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

Cons of Being a Wallflower

I am what you call a wallflower. I like to slink around unnoticed, observing other people. I read books, go to bed at 9PM, and have lived a mostly uneventful life, going to Target and drinking Starbucks. I know this may sound self-deprecating, and maybe it is, but I don’t mean it to be. I am fully aware I am more on the vanilla end of the spectrum. For the most part, I am more than happy with this life arrangement, except oddly, when it comes to swimsuits. Because of who I am, I am a solid neutral swimsuit kind of girl, even though I secretly wish I could be a bright pattern or bright color swimsuit wearer. Does this make sense? Let me explain.

When I was a little girl, I didn’t give a second thought to what my swimsuit looked like. As long as it was in my favorite color (pink), had flowers or my favorite character on it, I was sold. Fast forward 20 some years and I dread buying a new suit. I always end up with a solid neutral, even though I want the bright pattern or color. I want the red or the colorful floral, but I get the dark purple or black.

These are the suits that draw my eye upon first shopping, if I’m being totally honest. Deep down, when think about who I want to be, I want to be a loud pattern, look-at-me swim suit kind of gal, without the people looking at me part. I know that I can buy hundreds of these loud suits, but I more than likely won’t have the confidence to wear them. I’ll put it on, get anxiety about anyone noticing me, and put on my old faithful black bikini (also to note, a bikini that covers most of my ass).

I sometimes try to think about when this all started. Did something happen? Or did I just learn from society slowly over time that I am not the kind of girl who wears these suits? I am not the ‘look at me’ girl. I am a wallflower with an average body, a flat chest and 2 pack of abs (I am very proud of those, thank you very much).

I also don’t consider myself a ‘sexy’ person, I have been and will always be, cute. Again, I am mostly fine with this. I literally get waves of anxiety when I see women wearing thong bikinis (their butt is literally out, why even have bottoms on at all?), let alone a bright look at me color, or pattern.  I’m not judging these girls (fine maybe a bit). I don’t want to be judging those girls. I guess I’m envious of their self confidence more than anything, that they get to be ‘sexy’ while I’m ‘cute.’ Who dealt these cards anyway?

How does one become confident whilst not having been dealt the sexy card? But looking in further, why is sexy always hand in hand with confident? Isn’t there a sexiness to being quietly aloof and mysterious? I suppose in some scenarios, but no, I am a nice girl, who doesn’t want to speak too loudly or make herself overly noticed as to not take away from others. Cute.  To clarify, though, I do not necessarily want to be sexy, like the women who wear the thong bikini; though, you go girl, you do you. I just want to be the girl who puts on a loud pattern or cherry red swimsuit, and doesn’t give it another thought.

Is that so much to ask?

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

 

BOOKS OF THE MONTH: March 2020

Can I just say, since the start of the year, I’ve already read 14 books. I’m really proud of myself for sticking to my goals for the year, and I really feel like I’m expanding my reading horizons. Let’s also be honest in that I wouldn’t have read nearly as many books if it were not for a global pandemic forcing me to remain indoors all the time.

Bad Blood was absolutely insane. I knew the name, Elizabeth Holmes, but I had no idea what the story of her company truly was. I would highly recommend this book, there will be moments when my jaw was on the floor and I couldn’t fathom that these things actually HAPPENED. Like I don’t think the best fictional writers of our generation could write the things that went down at Theranos. I did find some parts slow (I started in January), just because I don’t understand medicine or blood testing, but for the most part, it was engaging and they simplified most things where they could.

The Ship of Brides was a cute romcom with side notes of female friendship as well as the expectation of women’s behavior in the 50’s (which was very infuriating). I loved how it started in the present and went back to World War II. Would read on the beach. Dear Girls was cute and funny, but definitely tame by Ali Wong’s standards. I loved that she wrote it for her daughters and I especially loved the afterward her husband wrote (also a letter to their daughters). Overall, would listen to this on audiobook if given the chance again, but would really recommend, especially if you’re an Ali Wong fan or enjoy celeb autobiographies!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was fantastic, it was an engaging story where an Old Hollywood star retells her life story to a young journalist. The two are connected but you don’t learn how until the end. I couldn’t put it down! Oona Out of Order was another one I would highly recommend, about a young girl who time travels to a different age of her life with every passing birthday, at random. I think I liked it because it’s a very different and creative type of story. In Five Years was for book club; here, the main character travels in time 5 years into the future for just an hour. This seems like it’ll be a love story, but it ends up being about friendship. It was cute!

Overall, time seemed to be a theme of the books I read this month. It’s also interesting because I’m so much more aware of time now, since I’ve been locked indoors all day, every day. If you can only read one book from this list, I would say Seven Husbands or Oona Out of Order; really though, you can’t go wrong with any of these books.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
What books did you read last month? Anything worth checking out? Feel free to send recommendations my way, I’d love to read them!
Sincerely,
Sara Ann

Homesick, Kind Of.

Since moving to LA, I haven’t really been homesick, if I’m being totally honest. Yes, there have been moments when my family was gathering and I was thousands of miles away that made me a little bummed, but nothing that made me genuinely want to be somewhere else. Since I’ve been “on my own” for a few years now, it’s been easier and easier to hang up after a Skype with my family and not feel sad.

That is, until recently. I had a wave of homesickness at the most unexpected moment. And truth be told, it wasn’t even a homesickness for my actual home.

It happened at the dentist. I finally made an appointment to see a dentist here in LA. Upon arriving, I was greeted and taken back to the room, my dental hygienist not saying much at all. The dentist himself was nice, but it just seemed off, like I can’t quite put my finger on it, you know? While I was waiting for him to come back to the room, I almost started crying; I had a wave of sadness hit and I realized that I missed my dentist in Ohio. Dr. Clark was so genuine and helpful. He always took time to answer any questions or just ask about my day. I missed my dental hygienist, Whitney, who was so kind and bubbly and warm; her chatter always made me forget about any nerves or anxieties.

In that moment, I would have given anything to be in the dental chair in New Albany, Ohio instead of LA. I wanted to walk out, if I’m being perfectly honest. I just wanted to cry. I hadn’t really felt that way since many years before, when I had first moved away from home in PA to live in Columbus. And maybe it’s all the craziness that’s happening in the world today that pushed me to the brink, but that day at the dentist, I found that I truly missed someone, some place so badly, that it made Ohio feel even more like home. And while LA is fun and I’ll never regret moving here, I can’t wait for the day I get to return to the buckeye state (O-H!)

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Let’s have a cup of tea.

Let’s sit down and have a cup of tea. I’m drinking cream earl grey from Brooklyn Tea, it’s my latest favorite that I discovered from Unhappy Hour podcast (if you haven’t listened, you’re missing out).

You can have tea, coffee or matcha, or whatever you please. I used to drink coffee, but I stopped because I no longer enjoyed it, plus I got a headache every time I stopped drinking it and hated having to have to it, you know?

While we sipped at our drinks, I would tell you that I have a never ending list of things I want to bake but I never seem to have the time, or I can never decide what to bake, so I don’t bake at all. I did make cinnamon rolls last weekend (I wrote about them here) and I’m making croissants this weekend. I’m trying to focus on baking so one day I can fulfill my lifelong dream of baking all day replacing my 9-5 job.

I would  also tell you I’m currently finding it hard to find the time to read, and I have 5 books backlogged in my Libby app and I feel overwhelmed to read them all. If I could read all day I would, but I always feel so guilty when I lay around and do nothing, especially in a busy town like LA.

I would mention how there’s an extension course at UCLA that I would love to take; it’s a class on global business and international trade, which is what my job is in, but there’s no way I can afford it, unless my work would pay for it. Should I ask? I feel weird asking. I probably won’t ask. It would also be another thing on my plate, and time is of the essence these days. I also want to start taking baking classes around LA, because why not take advantage while I’m here?

I would recount that my birthday was fun. We decorated cakes at Milk Bar on Melrose, ate lunch at Eataly (the butternut squash ravioli is my favorite), came home for a nap, and then saw Emma. at the Hollywood Dome theater. Overall, a very Sara day!

I would ask about you, what’s new with you, how was your week, what are you drinking?

Sincerely,

Sara Ann