Vuela Loves: Completely Golden + Recipe
We're delighted to introduce the story of one of our Vuela muses, Tess Palma-Martinez. We crossed paths back when we had our "le petit studio" in Saratoga. She had modeled for us and was a source of beautiful greenery for our studio. Fast forward a few years later, Tess has embarked on a new journey of healthy cooking and wellness with her new project, Completely Golden. She also shares a simple desert recipe at the end!
What an adventure the past few years! From being a fellow shopkeeper with a plant/home goods shop Forage & Sundry , interior styling/plant installations, to launching Completely Golden, can you describe your journey and transition to being a chef/nutrition coach?
Following myself has always been a non-negotiable for me. I follow where life and my interests take me! I have a BFA in Large-Scale Installation, which I say is really the transformation of spaces. I have been able to transform window displays, retail spaces, home interiors, and wedding events. After I closed Forage + Sundry, I lost sight of who I was and what I was truly interested in. I hit a rock bottom. Eventually, months later, I decided to go to nutrition school. Food has always been such a big part of my life, but I never thought of it as a career. I reconnected to my sense of self and was able to utilize all of my prior experience in a new way. I was now transforming my health by creating beautiful meals, dinner party tablescapes, and color packed Instagram feed!
What is Completely Golden? During these stressful times, what is wellness to you and any key points to taking care of oneself?
Completely Golden is my wellness company, dedicated to inspiring you to create a completely golden state of health. Food is an important part of wellness, and so is mental health. When you’re stressed, depressed, angry, or sad… what kind of food do you want to eat? For me- the last thing I want is a fresh salad that I have to take time to make. I reach for comfort foods, ready meals, or a bag of chips. It’s easy to get in a cycle of dis-ease, so making sure the foundations of health are in place is so important. Taking the time to understand your unique needs, is a vital step. Not everyone wants to meditate or take an epsom salt bath, but we all need to spend quality, uninterrupted time with ourselves.
You've gone through many changes, any advice for someone contemplating another field or launching a business especially during these uncertain times?
Follow yourself. If you get a ping of interest, see where it takes you! Check out what your Human Design is- when I found out I am a Manifesting Generator, years of shame and self-questioning melted away. The role of an MG is to become as many versions of self as possible. Everyone has a type with their own strengths and weaknesses. I love risk and transformation, so I tend to take the big leaps. If you are considering a new career field, do what feels right in your body. Try to stay out of your head. A good way to tell the difference is your body will respond first, the mind always comes second. And, when possible, have an FU Fund: 3-6 months of expenses saved, so when you take that leap you know you’re taken care of.
Besides passion for cooking and love for greenery, what are your other hobbies/interests? Any secret talents or irks and quirks?
I love going for long walks. I tend to walk for 1-3 hours a day, following wherever my interest sparks. I grew up going for these long walks with my mom and love the freedom it brings. If I ever have something I need to work through, I go for a walk and usually by the time I get home, I’ve sorted it out. I also love being silly- I am my most authentic when I am being silly with people!
Playful in the Sugar Candy Mountain Fern Dress
What are treasured items in your space or any objects you like to collect for your home?
Oh, I love this question. Creating a home space is one of my favorite things. I move a lot, every 2 years or so, and keep a minimal style. Every time I move I sell most of my belongings and start new when I get to the next space. There are a few items that I love and bring with me everywhere. I have a collection of handmade paper mache slugs that hang on the wall, a signed Peter Max poster from when I knew him in my early 20’s, a collection of large mirrors that I have found, and a mid-century modern arm chair with walnut legs and chartreuse velvet cushions. Even talking about these things makes my heart swell.
You were based in Hudson and grew up in Saratoga, our old stomping ground, any travel tips for someone visiting upstate NY and fave spots in both towns? (e.g. fave spots to visit, restaurants, boutiques etc.)
Upstate NY and the Hudson Valley, in particular, is full of magic. I grew up here and have always been called back. I now have a lifestyle where I live here 6 months out of the year and travel to a warmer climate during the winter. In Hudson- Art OMI is a large sculpture garden that is amazing in any season, the Waterfront Park at sunset- always a great show, and my favorite dining is at Lil’ Deb's Oasis and Food Studio. In Saratoga- the State Park has so much to explore and is the main hub for most of the fresh water springs, Skidmore College’s Tang Museum has an amazing curation of rotating shows, and I love to eat at Hearth & Harvest on Saratoga Lake, as well as Karavalli Indian restaurant in downtown.
Tess is currently traveling across the country on a solo road trip from upstate NY to the southwest and beyond. Stopping in Nashville TN, New Orleans LA, Houston and Austin TX, Los Angeles CA through the beginning of the year. She'll be hosting COVID-safe micro dinner parties for 6-12 guests, along the way. You can contact her here for more info about hosting a dinner party in your city.
"I developed the menu for a gluten free cafe and my favorite item was Banana Tahini Honey Toast, on their gluten free baguette. I kept craving the flavors, so I decided to turn it into ice cream. It’s a healthy, decadent treat for breakfast, lunch or dessert!"~ Tess
This recipe is an excerpt from her upcoming cookbook Sweet/Savory coming out this month!
2 frozen Bananas
¼ cup Tahini
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Plant Milk
1 tbsp Bee Pollen
For topping, chop bananas into 1 inch coins.
In a food processor or high speed blender, add bananas, tahini, honey, and plant milk. Blend until smooth.
Enjoy immediately or keep frozen for later, blending again before serving. Top with a drizzle of honey and fresh bee pollen!
Try it with: - Flavor add-in’s like Chocolate, swap three tahini for nut butters - Keep the banana as the base and try it with strawberries, peach, mango!
Thank you so much Tess for sharing your story, images and this simple tasty recipe! All the best on your new project and adventure!
Shop Tess' Apparel + Ceramic bowl in our shop here.
Fern Dress + Home Images courtesy of Tess Palma-Martinez