In a (creative) rut.

pencil drawing, 2019 (pardon the nudity)

Over the past few years, I’ve been moving down a path where I’m doing less and less creative things. I used to draw and paint regularly, and for a spell, I was learning hand lettering, first on paper, then on iPad. I started this blog as a creative outlet, though I would never necessarily call myself a writer by any means. I guess you could argue that baking is a more creative hobby as well? I usually find I’m at my most happy, or peaceful perhaps, when I’m doing something that errs more on the creative side; however, it’s been harder and harder for me to want to choose to do those types of things. My sketchbooks sit collecting dust, paints drying up. I haven’t really baked that much either recently and I have definitely been slacking to write anything on here.

Perhaps I’m uninspired after a year of sitting inside my apartment? Perhaps I’m changing and no longer love the things I used to? I really don’t know.

watercolor bouquet, 2019

I started thinking about this because I found out about a co-worker’s side hustle (running an entire business, might I add) and as she’s not the first co-worker I’ve had that has a fully functioning side business, I can’t help but wonder where on earth she gets the time because she works more hours than I do most days. I certainly don’t have the time or energy to do anything creative like I want, let alone run a business after my full time job. But then I think about how today, I went to Target and came home to watch HGTV. I’ve been reading and staring at my phone (hi Zillow) for most of the day. On evenings during the week, after work, I usually make dinner and settle in to watch TV until I go to read before bed. After thinking about it, I guess, I do have the time to do something on the side as well, that be a hobby or a business, but when did I get so lazy? The thought of even doing anything other than laying here right now was exhausting. When did I become like this? Was it 2020? Or is it just being apart of our society, shifting more towards becoming mindless technology obsessed robots?

I kind of hate myself for it.

But I don’t hate myself, because 2020 was a year and we all need to recuperate from it. I also cannot compare myself to my coworker or anyone else because I’m on my own journey and I need to respect their journey. Perhaps I need to let go of things that aren’t serving me anymore, but I have to wonder if sitting in front of my TV like a mindless zombie might be what’s not serving me anymore. I did read 60 books last year, and I’ve already read 20 this year, so I’m not exclusively zoning out in front of a screen, but I do miss painting and drawing and baking. I do want to do these things as I do have plenty of time, but I find I’m unable to bring myself to do them and before I know it, a whole day is gone.

Digital handlettering, 2019

I decided to share some of my art here, which I never do, but it does look like 2019 was the last year I really got into my creativity. When I think about it, I lived alone and I had my dining room table (ahem entire apartment really) as a creative space, so I was always working there. I do wish I had a space here that I could go to and work; I keep trying to push my boyfriend to move into a bigger apartment so I can have access to something like that again but he’s not budging for a few more months (SIGH). I also used to take drawing classes when I lived in Columbus, but all the classes here in LA are too expensive. I need to find space and time to create again.

Has anyone else experienced this within the last year? How do you allocate your time, especially when you’re feeling too lazy to do anything other than binge another show?

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Books of the Month: December 2020

December was rough. After reading 55 books for the last 11 months, I was pretty burned out and almost gave up for the month; I did not start reading until 12/7 when I decided I should at least try, and several friends recommended some quick reads. I made it to my goal of 60 which was incredibly exciting…and I’ll never do that again! Here are my December reads:

The Queen’s Gambit was….alright. I watched the show twice and was obsessed, but I felt the book didn’t measure up? I felt the characters had more of a story arc within the show, and in the book the characters, especially Beth, fell a little flat. Had I read the book before watching the show, I would have enjoyed it, I think. I still smiled with a warm feeling when the book ended, so was still worth it. For those who haven’t seen the show, “The Queen’s Gambit” is about a young prodigy’s rise to fame in the chess world; would recommend the show over the book.

Girls on Fire was a very good thriller story? It was easy to piece together what happened, but essentially it’s a story about a mouse-y teen and the angst-y friend she makes at school that leads her down some interesting paths. It begs the question, can anyone make you do something or are all your actions of your own will?

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love was fantastic, even for those unfamiliar with “Queer Eye.” It made me laugh out loud, many times, but it also made me break down and cry. JVN regales the tales of life, basically from birth to present day, and that queen went through it, multiple times. Like how JVN came out on the other side as this self assured and badass queen, like I can’t even fathom after hearing this journey. This needs to be listened to on audiobook so JVN can tell you the story, I don’t see any other way to read this.

The Midnight Library was a delightful story, well sort of. The main character decides to take her own life and ends up in a library full of books that tell the stories of her parallel lives she could have had. I really liked the theme of the book and how Nora learns to love her current life, even though it’s not “perfect” or how other people wanted her to live.

Transcendent Kingdom was a quick read and a good story, about a Ghanaian family and their trials through separation, addiction and grief. It touches a lot on the tug of war between science and faith. I would really like to read Gyasi’s first book, Homecoming, as I quite enjoyed her writing style.

The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

I did manage to read 60 books by the end of 2020 (huzzah!). I think my favorite book this month might have been The Midnight Library, or Over the Top, honestly would recommend both! As for 2021, I’m setting my goal at 45 books, although after watching Bridgerton, I guess I have at least 9 books on my to be read list…

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 52

I hope everyone had a good week. I know for me, the last seven days flew by! I spent time with my parents, baking (too many) cookies and enjoying some (distanced) time with family. I’m dreading getting back to work tomorrow, but at least it’s a four day week, right? And this horrible year comes to an END? I cannot even fathom 2020 being over, since it feels like it’s been 5 years long, but we’re here you guys, we are so close to the end!

Christmas Cookie Boxes I Made

Here are the things that got me through this week:

  1. Has anyone watched Bridgerton yet on Netflix? I haven’t, but it’s on my list to watch next! I saw this this article about how they redid a bunch of modern pop songs as classical songs for the show, and I’m dying bc that’s my favorite genre. Watching ASAP (also want to read the books ASAP)!
  2. Are you organized and like to write out your to do’s for the day or week in a planner? I know I do! Love this list of the best planners, according to productivity experts. Also, if you’re into wine, the best wine clubs picked by sommeliers.
  3. If you’ve ever been to Columbus, OH, you may have stopped by Fox in the Snow for coffee and pastries. The owners have been releasing some pastry recipes since early Spring, and this week’s release is blueberry hand pies. Uhm, YES PLEASE.
  4. Speaking of cooking, loved these ideas for a healthy meal when you can’t stand to look at another Christmas cookie. *raises hand*
  5. My hands have been SO dry since I’ve been back east, this Cera Ve cream is a literal lifesaver! Not a paid comment, seriously just want to share with you. You can feel it absorbing into your skin and my dry cracked hands were cleared and smooth within a few days of regular application.
  6. In case you had tons of gifts and bags full of used gift wrapping, please try to re-use any gift wrapping or bags (save the planet!). Loved these ideas, I personally always save and reuse gift bags, and any undamaged ribbon/bows.
  7. In case you need something new to watch if you’re not working this week, here are 18 shows and movies made by women in 2020. I personally love Sex Education, Happiest Season and Insecure, and I really want to watch The Flight Attendant.

To all my followers, thanks for reading my posts in 2020, here’s to 2021!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

2020 Goals, Where Are We?

As 2020 comes to end, it dawned on me that I had better start thinking up some new goals for 2021…and oh yeah, reflect on my 2020 ones. This year was definitely not what I was expecting, in fact, most of the things I was planning for were completely thrown out the window to sit inside and wash my hands every three seconds. I still stand by the fact that we should have wrote off all goals and the such for 2020, but after doing some reflecting, I did have some achievements this year, while maybe smaller or more personal. I did get a cat, which is kind of like a life goal achieved, so let’s say I excelled at my goals for the year. Overall, here are my 2020 goals and my reflections on them:

  1. Save money by becoming a more mindful consumer. I did make more of an effort to pay attention to materials and brand missions as well as purchase secondhand on Poshmark. Did I cut back on spending overall? Next question.
  2. Read more. I read somewhere north of 25 books in 2019, I am currently at 57 for 2020. CHECK.
  3. Make Friends. So due to COVID, this didn’t really happen. I also got very lazy and well, not much going on here. I feel like this was a broad one, I don’t know just making excuses at this point.
  4. Make 5 difficult recipes. I roasted a chicken and made Ina’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. I also made croissants and cinnamon rolls. So close to 5, but happy with what I did make. In general, I cooked meals 4-5 times a week (usually easy Mom-blog recipes), but still made an effort here. Happy with that!
  5. Be Present. I gave up my social media for about 1.5 months, which was great. I also tried to spend less time on my phone while with others. This all went downhill about October-mid November, but who can blame me?
Aurora 😊

While I didn’t achieve everything, I am proud of the things I did accomplish this year from my goals. I am also really proud of myself for hitting goals I didn’t even set. Other things I did in 2020 that I didn’t plan on:

  1. Worked out 4-5 times a week. When quarantine started, I was so nervous about getting lazy and not being active, so I signed up for obe and honestly, changed my whole fitness routine. Most of my need for working out was more of a mental need, but I do feel stronger overall and see more toning on my limbs. Here’s to a healthy body! I’m trying to hit 200 classes by the end of the year!
  2. Watched less Netflix/Hulu/HBO/etc. See: 57 books read.
  3. Started therapy. I was really feeling it about mid way through the year and I knew my mood and general demeanor were not normal, so I asked for help. And it did really help. I would highly recommend for anyone who’s afraid to step out there and talk to someone, it’s scary but it’ll be worth it (for anyone curious, I used Talkspace due to COVID; would recommend, makes it easy to fit into your schedule or as needed).
  4. Wore less makeup/cared less about looks. Okay, so I feel like this is only because of quarantine, but in general I’m not as focused on how I look (i.e. going out in public with/without makeup) and go most days without makeup on/hair done. I have focused more on skincare these last few months, which is way more important. Also, haven’t had my hair color done in like 6+ months and I don’t really care anymore about how bad my roots look?
  5. Less hung up on mistakes. I am a perfectionist, and I get very easily hung up on mistakes. While I’m still working on this, I do see where I care less about not being perfect and giving myself slack for little things I might mess up or not do perfectly. See: started therapy.

Overall, I’m happy with how my year went (other than the obvious downfalls of 2020); I didn’t hit all the goals I set for myself, but I did accomplish other things I wasn’t expecting when I wrote my list in January.

What did you achieve in 2020, whether you set goals or not?

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 50

Another week gone by, and nothing overly exciting other than I tested negative for COVID. It’s the small things at this point tbh. I also got a chess set (I told you I was obsessed with The Queen’s Gambit), but I’m basically a grandmaster now. Here are the other things that got me through the week.

The only exciting thing this week, watching TV with Aurora
  1. UHM Shifty Swifty released ANOTHER surprise album this week and like, I don’t know, is she trying to kill us? Evermore is kind of dark and sad, like a goth folk album, IMO? But I love ‘Willow’ and ‘No Body, No Crime’ and ‘Ivy.’
  2. In other important news, we are getting a vaccine for COVID which is really exciting and gives us something to look forward to. But let’s not forget, until you get the vaccine personally, continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and avoid large gatherings. ALSO, because of this, I’m wearing a mask for the rest of my life.
  3. I don’t know about you guys, but I love three things… butter, cheese and potatoes. Half Baked Harvest put them altogether for what I’m only assuming is a delicious and tasty dish, Crispy Cheesy Potato Stacks. I haven’t made them, but they’re on my ‘to be made’ list. I mean the name alone is making me drool.
  4. Anyone remember Olivia Jade? You know, Aunt Becky’s daughter, for whom Aunt Becky bribed college admissions for and is now serving a term in federal prison for? Well, she was on Red Table Talk this week and it was so satisfying to watch a privileged white woman get knocked down a few pegs? I do think it was a fruitful conversation and I truly do hope she’s sorry. I also think it was an important conversation and I would recommend watching!
  5. I loved this article about non-traditional holiday celebrations where women have created their own customs. I love the self-affirming travel and pet sitting abroad. Uhm, I will gladly travel to another country for a week or two to watch someone’s dog, though I think my family would have some choice words to say…
  6. Assuming most people are having low-key Decembers. If that is the case, here are all the new things to stream this month, on ALL the platforms. I’m personally looking forward to “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle“, “Wonder Woman” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. “
  7. Your daily reminder there are still good people out there….a Florida man paid of the utility bills of 114 families who were at risk of being turned off which is just so heartwarming and lovely. I would also encourage folks to donate time or money to those less fortunate during this month. I personally buy presents for children through my church’s Angel tree, or through USPS Operation Santa. I’ve also donated to this GoFundMe for snacks and flower donations to hospitals in State College, PA for doctors and nurses. I also like to donate in someone’s name as their gift, because that’s what this season is about!!

Hoping you have a beautiful week ahead, loves !

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

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