[A few words before we go into Aphra's interview] ...
I first met Aphra over three years ago at a craft fair in Silver Spring, MD. At the time she designed and made clothes. Over the years, I've met many vendors and some interactions stick with you. I remember our interaction and over the years it has been a joy to watch Aphra iterate over and over, constantly evolving.
From her own line, to curating a clothing and home decor boutique, to running operations for Sally's Middle Name (named to Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants 2017. a must eat/drink spot. go go go) alongside her husband and a team of dedicated staff, Aphra's creativity and abilities express themselves in a multitude of ways. She is also a mom and she and her husband, Sam, are expecting their second baby this year.
Effortlessly poised, ready with a warm expression, wisecrack or bit of wisdom, Aphra's quiet strength and honesty are qualities we want to celebrate and encourage in one another.
In addition, her sensibility for local sourcing, taste for good food, emphasis on gathering around the table, and creativity in activating the upstairs of Sally's for events and co-working space (home to co-working collective Locale Workspace), are all reasons why we named her a force of taste. I hope you enjoy learning more about this amazing lady and come to find common ground and your own force in her story.
You are a wife and mother, maker, restaurant operator - to name a few. How do you find centering and balance?
In the routine of home. Sunday is the only day we get to spend together as a family, and every Sunday night we have dinner at my Godparents' house. It's a place that's been home my entire life (which has always been hectic). Sometimes visiting family or friends are also there; sometimes it's a big elaborate meal, and sometimes it's take-out from around the corner. But the comfort and familiarity of the space and the people always leave me feeling grounded and ready for whatever the coming week has in store.
What is different about you today than in the beginning of the year?
At the beginning of the year, I was still clinging to a certain expectation of the timeline and path of my life. Today I am (a little bit) more accepting of the fact that I don't know yet where my life is going. I'm only 28, there are a lot of things that are still unknown. I didn't expect to be pregnant with my second child by the end of the year, and yet here we are!
When faced with a challenging situation, what is the first thing you do? Then, what's the second?
The first thing I do is ask myself "What's the worst that could happen?" if this fails or doesn't end the way I want it to. Then I usually make a step by step list of what I need to do to overcome the situation and who I can ask to help me. Throughout any challenge I am usually also texting my sister every 5 minutes for advice and comfort.
What is a piece of advice for keeping the spark alive and connection strong in a longterm relationship?
Don't be afraid of confrontation or change. Find joy in rediscovering the person you're with, because chances are neither of you are the same person you were a year ago (five years ago, ten years ago). I've had moments of fear and frustration when I've expected my husband to be someone he isn't anymore. Stepping back from the situation to ask "Who are you? What are the things you want/like/dislike/need?" of him and of myself gets us through almost every major conflict.
Who is a force in your life and why (positive or negative)?
My family. They are the hardest workers I've ever met.
Seda Nak. It was an unexpected friendship but one I don't know how I ever lived without. She is an invaluable sounding board and a fiercely loyal person.
My son. He forces me to be the best version of myself no matter the situation.
When you are at your most alive/powerful, you __________________.
Try and share that feeling as much as possible. Usually by baking something for someone.
What are your favorite foods and smells right now?
Pancakes hot off of the stove with warm strawberry jam and a big dollop of cold yogurt. And generous side of breakfast sausage.
What do you love about yourself?
If I had to choose a single quality, it would be my ability to find humor in almost any situation. Of course I feel stress and anger like everyone else, but being able to laugh through those moments makes life feel a lot more worth living.
Coat: Shopkeepers // Dress: Dolce & Gabbana // Make-up: Her Own // Earrings: Silver Plume Tassels
Make sure you're following us on Instagram to see more posts and highlights from her story this week.
Stay tuned for our next week's feature, spotlighting interior + textile designer, Caryn Cramer