Do you have a morning ritual? If so, what does it consist of?
I am very much a morning person, and a person of rituals. I try to exercise in the morning first thing, but taking it slow in the morning can also be super needed. With how tumultuous things have felt lately I have been trying to not look at my phone at the start of the day and read a book instead. I tend to spend a half hour in my hot tub with my coffee and a book before it gets too hot outside. Starting the day with a soak, watching the dew start to evaporate off the leaves, the birds stretch out and start their calls, the steam of the tub breaks in the brisk air-- it's a whole new way of centering for me that I value so dearly.
Do you have any self care or beauty habits that you consistently practice?
I was a person that adopted my mother's skin care routine for years which was very bare bones-- a natural soap to cleanse and aloe vera to hydrate. Makeup never. I found that when I moved into bigger cities I had to up the ante a little bit. I am completely obsessed with the customs around bathing that span across all cultures and I try to make time for a long bath at least once a week to exfoliate, hydrate, and re-set. Having a good PH balance is very important for my skin and hair so I like to draw a bath with a splash of apple cider vinegar on top of infused epsom salts or an ayurvedic bath potion. I coat my hair in coconut oil before I get in and let sit for an hour before thoroughly rinsing out with a good shampoo or soap that's not too stripping. My hair and skin are so soft afterwards I just rinse my hair with only water in the shower for the rest of the week. I am also a big fan of Gloria Noto's products and have almost her entire rotation on my shelf. You can never have too many yummy smelling soaps in the house which is why I love the binu binu soaps-- and it doesn't hurt that they are beautiful objects on their own.
Describe your home in five words:
gay menagerie tiki yacht club
Do you have personal practices for living or well-being that create a reduced environmental impact or are zero waste? (share a recipe, practice or how to)
It's hard for me to think of a time where I didn't factor in the environment in my practices. I know that may sound pretentious but in truth I just come from a family that was practicing composting, grey water recycling, and bulk grocery shopping when barely anyone I knew was, and I didn't feel like it was 'cool.' Whether or not I planned on it, being eco-friendly has become a foundation for my behavior in my day to day. I have tried to release small capsule collections of my work almost solely made to order, and completely season-less on my own schedule, which has not only reduced that pressure to create on a fashion delivery schedule, but I have felt has changed people's response around the way they purchase pieces.
Try as we might, humans will inevitably negatively affect the environment in some ways, both on a local and global scale. With this in mind what are some specific intentions and convictions that you hold close?
My war on plastic has been hard over the years but at this current moment I find that there are so many alternatives that once you switch even one household item to something plastic-free it is so much easier to keep going back to that product (a shaving razor, bar shampoos and conditioners, re-fillable glass cleaning spray bottles) to name a few of my recent switches. Through growing my own food, bringing containers and bags on the go, and changing my household products, to name a few, I truly want to eliminate single-use plastics from my life in the next year.
What is a project for home or living that you have recently started or finished? (share a how to, recipe etc)
I have to be honest, I spent most of my free time at home before we were sheltering in place, but something my partner and I have really missed is going on lunch dates. I have been trying to re-create all of our favorite lunch date meals, so for us that means a lot of Japanese home style recipes. She is a huge fan of agedashi tofu, cold cucumber salad, and lunch special style carrot-ginger salad dressing. For me, cooking is all about a good sauce so I've really been trying to nail all of my favorite dressings, dipping sauces, marinades.
What distracts you? How do you remain centered?
I wouldn't say that I'm easily distracted but I have a tendency to take on almost more than I can chew. I definitely straddle that line, and taking this time away from the daily hustle has very poignantly shown me how many hours are actually in the day as opposed to how many I thought I could squeeze in. It has been a wake up call for me that has really re-aligned my practice and my relationship with capitalism. I wish I could say that it hadn't taken such extreme conditions to bring awareness to how much I was over extending but I'm grateful for the lesson and I want to make sure to keep myself in check. In general I think that practicing gratitude for all the blessings I have been given and equally giving back into the community on a day to day basis helps me to stay mindful and really calculate what is needed or necessary to continue to fulfill the areas in my life that I cherish the most.
How has your relationship with your immediate surroundings and the environment at large adapted or changed through the years?
I think it was an odd feeling for me as a person who loved dirt and flowers to not only move to NYC but then end up feeling like it was more like home than I had ever felt. Leaving NY you realize home is a feeling that can be had anywhere, and holding onto ideas of stability can be just as debilitating as they can be empowering. For me, being nomadic for a time was the most freeing experience I have ever had. I became more centered in myself and my work through the experience of holding nothing as a constant and feeling more connected than ever. I strongly feel that learning should be a lifelong practice, something we can forget if we aren't careful. Re-learning how to give just as much as you receive, not to clutch resources tightly but embrace the ebb can be hard no matter where you come from or think you are coming from. I try to capture this feeling of weightlessness as much as possible now that I have grown roots again.
Describe a practice in living well that you admire from someone in your community.
I think the person who comes to mind the most readily is my friend Ruby Montana. She runs a little hotel in Palm Springs and rescues chihuahuas, many of which find homes with her hotel guests. She is friends with some of the greatest writers, artists, and filmmakers of her time and was an antiques dealer in Seattle for years, but she's extremely modest. She inspires me so much as a queer woman, an activist, and 100% cowgirl. I hope to find a little hideaway one day where I can feel secluded and next to nature while having an endless stream of visits from my favorite people. That to me is my ideal scenario of living well.
Share a well-loved family recipe:
Lately I have been really craving my dad's Arepas I think because I haven't seen him in so long. Arepa's are a traditional dish in Venezuela where he grew up. It is a meal best made with friends and family.
1. Mix white maize flour (this is the key ingredient) with water & salt
2. Roll the dough into little balls, then flatten into little pancakes about the size of your palm
3. Pan fry in cast iron skillet on the stovetop, flipping each side until golden brown
(I like them a little burnt)
4. Slice open without slicing through the other side
5. Stuff with all the fixins-- I like black beans, queso fresco, oyster mushrooms, shredded chicken, avocado, and pickled onions-- can sub with cashew crema, jackfruit, platanos, or veggies for a vegan option