the art of: dinner in bed

few things bring me more joy or make me feel more comforted than a proper dinner in bed. i say “proper” because this isn’t the kind of dinner ordered as takeout, eaten out of boxes. rather, the dinner to which i am referring is a home-cooked one, served on our ceramic dishes, eaten in our laps with cloth napkins and glasses of wine atop bedside tables. basically, all of the components destined for a dinner table, enjoyed in the comfort of bed.

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now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a daily occurrence. and for that, i am grateful. these meals are typically reserved as a reward for enduring an exhausting day at work, when all you want to do is jump into sweats/pajamas, turn on Netflix, and – for lack of a better term – stuff your face with something homemade (preferably pasta).

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it’s all things comforting, wrapped into a single moment and made all the more special by the mere fact that it deviates from our norm.

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it’s the light at the end of the tunnel in an otherwise defeating day, a little treat to remind you that finding joy can be as simple as that. a dinner in bed.

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jekyll, meet hyde (and the power of resetting)

i am no stranger to the shitty workday. those days when you feel like your energy is compromised and leave you questioning why you continue doing what you do. of course, i love what i do – it’s why i keep showing up. but there’s bound to be that one day that pushes me over the edge and negates all the positive experiences.

yesterday was one of those days.

it’s interesting because i find that there are two sides of me: the “work” me and the “me” me. when i step into labor and delivery, i turn survival mode on – unsure if i’ll get a break, if i’ll have to push HOURS with a patient, if i’ll have to guard my heart from strong personalities, overstimulation, or the inherent dynamism that is our unit. and then top off said uncertainties with a high census, and my empathetic, compassionate reserves are nearly depleted.

all of this to say, balance is key.

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i feel fortunate that over the years, i have discovered what self-care looks like for me. when the “jekyll” at work is trying her damnedest to be all the things for everyone, the “hyde” at home can focus on tuning inward, resetting, replenishing. it’s in this space, remote from feelings of physical and emotional exhaustion, that i am able to honor myself and be reminded of what truly lies within. at home, i can be me – not someone who has it all together, who has the answers or knows the resources. at home, i can feel what my heart feels, rest when i need to rest, engage when i want to engage.

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never have i felt more grateful for our patio and the source of life it brings me. tending to my plants – weeding, repotting, watering – restores my center, grounds me in a way that only nature can. when i invest time and care into sprouting life, i am investing into that of my own.

regardless of how good or bad a day at work is (or in life, in general), time with my urban garden generates a sense of peace that balances the waving energies i carry within. the garden reinforces the beauty of cycles as well as its need for thoughtful intention. it’s a meditation, if you will.

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creating this space has certainly taken time, but it’s the kind of time that fills me wholly, the kind of gift i’ve given myself to just be. it’s an ever-evolving source of life that shakes me out of my jekyll-like personage, and restores my innermost being. it’s more than just a garden. for me, it’s self.

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on markets

fact: i am a market enthusiast. i am that person who considers a trip to the farmer’s market a wholly grounding experience, a time to reset and get in touch with the senses. in fact, it was the single thing (aside from eating cake) that i wanted to do for my birthday this year. a way to set the tone, i suppose.

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living in los angeles, we are immune to weather changes that typically come with the seasons, but a quick jaunt through the market, and we are easily reminded of the time. blistered tomatoes – summer. persimmon – fall. citrus – OH CALIFORNIA CITRUS – winter. and here we are in spring (earth day to be exact), totes filled with asparagus and strawberries, radishes and snap peas. you can’t really have expectations when visiting the market. it’s either in season or not, available or already picked through. who knew a simple trip for goods could be a lesson on freedom and flexibility?

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today was no exception to the joys of engaging with the farmers, tasting their offerings, loading up on a week’s worth of produce. but something felt different. like my senses were incredibly heightened. walking the aisle, my eyes wandering from one lush stall to the next, i felt an overwhelming gratitude for what comes out of this earth of ours. how is it that we are able to ingest things that sprout from the ground, and in so doing, nourish every part of our living selves? how is it that cycles exist to deem some things edible during one month, essentially inaccessible the next? I thought about the grand markets in paris and those of peru, the similarities, the differences. how lucky are we to share the commonality of growing food and selling food and eating food with people unknown to us, near and far! when you feel like this world is going to shit, think about that. think about the markets.

i probably, most definitely, bought more butter lettuce than we’ll need for tonight’s salad. and i am certainly running out of vessels for my flowers. but truth be told, this body, this soul, needs every last bit of what the market has to offer. even if it’s just a walkthrough. even if it’s only to feel connected.

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welcome

welcome to this space, this place where the everydayness of real life will be documented.

if you knew me years ago, then you might remember that i once had a blog that captured my streaming line of consciousness, simple joys and travels, ordinary thoughts and the like. it was essentially a journal. i used that space as a creative outlet, a way for me to reflect and grow and share my life in the process . i don’t know what exactly kept me from continuing my blog. the introduction of Instagram, perhaps. or starting a new chapter as a married lady. whatever it was, i’m glad it did. the time away allowed me to evolve, to shape my perspective, beliefs, and priorities. i consider my old blog a reflection of my twenties – the years of incredible change – and this one, well, i hope it to be a reflection of me now…the same me, but with a little more sense of self.

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so here we are in this passion project of mine, living wabi-wabi. when i first started learning about this japanese concept – of celebrating the perfectly imperfect – i realized the life i’ve been living, the priorities i’ve been making, the relationships i’ve been growing are all essentially wabi-sabi. i see this philosophy best described by architect and author leonard koren:

“…a nature-based aesthetic paradigm that restores a measure of sanity and proportion to the art of living.”

all along, i had been delighting in things simple and modest, putting value in transience and natural progression, but never quite understanding that that type of mentality was, in fact, a lifestyle.

in this journey ahead, i hope to honor my wabi-sabi way of life – the everydayness of it, the wholeness of it, the intention of it. basically, i just want to share a life unscripted. if anyone wishes to follow along, or if no one reads beyond this post, i’ll still be here, trying to make some sense of this crazy beautiful existence.

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i’m erica, a thirty-something who believes a balanced life is one in which green tea comes before wine. hello, welcome.