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

A Love Letter to My Boyfriend’s Beard

Dear Beard,

I miss you. Ever since you’ve departed, I’ve had to deal with rough and scratchy kisses. An unpleasant sensation during any mildly intimate situation and if I’m being honest,  is mildly a turn off from any personal contact with him. I’m sorry he shaved you off. I know we’ve had our differences in the past and even I admit, I’m shocked we’re both here today, with me writing you a love letter.

When I first met him, you were full and vivaciously alive on his face. Because of you, I thought he was, in fact, homeless.  I overlooked him in the line of potential future boyfriends and spent months chasing clean shaven men in bars and apps. But you, you remained for that long winter. Always on his face and always convincing me that nothing could ever make me date him, the wild bearded man who always wore a beanie and blue button up shirts. I thought, ‘I bet he roasts his own coffee (he doesn’t) or  recycles EVERYTHING (he does).’ Your presence prevented me from ever giving him a chance because he just wasn’t my ‘type’.

Then, one brisk day in June, it was warm and the sun was shining. There was a handsome smooth-faced man staring at me, and as I did a double take, I realized it was him. You, beard, were gone, shaved off for the summer, after a long and cold winter. Without you, I realized, he was really cute (I know, I know, I was really vain back then okay, I admit I wasn’t perfect). And I gave him a chance.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. we had date after date and I met his family. One day, as the air got crisp again, he declared, “I can’t wait to grow my beard back!”

Groan.

But you came back quickly, very quickly, as you do. I’m not sure when it happened, but I fell in love with him, and eventually, you too.  Once grown in, you were soft and fun to play with. You didn’t scratch my face like his stubble had done all summer long. You were nice and fluffy and you made him…him. Now when he shaves his face, I don’t recognize him without you. His perfect self, to me, includes you. I can’t describe it, but my favorite version of him is with wild curly hair and with you, a wildly unkempt red beard.

But oh Beard, I’m sure you’ll be back soon, we both know how flaky he is with shaving. Until then, I’ll think of you fondly, and remember a winter spent under blankets, watching HBO shows and eating lots of ice cream.

Capture

Always,

Sara

The Thing about Engagements.

At the ripe old age of 25, I am frequently bombarded with engagement posts all over my social media pages. It seems like every weekend, someone else I know either pops the question, or is asked for their hand in marriage. One by one, my friends are vanishing into wedding planning and settling down to spend their life with ‘the one.’ It seems like only yesterday we were studying for history tests in high school, and chugging beers on frat row in college. Yet, here we are attending showers and discussing bouquet arrangements. And, let me tell you, it’s getting so damn old.

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Now I need to clarify something, because I feel like this could be taken the wrong way. The reason I’m so annoyed with all these engagements has nothing to do with the fact that I doubt my boyfriend has ever even thought about the possibility of proposing. It’s that, at the age of 25, I still feel like I’m 17 and I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m barely a functioning adult and you have the audacity to think I can be someone’s wife?! I’m have quite a bit of student loan debt, and you want me to plan a wedding?! It takes me 25 minutes to pick a movie on Netflix, you honestly expect me to pick a venue, meal and 4-5 friends to stand by my side?? You’re funny.

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Honest to goodness, I am so happy for all the friends I scoff at on Facebook when they post a photo of their ring. I honestly cannot wait to attend the wedding (or creep on the Facebook photos) and see the looks of joy on their faces. I cry at sappy romance films, I LOVE love and I love ‘happily ever afters’ even more. I just don’t why everyone is in such a rush to do this thing (and then the next thing which I cannot even begin to fathom, yes I’m talking about babies). To me, marriage is scary. It’s this serious adult thing that means something. You stand before your family and friends and God and vow to choose this person every single day for the rest of your life. And it seems like everyone is racing towards it.

Now, I love my boyfriend, and I love what we are together, but I’m content with where we’re at. I honestly wouldn’t care if he didn’t propose for another 5 or 10 years. Or never (again to be honest, I do want to get married, but planning a wedding sounds like literal hell with so many decisions and money down the drain, why would I do that)? I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that friends my age (or younger) are like yes, let’s do this thing that is (well, should be) permanent and really serious. Am I just overthinking it? I get that I shouldn’t compare my life journey to someone else’s, but it’s hard not to when it seems like literally every other person my age is doing this one thing. Every time I see another post or picture of a ring, I think of Amy Poehler’s wise words, “good for you, not for me.”

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Does anyone else feel this way about engagements? Or has anyone else survived their twenty’s and lived to give advice to the rest of us wandering souls? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!

Taylor Swift’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ya’ll, I made these cookies a few weeks back and let me tell you, they are fantastic. I like to call myself a cookie connoisseur and these just blew everything out of the water. I will be making these for the rest of my life, thank you Taylor Swift. The chocolate is so rich and the salt, just ughh, you need to make these for yourself, okay?

cookies

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

340g block dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chunks from a bag found in the baking aisle #lazy)

1  cup walnuts, chopped

Large flake sea salt, for garnish

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

2. .In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and kosher salt.

3. In large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter. Using an electric beater or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until it they are light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them into the butter and sugar mixture. Add in the vanilla as well.

4.With a rubber spatula or with the stand mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks and walnuts.

5.spoon the cookie dough by 2 tablespoon-size balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the cookie dough balls 5cm apart on the cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 12 to 13 minutes.

6. When the cookies come out of the oven IMMEDIATELY sprinkle each cookie with a few grains of sea salt. This is really important to do while the cookies are hot.

7. Let the cookies cool for 2 to 3 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

Leave any questions in the comments, and let me know if you make them!

Shop Hard, Do Good.

You may not know this, but I love to shop. I know, you already knew that, right? But there’s one thing I love more than shopping, and that is shopping with a purpose or a cause. I feel like as of late, there are many brands that are making this more possible.

You’ve seen them, the brands that advertise, “you buy our product, we’ll donate to XYZ.” It’s called a ‘one for one’ concept and many brands have hopped on the band wagon, especially after TOMs saw so much success after their launch in 2006. Of course every one knows about TOMs, so I’m going to highlight a few other places where I like to shop and do good in the process.

Do good, be comfy AF: Bombas

For one thing, I would buy these socks regardless of the one for one incentive. These socks are COMFORTABLE. While they are a bit pricey, I would still say, they are worth every penny. For every pair of socks purchased, a pair of socks is donated to a homeless shelter (Did you know that socks are the most requested items in homeless shelters?!). Do good and be comfy AF, am I right?

Do good, be Trendy AF: Cuffed by Nano

This trendy accessory company was started by a Columbus local, so I see these bracelets on wrists ALL over the place. Their motto is, #BuyOneGiveTwo; for every bracelet, necklace or ring purchased, they donate 1 week’s tuition + 1 meal to kids in Haiti. The hardest thing you’ll have to do is decide which cute and witty cuff you’re going to purchase.

Do good, be smart AF: Better World Books

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I L-O-V-E this one; Better World Books has a book for book concept. They collect used books that have been donated across the nation. Then for every book purchased, they donate a book to someone in need. Books were my favorite part of growing up and I love that I can help donate books to those, especially children, who don’t have access to books to read.

What about you, Reader? Are there any places you love to shop that have a special cause? Let me know in the comments!

The Touch of Fabric

When I was a little girl, I would go shopping with my mom and I would wander through the racks of clothing, touching everything. No, really, everything. Every skirt, dress, top and pair of pants. Every blanket, towel, quilt and duvet had to be felt by my little hands. While I didn’t understand it at the time, I felt drawn to each garment, needing to know the texture and hand feel of the fabric. Tops that were a drape-y knit made me stop in my tracks. I loved the softness of the material, and I was mesmerized how it fell, draping down in an almost fluid-like way. Cashmere made me stop too, but my mom would grab my hand and always say, ‘you have champagne taste on a bologna budget. Come on.’

20 years later and I spend most days doing the same thing. For those of you that don’t know, I work in the retail fashion industry. It’s literally part of my job to locate fabrics that we need for our products. I get fabric swatches in the mail and I feel them, are they soft or too rough? Can a wash be added to make it softer or should we have it brushed? My team wants wool, but I know the cost of wool is going up, and we’ll never get a soft handfeel with only wool. Let’s find a wool blended with nylon or poly. If I need a low price, add in acrylic yarns, as those are among the cheapest of yarns.

There is an entire world of fabrics, yarns and fibers, that the average consumer never even thinks of. When you go shopping and buy a top, you’ll never never know how much thought went into it, down to the very fibers within. The fiber is the smallest component, spun into yarns. Yarns are then woven or knit together to make a fabric. Some fabrics can retain heat as seen in outerwear, while some are made to allow for breathe-ability or moisture wicking, most often found in active wear. But, to me, the most important thing about a fabric will always be how it feels.

via Daily Prompt: Fabric