Food & Home

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An Entrepreneur
(and New Mom)
Reimagines Home with
Comforting Rituals

The new at-home juggle for mom and small-business owner Kai Avent-deLeon involves full-time childcare, cooking, and cleaning, along with running the Brooklyn fashion boutique Sincerely, Tommy and nearby hostel and restaurant S,T Eat & Stay, which she founded. “It isn’t easy,” she says, “but I also feel blessed that we have this space to seek refuge and try to relax in.” She’s coping by adding in more daily practices—like morning baths, hearty stews, and singing bowl sessions with her son.

1

A.M. Singing Bowl Sessions

“We’ve started playing a singing bowl right after we wake up. It’s easy to get caught up in this place of being fearful about not knowing what’s next or even how to handle what’s going on. I do the singing bowl on myself first and just balance out my energy. Then I do it on my eighteen-month-old son, Che. He really likes it, so I let him play with it afterward. Then we have some time in the backyard to relax and get some fresh air.”

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2

Early Baths

“Another thing I’ve been doing in the morning is taking a bath—it just clears everything away and helps start things fresh. I have these really amazing loofah towels that I got from the Park Slope Food Coop. They’re great for exfoliating, and they also look really pretty. Afterward, I put a couple drops of lavender oil on my temples. I also put it on the bottoms of my son’s feet. It’s really calming—we use it at bedtime, too. Then I have another body oil that I get from a local apothecary, Ancient Blends, and we use that all over and on our hair as well.”

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3

“Travel” with
Soft Linens

“I recently renovated my bathroom, and I wanted to fill it with things that reminded me of Mexico—one of my favorite places in the world. What instantly brings me back there: soft, washed linen towels.”

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4

Jazz Playlists
on Repeat

“Specifically Chet Baker and Alice Coltrane. I’ve found good playlists on Spotify that we’ve been listening to a lot. They just feel right for this moment.”

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5

Reading Time

“I’ve been trying to read more non-children’s books. Osho, a spiritual leader and a radical thinker (which to me means he just gets to the root of things) is my favorite teacher when it comes to the relationship with the self. There’s one work in particular that I’ve been reading out loud, to Che but mostly to myself—it’s called Joy, and it embodies all the principles that I try to adhere to the best I can. For now, it’s all about making sure that Che feels okay.”

6

Go to Bed before 10

“I’m working on getting a little more sleep and, particularly, going to bed a little earlier. I turn off my phone every night, and I really try my best to not have it on in front of my son. I also unplug the Wi-Fi at night.”

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7

Meal Planning

“I’ve been trying to make a new recipe every other day, hoping the food will last us two days. I’m using a lot of garlic and onion, as well as fresh seasonal ingredients while we can still get them. The last dish I made that I really liked was a coconut okra stew with fonio, which is a Senegalese supergrain. It’s really grounding but also light for a grain. The other day I made a fenugreek chickpea flour bread. I’m raising Che to be plant-based; I’ve been my entire life. So he gets a shake every morning, and I drink it, too: It has coconut milk, hempseed, chia, ground flaxseed, these mineral drops, and another tincture called takuna. It’s mainly because he’s not getting some of the nutrients he would if he were eating meat: the vitamins B and D and DHA.”

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8

Clean Up Quick
with Baskets

“I have baskets all over the house. I’ve collected them from my travels to Kenya, Morocco, Mexico, and Greece. They’re an easy cleanup solution if you’ve got a toddler constantly throwing things. When he’s ready to play again, he just dumps everything out. I have tall baskets in our family room, then some smaller, toiletry-size ones in his room and on the shelves. I’m kind of a neat freak, but I’ve kind of been letting him toss things around—I feel like having a bit of a mess like that is okay right now.”

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9

Clear the Space
with Incense

“I love to burn Nag Champa, a woodsy-smelling incense, and I also light sage and sometimes lavender to help clear the space and my mind.”

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