Everything we do at Sycamore Street Press is with the goal of living a simple, beautiful & creative life, and in helping others do the same. There are so many people who have inspired us on this path, and we’d love to learn more from them! So we decided to start an interview series on the topic. Today we’ll hear from Erin Boyle, author of the book Simple Matters and Reading My Tea Leaves, a lifestyle blog celebrating a practical and purposeful approach to a simple, sustainable life.
Tell us a little about how you got started doing your blog.
I started my blog in the very beginning of 2009; so this January marks seven years that I’ve been at it!
How do you make sure you have time with your family/loved ones?
I think when you’re a parent to a toddler, family time is much more the rule than the exception. Most all of the time that I’m not working, I’m with my family. My extended family is a little more far-flung these days, but until recently one of my sisters lived here in New York with us and we’d have a weekly family dinner together. They were my absolute favorite nights in a given week.
How do you carve out time for yourself?
Some of this comes down to a matter of perspective for me. Viewed in the right light, taking the long way home from the grocery store can be as much of a luxury as making the time for a massage, for instance. (And it’s definitely more affordable!)
What are some ways you deal with stress/try and keep it to a minimum?
In my work, I try to keep a pretty consistent schedule and to make sure that I’m planning as much in advance as possible. There are a lot of demands on my time these days and it’s important for me to keep a running list of priorities in order not to get overwhelmed.
Do you have any tips for simplifying?
Well, I did just finish an entire book on the subject: Simple Matters which was released on January 12! But if I could give one quick universal tip, I think it’d be to look at your daily life and to see if there are elements of it that feel more complicated than they need to be. And then to evaluate what about those things are in your control, and what aren’t. For me, this often comes down to my living space. I love for my home to be simple and spare. That way, even when my life feels hectic, I can return to a space that’s calming and restorative.
What’s your favorite way to bring a little beauty into your home?
I love bringing little bits and pieces of the outdoors, in. Sometimes that’s an unusual branch I find on the sidewalk. Sometimes it’s an acorn. Sometimes it’s flowers from the bodega down the street.
What are you looking for in products that you choose to spend money on?
Beauty, durability, and limited negative impact on the environment.
Where are your favorite spots to find clothes?
There are so many inspiring designers selling their clothes online these days. I love that there’s a platform for creative, entrepreneurial folks to share their work and I love supporting shops and brands like those whenever I can.
Are you into DIY/making/gardening or anything like that? If so, tell us about it.
I go in for simple DIYs. I really like being able to make useful things myself. I’ve been into making vanilla extract lately. It’s so easy to make and so rewarding!
What does living a “simple yet beautiful” life mean to you?
I think for me the phrase would really be: “simple is beautiful.” When excess is stripped away, I think the result is inherently beautiful.
Thanks so much, Erin! Your home and philosophy on life are so inspiring — we can’t wait to get our hands on your book!
You might also like: Sycamore Q&A: Janneke Luursema, Photographer | Amsterdam, Netherlands, Sycamore Q&A: Kaity Farrell, Maker | Massachusetts, USA, & Sycamore Q&A: Tanika Reed, Fiber Artist | New South Wales, Australia.