Sincerely Seven: Week 33

Goodness gracious, it’s toasty in LA this weekend; I’ve coped by staying indoors in the AC and doing basically next to nothing (another weekend in the Q, what’s new). I’ve built more Sims houses (can’t stop, won’t stop) and haven’t read much of the book I’m on (it’s good, but slow). Siiiiiigh. Anyone else in a slump? Or just bored? Or have you all gone back into the world, quarantine be damned? …Is anyone there?

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Nothing really happened this week other than I put this Disney eyes filter on my cat… a lot. 
  1. This week, Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris to be his running mate (was that THIS week? Seems like ages ago to be honest). I was a bit surprised since these two seemed to really go at each other during the debates, but loved this article that broke down why Biden picked Harris over others. Overall though, love this move for women AND cannot wait to hear ‘Madama Vice President.’
  2. You all know I live in an apartment in LA, so I don’t come by backyard fires and s’mores very easily these days; this deep dish s’mores bowl is SO tasty and easy and made me feel content and cozy in my fifth floor apartment.
  3. In a (non)surprising turn, many colleges are changing their minds about reopening/allowing flocks of students to return. I’ve been keeping an eye on this for awhile, but if you’re a college freshman, STOP what you’re doing, do not start at an expensive school, stay at home and go to the local community college to get your 101 classes completed this year. You will save SO much money.
  4. Chrissy Teigen is pregnant with baby No. 3 and I’m honestly so happy for her (is that weird?), especially after she tweeted how she conceived this child naturally, AND has been taking pregnancy tests every month since she was 21 hoping for a positive that would come naturally.
  5. If you haven’t noticed, a lot of fashion companies are filing for bankruptcy and closing stores. It’s so sad to see my LinkedIn feed these days, it’s mostly colleagues or friends of colleagues who are posting about having been let go from their jobs, as their companies are doing rounds of layoffs to stay afloat.  I’m worried it will only get worse as the pandemic continues and fall and winter loom in the distance.
  6. If you love cooking shows, love Selena Gomez, or just watched everything on all the services and have nothing new to watch, check out HBO’s new show, ‘Selena + Chef.‘ It’s cute and delightful, and I really want to make the ramen and the matcha cookies that Chef Candice taught Selena how to make.
  7. Finally, and MOST importantly, buy some stamps!!

Hoping for a more exciting week ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Journey to Sustainability: Zero Waste Options

As I’ve been journeying down to fashion sustainability town, I’ve been learning a lot about zero waste living as well. Basically, one lives a lifestyle that is zero waste- so think composting, not using plastic bottles/bags, etc. It’s a very cool thing and I would love to get there some day but it seems really overwhelming when you actually sit down and think about all of the waste you create on the average day. From toilet paper, tampons, and shampoo bottles, to ziploc bags, paper towels and sponges, there are literally hundreds of products in my apartment right now that will eventually sit in a landfill.

Like I said, it’s overwhelming and honestly, where does one even start? I decided to start small with some everyday things like:

Stasher bags: I ran out of Ziploc bags and decided to make the switch. I do need to buy some more as I only have three at the moment, but they’re a great way to re-use and reduce waste.

Cloth Produce Bags: I wonder how many minutes of my life I’ve wasted trying to open those god awful thin plastic produce bags they provide at the store? Regardless, I can’t stand them and was happy to find an alternative to bagging my produce. I love these so much and it’s so easy to toss in the wash every few weeks.

Toothpaste Bites: I was running out of tradition tube toothpaste and thought why not try these? These come in a glass jar and if you subscribe, Bite will send you refills in a packet so you can refill your glass jar. Most toothpaste tubes aren’t recyclable (I believe Tom’s of Maine might be one of the few), and millions get dumped in landfills every year.

I really really love these bites; however, the cost of these is higher and since there are two of us, we go through them twice as fast (all the quantities are so small?). There are some other brands I might try, but it seems like a lot to spend $15-$30 on toothpaste every month. If I lived by myself, I could definitely swing that cost every 2 months, but until this becomes more mainstream, not sure if I’ll be doing this!

Reusable Cutlery: I love this set I got from Anthro, it’s perfect to fit into my lunchbox (well when I was taking a lunch), but overall, great and condense option for traveling, and they are dishwasher safe!

Shampoo Bar: I also was running low on shampoo and discovered shampoo bars; there are dozens of kinds of bars, all with mixed reviews. Instead of spending $12 on a LUSH or Meow Meow Tweet bar, I decided to see if I would even like using a shampoo bar, and bought one from Target for $4.99. I’m still getting used to it, but this way, I can try it and then possibly shift to another brand with higher reviews.

Silicone Body Scrubber: Just to be clear, this would not align with zero waste, as it is still recycled, but I wanted to share it, because unlike loofahs, these are 100% recyclable and aren’t breeding grounds for bacteria. I also love this one I got, it does a great job and somehow sticks to the wall of my shower without falling? I love it.

As you can see, generally, my method for shifting into a more zero waste lifestyle has been using what I have and replacing with a better for the earth alternative when the need arises. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to being completely zero waste; I love my Charmin soft TP and menstrual cups kind of gross me out tbh, but I did shift into organic cotton tampons…baby steps, right?

(Also TMI? but who cares, we all know women get periods and use the toilet)

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Would you ever consider shifting into a more sustainable lifestyle or are you already on your own journey? I would love to hear about the things you couldn’t make the switch on, or things you’re already doing (I need some tips)!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 32

Another whirlwind busy week of work and it was so nice to turn off my brain this weekend. I do feel like I’m the only one still quarantining? There were so many weddings, bachelorette parties and vacations  all over my social media feeds this weekend? And no one was wearing masks in any photos? Not even in the background? Are we just done? Cool….I’m still in my apartment, making my way through Netflix and the ever growing pile of books to be read. I’ve also picked back up on the Sims, designed my dream home. But yeah, lots happening over here.

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I cried when I ate this last piece, feat. Aurora
  1. I know I know, I should find another food blog other than Half Baked Harvest, but her recipes are SO easy and SO incredibly yummy. This week I made her Simple Blueberry Basque Cheesecake (look at that beauty above), and I’m googling how I can safely mail cheesecake to all of you . No results yet, but I’m trying. In the meantime, and I’m saying this because I care about you, make this cheesecake!!
  2. I love this love letter to fancy shoes, it describes my feelings exactly; I have several pairs of shoes I probably would have needed to replace by now because I used to wear them so much, and now? Well now, they’re dusty in the closet and haven’t seen the sun in months. I miss you mules, I miss you wedges, I miss you ankle booties.
  3. My kickass woman of the week is Betty Reid Soskin, a 98 year old PARK RANGER in CA (she started when she was 85, what EVEN). She’s also been an activist and singer, but I really loved her perspective of looking back on her life, especially hearing of her time working with the civil rights movement.
  4. Not sure if there are any Selling Sunset fans here (🙋🏼‍♀️) but I’ve been dying to know what happened with Chrisnell and Justin Hartley of This Is Us; the newest season of SS dropped on Friday and we finally learn some more of the heartbreaking story of what happened. Here’s an article summary in case you don’t watch SS (but come on, you should, at least for creeping in on million dollar LA homes).
  5. Not to cheat and do 2 recipes, BUT I just didn’t feel like cooking dinner this week and made this AMAZING deli salad from Chrissy Teigen. Like, so simple, easy, and delicious, we devoured it! I feel like it’s a perfect summer meal, plus you’ve seen all my baking, I could use some salads in my life.
  6. This week on Armchair Expert, Leslie Odom Jr. stopped by to chat about Hamilton, BLM and cancel culture. Definitely worth a listen; I especially found it SO interesting that he almost walked away from the Hamilton film because he was asking to be paid the same for the film as equivalent white Broadway stars in other shows. Like SO commendable and I hope more BIPOC stars start taking more of a stand for themselves and for the industry.
  7. If you are like me and still quarantining at home, it’s SHARK WEEK! I literally didn’t even know they still did this. But since no one has cable anymore and we should all be stuck inside, here’s how you can stream it online!

I hope your week is beautiful ahead; I know mine will be, my folklore album should be coming in the mail this week…

Sincerely,
Sara Ann

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

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