early this morning i wrote down the words that came to mind when i thought about the term loving-kindness as it relates to your relationship with yourself and your significant other…and everyone in your life, really:

acceptance | encouragement | compassion | deep love | patience | understanding | support

kindness is love exemplified… every day in every situation, positive or challenging. the gottmans put it perfectly in saying “kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated—feel loved…[therefore] building a culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully.”

they go on to explain that there is a physiological impact of thinking of your relationship in this way as “[couples practicing loving-kindness are] calm and connected together, which translates into warm and affectionate behavior… they create a climate of trust and intimacy that makes both more emotionally and thus physically comfortable.” it is, to me, the difference between feeling completely comfortable with your partner versus holding back…allowing yourself to speak freely about your worries and dreams without any thought that they might be dismissed.

it’s something that doesn’t just come. it is learned plain and simple, and strengthened by exercising it at every opportunity.

i’m writing this down because i have felt this so strongly lately…the silver lining, i suppose, to going through a challenging time. the feeling that you are genuinely and wholeheartedly loved and understood is like no other; it begins by easing nerves surrounding change or fear of disappointment, but it’s reach is much more powerful than even that. loving-kindness encourages me to not only reciprocate this kind of love, but make an effort to be kinder to myself, too.

we know that the first step to loving another truly and fully is loving yourself. the same thing goes for finding the good in and practicing kindness towards yourself. loving-kindness meditation is something that i think we all can incorporate in our lives. almost like dedicating a yoga practice to someone who needs your positive energy, this is simply taking the time to wish yourself and others well.

“May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.”
“May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.”

because kindness is where it begins and ends…the integral component of happiness. if we all listen a bit more, judge a bit less and leave ourselves open to being loved by ourselves and others, imagine what can happen.

deepening loving-kindness
the article on love everyone should read
other notes on marriage (me)


It takes us till we age to realise how grateful we should be for what we have had all along :)


+the world is a heartbreaking place and i need to practice more gratitude for the safe and healthy conditions i’m so fortunate to have.
onlookers call it “dark tourism”, participants call it expressing interest in every part of our world, especially the parts in turmoil. either way, it’s on the rise.

+what happens when we ignore the template for happiness and create our own? ( an interview )
+there’s something called concierge medicine. would you pay a membership fee for more personalized care?

+almond milk
just may be a scam. between environmental impact, additives and cost, we should be  making our own
+there’s more heart in creating a cocktail and surviving and thriving in nyc as a woman that we might think  (video)

+in an effort to create a true community, there are no employees at this flower shop in paris
+neil young is coming to the academy house! are you going?


making your csa work: rockfish stew with sorrel

i’ve tried to meal plan time and time again, but it just doesn’t work. i don’t remember to compile meals until i’m en route to the market and then i just can’t think of a damn thing.  i do best when i have a solid a variety of staples. the list has been expanded and refined over the past few years, and includes items that are equal parts healthy and cheap(ish) and delicious. starchy foods for their filling nature, quality protein, fresh vegetables, butter and olive oil (and a little acidity) come together to create something special every time.

a typical shopping yield looks something like this:

grains and starchy vegetables|white rice, millet, yellow potatoes (my favorite), oatmeal

vegetables|whatever is in the CSA (including herbs), green lettuce, Jersey tomatoes, onions, garlic

fruit|CSA, whatever is on-sale (currently Jersey peaches)

protein source|ground lamb, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild-caught fish, dry beans and/or legumes

fats and acidic ingredients|butter, olive oil, nuts, white wine, vinegar, olives

on a good day, our fridge and pantry are stocked with these items and i’m able to pull something together without braving the elements. philadelphia has been experiencing the beginnings of the apocalypse as of late, and this little stew was created while the lightning cracked and the rain slapped against the house.

i’ve mentioned otolith seafood before and i will again-simply, it’s the best. in addition to selling it at the headhouse farmer’s market in philadelphia and through  their website, they bring their products to retailers around the city, including my favorite health food store. when i arrived the other night, they were out of all but rockfish. i consulted a couple of websites but not surprisingly, otolith gave me all the encouragement i needed.

a few days later, with a bouillabaisse in mind, i looked to my pantry and fridge for everything i could use up- from the csa came the sorrel (that lemony bite!), a big ‘ol onion and garlic. tomatoes and tomato paste from the market, along with that pretty piece of rockfish. just a little inspiration for you, as it’s absolutely meant to be made to suit your own taste and available ingredients.

a sort of recipe for rockfish and sorrel stew
serves 4

butter, a tablespoon or two
1 big onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 big Jersey tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste
white wine
1 large rockfish fillet  (~1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
a few handfuls of sorrel
salt and pepper

i heated the butter in a big dutch oven and added the onion and garlic all at once. After they softened up and became fragrant, in went the tomato and tomato paste. after a minute or so i added water and mixed it all up into a nice little base. to it i added a little bit of wine (what was leftover in my glass, you know) and brought it to a nice simmer. i brought it down a bit and added in the fish carefully, making sure all pieces were covered by the broth. i reduced  covered the pan and let it bubble for 15 minutes or so, adding the sorrel at the very end and,letting it wilt and serving it over some basmati rice.

a more proper seafood stew from bourdain
making your CSA work


living in a small space

Marina van Goor's apartment in Amsterdam / photo by Jordi Huisman

Source (not our house)

you live here together?!
yes, we really like each other.

five years ago i was resistant to this small space that i since fell in love with. walking through the bare house, it felt smaller than it ever has since and i can speak freely now about the doubt i had over being able to live a peaceful existence here.

it took a good three years of living in a small space for our attitudes to permanently change towards it. i say it’s a combination of realizing that a small space is actually preferable, in combination with the surge in popularity of  “tiny homes”in major cities around the world, despite the preferences of most people we know.

small space living is not for everyone but it’s certainly for us. the simplicity of it all, as well as lessening the burden on our environment and our wallets, is something to warrant contentment. life is a little bit more organized and a bit less crowded. i joke that we can never lose anything in our house. small-space living may have forced us into (relative) minimalism, but now we exist here voluntarily.

truthfully, if you’re living in <200sqft/person, you cannot have a lot of things and need to be a bit creative with space. my attitude surrounding this went from resentment to appreciation over the course of a couple of years and i couldn’t be more thankful.

over the next bit of time, i hope to expand on the tips below-despite the fact that they’re pretty darn self-explanatory

a few tips:

clothes and gifts
-conduct seasonal “great purges” of clothes and all other items until stripped down to the essentials (we’re about due)
-simplify your wardrobe to include mostly neutrals and accessories to include only those you love and the serve a unique purpose
-make the transition to consumable gifts

books and cookware
-say “no” to gadgets and embrace cooking essentials (bonus: they’re beautiful when left out on your stove)
-re-purpose everything
-use the library like a bookstore

-exist in the outdoors
-resist the urge to collect (this includes shoes)
-lose the television*

+don’t let the opinions of others phase you**


*no cable negates the purpose of a big ‘ol couch in front of it. done.

freeing yourself from judgement



The Trusted Traveler


a few things from this hot week in july…

+it’s possible not to consume any plastic whatsoever. Inspiring.
+minimalist style doesn’t equal frumpy.
+emotions drive the call to consumerism
+there’s a science to love that is more obvious than you might think.

+making corn salads just got a whole lot easier.
steamed corn + peas + olive oil + goat cheese is a favorite combination. oh! don’t forget the basil
+patton oswalt’s hilarious description of the residents of  this la neighborhood will make you laugh out loud {video}
+ $10 can get you into this fabulous museum in philadelphia all summer long

have a beautiful weekend!