Introducing Our Newest Sprucette, Clarisa!

Hi everyone! Some of you may have read some of my previous posts and may be wondering, who is this Clarisa and where did she come from? Well, I hit the ground running with Spruce two months ago, right before Amanda hit the road for the Spruce Book Tour. I’m the behind-the-scenes gal who heads up our website and social media, and I’m happy to call myself a Sprucette.

This is my second time living in Austin. The first time was from 2006 to 2008, right before I headed off to Costa Rica to serve in the Peace Corps, and then on to Chicago to continue my studies and start my career as a social media marketer. I’ve been a big fan of Spruce ever since I heard about it through my ol’ college friend and wonderful local photographer, Mel Cole (who we profiled here), this summer.

Last month, Clar interviewed our other newbie, Alice, so now it’s time for Alice to ask me some questions! I divulge:


Some photos from the last time I visited my parents in Doha, Qatar, in 2008. Clockwise from the left: My parents at the local market; the Museum of Islamic Art; the exterior of the Khalifa International Stadium; and my mom and dad in front of their house.

Where are you from?
Everywhere! My father has been working overseas since the late ’70s, so I was born in Singapore and was raised in Indonesia, Japan and Qatar, where my parents currently live. I moved to Texas when I was 18 and consider Austin my home!

sister, grandma and I

My grandmother Graciella, my sister Crystal (left) and me in front of my grandparents’ old house in Eagle Pass, Texas circa 1991. Growing up, we spent every summer vacation with our grandparents on both my mom and dad’s side.

Do you have any siblings?
Yes, one. I have an amazingly talented younger sister, Crystal, who lives with her husband and dog in Fort Worth, Texas.

What song do you currently have on repeat?
Strangely, it’s Heavy Metal Drummer by Chicago band Wilco. I found this old mixed CD (yes, remember those?) I made in college and started listening to it in my car. There are artists on that mix that I haven’t thought about in years!

Chocolate or Vanilla?

If you could master an art form, what would it be?
Pottery. I’d make all sorts of funky mugs and things as gifts.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people don’t get back to me. Maybe I’m too hyper-responsive when it comes to communications.

host family

My immediate family (left), me (center), and my former host family (right) in Costa Rica meeting for the first time on Christmas day in 2009. After sharing lunch together, we posed for a picture in front of the house I shared with my host family while I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Santa Cruz de Leon Cortez from 2008 to 2010.

Favorite past vacation spot?
Costa Rica. I still keep in touch with my host family from Peace Corps, and they always ask when I’m going to visit. The tiny Central American country is so diverse – you can go to black, white or pink sand beaches; explore several volcanoes or go through some amazing rain forests. Also, the people are very warm and kind. I hope I’ll get to go back sometime next year!

What is your idea of comfort food?
Pizza from Home Slice or tacos from Torchy’s Tacos. Anything with avocados or cheese.

Favorite place to eat in Austin?
Right now I’m really loving Kome. They make great Japanese dishes without any pretense.

Favorite movie and TV show?
The Royal Tenenbaums. I’ll watch anything by Wes Anderson again and again because of the aesthetics. His films are like candy. I don’t have the patience for TV, but I do listen to a lot of NPR. My favorite radio show is The Splendid Table. Lynne Rossetto Kasper is so creative and authoritative when she’s telling people what to make with their random ingredients, and I think her voice is soothing.


My boyfriend Dustin and I dressed up as Bonnie and Clyde for Halloween this year.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Hang out with my special guy, Dustin, or go somewhere nice for dinner with friends. I’m a big foodie. When I get the chance, I like to host themed parties and I like to cook (although Katherine is definitely the chef at Spruce). I go off recipes I see in fun food blogs, such as Lottie and Doof or 101 Cookbooks. (Have any recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments section, please!)

Do you have a color scheme or time period that best describes your home style?
My home style is minimalistic and tends to skew a little modern. I collect vintage wooden dolls and art from my artist friends, but other than that, I don’t own a lot of things. Most of my kitchenware and odds and ends are from the late ’60s – and about half of it is teal because my mother (a natural at interior design) told me you have to stick with one color. However, I just got these yellow, floral plates made in Norway from Goodwill that remind me of Season 5 of Mad Men.

What would your “message t-shirt” say?
Just do it – like Nike, but without the “swoosh”.

Want to learn something new about our Sprucettes? Just send us a tweet at @spruceaustin and we’ll get back to you!