2020 Goals, Are We Still Doing This?

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I had 5 goals for 2020 and I honestly forgot what they were (oops). I think the pandemic just cancelled everything for 2020? That’s what we’re doing right? All joking aside, I thought it would be a good time to check in again since we’re now closer to the end of the year than the start, and see if I am tracking towards those goals or not, and maybe re-evaluate the goals I did set.

  1. Save money by becoming a more mindful consumer. Well, I can say I’m halfway tracking toward this. I am becoming a more mindful consumer as I’m learning more about sustainability and thrifting, but I haven’t stopped spending money. I have been saving money since I’ve been thrifting and not paying full price for new things, but in regards to saving 25% of my income, yeah, next question.
  2.  Read more. My goal was 30 books for the year and I am currently at 33 books and counting. I want to increase this goal to 60 books for 2020. Let’s go!
  3. Make Friends. Hah, no comment. I do have a new book club I’m joining that will be meeting this weekend. Doubt I’ll make any friends BUT I am trying and putting myself out there. Huzzah for some-ish-kind of effort!
  4. Make 5 difficult recipes. Hm, I haven’t actually ventured down to difficult recipes town since I roasted that chicken (its little cold body was so traumatizing to hold). I can try harder here. I’m thinking spaghetti or tiered cake from scratch. Any good recipes out there?
  5. Be Present. I removed social media apps from my phone for the month of June and I haven’t yet re-installed them. I do still have them on my iPad and I can easily access from my laptop as well, but I do feel like I’ve made strides here, choosing to do things during the weekend days, rather than lay around scrolling through all my feeds.

Is anyone still tracking their 2020 goals, or has everyone else written off this year due to the pandemic and starting new in 2021?

I think I’m planning on making Ina Garten’s Spaghetti next weekend, will keep you posted how that goes…

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 31

It’s Sunday! Another week gone by, and I cannot believe it’s August! I haven’t been home to the East Coast in over 8 months, and I’m kind of bummed about it to be honest. I really want to go home, but I am also very anxious about transmitting anything to my family members. Sigh, maybe one day.

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super yummy zucchini bread, see below for recipe!
  1. Very important: you can look up voting stats about your state including registering deadlines and information on delegates on Vote Save America! Also, sign up to vote by mail if your state allows. Remember, we are less than 100 days away from voting!
  2. For those of you who were (or still are) Meg Cabot fans, she has been posting Corona Princess Diaries on her blog since the pandemic started, writing in present day from Princess Mia’s POV in Genovia. Reading these took me back and I really want to watch the Princess Diaries. Also, just put these into a book, please!
  3. The ever-talented Michelle Obama debuted her new podcast this week and her first guest was her husband, former-President Barack Obama. I love how much these two are starting to step out into the spotlight and I never want it to stop.
  4. This week, I made Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Zucchini bread and it sounds like a lot going on, but it was TASTY. Seriously, wish I could send each of you a piece of this bread.  See pic above and admire the chocolate chunk goodness. Another easy one bowl wonder from Half Baked Harvest!
  5. One of my favorite shows as of late has been The Not Too Late Show with Elmo (I’m very fragile right now). This week, Sara Bareilles sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I really love her voice and rendition of the song, plus Big Bird makes a killer cameo.  The only song I listened to this week that wasn’t on folklore tbh.
  6. We had a 4.3 earthquake here in LA earlier in the week (conveniently, at 4:30 AM). I know it’s not common everywhere, but here’s a great resource of how to prepare for an earthquake/disaster, and what to do if you find yourself in the middle of one.
  7. I found this article from Refinery29 about thrifting during coronavirus; since I’ve been trying to thrift more (versus buying new), I was wondering if it was safe to go to thrift stores. It seems like it’s best to stick to online thrifting. Check out places like Poshmark, TheRealReal, and thredUP. Also interesting is this article about how resale is thriving in the pandemic, which is SO exciting to hear!

Happy AUGUST to everyone! Have a safe week ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Books of the Month: July 2020

Can you believe it’s August? Summer is basically over, Christmas is basically here, and it’s much closer to the end of 2020 than the start. I’m not mad about this year going quickly, it’s a bit insufferable, if I’m being honest.

I started this month reading Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay, and I will be up front with you, I just couldn’t get into it. I loved the first section where Gay describes her time in becoming a professor; I really like her writing style and found many things interesting in what she had to say. The next section about Gender, was weird? She only recapped and reviewed books, mostly on gender, but I don’t know what I was supposed to get from that? I skipped around the book a bit more, but just couldn’t keep going with it. I did find her reviews of the movies, The Help and Django Unchained extremely insightful as to why they weren’t great movies for explaining the history of racism. Has anyone else read this book? I’m curious for other reviews.

Next, I read The Last Flight, which was a great book. It’s about 2 women, both on the run, who cross paths at an airport and trade tickets for each other’s flights. It’s a strong female novel, touching on domestic violence and women standing up to take down powerful men. Huzzah!

I then read The Vanishing Half, and you all need to run out and find this book. It’s 5 stars, an excellent story across multiple generations, with well developed characters. It tackles issues of race, gender, class and so much more. It was such a well written book, I immediately sought out Bennett’s other book, The Mothers. The Mothers was a great book touching on all types of relationships, lovers, friends, father/child, mother/child, and so on. The ending was sort of left unwritten which I typically am frustrated by but in this book, I liked it.

Next, I read Such a Fun Age. It was a story about a twenty something black woman being accused of kidnapping the white child she was nannying. The story was interesting, especially the character and backstory of the white mother. I feel like she had white savior tones, but it was the point of the story; overall, I thought it was well written and made you think. Finally, I read Educated and I can’t even begin to describe how quickly you need to go out and find this book to read it yourself. It’s such an incredible coming of age story, detailing the insane life and family of Tara Westover. It makes me want to hug my parents and honestly cry for all the things she went through. I’m also amazed at the person she turned into, after suffering all that?

I would most recommend The Vanishing Half and Educated, without a doubt. Actually, make sure you read both of them ASAP!

The Last Flight: A Novel by Julie Clark

The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Brit Bennett

The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Educated by Tara Westover

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

I didn’t get to read Poet X this month like I mentioned in last month’s post, there is a very long hold for it on my Libby app. Maybe next month! Has anyone read anything good this month? I would love to hear the recommendation!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Happy One Year, LA

I’ve lived in Los Angeles, CA for one year. It’s actually insane to me that it’s been a whole YEAR. 365 days. 130 of which (give or take) have been spent inside my apartment due to COVID. I guess I’ve enjoyed it, at least the time I was allowed to be out doing things, when things were open. It is weird living in a tourist destination; I can remember walking out of my work office (when I went to the office), and seeing a ‘Hollywood’ tour bus passing by as passengers snapped pictures on their phones to capture scenes of WeHo. I sometimes wonder how many pictures I am in that I will never see. When I am driving to the farmer’s market and swarms of people are posing in front of the ‘Beverly Hills’ sign near Rodeo Drive, but I’m just going to buy vegetables. Almost everywhere, everyone is posing for pictures, whether it be a tourist or an influencer/wannabe celebrity. It’s so strange.

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It’s also strange being 20 minutes from the beach. I’ve hardly even gone if I’m being honest, having grown up in the Appalachian mountains, I don’t even think about my close proximity to water and the days I could spend lying in the sand. I do love the sun though. Sunshine and no humidity, all day, every day? Yes, please! It almost makes me want to stay forever, that and the wide range of cultural food options. Some days, I can not imagine ever heading back east to chop suey, humidity and snow.

LA, here’s to another year; hopefully I can get out and enjoy you more in the next.

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 30

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone had a great week. Mine was b u s y! I had back to back meetings all day, every day, it was kind of awful? I took Friday off and we drove up to Thousand Oaks to go to a ‘Pick your Own’ farm which was super fun!

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On the hunt for 🍓
  1. I bet you all had a great week because TAYLOR ALISON SWIFT DROPPED A SURPRISE ALBUM, what e v e n. If you haven’t heard it (I don’t know why that would be), you can buy it here. It’s sonically cohesive and beautifully written, and I love every song. I think my favorite song is ‘invisible string’ because I’m a simple cute love song kind of gal. Also, here’s a video for the song “Cardigan,” which makes me want to become a fairy in the forest. Any other Swifties in the house?
  2. Y’all I made these Strawberry Glazed Chai Donuts with the strawberries we picked and oh. my. laaawd. I love chai everything and the strawberries were bursting with flavor, together it is magic. I did add too much flour (oops) so these turned out more bread-nut than dough-nut, but the flavor is what matters, right?
  3. My flady hero of the week is AOC. If you missed her powerful speech (I’m concerned are you living under a rock?), here it is in all its glory.  Background: Rep. Yoho allegedly called her a ‘fuxking bich,’ and she decided to speak out about it, because otherwise, the behavior would continue to be allowed. I love how graceful and dignified she was as she spoke, it was inspiring to see her stand up for herself and essentially all women. My favorite quote that I want tattooed on my face is:

    “Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man, and when a decent man messes up as we are all bound to do, he tried his best and does apologise. Not to save face, not to win a vote, he apologises genuinely to repair and acknowledge the harm done so that we can all move on.”

  4. Did you know the internet generates carbon so every email you send or receive is impacting the earth? Makes you want to take the time to hit that ‘unsubscribe’ button for brands you no longer shop at, OR re-evaluate if this meeting could be an email!
  5. To all my Americans, 100 days until the election people!! I am a voter is a great resource to register, or check if you’re registered, sign up for reminders, etc. We need to get out and vote in all elections, both local and federal. Our nation is falling apart (see Portland, Seattle, etc) and we need leaders across the board to step it up or know that they will get voted out.
  6. We watched Palm Springs on Hulu this week and while I am very much over the ‘Caddy Shack’ plot, this movie was actually, funny, cute and a surprise twist I did not see coming. Overall, would recommend watching, especially if you’re an Andy Samberg fan!
  7. Finally, for anyone else working from home, I hope you’ll find this video as hilarious and on point as I did, in Apple presents, ‘The Whole Working From Home Thing.’

Happy thoughts for a new week ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Ethical and Social Sustainability: Certifications and Beyond (4/4)

Welcome to part 4 in my series on Sustainable Fashion, looking into the environmental and social aspects of manufacturing and production. So you took my advice from my last post on social and ethical sustainability, and spent some time researching your favorite clothing company. Maybe you found a lot of information, or maybe you didn’t find much. But how do you know what certifications are good, or worthwhile? Here I’m listing out the most common and easily attainable certifications, so the brands you shop at should at least have one or a few of these. Trust me, if they utilize any of these, it will be proudly displayed on their websites.

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Mill/Factory Certifications

WRAP-–Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production is an independent, objective, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education. Read more about the 12 principles here.

FairTrade—engages textile manufacturers (mills) and workers in the supply chain to bring about better wages and working conditions, and engages brands to commit to fair terms of trade.

SA8000—is the leading social certification standard for factories and organizations across the globe. It also respects, complements and supports national labor laws around the world, and currently helps secure ethical working conditions for two million workers.

Textile/Material Certifications (these are more environmental but still good to have)

OEKO-TEX-–All types of textiles that have been tested for harmful substances, from yarns to the finished product, may bear the STANDARD 100 product label.

FSC-Certified— Forest Stewardship Council is the “gold standard” designation for wood harvested from forests that are responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally conscious, and economically viable.

Better Cotton Initiative or BCI—is the largest cotton sustainability program in the world. BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.

Social Compliance

Nest—building a new handworker economy to increase global workforce inclusivity, improve women’s wellbeing beyond factories, and preserve important cultural traditions around the world. Look for companies who have a special online shop featuring local artisans and craftspeople, like Madewell and West Elm.

Certified B Corp—Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

There are dozens more where those came from, so I encourage you once again to do some research into factory and garment certifications so you can shop better. I would also encourage you to continue down this ‘sustainable fashion’ path. I know I will continue to post about sustainable brands and eventually, shifting into a ‘Nothing New’ wardrobe. I’ve already started buying a few things second hand and reselling my own clothes on Poshmark.

Finally, here are some resources I’ve personally found or been recommended by a friend to deepen my understanding of sustainable fashion and the ways I can change my lifestyle.

Books

The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline

Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas

Videos

The Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (Netflix)

How to Engage with Ethical Fashion, TEDTalk with Clara Vuletich

The True Cost, free on Tubi

Instagram Accounts To Follow

Live with Less

Cut the Waste

Sustainable Elle

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Sustain Yo’self

Sincerely,

Sara Ann