Five years ago, my husband walked into my office and told me he had received a job offer from a company in Portugal. I burst into tears. It was not the reaction either of us expected. We had been talking about this opportunity for months, after I’d breezily agreed to the idea of an adventure abroad.
Faced with the reality of realizing a dream, I was terrified.
Rather than going on this adventure at a natural ‘gap’ in our lives — graduation or retirement — we decided to take the leap now, at the peak of our careers. It was unexpected. It was disruptive.
What propelled me through the anxiety was that I did not want to be the one to say, “no.” I knew I would regret a “no” more than a “yes,” even if it failed spectacularly.
Two months of cleaning out our house (aka, “The Great Purge”) gave me an opportunity to reflect on questions of home, of place, of identity, and of transitions.
I found myself in conversations with people who were also in life transitions. They were facing moves, graduations, career changes, and shifts in relationships. They were in beginnings and in endings.
We were asking, “Where do I belong? How might I curate the next chapter of my life with intention and creativity? How do I cultivate work and community aligned with my values?”
How do life and identity continually unfold? How does the past empty into the present, and how can we be better stewards of our future?
I am a curiosity here in Portugal — I speak both languages with relative fluency. It throws people off when I switch fluidly from English to Portuguese. I have lived my entire life feeling 100% Portuguese and 100% American. It’s not a split; it’s a total sense of holding both at once.
This work explores the intersection of belonging, identity and agency, and how we make transitions in our lives.
As a child, I wanted to run a carnival. I mapped my entire back yard with ideas of rides and games, even the food stands and ticket booths. Those tendencies for creating spaces and hosting others are hardwired.
I love to host. My favorite moments in life have been at the table, being with my family of friends, listening to stories and laughing, eating good food and drinking wine. Bonus points if it all happens outdoors.
I am obsessed with designing spaces, gatherings, and experiences. I spend an unhealthy amount of time on interior design blogs and websites.
I believe there are stories are everywhere — in our favorite foods, in a sound or song that transports us to a special moment, in a small token we keep on our desk.
I believe in the power of things. These are the talismans we keep to help us on our journey, reminding us of our path.
I am drawn to the distinction that mythologist Martin Shaw draws between being from a place and being of a place
my mission is to cultivate a sense of place from which to explore life's thresholds and transitions in an environment of hospitality and curiosity
This site is dedicated to my mother, Herminia. She taught me the blessing of hospitality, and the hard work of resilience.
Changes are external situations, but transitions are internal journeys. Learn how to recognize them and how to cross the threshold.
Your personal space is more than somewhere to store your stuff and take a shower. See what inspires me about creating a sanctuary.