Sincerely Seven: Week 47

I feel like my weeks are off? There’s 52 in a year right? Are there only 5 weeks left in 2020? 2021 still seems so far away, but I guess Thanksgiving is this week… We found out on Friday that we may have been exposed to COVID last weekend, so we’re isolating until we get our results back later this week. Keep your fingers crossed for us, and I hope you are all safe and healthy! Here are the things that got me through the week:

  1. Being back in Ohio, my skin is DRY. Being in LA, I forgot about dry skin was really like. Loved this article about how to best manage dry skin and causes that you might not even think of.
  2. If you haven’t started shopping for Christmas, I would really recommend you start! Due to COVID, there are extended shipping times, so the ability to wait until last minute is going to be hard this year. I would also really recommend you shop small! I’ve gotten christmas cards and several gifts from small boutiques and shops on Etsy.
  3. Anyone else still dreaming of getting away? Literally me. Looking at zillow and airbnbs has become a new hobby. Here are some airbnb travel trends for 2021 so you can start manifesting your new year.
  4. Loved these mindful habits for a more minimalist home. I’m pretty guilty of clutter, mostly leaving piles of mail laying around (oops forgot to pay my car registration this year as result).
  5. Just because you test negative on a COVID test, it doesn’t mean you are free to go wherever. Please keep it small these holidays, unintentionally infecting a loved one will be much worse than having a small holiday.
  6. If you already watched the newest season of The Crown, or you’re still making your way through it, you might be trying to remember what the Iron Lady was known for from your 10th grade history class. I loved this fan guide to Margaret Thatcher and what really happened in the 80’s in Britain.
  7. As you may remember, I was obsessed with the show, Selena + Chef on HBO. They released a special Thanksgiving edition and I am dying to try this cranberry chutney. What are you making for Thanksgiving?

A very happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 45

Whew, what a week people, am I right? After the longest week of all of our lives, we finally have a new President and Madame Vice President (holla!). No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, we all need to find a way to move forward. I have a feeling the next several weeks are going to be tough, but I think I wasn’t the only one who slept a little bit better last night. Here are the things that got me through this week:

1. Woman of the week goes to Stacey Abrams, who after losing a governors race in 2018 due to voter suppression, went about registering an estimated 800,000 (!) new voters over the last two years, which is most likely the reason Georgia flipped to blue this week in the Presidential election.

2. Runner up for woman of the week belongs to Charmaine McGuffey, who just became sheriff in Ohio. She ran against her former boss because he fired her after finding out she was a lesbian. This is what we like to see!

3. Making plans for Thanksgiving? Here’s my favorite pumpkin pie recipe from Baker by Nature; trust me, brown butter takes everything to next flavor level and this pie is tasty AF.

4. In case you need a new show to watch, I would highly recommend checking out The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. It’s a really intense show with an interesting story and I’ve already downloaded a chess app on my phone because I’m pretty sure I could be a Chess Master after watching the show (hahah kidding), but seriously it’s a beautiful story and I cried at the end.

5. Maybe this is only interesting to me since I work in the industry but here are 5 buyers discussing the future of retail, post COVID. I will say, I was surprised how quickly the fashion world seemed to adapt to virtual business, makes me hopeful that brands can adapt quickly to other things like sustainability.

6. Honestly, the only thing that got me through this week were all the beautiful memes and Tik Toks that people created. Here are some of my favorites… here, here, and here. Also, can we talk about the gem of the nation, Steve Kornacki? Such a trooper, I hope he’s getting time to sleep now.

7. As the holidays approach, I am dreading being around conservative family members who did not vote for the candidate who won the election. I did love this article about navigating conversations that you might be dreading; there were some good tips about how to have an open conversation that hopefully won’t end in shouting.

Here’s to a better week ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Books of the Month: October 2020

Holy moley, it’s November! Clocking in at 50 books, I’m only 10 (TEN!) away from 60 and around 60 days to finish (lol 60 days til this year is OVER, whew). I’m pretty sure I can do this, thank you for all supporting me along the way. Feel free to send me book suggestions, I’m open to all genres! Here are the books I read this month:

Unmarriageable was a retelling of Pride & Prejudice set in Pakistan. I enjoyed it, mostly because I love P&P, but also it was interesting to learn about the Pakistani culture AND loved how Alys (Elizabeth Bennett) was a strong feminist and tried to teach her students to see their options beyond getting married and being a housewife. Would recommend if you’re into P&P!

Clap When You Land was another story by the same author as Poet X. I love how she tells the story through poetry; this one was about 2 girls with the same father who don’t know of the other’s existence; one lives in NYC and one lives in the DR. When their father dies, they learn of each other and their stories entwine. Very quick read!

Wild Game was… wild. Set in Cape Cod, a young girl is let in on her mother’s secret, she’s having an affair with her step-father’s best friend. This true story told over decades of time, discusses the effects of lying and secrets and how they impacted the girl for most of her life. It also touches on the mother and daughter’s relationship which was an essential theme for the girl in understanding herself and her mother.

Daisy Jones and the Six was really good, I think I mostly liked it because of the interview style format the book was set up in? Made it a quick read with interesting storylines. Another good one by Taylor Jenkins Reid about a band’s formation, rise in the music scene, and swift downfall.

Praying For Emily was a beautiful story of the first child to receive an experimental T cell treatment that cured her leukemia. It’s a story of both science and faith that helped Emily survive. The Whiteheads are actually distant family of mine here in Pennsylvania, and I followed Emily’s journey on her mom’s blog/Facebook back in 2012 when it was happening. It’s so amazing to read about her journey and a large collective group across the world was praying for her to survive. Get some tissues if you read this one.

Summer of ’69 was a good beach read (not that I read it on the beach, but rather in an airport). A story about an American family during the summer of ’69, with their son off to serve in the Vietnam war. Would recommend if you need a quick, good story.

Unmarriageable: A Novel by Soniah Kamal

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Praying for Emily: The Faith, Science, and Miracles that Saved Our Daughter by Emily Whitehead, Kari Whitehead, and Tom Whitehead

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

I’m currently reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab that I got for my October Book of the Month club pick. It’s really good so far, can’t wait to share more about it!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

P.s. Seriously, drop book recs in the comments…

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

How’s the Year Going?

For New Year’s I made some goals for myself to work towards in 2020. If you need a refresher, they can be found here. Since I don’t have much going on, I thought it might be a good time to check in and reset if needed.

  1. Save money– still not going well. There’s always something I need to buy, or correctly, want to buy.  It’s a sickness, but I have been trying to think through purchases a bit more before I make them. Baby steps, right? Since quarantine, I’ve been worse at purchasing things that aren’t exactly necessary (like loads of books, outdoor furniture…), but I did put my tax refund and stimulus check towards my debt, so here’s to trying! I think my savings goal was a bit over adventurous, best to work on my debt before I start saving too much.
  2. Read more- I’ve read 17 books so far this year, I would say I’m doing fairly well with this one! Might go above my goal?
  3. Make friends– hah, nope. I was trying to be friendlier at work to people I don’t necessarily work with, and I tried to join a book group on MeetUp but then pandemic happened so haven’t made any progress here. Since in quarantine, I’ve been trying to facetime with those people who are my friends?
  4. Make 5 difficult recipes– I made a roast chicken! It was SUPER gross and I almost vomited like twice, but it was super rewarding in the end. And tasty! I tried a new cinnamon roll recipe but haven’t done much cooking other than instant pot and easy meals. It’s hard to be adventurous in the kitchen when only half the grocery store is stocked.
  5. Be present– I was doing fairly well with this one, but quarantine and tik tok happened and my screen report makes me cringe every Sunday morning (can we just agree Apple should stop doing that until this is over?).

Did you make goals for the year? If so, how are they going? Is quarantine impacting them, either positively or negatively? I’ve love to hear about it in the comments below!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

 

Cheers to 2020

It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age.

-Taylor Swift

Can I just say, I am not a big New Years person. I don’t go out (like ever) because I’m usually in bed by 10 and staying up until 12 is hard and who actually cares if you went out and popped champagne and danced until your feet were sore? Not to say there’s anything wrong with that, I’d just rather stay on the couch with close loved ones and then go to bed once that ball has done it’s job.

Does that make me a weird 26 year old? Maybe, but maybe not. I really don’t care either way. At some point in the last decade, I learned to not give a shit (or more accurately, not give as much of a shit) about what other people thought of me. I’ve recently started wearing less makeup. I try to do what I want to do and sometimes that involves saying no to things that will stoke any anxious or stressful thoughts. But that also sometimes involves doing things that are going to stoke those thoughts into an, at most times, unnecessary roaring fire. In the last year, I moved across the country to the fine city of Los Angeles, leaving behind the majority of loved ones on the East Coast. That was really hard and continues to prove hard as I return back to visit, only to leave again knowing I’ll need to spend a load of money to return.

Some 2019 memories!

I think resolutions are a good idea though often easily forgotten (especially by myself). I do prefer to set goals and somewhat realistic ones at that. So here are my 2020 goals that I hope to accomplish over the next year:

1. Save money by becoming a more mindful consumer— we all know I could write, produce and star in Confessions of a Shopaholic, but after recently reading The Year of Less, I want to be more mindful of my purchases and really force myself to consciously decide if I really need to make the purchase. I also want to save around 25% of my income over the next year. Might make it into a somewhat shopping ban, stay tuned.

2. Read more—this is such a generic thing but I’ve always included reading in my goals. I read around 25 books in 2019 and I want to read 30 in 2020. I really do love reading and want to spend more time doing that, versus bingeing another bumble gum show on Netflix (but seriously is anyone watching You Season 2? GAH).

3. Make friends— since moving to LA, I’ve made a few work friends who are wonderful but I don’t have any friends to go see a chick flick with, or grab a coffee with. I love my boyfriend and spending time with him is wonderful but sometimes I miss a friend companion, if that makes any sense? I want to try some local art classes and possibly volunteer (things I’ve heard help make adult friends).

4. Make 5 difficult recipes— I’m talking roast a chicken, make REAL spaghetti, the kind of meals that take all day or at least a few hours to simmer and build flavor. I’m hoping to do more than five, but I’m also trying to be a mindful consumer so I don’t want to unnecessarily overspend to reach my goals.

5. Be present— I am 100% guilty of spending a lot of time on my phone. Like too much time. I cringe when my screen report pops up every Sunday morning and shames me into another week. I might take a month break from social media or something wild, but no promises.

Here’s to a new year, a new decade, and all the possibilities that the future has in store. I hope you take today to spend time with yourself, with loved ones, or however you choose to find joy and happiness.

Love always,

Sara