the last few weeks have been a complete whirlwind! from kicking off a new school year to attending four weddings in four weeks (two in the same weekend in different states) to simply figuring out how to have a life both here in the bay and in la. throughout it all, something that has stood out to me is the power of having a strong support system.
there are parts of my job that can be exhausting – sometimes it can be due to what is shared in session by a client and other times, it is simply due to the late hours i work being a therapist on a college campus. that being said, the older i’ve gotten, the more i’ve noticed myself prioritizing the energy that exists within my circles. it directly impacts both who i am as a person and who i am in session with my clients. i refuse to be exhausted by who i choose to spend my time with outside of work. the last five weeks have been filled with people who not only fill my tank, but people i can be unapologetically authentic with. at multiple points this past weekend, this was reiterated.
i came across this quote many moons ago however with today being one of my closest friend’s birthdays, it felt like the perfect time to share with each of you.
getting to celebrate nick last night with some of his nearest and dearest was incredibly special. happy birthday, nick. thank you for being someone i never have to pretend with.
there is something so beautiful about seeing someone you love pursue something that sets their soul on fire. that is precisely how i felt when dana told me she was going to start a supper club. that is how verde supper club came to be.
when i first met dana, we were in undergrad at scu and she and i shared many mutual friends from her sorority. she was the baby of our group but a piece of her always felt like home. it might have had something to do with us both being la girls or maybe it was that we both shared a love for bringing people together around great food. whatever the case, we have been friends since that very first dinner party back in 2010. i still rave about her mashed potatoes and dana has always loved my mac and cheese. while we both work in our respective fields, we wouldn’t be us if we went pursuing things we were passionate about outside of work. for me, it is this blog. for dana, it is her supper club.
verde supper club is an intimate multi course dining experience with wine pairings. even with me not knowing a single diner, i had the best time. each supper club is held at a different location but all in the bay area (at least for the time being). there was something about it that felt both cozy and airy.
now, let’s dive into the menu.
i have to be honest – i was too caught up in conversation to take a photo of the amuse bouche but that doesn’t believe that i did not thoroughly enjoy two piping hot spam musubi bites with sriracha mayo and furikake. for many of us, it was this nostalgic treat – for me, it instantly took me to hawaii; for one of the great people i met, it reminded him of his childhood (as his mom prepared this for him and his siblings). initially, i thought french 76 was a misprint but it was their delightful take on a french 75 with an added mystery ingredient. it did not disappoint!
for our first course, we had hamachi carpaccio. i am a seafood snob – trust me when i tell you this hamachi melted in my mouth like butter! it was served with one of the best white wines i have had in a long time – leo steen chenin blanc 2020. i will be ordering a case before my next dinner party.
next, we had a crab and corn enchilada with this flavor packed green chile sauce and a crema drizzle. multiple people at our table commented on how they had never had a crab enchilada and loved how much crab was stuffed into the tortilla. growing up in southern california, i often seek out crab enchiladas at mexican restaurants. this one stood up as a solid competitor against any crab enchilada i’d previously had. at this point of the night, i wondered if the menu had been created especially for me. dinner could’ve been over and i would’ve been satisfied – lucky for me, it wasn’t. the daou chardonnay the enchilada was paired with complimented it perfectly.
what i loved most about our third course is that it is not an item i would have ordered if i read it on a menu at a restaurant. after the very first bite, i knew i would have been gravely mistaken. the smoked maitake mushroom reuben with beet brined sauerkraut was NEXT LEVEL. the stunning presentation and the variety of textures alone were enough for me to want to have this for lunch daily. i certainly will be asking dana how she prepared this. with the heatwave we’ve been having, this would be the perfect meal on a hot day. and the marine layer pinot noir it was served with? *chef’s kiss*
i wondered if it could get any better than our third course and was assured it could once i had the first bite of lamb with the creamy goat cheese polenta. the orin swift cabernet sauvignon was one i knew i needed to commit to memory because my brother lives for full bodied cab and this was just that.
i thought i might not have room for dessert but once i realized it was a cherry cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream, i quickly changed my tune. cherries don’t tend to be a fruit i seek out in desserts – i favor berries, lemons and peaches. after this dinner, my mind has been changed.
at no point did i want to add a dash of salt, pepper or any condiment whatsoever. dana found a way to make every single bite perfect from start to finish. there was something particularly special about our dinner having so many locally sourced and in season ingredients. it was abundantly clear that every dish was made with love.
while at the beginning phases, there typically are not repeat customers, i am eager to convince dana to let me bring out of town guests to the next supper club. it is something i think every foodie should experience at some point in their lives.
with dana’s birthday being on september 5th, it seemed fitting to introduce you all to her baby, verde supper club. dana – you amaze me regularly. i am incredibly proud of you and my love for you is endless.
it still feels surreal to say that i am typing this blog post from my new apartment in the bay area. misu is settling wonderfully into our new space and while i miss la and many of the people in it, i am confident i made the right decision both personally and professionally.
today is august 15th. i have been pretty emotional for the last week. while that can be attributed to a variety of things, the closer we came to today’s date, the more heightened my emotions got. i realized that before last year, today’s date was not significant to me. now, it is a date that is forever imprinted in my head and heart. one year ago today, i was transported to the hospital and woke up over two weeks later. it ended up being a 35 day stay that felt like it would never end yet so much has transpired in the 11 months after that in some ways, it feels like five years have passed.
i don’t think most 31 year olds anticipate five week long hospital stays, ventilators, needing to learn how to walk again and just relinquishing independence and control. while i would not wish what happened to me on even my worst enemy, the lessons i learned (and still carry with me) are immeasurable. the most important lesson will sound cliche but has reshaped my worldview – put simply, it is remembering that nothing is owed to us and to not take a single thing for granted.
i came across this quote and it summed up how i have approached each day in the last year perfectly.
“when you arise in the morning, think what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” -marcus aurelius
i am grateful to be alive each and every day. i am substantially more intentional with my breathing after having to relearn how to do so on my own. i am thrilled to be able to have free thought and to use my mind to do meaningful work with people in need. i have actively enjoyed things i hardly noticed before. the best part is the love – i have not hesitated in telling the people i love how important they are to me and i have allowed myself to be open to receiving love in a way i did not previously think i was even capable of. the last year has been the healthiest year of my adult life and i wouldn’t change a thing.
when you wake up each morning, what are you grateful for?
happy friday! i realize that most of my blog posts this year have included some kind of statement about how long it has been or how i am going to get back into a groove. after further reflection, i probably won’t be back into a good groove until june (when i have some time off). after that, my schedule will allow for more of doing things i love (like this) and i am thrilled about that. i hadn’t realized how many things i’ve been unable to do due to my current work schedule, commute and level of exhaustion.
that all changes in just a couple of months.
anyone that knows me can tell you that i am not someone who works somewhere for a short amount of time. i invest years. part of it is because of loyalty but i’d say the same amount is due to me wanting to figure out the ins and outs to be able to create meaningful change that makes a lasting impact. oftentimes, that requires more time than just a year. well, i started a new job back in august but was hospitalized after only being on campus for a week. needless to say, when i came back in mid october, i felt incredibly behind. i have been fortunate to work with the best team and they never once made me feel guilty about the extra responsibilities they took on in my absence. it is to the point where i feel like they can look at me and read my mind. we are able to be unfiltered around one another and when you spend as many hours per week working as we do, this is fucking crucial. i’ve told them frequently that they are people i would choose to be friends with even if we did not work together. that is part of why receiving a message from an old supervisor turned mentor turned friend back in march really rattled me.
i am a planner by nature. i think in one, five and 10 year increments. receiving a message about a position at my alma mater that she thought i would be a good fit for might have been flattering but more than anything, it was anxiety inducing. i questioned if it was even worth looking into. i feel like i’ve just gotten back into a routine of sorts and now, i might be flipping that upside down. millions of questions zoomed through my head:
what would i be walking into? what would moving back to the bay look like? who would i be letting down in the process? what message does this send to the institution that could have replaced me but instead, held my job for months while i recovered from covid? how would my family, especially my mom, receive this news? would i have more or less balance if i am stepping into a role that didn’t previously exist?
my interview took place a couple of weeks later (at the start of spring break). it was tough to figure out who to utilize as a sounding board because i didn’t want to be convinced of a particular decision because of someone who really wanted me to stay in la or someone who really wanted me to go to the bay. god bless my clinical supervisor because she was one of the only neutral parties i had. when i anxiously told her many of the questions that had been running through my mind, she listened, slowed me down and then asked me where the questions were rooted. it took some digging but i realized that i was not questioning myself because i was unsure if it would be a good fit, i was questioning myself because of guilt.
together, we outlined all of the ways both personally and professionally that this would benefit me. so frequently, i focus just on what a new job will do for me professionally. at this stage in my life, it is imperative that i also focus on what that means for me personally. coming face to face with that reality reminded me of this quote:
i got the offer and i accepted it. i know that this will make me grow in a variety of ways, some that i don’t even know yet. now that it’s been about a month since i accepted, i finally am at a place where i no longer feel guilt. i move in july and couldn’t be more excited about it. it is truly a beautiful place to be.
are you in a place where you can say no without guilt and yes without fear?
i might have gone back to work today, but mentally, i am still in the desert with my girls at coachella. this may have been my sixth coachella but it was my first time having a great pair of sunglasses that fit as if they were customized for my face. i can’t wait for you to meet mohala.
last year, i had the pleasure of being able to connect with the founder of mohala eyewear, ashley johnson, through my great friend, jude. we are all scu grads and women of color. i was thrilled at the opportunity to be able to support a female operated business. this was only amplified when i found out their mission was to create glasses to fit you perfectly – they are able to do this by having various nose bridges, widths and adjustable frames. it is the very first time i have had a pair of glasses feel totally comfortable, no matter the length of time, on my wider nose.
do you know what’s even better? every pair of sunglasses sold sends a young girl to school for a week. as someone who values education and giving back in a meaningful way, i can’t say enough wonderful things about mohala eyewear.