i’ll be taking a month-long hiatus from this space, as we leave for Peru in three days. looking forward to sharing all that’s gained from our travels!

see you in august!

home (is where the heart is)

gino and i leave for peru in less than two weeks. it’s become a welcome annual trip for us, partly for its familiarity and more so for its unpredictable adventure. in some ways, i feel like peru is an extension of our home, a place where we feel comfortable, peaceful, and always well fed.


it goes without saying, though, that at some point in our travels, i long for our home here in LA. i miss my routine and rituals, my garden and the sense of grounding that it evokes. there is most certainly a charming appeal to the idea of being in a foreign land, discovering new sites, tasting exotic foods, letting go of the monotony of our daily lives. but eventually that hunger fades. the promise of returning to our dwelling, instead, elicits feelings of excitement and yearning.

i came across this excerpt today, which couldn’t have embodied my sentiments in a more beautiful, honest way:

“if you love home, and even if you don’t. there is nothing quite as cozy, as comfortable, as delightful, as that first week back. that week, even the things that would irritate you…seem instead reminders of your own permanence, of how life, your life, will always graciously allow you to step back inside of it, no matter how far you have gone away from it or how long you have left it.”

— hanya yanagihara from A Little Life

it’s an incredible image, really, how we can create these spaces that, when left, invite us back with a full embrace. no judgment, no ill will. just pure, unconditional love.

and for that, i am ever grateful – for the world to see and the home to return to.


inspired by: gratitude

it’s a devastating time right now, which i won’t get into here. this is my place of refuge, so with that, a poem on gratitude:

i got out of bed 

on two strong legs.

it might have been

otherwise. i ate 

cereal, sweet

milk, ripe, flawless

peach. it might 

have been otherwise.

i took the dog uphill

to the birch wood.

all morning i did 

the work i love.

at noon i lay down

with my mate. it might

have been otherwise.

we ate dinner together

at a table with silver

candlesticks. it might

have been otherwise.

i slept in a bed

in a room with paintings

on the walls, and

planned another day

just like this day.

but one day, i know,

it will be otherwise.

— jane kenyon






daddy, i don’t know if you ever come here. perhaps with some prompting by mama? honestly, it doesn’t matter much considering you’ve got a keen sense on my life’s happenings by way of her daily updates. whether you read this or not, i just want to say thank you.


thank you for standing by me over these thirty-something years, for being the ears when i needed them most and the clarity when i felt blurred. you have a way about yourself that attracts vulnerability, and in the midst of this troubled world, when the roles of men and women are being scrutinized, i am thankful for a father who demonstrates sensitivity and mutual respect. you are the standard to which i measure the men in my life.

i never pictured what our adult relationship would be like, probably because the years progressed ever so naturally. but i can say now, it’ a beautiful thing. you helped mold me into the woman i am today, having given me the opportunities to explore, grow, and find my voice. through your protection, you allowed me to take risks. to fall in love.

thank you, daddy, for the late-night chats and financial advice. thank you for the laughs and the tough conversations. thank you for being the other half to mama, for being the man in her life. and thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being everything i need in a father. i love you.



tony. can i call him that if i didn’t actually know him? it’s weird, because i felt like i did. i think we all felt that way.

last week, June 8th to be exact, the world lost a legend and a friend – anthony bourdain. though the news of his suicide was tragic, it had me thinking about gathering and how anthony brought light to its virtue. he traveled the world and mingled with culinary extraordinaires, opening our eyes to exotic foods and secluded locales. and yet with equal passion, he invited us along in his journey into private homes and street side corners, teaching us how to embrace home-cooked food prepared with utmost care. it was a gift, to be able to celebrate all cuisine, no matter the preparation, regardless of the environment in which it was shared.


as i reflect on the meals we’ve prepared, the gatherings we’ve hosted, and the community i’ve experienced over the dinner table (or coffee table/picnic blanket/plastic chair on the side of a street), i realize more and more that it’s not about the food itself. rather, it’s about the bringing together – of people, of ideas, of conversation and candidness. it’s about creating a sense of belonging. we eat for nourishment of not only the body, but more importantly, for the soul. for the spirit.


on the day of tony’s death, a dear friend texted me this:

“just watching this CNN anthony bourdain memorial and it’s so so sad…but it made me want to tell you this – all of the things they are saying about how he brought the world so much joy by gathering people over food and having amazing conversations and bringing people together – that’s how i feel about your patio! you create the same feeling of happiness and belonging for so many people, and you should know that.”

— renae

in that moment of meditating on those words, i felt a sense of peace come over me. like tony was there, sipping some bourbon, happy to know that his legacy will be lived through us…one gathering at a time.



inspired by: living the questions

i came across this excerpt today, and wow, does it resonate ever so deeply:

have patience with everything unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign tongue. don’t search for answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. and the point is, live everything. live the questions now. perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, letters to a young poet

i don’t have many words to say in conjunction with this. probably because i am marinating in the beauty of it all. to live the questions now. one thing i do know, something that i can trust, is that there is a season for everything, that in by living and not waiting for some answer, we are better for it….

…however that looks.





i spent memorial day weekend in maine for a friend’s wedding. five of us traveled to boston, then to the sleepy harbor town of Wells, where we rented an idyllic beach cottage. quintessential new england coast vibes. half of the trip planned by a friend and half by me, it had me thinking about homespaces and how i prefer to incorporate them, rather than your typical hotel, into my travels.

our cottage in maine

on our first night, we stayed in a boutique hotel in boston, replete with luxury amenities and skyline views. there were champagne buckets in every room, and if that wasn’t enough, a cocktail hour for the socialites among us. it would be a lie if i said i didn’t enjoy the nightly turndown service or the specialty chocolate deliveries. to be honest, it’s just not my preferred way to travel.

once we arrived to maine, we checked into our Airbnb, our home for the remainder of our stay. immediately, i explored the rooms, the kitchen drawers and cabinets, taking mental notes on how we were going to adopt this living space into our trip. within minutes, i felt a sense of comfort come over me, like i could unwind the only way one can unwind at home. 


dinner prep after a trip to the local market

i don’t know what it is about my preference to stay in a home, albeit temporary, when i visit places. perhaps it’s the access to a kitchen, where meals can be prepared, capitalizing on that town’s particular fare. or maybe it’s the furniture, a reminder that it’s been lived in. i find joy in exploring the wabi-sabi of someone else’s home – its nooks and crannies and the stories they tell. for the extent of my stay, i am invited into that family’s living space, a reflection of their values, interests, life, however foreign.

our home in lima, peru after a power outage
meal prep in the Peruvian countryside



waking up in portalnd
fireside takeout in big sur

i understand why some might resist the idea of making their own bed or grocery shopping while on vacation, but i see it as an opportunity to feel immersed in a new setting. when we create a home during our travels, it is then that we can truly be awakened to our surroundings. which is perhaps why i carry pieces of the world in my heart. which is why i feel as though i’ve truly lived, both near and far.

poolside in palm springs
dining alfresco in ojai
serving an appetizer in maine, just like home