Sincerely Seven: Week 37

Another week gone by, stuck inside, this time due to wildfires and unsafe air. We did go for a beach walk today even though we probably should have stayed inside, but lung damage be damned. I haven’t been in the best space mentally from all this staying inside so it was well worth it. I love California but it’s getting a bit tiresome, one thing after another and being forced to stay inside. We did try Persian food this weekend, which was really good and I finished another book (A Man Called Ove, love!). Still trying to see the positives…

Pumpkin Swirl Muffins (FALL)
  1. Like I mentioned (don’t know how you wouldn’t have heard), wildfires are raging in California, here are ways you can help. The most important way you can help is by voting come November for elected officials who care about climate change.
  2. 9/11 was this past week, which marked 19 years since a very tragic day in American History; however, the tragic events of 9/11 will forever overshadow how the event itself fueled Islamophobia in this country, making it hell for thousands of Muslim Americans for many years to come.
  3. Stuck with student loans? Same. Worried about whether you should be paying your loans (that may have had payments paused), or saving for a possible layoff or illness? Same! I found this guide interesting and somewhat helpful in navigating how to handle this strange time.
  4. Any Great British Baking fans out there? The show is returning at the end of the month in the UK, but it has not been reported when the US fan will get to see the season. I recently discovered Portrait Artist of the Year, where 9 artists compete by painting portraits of British celebs. I used to figure draw, so it’s mollifying me until GBBO returns (give me all the British television!!).
  5. It’s almost fall ya’ll (in this house, we start 9/1)! The best way to celebrate is with PUMPKIN and BAKING. Here’s my favorite muffin recipe from Sweet and Simple Kitchen. The swirls of Nutella are optional, but why wouldn’t you add it? See above.
  6. Speaking of fall, this foliage map of the country is my new favorite thing! I love being home in Pennsylvania and seeing the beautiful hues of trees on the mountains. I’m SO excited I’ll be home in October during prime foliage time!
  7. I spent some of the weekend watching Get Organized with The Home Edit and I’m obsessed. I spent the rest of the weekend on the Container Store’s website trying to order things to get my closet in order. Also, can we talk about how they got to see and hold ALL of Reese’s movie memorabilia, especially from Legally Blonde? DED.

Happy thoughts for you this week, loves!

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

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