What I also love about her, is that she is not new to the wellness scene, and has allowed it all to evolve into something that looks more holistic and less rigid. From ditching the labels, to aging with grace, and finding a career after the early years of motherhood- there is a lot to learn here! I truly appreciate her insights.
I've yet to meet Aria in person, but when I do it will be over a few glasses of wine and I can't wait!
1 - Three Word Bio:
FIVE WORD BIO (I tried my best) Mother, Actress, Writer, Homecook, (cookbook author) and Snarky Storyteller
2 - Tell us briefly about your background and how you got to where you are now?
I thrive on finding the humorous comedic flair everyday life brings and bitches about it to whoever listens. I am endlessly inspired to cook from the seasons, befriend farmers and create dishes from my stocked up covid pantry. For this past decade, my proverbial kitchen (and bathroom) became my oasis, refuge, and stage. But now, after a decade, I finally popped out of the bubble of motherhood and getting back to work on the stage and screen. And I've got many pots on the stove simmering (forgive the pun but I couldn’t help myself).
3 - I know of you from super early raw food internet days. For those of you who remember G Living.... Aria was there ;-) You've transitioned out of the hardcore wellness scene and embraced a more holistic approach that seems to include a healthy dose of wine and comedy- both of which are desperately needed in the "self care" obsessed word. How did this look for you and how has your healthy living philosophy evolved over the years?
I used to be a crazy obsessive militant (annoying) vegan/raw food/wellness junkie/yogi that would yell at everyone in my life who didn’t follow MY path. And how they all should throw out their stove if they want to be “healthy” or whatever. It was, no doubt, heavily influenced by this yoga/ vegan/raw food charming actor I was hanging out with at the time who introduced me to this way of life. Made me my first green smoothie - I was smitten to say the least. At first I felt and looked fabulous. My skin glowed, my body got super lean and was flying high - walking above the clouds with my feet far from the ground (!). But then, as the months past and my obsessions got deeper and deeper the worse I started to look. My skin was kinda greyish, my face broken out, I craved fruit/dried fruit/sweet vegetables and coconut pudding like nobody’s business (in other words sweets sweets sweets from lacking proper protein!) I had stomach issues all the time (which I obsessed about even more) - trying to fix it with this food, herbs, tinctures, naturopathic doctors, yoga moves, etc. and I had also lost my menstrual cycle (and sex drive) during that time as well (about 2 years) let’s just say as “balanced” as I thought I was with eating “clean and green and vegan” I was an imbalanced hot mess. It took me years later to realize this of course but , in the end, I (thankfully) came to the understanding that I took myself and this lifestyle WAY too damn seriously. Not to mention, my life kinda started to turn around for the better when I started to incorporate some organic meat, goat/sheep dairy, cultured foods in my diet and SEX. Everything woke up. The blood rushed to my cheeks again (and my uterus!).
4 - Your "post vegan" tell us about that?
It’s like this joke my dad always told me. I’m paraphrasing but - You walk into a vegetarian restaurant and everyone is sullen and serious and eating sprouts. Then you walk into a Jewish deli where everyone is eating crap and laughing and enjoying themselves. It was like that. I started to enjoy myself more. Live life.
5 - Tell us about your book Pregnant Bitch, and where we can find it?
(This is the intro to the book (below). Take what you will! You can buy my book right now on my website but I want to offer it when I can print it for cheaper soooo I am kinda holding off on promoting it until I do. Plus I have been focusing on other things now and haven’t had a moment (of thought!) to do that yet. I have my ebook for less but no the same thing. ) I have always been the type of woman who actually thought I had some sort of control over things. That if I just stuck with my plan, everything would become what I thought I wanted it to be. But then something as unexpected as finding out I was pregnant (with an IUD floating around my uterus) happens and everything changes. Life suddenly came into an unforeseen clarity as the very thing I had been spending most of my womanhood trying to avoid was now overwhelming me with excitement. I had (yet again) been reminded of that brutal fact of life, that we really, really, really have no idea how things are ever gonna go down. Seriously. Ever. I didn’t set out to write this cookbook the way it ended up either. That wasn’t in my plan. But once I began writing, I started to naturally incorporate my journey through my pregnancy into the narrative of the book as it was a complete reflection of what I was craving, creating, cooking, and experiencing during each particular stage. With each new trimester came different cravings, desires, emotions, and seasons. Thus, the chapter titles—Salty, Spicy, Bitter, and Sweet. This is not a precious new-agey account of a woman’s journey through her pregnancy, just to be clear about that. This is also not, however, a “what to eat when you are pregnant” cookbook. The recipes are not specially designed to benefit just pregnant women. The recipes you will find in this book are a reflection of how I always cook, whether pregnant or not. They are seasonal, rustic, healthful, whole grain, unrefined-sweetened, and will benefit anyone desiring that kind of nourishment.
6 - I love your openness and vulnerability about all things- especially motherhood, and I deeply resonate. Finding yourself within the whole experience of becoming someone's mother isn't really talked about very authentically- and the "momtrepreneur" has been glamourized. Even through social media, I can see that you're in the process of rediscovering yourself now that your kids are a little bit older. I think this course of letting go to be with your kids when they are super young, and then coming back to yourself should really be talked about more because I believe it's quite ideal! What has this looked like for you?
I was raised by a nanny when I was a child. My parents were rarely around and worked all the time. When I became a mother, I made a clear and conscious choice to be home with my kids. I am grateful I was able to do that and fully immerse myself in the experience of motherhood. I wanted to do everything on my own too (with the help of my husband of course) What I mean is that for the first few years of my son’s (first child) life - I didn’t want to hire anyone to help me and the baby. I wanted to do it all myself! Later what I was realized is that I was really just fearful of my kid latching onto the babysitter more than me (which is what I did to my nanny when I was young). But then I had my daughter, and I was juggling 2 kids and sleep deprivation. That did it for me and I hired a babysitter and fully embraced the old adage - it takes a fucking village and there is no shame in asking for help!!!! But now, 10 years later, I have popped out of the bubble of motherhood (again consciously and clear) longing to get back to my creative life before I became a mother. Ready to get back to work (for my sanity) and also share with my kids that I have talents that expands out of the mommy hood and onto the stage/screen. And, I gotta say, this time away has done me good. I am older now of course but all the wiser and not suffocated by the bullshit of insecurities or doubt. Being a mother has grounded me and being middle aged I have finally (finally) confidently embraced who I am. Look, I never liked being the ingénue - I always wanted to play the women in their 40s when I was in my 20s. Now, I am excited to step in to all those juicy roles as well as write my own shit. SO, I moved my family of 4 back to the only city I ever wanted to live NYC to pursue it.
7 - Women are subconsciously taught that we have kids, and then expire. Of course, this is changing more and more. Any words of wisdom on this?
My words of wisdom - FUCK that. I have never been better since becoming a mother. It takes some time to balance out of course but when you do - you are stronger and all the wiser. Cause let’s face it, once you experience pregnancy, birth and then figuring out how to care for these little creatures - life takes on a different meaning and it (at least for me) builds confidence in your ability to multitask like nobody’s business and see how strong women are (I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR). Truly we are badass. Men couldn’t do what we do. It’s no joke. Works on our patience like no other. And let’s be clear, motherhood ain’t for pussies. :) Also here is a quote from Fitzgerald that says it more eloquently. “For what it's worth... it's never late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
8 - I feel like you all lived everyone's Covid dream in reverse and I love it. From a (seemingly) idyllic homesteading life in Healdsburg, to living on a boat, to abroad, to now putting down roots in Harlem. I feel like I totally get it, but can you tell us more?
We lived in Healdsburg - and we loved it. We moved there when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter and my son 3yrs. We lived there for 6 years and 4 of those 6 we survived the catastrophic wildfires. That pretty much did it for me. Not to mention, we loved our vision of Noci and offering it for other people to enjoy but it was constant battle with the county to build and other dramas and violations for hosting private dinners in the garden and weather and budgets - that we were on the hamster wheel of trying to finish the huge project (with years and years to go). We asked ourselves some hard questions and ultimately realized we weren’t willing to continue the fight. We wanted to live the lifestyle we were creating for our family. So, when Covid hit - we put the property on the market, quickly went into a looooong escrow, sold everything, drove across the country in an RV and bought a boat. Don’t regret one moment of that.
9 - Is farm life overrated?
Farming is a hard life. Keeps you in shape - working the land. Hauling shit back and forth, planting, harvesting, crop failures, successes, etc. Farmers don’t get the respect or the pay that they deserve quite frankly. As much as I love the city life, I really miss the farm life. We all do (my family). We miss the lifestyle of it all. Growing with the seasons, harvesting, cooking from the garden, picking fruit off the trees, cutting our own flowers, raising ducks and chickens (eating fresh eggs!), moving the firewood (a task but so rewarding in the end), the quiet, the birds chirping and being able to be self-sustaining. Our goal is to get back to that life. But not now.
10 - Why should women not embrace going grey if they don't want to?
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I am trying to embrace it myself but then I see it grow out to a certain stage and my kids comment on how grey I am, and my daughter convinces me that I need to dye my hair cause she thinks I’ll “look better mommy”. HA! I am on the edge of going grey. I’m thinking when I hit 50 that’s when I’ll do it. But the women that do, I think, for the most part - look fabulous. The salt and pepper bob with bangs is my favorite.
11 - What's wrong with "wellness"?
Look, I am all for wellness. I love all that health shit. The cleanses, the products, the poop test, the vitamin drips and on and on. BUT what I think is wrong about it - is the attitude around it. There is a preciousness a pretentiousness to it all (GOOP!) that I just can’t stand. That “I am greater than thou cause I cleanses my colon” bullshit. It’s what I spoke about earlier when I was an annoying obsessive vegan in my youth. Wellness, for me, is all about balance. It’s a cliche I know but it’s true. When I was young, I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia (shocker cause my diet consisted of sugar, white bread, coffee, cigarettes and martinis!). But it wasn’t until I felt so out of whack (and exhausted) that I realized how what I was consuming was directly affecting how I was feeling. That simple bit of knowledge eventually changed everything for me. I realized that if I ate crap I am going to feel like crap. And on and on. Wellness is a lifestyle it’s not a rigid diet. It’s a way of life. It’s an attitude. It’s about eating what you want but not overindulging. Cause, in the end, when you enjoy life and allow yourself to embrace it all (especially the humor) - you will only want to nourish yourself (for the most part) with things and people that bring you joy and inspiration. When your life is in constant imbalance, obsession and drama - no matter how many fucking glasses of celery juice you drink or wellness tinctures you consume - It won’t bring you happiness OR wellness.
12 - Ok, and because we're here, what is your self-care philosophy?
Self-care is doing things you love that bring you back into balance. For me it’s cooking, baking, writing, exercising, getting a massage and most importantly not taking myself seriously (shocker). Also, I love the ritual of putting on my million anti-aging serums and potions after I wash my face. There is something tribal about that for me - the smells, the oils the (hopeful) feeling that it’s actually doing something to my aging skin!