We’d love to introduce you to Nicole Centeno, our newest Sefte Sister and Founder and CEO of Splendid Spoon, a company changing the game in healthy living. We were so inspired by Nicole - her story, her vibe and her brand's ethos. We love that Splendid Spoon focuses on how you eat, as much as what you eat. Using food to slow down into a resting state is something we can get behind - and something that Splendid Spoon is doing better than any food company out there.
We hope you enjoy getting to know Nicole as much as we have. Make sure to follow @splendidspoonny and @niccent for all of the inspiration on living your best self.
Tell us why you were drawn to Sefte Living?
I believe details make all the difference in life. You can feel the difference when products are made with great skill: there’s a patience infused into them. I love carrying this thoughtfulness and patience into the products in my home—you can’t help but absorb some of that intention when you touch them.
How did you get started doing what you do?
When I became pregnant with my first son, I wanted to simplify my relationship with food. There’s nothing like pregnancy to magnify one’s behaviors! I had a very all-or-nothing relationship with food: eating out a lot and then stressing about eating “clean” to make up for all my “indulgences.” This is common for lots of people I know, and unfortunately it’s pretty stressful on the body: I was prone to headaches, anxiety, breakouts, and back pain that I did not want to carry into my pregnancy and motherhood. So I created a really easy way to take care of myself through food, and that’s how Splendid Spoon started. It began with just one plant-based meal a day that was eaten without any tech distractions (put that phone in airplane mode ;)!). That’s the whole basis of Splendid Spoon: a few small changes can transform your relationship with food so you remain in command of your wellbeing.
What keeps you going everyday, either in your craft or going about life?
So many things! I am energized by the funny things my kids say, the beautiful observations they make about our environment, and the brazen things they do to challenge me. Similarly, I am inspired by my team every day: I’m inspired by the unique ways they approach work and by the trust they put in me. I’m excited by unforeseen challenges, which is a good thing since that’s the one constant as an entrepreneur! I also really love the process of optimizing—gathering information about performance of the website, our meals, even team members, and then collaborating to make these things better.
Do you have a “sister” (either literal or figurative) who has propped you up personally or professionally? And, how?
My sister Courtney (who is 2 years younger than me) turned into the big sister when I got divorced. Previous to my divorce I was very uncomfortable admitting vulnerability and opening up to others about insecurities. Not to be melodramatic, but there is trauma when you divorce someone you have two very young kids with. This rocked me and pushed me to be open in a way that I never had been. Courtney, for all her life, has always been more vulnerable, open, and accessible than me. I looked to her as a role model for how to be comfortable with sharing my big emotions through this process. She’s the best :).
Where do you seek sanctuary - to dream, meditate, be creative or just find me time?
Journaling, reading, and meditating are my favorite activities for sanctuary. For spaces, it’s either my bedroom or the outdoors. I keep the energy in my bedroom really peaceful and calm: the quiet stillness is incredibly restorative. Similarly, the dynamic beauty of the outdoors is very special. The smell of plants, the warmth of the sun, and the movement of the air, invigorates and grounds me at once. I love to meditate outside—it’s one of the first things I’ll do when I travel.
What have you done to make your home a sanctuary?
In my bedroom it’s all about keeping the space really clean - I have a tiny apartment so something as minor as making the bed every day makes a difference. I take care of a small number of crystals, shells, and rocks, and keep them on the windowsills and my dresser so I feel ‘charged’ by them as I rest. I also light some copal or palo santo or frankincense pretty regularly. It’s fresh and fairly minimalist, but also pretty vibey in there.
What do you do to try to remain present and slow down?
If I find myself spiraling into stress mode I remind myself that I am exactly where I need to be. This helps me in many ways: to be more thorough and thoughtful with work tasks; to feel a challenge more deeply so I can determine the best way to move on; best of all it gives me deeper appreciation for the moment I’m in, whatever it may be. If the stress continues to distract me out of my present moment I will meditate for 10-20 minutes. My meditation practice is incredibly important to me.
Where do you find inspiration for your work and for your life?
For my work, I find so much inspiration from my customers. Maybe that’s not the most exciting answer but it really is what interests me most. Our customers are always telling us how to make our product easier, tastier, and more practical. My goal is to help people find peace and ease with their food and their bodies. As a society we are so far from this, and there’s lots for the Splendid brand to learn in this pursuit. Other sources of inspiration are art (I love wandering around MoMA, the Whitney, and The Met), creatives in my neighborhood (like my friend the potter Minh Singer), or sniffing the perfumes at DS & Durga in Bed Stuy. Building things with my kids is a great source of inspiration for me as well—we’ll sometimes take out tools and just hammer things into cardboard boxes or make forts. Recently, they’ve got into Lego and it’s so therapeutic! I think Lego might be the new mindful coloring book—great kids’ activities reimagined for grown-ups :).
Do you have any special rituals for making time with family or friends?
I have a monthly date with my good friend Sarah of Salt House Market that we cheekily call our witch night: we pull tarot cards, drink kombucha in wine glasses, and talk about all of the things: love, sex, death, power...everything. It’s the best.
I'd love to know more about your tattoo...which is SICK. What is the meaning for you? When did you get it? Why did you add the moons to the moth? So many questions!
I have two tattoos - one for memories in the garden with my mom (on my side, not pictured) and this one on my arm for my relationship with my sister. It's a moth, which is a nickname we have had for each other since we were really little. As is often the case with nicknames there's nothing profound here - we used to run around with our shirts pulled over our heads claiming we were moths. I can be an intense and serious person, but I also have a really goofy side and my sister is expert at bringing this out. The moth reminds me of this. I added the moon phases as a nod to the divine feminine.
Can you tell our readers about the role of Tarot in your life?
Rider Waite tarot is based on the theory 'as is above, so is below,' meaning that the laws of the universe are reflected through our individual experience. The idea is that the entire universe (i.e.all the potential emotions, relationships and experiences of the individual) are reflected through the 78 cards of the tarot. Some people use it for divination, but I really use it as a kind of game or exercise to deepen contact with my emotions and spirit. I am naturally very left brain - super analytical and I can get in my head quite a bit. Playing with tarot brings me closer to my intuition and creativity; it reminds me that life is full of unknown - much of it silly and fun - so just be present to it and enjoy it.
What’s your favorite Sefte product?