un. deux. trois.

how do i even begin to find the words to describe a two-week journey through paris in a single blogpost? i can hardly wrap my mind around the thought of recounting our memories to others – this space included – because in all honesty, no one will ever, truly understand our experience.

that is, except for mama.

fifteen days in the city of lights, and all i can say is how magical she was this time of year. perhaps my favorite, in fact. fewer crowds of tourists, more lights and holiday festivities. the biting chill outside made for a welcomed break in a cozy cafe, and later, snuggles underneath blankets with a cup of tea and treat in our charming apartment.

img_8507

img_8954

img_8647

img_8686

img_8645

we walked and we walked, as one does in a city that relies on public transportation. what a delight, though, to discover new streets, oftentimes get lost, but always find our way home. and then there’d be those times when we had a sense of familiarity from trips past, recalling a certain corner or a particular store. revisiting paris for the third time together made us feel a part of a collective whole, as opposed to stranded tourists. we felt part of a community.

img_8689

img_8807

img_8736

img_8684

img_8910

i could certainly wax poetic about the vibrant markets, rich with vegetables and various foodstuffs, local residents and their unabashed voracity. i could also detail the intricacies of the baked goods – everything from the admirable baguette to the flaky croissant. even the cheese. well, that could very well be a post in its own right. however, i’ll leave those details for your imagination. my words will never measure to the experience of the senses.

img_8605

img_8604

img_8578

img_8544

img_8533

it was an interesting time for france, as civil unrest ensued over a proposed increase on taxes for fuel. beyond that triggering point were other protests, including minimum wage legislation, education reform, and general frustration with the current government. the revolt was led by citizens throughout the country, the yellow vests, and although their intention was for peaceful protests, extremists inevitably joined, creating chaos throughout the capital. stores and buildings were vandalized, cars burned, people wounded. the arc de triomphe, a symbol of fraternity, became a target for retaliation. staying away from the destruction, we couldn’t help but feel caught between the intentions of the government with its global perspective and the citizens, with their frustration and ultimate strife. it was heartbreaking to witness our home-away-from-home being defaced, but what an incredible eye-opener it served to the problems of the world-at-large.

img_8904

img_8672

img_8762

img_8755

img_8852

of course, these experiences wouldn’t be what they were without mama by my side. the way her eyes lit up when she first caught glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. the way she rejoiced over holiday decorations and festive lights. i’ll never forget how she enjoyed her daily croissants or the falafel on our last day. traveling with mama is as close to being back in her womb as i’ll ever get. it’s as if i feel her heartbeat, feel her rush of blood as she takes inventory of the beauty around her. there were several occasions i had to hold back tears as i watched this exquisite woman experience a love so profound, it took your breath away. she was paris for me.

img_8821

img_8803

img_8834

img_8619

img_8455

i’ll never quite fully grasp how paris innervates me, how she feeds my soul. i guess it’s just one of those agreements we have to make with ourselves – that there will be moments in our lives that contribute to the edification of self. this trip was no doubt a piece of my journey. wholly grateful, cheers to a new season ahead!

img_8968

 

p a r i s

five days from now, mama and i will be in paris. it’s been a much-anticipated trip, as we never felt ready to leave the city our last time there, in 2013. but as much as i’ve missed the city of lights and all her grandeur, the timing of this particular trip feels right, almost perfect.

i can’t quite put into words how i feel about the significance of it all. mama and i at unique peaks in our respective lives – she approaching her 60th year, celebrating a full and beautiful life, me in my 30s, self-aware, in love, and living out of passion, rather than expectation.

paris has always instilled within me a sense of purpose – that this life being lived is worth the time and care it needs to thrive. and let’s face it, you can’t help but notice how Parisians are thriving every waking day as they rejoice in the bountiful markets, dive deeply into conversation, roam leisurely through the parks and gardens, and celebrate a meal, alone or in community.

and now, in 2018, mama and i are going back to revisit this feeling, this sense of meaning. we are changed people from who we were five years ago, but our gusto remains constant. although we will each gain something different from our time there, i look forward to reinforcing our already enduring bond, building on the life we share, and doing it all with purpose. the parisian way, if you will.

until we meet again, au revoir!

 

 

 

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?

img_8282

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.

img_8221

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.

img_1819-1

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.

img_1071-1

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.

img_8179

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.

img_6155

 

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.

img_8138

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.

img_7556-1

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.