snail mail

can anyone really argue with the delight that is snail mail?

with the influx of technology with its instant messages and email, e-cards and the like, i argue in favor of preserving the art of snail mail.

there’s something to be said about taking the time to formulate thoughts into words that are then handwritten, sealed, and delivered to the recipient. it’s an intentional act, a gesture that conveys the message that we care. i have a handful of people to whom i consistently write. be it an everyday card or a lined sheet of paper, perhaps a postcard when i am abroad or a greeting card during the holidays, this snail mail is thoughtfully composed and lovingly sent.

when i receive letters in return, you can imagine the warmth i feel knowing shortcuts were avoided and time was instead used. the personalization captured by penmanship, the vessel on which it is written, the words inscribed – all of it – reflects a unique individual behind it, something we lose with the seemingly detached email or text.

i am no saint when it comes to the letter-writing practice, but i do make every effort to at least ask myself what it would look like if this message or thought was conveyed in pen on a paper and sent with postage. maybe the effort would go unnoticed. maybe it would be received with surprise, perhaps even prompt a return letter. however the outcome, the process of doing so is something i want to preserve because, honestly, what is a greater act of love than that?

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november 1

how it’s november, well that escapes me. we’re looking straight in the eyes of holiday season, and i am still just trying to wrap my mind around the influx of gourds at the markets. i have expressed ad nauseam my love for this time of year with its shorter days and overall introspection, so this new month is very much welcomed. in fact, it is very much celebrated.

i’m learning with time that although the days and months seem to pass quickly, sometimes more quickly than i can keep up with, i feel best when i don’t really think about it. instead, when i allow myself the freedom to evolve with the changing time, i impose fewer expectations on myself, for my life.

this might be the reason why i honor my 30’s, rather than fear them. or why the thought of a ticking biological clock doesn’t keep me up at night. i’m a firm believer in exposing the gray hairs and fine wrinkles, for they have been earned, these markings of a life lived.

i will probably be the last to wish for a halt on these passing days. they’ve been good days, however fast and uncertain. i feel like i am finally owning this skin i’m in and as long as these firsts of novembers keep happening, i know it’s just getting better.

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on hosting

nothing feels more wabi-sabi than hosting.

when we invite guests into our homespace, we are exposing our imperfections – the chipped dinnerware and mismatched chairs, the stained tablecloth and dirty dishes. and yet, this is exactly what we celebrate. the vulnerability. the comfort. the togetherness.

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hosting guests at the dinner table may very well be my love language. there’s something about creating an ambience where, when guests arrive, they feel at peace. candles lit, music playing in the background, wine glasses filled. my only wish for them is that they can let go, be present, and leave with a sense of wholeness.

i’ve learned through living in a tiny space that hosting guests is not limited by square footage. on chilly nights, the table comes inside. when weather permits, the table goes outside. the point is that we are together, eating and drinking and laughing, sometimes crying.

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i wish i could say that when we host people for dinner, i could whip up whatever-have-you and just sit at a bare table, making for an easy prep and clean-up. but that wouldn’t be true to me. i love through food. i express my care through setting a table. i find peace in the prep, likening it to a soulful journey that ends with a humble meal among friends.

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i host with intention, and hope that by doing so, i am offering a sense of reprieve – that when you enter into this space, however imperfect, you are being taken care of.

…one glass of wine at at time.

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10.18.14

today is our four-year wedding anniversary.

i remember the day so vividly – the crispness of that early fall morning we shared; the way the october sun illuminated our ceremony, nestled in the cliffs; how my heart beat when i laid eyes on him, my hands in his; our first moments spent as husband and wife, the vastness of the ocean before us, a harbinger of a bountiful life to come.

it goes without saying that this day evokes a host of emotions for me. it was magic and love, and had a pulse of its own. it was ethereal, really.

…and that’s exactly how i will ever know it. because it was us.

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happy anniversary, my love.

 

in my fridge

confession: i’ve always loved those series on blogs/websites that showcase the daily happenings of well-known people. series like “what i keep in my purse” or “what you can find in my pantry.” one of my favorites is “Sunday routine” from the new york times, in which people describe just that: how they spend their sundays. i think what i love most about these series is that they capture the everydayness of people’s lives. it’s a glimpse into how others live, their philosophies, and values, however big or small.

when i read the answers to the questions or fill-in-the-blanks, i can’t help but imagine my own answers. if someone were to interview me, how would i respond? what are, in fact, my philosophies?

so with that in mind, i am interviewing myself. below is a series i enjoy reading, but with my answers. it’s a peek into my life now, the simple things that make up a piece of me and my everyday.

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here’s my version of in my fridge…

food philosophy in one sentence: everything in moderation.

always in my fridge: lemons, grapefruit, almond butter, eggs, kale, sparkling water.

7 recipe staples always on hand: dijon mustard, garlic, lemons, sardines, hearty greens, quinoa, lentils.

must-have munchies: I’m not much of a snacker, but when i do need a little something, i reach for castelvetrano olives or unsalted pistachios.

favorite condiments: stone ground dijon mustard, chipotle tabasco, hummus.

ingredient that makes everything taste better: sea salt and GARLIC!

go-to proteins: sardines, lentils, chicken livers, wild alaskan salmon, almond butter.

best bargain: a trip to the farmer’s market 10 minutes before it closes. vendors are trying to sell everything they have so they don’t have to pack it, which means bargain prices on produce. we go once a week and buy enough produce to last several days. not only do we save money, but we also get the added perks of buying local, seasonal, and at-its-prime food.

best-label reading tip: eat things that don’t have labels! and if there are ingredients, the fewer the better…no artificially added shit.

fave veggie & what you make with it: depends on the season! but a year-round favorite will always be kale…roasted, blanched, sautéed, raw, juiced. so many possibilities.

craziest thing i buy: good-quality loose leaf tea…can’t compromise there!

sweets and other indulgences: brownies, chocolate avocado mousse, tea cakes. i never go a day without a treat, and because i make a ritual out of tea time and treats, they must be great quality…preferably from gjusta, erewhon, susie cakes, huckleberry, or made by yours truly. absolutely no packaged shit.

dairy or non-dairy faves: siggi’s plain yogurt, manchego or goat cheese, almond milk.

skip labels that read: try to skip ALL labels in general.

favorite splurge: wine, green juice from erewhon, good quality crackers for cheeseboards.

for last-minute entertaining: good wine, a giant salad with a shallot vinaigrette, and a hefty cheeseboard, complete with bread and crackers, several varieties of cheese, prosciutto, olives, nuts, honey, dried and fresh fruit. for dessert, cookies and ice cream.

favorite places to shop: farmer’s market, erewhon, Whole Foods.

simple go-to recipe: stewed tomatoes and red lentils. so easy, so comforting!

best food memory: too many to choose! most recently, eating in the food stalls in Peru. there’s nothing like the energy and bustle of the markets. and the food! the most authentic (and cost-effective) food you’ll get…almost like being invited into someone’s home.

 

in october…

october is without a doubt my favorite month. it marks the beginning of a magical time of year, not so much for the holidays, but more so for the way it feels. i’ve waxed poetic about my eagerness for this season, what this time means. but october. may i praise this month specifically, even for just a bit? (and, no, the revered pumpkin spice latte will not be on the menu.)

in october…

the light shifts, softening as the day progresses, warming as evening sets.

stews and braises, pasta and baked goods.

oven time, every day.

a bounty of gourds, every which shape.

socks, to be worn without abandon.

to warm the spirit, chai and cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

robust reds and smooth whiskeys.

introspection. letter-writing. podcast-listening.

knits and layers. cozy in, cozy out.

s l o w i n g down.

celebrating the greatest commitment i made to be a wife and life partner.

shorter days, longer nights, more rest, and endless cuddling.

deep love, quite possibly of the deepest variety. soul-filled kind of love.

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cheers!

e q u i n o x

“when you accept what you have, you see all you have received is more than enough and you are overwhelmed. i desire other things because i fear to be content with what i have…I have seen what matters is to be humble enough to admit i am content with just this. leave the rest to God.”

— thomas merton

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it’s something i want to carry with me as we transition into fall, a gratitude for everything this precious life is. yesterday was the equinox, marking the beginning of a deep shift. when outward energy is focused inward. when time is intentionally set aside to stay in, wind down, and connect. it’s approaching every new day a little slower, a little more centered, doing the ordinary and seeing the extraordinary.

i have yet to know what my legacy will be or how it will look, but i welcome this season to just be. to settle in and praise this day for what it is – all imperfect and wildly uncertain. here’s to autumn.