the gathering kind: new friends + brunch @ buvette

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In Sanskrit there is a term, “kula,” which loosely translates to kin or community. When I first heard the term I was at a yoga retreat deep in the woods of Maine, where I found myself trusting people whom I just met, barely knew, because they didn’t let me fall. Frightened of inversions, I would plead with my partners to hold my hips, tight during my handstand practice, because the idea of falling backward was unimaginable. During a two-hour class, strangers held my hips and whispered, just breathe. In that rare stretch of time I felt my hands pressing deep into the grass and I closed my eyes. Knowing my kula would never let me go.

Fast forward the tape to now where I’ve done some heavy editing. A few weeks ago I talked about getting surgical with the barnacles. You know the type: people who drain every inch of life out of you, people determined to claw, wheedle and ruin. People who preach fear like sermon.

People who are not on my bus.

Over the past two years I’ve excised all the people who made me feel like a lesser version of myself. Whether they expressed doubt about my life choices {my being single is highly comic and tragic to the motley married few} or imbued every inch of light with darkness {Good luck with that French class! I dropped out after the third week. What a waste!}, or prattled on endlessly about their connections and how I could achieve a higher state of microfamery {You should meet that person; she’s ‘good to know’}, they had become a coat worth shedding.

I’m wholly selective of whom I allow trespass into my small, strange world. I do this because my relationships have depth and meaning. I invest, I get involved, I care. I don’t care who they are or what they’ve done, rather I consider how present they are in my life. How they add light and energy rather than deplete it. If they’re the sort of person who would hold my hips tight, never let me go.

From now on my first experience at Buvette, an extraordinary spot with simple, extraordinary eats, will be marked by spending time with a new friend. Jamie’s the sort of person you want to be around because her energy is infectious, and there’s something pure and honest in the way that she draws you in, and warm about how she keeps you there. For two hours we were never short on conversation, there weren’t any of those ubiquitous pauses, and I came away feeling invigorated.

Because now there’s time to let all the right ones in. To open up the kula and let in all the light.

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love.life.eat. of the week

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Today I woke at dawn and thought, there’s so much magic in the world, I want to be present to see all of it. So I paced my apartment in the dark while my cat raced around my feet, and I pulled back the curtain in front of my deck to see all of my deck furniture huddled together with my rug covering the lot. Normally, this would enrage me because come morning I have to venture out into the cold and re-arrange all the furniture. But at that moment I thought of a woman protecting her young. That image lulled me back to slumber.

There’s so much to love this week, where do I start?

love.: After immersing myself in the latest issue of Kinfolk, where people like me who love food tell stories, I stumbled onto Gather, a biannual publication, a food-lover’s journal with staying power. Filled with recipes, lush photography and rich, soulful words, you will want to stock this book on your shelf. I’m running out to procure my copy today. Speaking of dreamy, you might have noticed that I’ve traded my handbag obsession for a linen and bowl one. Randomly, I discovered Dreamy Whites, a shop, blog, and life beautifully lived. You’ll fawn over the vintage linens and delicious bowls, and this au lait bowl* made me weep. And if we’re talking about lush, can we just prattle on about Brooklyn-based Apotheke? Homemade soy candles, soaps, body oils, scrubs and moisturizers, if you’re not won over by the heady scents and serene packaging (and the fact that it’s a locally-run business), you’ll appreciate the fact that I’ve met the proprietors on three separate occasions at Brooklyn Fair, and they are quite possibly the nicest people EVER.

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life.: Reading Kinfolk’s profile on Buvette owner, Jody Williams, is the most impassioned piece of writing I’ve read in a long time. Her food odyssey takes her all over the globe, and although she’s not classically trained, she sought to create a space that would force people to gather.

eat.: Let’s start off with the unexpected. I’ve passed The Elbow Room many times since it’s been opened and never once thought about stepping in. Maybe it’s my fear of stadium-base eating (the eatery is located at the new Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn), but I’m glad I finally ventured in because the macaroni and cheese is remarkable. From traditional cheddar mac with a crumble topping to the cheeseburger mac with tangy dill pickles to the margherita mac, you’ll find wholesome, fresh ingredients, a melange of flavor and a tasty takeaway treat. Clearly I have to barricade myself in my home in fear that I might just crave Elbow every.single.day. It’s not every day that someone blowtorches your treat. Such is the scenario when you visit the very talented and passionate folks who run S’More Bakery, an online shop that sells the finest handcrafted s’mores this side of the east coast. The crunch of the graham cracker (the nutmeg, cinnamon and hint of vanilla is REAL, people. REAL) juxtaposed with the sweet caramel and tender marshmallow, had me howling in a corner of Brooklyn Fair. You will want to order scores of these treats, I promise you.

And when I’m not craving comforting mac and cheese or s’mores over a cackling fire, I’m thinking about this Inside Out S’Mores cake, this outrageous Cranberry + Pecan Agave Galette (out of control!), this Fettuccine with Sage and Asiago Pesto, and this Chopped Salad with Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes and Apples.

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*Image credit above: Dreamy Whites.