Sincerely Seven: Week 42

Hi Everyone! Sorry I missed week 41, with traveling and spending time with family, I sort of forgot! I hope everyone had a good 2 weeks; mine have been largely uneventful, just spending time with family and looking at the fall leaves everywhere (fall in the Laurel Mountains is *heart eyes*).

See? HEART EYES!
  1. I absolutely adored this week’s episode of The Dissenters; they interviewed a Holocaust survivor and talked about dehumanization, racism and how we need to be better examples for future generations. Definitely a must listen!
  2. We are less than 20 days away from the election and I know everyone has either already voted or has a plan to vote…right?! If not, please make a plan today!!
  3. Folks, this upcoming week is…. the official kick off of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas! WOOHOO! Yes, I am a Hallmark movie watcher, and am surprised they were able to bang out 40 movies for this new season. Here’s a schedule of when you can catch all the new ones!
  4. So glad someone finally wrote this piece; Billie Eilish was seen out and about and people are commenting on her body, both negatively and passive aggressively by calling her ‘brave’…. she’s 18? She has a normal body? Who cares? Unsure why everyone feels the need to comment on this, but loved this piece shutting haters down and promoting a more accepting culture.
  5. Love anything and everything by Mindy Kaling, but she has a new HBO show that will be a college version of Sex and the City. Yes please! Can we also talk about how she just had a BABY and no one knew about it?
  6. Anyone else working from home? Here are some health effects to your body that are caused from working at home… kind of makes me want to be back in the office! I have tried to have as ergonomic of a setup as possible, but I really miss my standing desk! I also try to turn off my computer and not check emails on my phone after I’ve stopped work for the evening, but sometimes it’s hard not to check!
  7. The pumpkin and maple cookies sound AMAZING! On my to-bake list for sure.

Hoping everyone has a happy and healthy week ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 38

It was a good week (until Friday of course), but we’ve been trying to make plans for coming back to the East Coast for the holidays. Should we only come for ~2 weeks at Christmas, and board our cat, OR fly in before Thanksgiving and stay through Christmas, bringing our cat with us on the plane? I know these are things people do all the time (mainly flying with cats), I just feel SO bad at the thought of putting her through all that stress. It is nice that we could both work anywhere, AND it would be great to see family and friends. Though who knows how bad COVID will be come the holidays, so who knows how much we could even see our family and friends. *sigh. So much to decide (and if you know me, I hate decisions, I get anxious that I haven’t made a decision which makes it even harder).

These cookies are SO tasty!
  1. To say I was devastated when I heard about the passing of RBG is an understatement. Ruth, thank you for everything you did to fight for gender equality and for working tirelessly to ensure this democracy was one of fairness and equality for all. You deserve the rest.
  2. If you can, please consider donating in honor of RBG to Amy McGrath who is up for election against Mitch McConnell. On Friday, McConnell announced the Senate would push forward with trying to elect a new justice this year, only hours after it was announced RBG had passed, and that her dying wish was that her seat would be replaced under the new president. But Mitch, what happened to your stance 4 years ago?
  3. This past week was Mexican Independence Day. For those of you who aren’t clear, there’s a difference between Mexican Independence Day and Cinco De Mayo. I honestly didn’t know the difference either, since we only covered important white people events in my education, so this article was very insightful.
  4. Converse came out with their ¡Mi Gente! Collection and a friend/old co-worker of mine was one of the Latina designers who came up the concept and designed a shoe style. Love seeing her work and culture showcased in this way!
  5. These Neapolitan Cookies are delicious, also see how cute they look above! I got the recipe from 100 Cookies by Sarah Kieffer, but Hummingbird High posted an adapted recipe and I had to share!
  6. Did anyone see this coming? Paris Hilton revealed her real voice, and that she was playing a character for the last several years. I am shocked, but also sad she felt the need to do that? As a blonde, I’ve also purposely played dumb at certain times, though I hate to admit it. I also heard her documentary, The Real Story of Paris Hilton, is really good, but haven’t had time to watch.
  7. It’s the first day of fall this coming week! And what better way to celebrate than a trip to Trader Joe’s to get all the fall foods! The pumpkin waffles, pumpkin bread mix and spiced cider are some of my TJ fall favs!

Wishing everyone a beautiful week ahead and happy Fall!

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

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