. What’s next? Who knows! Let’s muddle through together.
2. What is one misconception you think people have regarding minimalism?
I think some people think that minimalism has to look a certain way. While I certainly have a particular aesthetic that I embrace for my own spaces, the aspects of minimalism that I most embrace are a commitment to mindful consumption and efforts at living thoughtfully with an eye toward sustainability. I’m not sure those things are part of everyone’s definition of minimalism; but they’re central to mine. And that can happen in homes that look a million different ways. I happen to love spaces decorated in neutrals and filled with vintage and antique furniture, but in terms of minimalism, those things are really neither here nor there.
… it’s ultimately our experiences that are more meaningful than our possessions.
3. Part of our Darling Mission Statement reads, ‘style apart from materialism.’ How would you define this kind of style?
I love this idea. There’s an essay at the end of my book that speaks to this idea; that while it’s a noble pursuit to craft a home that feels safe and peaceful and beautiful, it’s ultimately our experiences that are more meaningful than our possessions. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that a space or an aesthetic or a particular thing might shape our happiness. For sure: I love the things in my home. They bring me lots of happiness, but they don’t bring me nearly the happiness that a long walk in the sunshine or a meal with my family can. I guess this kind of style acknowledges a pursuit of beauty without that being the only end goal.
4. Do you have any summer rituals or traditions?
I’m a July baby and a full-on summer enthusiast. I love all the cliché summertime things: watching fireflies, stargazing, sitting around a campfire, eating s’mores, skinny-dipping, making flower crowns, eating pie right from the pie plate. I want in on every single one.
Stay tuned all month as Erin shares her favorite articles and best advice for living simply, yet beautifully. Give her some love on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, too.
Image via Nicole Franzen