The most important thing to know about our luminous friend Cat Chen isn't that she's the VP of Marketing for the professional-magic-makers at Amber Interiors. It isn't that she is launching her own wine business or that she makes incredible dumplings. It isn't that her beloved mother, Alice, died nearly three years ago or that Cat has been on a beautiful, aching, and revolutionary-feeling path of processing that loss very openly...creating spaces for connection and vulnerability...spaces that gently and generously invite the sort of shared anti-aloneness-on-everyone's-own-terms that is perhaps the most potent salve for grief. It's not that she has a rich personal style, a great eye, grand adventures, a lovely home, or throws great parties. No, the most important thing to know about Cat Chen is that she is a real human being, beautiful and tender, messy and marvelous, and all of those things that she does, has, feels, and's all just part of the electric realness of being truly and fully alive.

We loved connecting with Cat to talk about the most important things: home and heart, food and drink, style and substance, and, of course, the anchor of love against the drifting tide of loss. Sending gentleness to any of your dear hearts out there navigating a similar path and wrapping them up in a sisterhood bandana.


Cat wears the Lia Top and Grace Slip Skirt  




How should a home feel?

To me, a home should feel inviting, full of life, cozy, and safe.  

What is your favorite space in your home?

I love my little home and every nook. I love my kitchen and the meals I’ve made in there with love. I love my little dining area, where I’ve had some of my most memorable heart to heart conversations. I love my living room and thank my lucky stars every time I look out the window at my view. And I love falling asleep and waking up in my cozy bed. 

I moved into this house the year my mom died, and also after a series of other tough times, so I set out to make this space a sanctuary for me. It’s become that and I am so grateful to call this home.

There is so much power in naming, storying, and remembering. Tell us about Alice.

My mama Alice was a gift to this earth. She had a nurturing soul and didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She cared and loved my brother more than anything. She was selfless. She was so brave and independent. She taught me how to persevere, how to survive, and how to love. She was my protector, but allowed me every bit of freedom to live my life without her opinions to sway my own judgment. She knew I’d learn along the way. She had faith in me, that I would make solid decisions. She never expected perfection from me, because she knew mistakes had to be made to find yourself. She was so wise. She experienced so much heartache and pain over the course of her life, and I look back in awe at her resilience. She was soft and gentle, even after battling so much toxicity. And now, she is my guardian angel. She is watching over me with a gentle gaze, yet she is as fierce as can be.








Cat wears the Sophie Crop, Bell Handknit Sweater, and Cara Straight Jean.  






Loss can be a catalyst for evaluation and re-evaluation, centering and re-centering, searching, yearning, and finding. What has shifted for you in these landscapes since the loss of your mother?

It’s been nearly three years since she passed, and it’s been the most defining years in my life. Her loss put me on a totally different path that I don’t think a lot of people relate to or understand. Navigating grief doesn’t happen in a straight line. It’s the ebbs and flows that have surprised me—and I’ve managed to get through some incredibly toxic and tough times since her death. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been completely lost at times, searching and yearning for love, happiness, and comfort in all the wrong places. And when you’re fragile, like I was, it was easy to invite toxicity into my life, because feeling good in the moment was all that mattered. I learned that self discovery requires getting lost and thrown off-course. In hindsight, I look at those brutal moments as a triumph in getting through those lows and becoming stronger from those experiences. The most important lesson so far is recognizing that I had that love, happiness, and comfort from my best friends and family all along, and I always will. 

You never know what someone is going through. Judging people for their paths or journey is…lame. Opinions and judgment are projection, and I hope we can all enjoy our own journeys, in our own time.

Wine is so many things: heritage, tradition, time, alchemy, celebration, savoring, sense of place, stewardship, sense-memory... how does your connection to wine intersect with these stories?

Wine has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. In my family, wine is about tradition and legacy. Wine can be a generation-long process. From a planted vine to harvest to bottling to drinking — that can easily happen over the course of 30+ years. Wine is complicated. It’s not singular, which makes it fascinating. To me, wine is about slowing down. It’s about respecting a time-honored tradition and enjoying it with company.

How do you want to feel in your clothes?

I want to feel genuinely me and sexy.


How does that inform your personal style?

I wear what makes me feel good. I don’t love asking for opinions when it comes to clothing, because I don’t really care what someone else thinks when it comes to my style. Style is subjective. There is no singular expression when it comes to style, which I love. I LOVE seeing how people dress and how creative people are. I admire it.


What brings you joy in the present? What are you dreaming about for the future?

My friends, family, my independence, and my home. This year, I finally got to that stage in my life where I feel comfortable in my path—despite the chatter around me. Like I said earlier, I believe that opinions and judgment are often times projection. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and it took me a long time to get to the point where I am content with my present. No one's journey needs to be the same. Be happy for and support your friends’ journeys. Embrace your life today, tomorrow is never guaranteed. My hope for my future is that it’s full of peace, FUN, unplanned adventure, and freedom.



Follow Cat Chen on Instagram here, and Shoppe Amber Interiors here. Photos by Dustin Aksland.

Shop Cat's OZMA picks here.







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