// Amanda is a very special mama who humbly showcases herself and her recipes on Instagram and her blog Mama Eats Plants. Her authenticity in who she is and how she lives makes me respect her so much! At 31, Amanda is truly living her truth and following her heart while also raising her two intensely passionate Scorpio children, Carmela, age 10 and Vincent, age 6. Enjoy the interview mamas…it will inspire you to get creative eating plant-based and also remind you to enjoy some guilt free time to yourself. So important! //
Tell us about where you live.
We live in a small town in Northern California- I grew up here and it’s quiet and community based and revolves around a twice weekly farmers market. We live in a wonderful, tucked away neighborhood with lots of kids of all ages that play together. My mother and grandmothers all live very close, so it’s lovely for my kids to be able to grow up with them, too.
How are you creative.
My creativity is solidly within the realm of food. I love to write, paint and draw- my fondest memories are of my grandmother and her oil paintings- but food is my number one love. I think it comes from my Italian roots. My Papa was an Italian immigrant and I don’t think anyone ever loved food more than him. I remember him always coming home with crates of local fruits and veggies, curing his own olives, making his own wine every year with grapes he himself picked. We crushed them in an old bathtub in the backyard. He was very frugal in all areas of his life, but food was an exception, something of utmost important, never an afterthought or just sustenance, but a ritual. Something to honor, love, appreciate and savor. So, I was exposed to this rich love of food from a young age. Living in California, in the heart of the agricultural valley here, it almost feels sacrilegious not to appreciate and shop locally. Heading to the farmer’s market is my favorite ritual and where I find the most inspiration. Like a treasure hunt, all the fresh gems with their colors, textures, flavors, the farmers proudly arranging and displaying their hard work. It gets me excited to cook. I try to go to the market without a plan in mind so that I can be open to whatever looks best. To let myself be seduced by the freshest vegetables, the sweetest fruits. In this way, the food I cook is guaranteed to be amazing. When you have quality produce, it needs very little to transform and tease it out into a finished dish. I try to always let the vegetables shine- I think that’s something that’s oddly, often overlooked in vegetarian or vegan cooking. I love the work of Yotam Ottolenghi and Heidi Swanson for that reason- they’re always honoring the vegetables and putting them forward.
Where does simplicity show up in your life?
So many areas- but none more prominent than saying no to “extras”. I focus very strongly on letting go quickly of anything that doesn’t feel right to me- commitments, engagements, routines, feelings of “shoulds” and “should nots”. I’m a super uncomfortable with even the idea of confrontation, so it took me a lot of work to be able to say no to people. What I found out is, that it was really not a big deal. People’s life will go on and your friendship can still stay intact if you don’t go to their party, join the book club, head to that family reunion - whatever it is that you feel that you need to do, but your heart is screaming “NO” about.
What is your personal style?
I’d say it’s heavily inspired by European women. I traveled to and turned 16 in Italy, and I remember being absolutely struck and enchanted by the way the women dressed and carried themselves. Even if they weren’t necessarily great beauties, they had a sort of piercing presence that exuded beauty. So I think I’m always trying to achieve that effortless, but put together look that has a feminine edge while also being a little undone. I used to have a giant wardrobe, but in the last 4 years or so I’ve really finally gotten in touch with what the pieces are that make me feel good, and that also are appropriate for my real life. My uniform in cold weather is a good sturdy pair of jeans, a sweater (I like mine a little oversized), and a pair of low heeled ankle boots. A trench to top it in fall and a nice thick peacoat to top it in winter. For summer, often it’s a easy floral print wrap dress or anything in linen. It gets very, very hot here in summer so it’s important to have something breezy and comfortable. I try to choose only natural fabrics like cotton, hemp, linen etc because they feel and look so much better. Plus, they don’t release microplastics into the water when washed like synthetics do- and they last much longer in my experience. Most often I find my pieces at thrift stores, but I also really love supporting small and/or ethical makers. Doen, Reformation (the linen pieces and jeans), Elizabeth Suzann, and Beaton Linen are all favorites. I only add two or three new pieces each half year, so I have more money to invest into high quality pieces that will last and hold their resale value should I decide to part with it.
What is your beauty regime?
Very simple- a gentle cleanse + some rosehip oil for face. I stopped wearing foundation last year and it’s been the nicest thing for my skin. I wear a bit of mascara, a flick of eyeliner, and always a lip, usually just something thats my shade of lip but deeper, a rosy brown. I use my finger to smoosh it into my lips to blur any lines to make it appear more natural and then whatevers leftover on my fingers, I press onto my cheeks. For body, shea butter, sometimes mixed with some oil in winter if I’m feeling extra dry. Body brushing before my shower, and of course eating plenty of fresh vegetables and drinking lots of water.
Any routines/habits/mottos to living well?
Work on getting to know your body intimately. I think this has been the key for me. Pay attention to what your body needs, likes and dislikes. It absolutely speaks if you are able to slow down, quiet down, and listen. Everyone is so unique, so I think there’s no one way that will fit everyone.
What is a typical day like for you as a creative + mama?
My week is so eclectic, but usually I wake up and get breakfast started for the kids. If I’m lucky, I’ll wake up a bit earlier than them and do some quiet meditation or journaling or just sitting in the quiet for a few moments before I get started. While they’re eating breakfast, I take a quick moment to review what I need to get done for the day, usually taking note of the essential things that are non negotiable so I don’t forget. We’ve started homeschooling this year, so after we tidy up from breakfast and get home from French lessons, we’ll get started with that. Then we take a walk outside, no matter the weather- getting outside each day for a walk is essential for me. The kids hunt for little treasures like acorns, leaves, interesting rocks etc. Then lunch, usually leftovers from dinner reimagined + a nice salad. In the afternoon, we head out to the store, piano lesson, a playdate, trip to a museum, homeschool group, or whatever else we’ve got planned. We come home and the kids have a little afternoon tea and snack. Then, they have free time to play outside with friends, a game with each other, do some art, have quiet time- whatever they need. I take this opportunity to get some work done- writing for the blog, studying my doula books, or the cookbook I’m currently working on. Around 5 my partner comes home and we have a little apero together- a glass of wine + something small to nibble on while we trade snippets of our days with each other. Then, he plays or catches up with the kids while I make dinner- one of my favorite parts of the day. We eat, then baths/showers, bedtime stories, tucking in. Then I read or meditate before bed and do a little sweep through the house to put away or tidy up anything from the day. Sleep and do it all over again!
When/how do you feel most beautiful and most aligned with yourself?
When I make sure to have time alone- I’m an introvert and this is so essential to fill my cup back up. My partner or family will take the kids and I luxuriate in the quiet!
What are 5 things you are loving right now?
Fall pears, meyer lemons, old jazz/big band music, reading the book Letting Go, and Free+Native workshops.
What advice do you have for mothers looking to find balance in both being healthy and staying creative?
Don’t feel guilty for needing time for yourself. It’s essential. Seeking balance is never ending. You will find it and then teeter to one side or the other. Things will never be “perfect”, so accept it and let that go- then appreciate the perfect imperfections of your daily life.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND AMANDA
//ALL PHOTOS ARE SOLE PROPERTY OF AMANDA//