hidden tuscany


My heart breaks thinking about this trip. It breaks over the fact that we had to leave - that we couldn't stay tucked away forever in that hilltop villa. What bliss. What beauty. We were all so happy there.
More photos and insights from the trip here & here.

picante watermelon salsa


Note: This post was previously published here as a part of my freelance work.

This recipe has one foot in the Mediterranean and another in South America. It’s core is zesty with a spicy cilantro kick, but nuances are added with Greek feta and taming olive oil. The sweet flavor of watermelon shines against the tongue-tingling salty spicy flavor, and the chopped peppers and onion add a little crunch to keep the textural game balanced. Paired with blue corn chips, the dish makes a great party pleaser. 

1/2 a small watermelon (or approx. 5 cups chopped)
1/2 cup feta 
1/4 medium red onion, chopped
5 shishito peppers, cut in half & sliced into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flake
salt & pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. 
2. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 min.
3. Serve with blue corn chips.

the living breathing family


As I get older, I've come to realize a new meaning behind family. I've began to look it at as it's own breathing thing. Like the people that make it up, a family grows and progresses through time. Weaving its own story.

When I was little, I'd sit and listen to accounts of everyone's pasts. I learned about everything: their parents, how they fell in love, the moment when their children were born, and so on. At the time, it was all just tales; none of it concepts that I could fully grasp and understand. 

But as I begin to go through these things myself, I see. I understand how profound it is to fall in love. I get it when people tell me they remember me as a baby. I have a new niece and she's everything to this family. Watching my big brother who used to trap me under the blankets and fart on my face become a father is surreal. I think about the blood flowing through his daughter's veins, and how it's tied to my own. I dream about her future and the journey of watching her grow. Doing so, puts me in the shoes of my aunt who has done the same with me. I realize now what time means, and how it morphs these relationships we have to one another.

When I was little, I never understood how things would change. We go through the toughest moments with our family and sometimes they can be the ones that test us the most. On the other side, nobody knows us better or loves us more. I laugh when I hear myself making a joke that my mother would make, or when I see my brother acting with the same stubbornness that I do. We are inextricably similar in ways that come back to our simplest of spirit. At the same time, we teach each other and grow together through our differences. Love, is being tied together regardless. 

As the years morph, it's not that the bond becomes stronger, we just become more conscious of its existence and its meaning. Watching my direct family grow in lovers and offspring is an exciting new phase that has brought a lot of fun. There will surely be stages after, as there have been for the generations before us. Our job is to keep the family organism alive and breathing. I'm beginning to understand the meaning in doing so.