Sincerely Seven: Week 31

It’s Sunday! Another week gone by, and I cannot believe it’s August! I haven’t been home to the East Coast in over 8 months, and I’m kind of bummed about it to be honest. I really want to go home, but I am also very anxious about transmitting anything to my family members. Sigh, maybe one day.

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super yummy zucchini bread, see below for recipe!
  1. Very important: you can look up voting stats about your state including registering deadlines and information on delegates on Vote Save America! Also, sign up to vote by mail if your state allows. Remember, we are less than 100 days away from voting!
  2. For those of you who were (or still are) Meg Cabot fans, she has been posting Corona Princess Diaries on her blog since the pandemic started, writing in present day from Princess Mia’s POV in Genovia. Reading these took me back and I really want to watch the Princess Diaries. Also, just put these into a book, please!
  3. The ever-talented Michelle Obama debuted her new podcast this week and her first guest was her husband, former-President Barack Obama. I love how much these two are starting to step out into the spotlight and I never want it to stop.
  4. This week, I made Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Zucchini bread and it sounds like a lot going on, but it was TASTY. Seriously, wish I could send each of you a piece of this bread.  See pic above and admire the chocolate chunk goodness. Another easy one bowl wonder from Half Baked Harvest!
  5. One of my favorite shows as of late has been The Not Too Late Show with Elmo (I’m very fragile right now). This week, Sara Bareilles sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I really love her voice and rendition of the song, plus Big Bird makes a killer cameo.  The only song I listened to this week that wasn’t on folklore tbh.
  6. We had a 4.3 earthquake here in LA earlier in the week (conveniently, at 4:30 AM). I know it’s not common everywhere, but here’s a great resource of how to prepare for an earthquake/disaster, and what to do if you find yourself in the middle of one.
  7. I found this article from Refinery29 about thrifting during coronavirus; since I’ve been trying to thrift more (versus buying new), I was wondering if it was safe to go to thrift stores. It seems like it’s best to stick to online thrifting. Check out places like Poshmark, TheRealReal, and thredUP. Also interesting is this article about how resale is thriving in the pandemic, which is SO exciting to hear!

Happy AUGUST to everyone! Have a safe week ahead!

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

Sincerely Seven: Week 28

Happy Sunday all! I had a rough day yesterday (just overall bored and sick of being stuck inside), but we went to the Farmer’s Market this AM and then I went to the pool for a bit before it got too busy. It was so nice to just do a few things outside of our apartment! What are you all doing to stay sane during these times? I truly feel like quarantine has been a roller coaster of emotions, where some days are very high and others are low. Here are 7 things that I discovered this week…

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I went to the pool today. YAY! Suit from Aerie. 

1. As a reminder, deadlines are approaching for registering to vote. Here’s a helpful guide of all things you need to know because it’s your duty to get out and V O T E!

2. This week I learned about Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup (weed killer) and how traces of it can be found in our food, even after processing (yuck). Here’s a list of cereals and oat based foods to avoid where traces of Glyphosate were found.

3. For any New Girl fans, here’s a summary of why fans are still obsessed with Nick Miller, a man who “sets the bar so incredibly high and yet so unbelievably low for men.” Anyone Team Nick? I’m truly Team Schmidt but have a deep love for both Nick and Winston as well.

4. Down to Earth with Zac Efron is a new show on Netflix that I would highly recommend watching! It’s very informational and they do a great job of showcasing other nations who are kicking ass at being sustainable and how the U.S. is severely lacking in sustainable planet saving efforts.

5.  These two person banana cream pies sound SO delicious! I’m always looking for small sized desserts since I can’t take bulk bakes into work anymore.

6. I’m pretty new to clean beauty, but I’ve recently discovered Credo Beauty and I’m obsessed! It is so great to see a store taking a stand to only sell brands that have clean cosmetics. I’ve been tempted to try Beauty Counter as well, has anyone tried?

7. Has anyone else been watching, ‘These are actually cakes videos?” Well I have been watching them all week and I am *traumatized*. What is real and what is cake anymore?!

And on that note…have a wonderful week ahead!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Books of the Month: June 2020

Wow, SIX months of reading and I am SO close to my goal for the entire YEAR (My goal was 30 books total and I’m already at 28). I did not think I read as much this month, as I was taking 2 online courses that were job related but I guess I did read 5 books which is still on par. I cheated though, some of these were very quick reads! I am proud of all I accomplished this month in my life, since I stopped using social media for the month.

Godshot was a very heavy book that took me longer than expected to finish; set in a small California town going through a drought, this book details the coming of age story of Lacey May. It deals with a religious cult leader, female friendships, family and motherhood.

The Guest List was a classic ‘Who Done It’ murder involving a wedding party and the guests during a wedding set on an eerie island in off the coast Ireland. Interesting read, but I wouldn’t rush out to buy it.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird was a sweet book; Josie Silver stole my heart with One Day in December, and this one was no different. Lydia’s fiance, Freddie, dies in a freak accident and while she grieves his death, she finds a parallel life in her sleep where Freddie is still alive. A good option if you need a quick feel good.

Normal People was…okay? I’m not sure why there is so much hype around this book. It was good, but definitely not my favorite. No one in my book club liked it either, so I would say to pass on this if you’ve been thinking about it (I’m going to watch the Hulu show, I’ll keep you posted how it compares).

The Garden of Small Beginnings was a favorite. Years after Lili’s husband suddenly passes, she is starting to feel a sense of normalcy with her two kids, but she has to attend a gardening class for her job and everything turns upside down. There are also gardening tips throughout the book in between chapters, which are so cute. If you haven’t read Abbi Waxman (I also read Bookish Life of Nina Hill in April), I would really recommend!

Godshot: A Novel by Chelsea Bieker
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Overall for this month, I would recommend that you read The Garden of Small Beginnings, without a doubt, but if you can handle a heavier topic book, check out Godshot as well!
Next month, I’m planning to read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo and The Last Flight by Julie Clark. Feel free to join me reading either if you can, would love to hear your thoughts!
Sincerely,
Sara Ann
*I have linked all books through a local LA bookstore, Eso Won Books, that is black and veteran owned. I believe they ship nationwide, but I would encourage you to research black owned bookstores in your area to purchase

Sincerely Seven: Week 27

It was so nice having a three day weekend this past week, even though we sat around our apartment for most of it. I really have been thinking about trying to book some kind of trip so I can take a vacation, but with COVID on the rise again, I am too afraid to go anywhere, especially coming from Los Angeles. I also don’t want to take a week off work to sit around my apartment because who knows when it’ll be safe to go anywhere again.

On that somewhat depressing note, here are seven things that got me through this week, also including this very tasty patriotic donut.

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USA Donut from the always delicious, SK Donuts
  1. This 4 Cheese and Mushroom Lasagna might be my favorite recipe of all time. I also love most of the recipes from The Modern Proper, so would recommend checking out their blog!
  2. Who would you consider to be the most influential president? If you said Abe Lincoln, like literally everyone, you might want to watch this video, The Legacy of Abe Lincoln. It’s a bit long but very informative, looking at the way that history is written by the victors, not the losers, so often, half of the story isn’t told.
  3. I got to pick my Book of the Month book this week, I chose The Beauty in the Breaking by Michele Harper. Check out Book of the Month here, I would really recommend it if you’re a big reader! You get to choose from 5 books to select your book of the month for $14.99 and can choose add ons as well. I am a big fan, if you can’t tell.
  4. I LOVED this The Dissenters podcast episode with Sophia Bush. If you’re short on time, start around 27 minutes in, but I would encourage listening to the whole thing!
  5. I’ve been watching Padma Lakshmi’s new show, Taste The Nation, on Hulu and I would really recommend. It’s interesting to learn the origins of foods, and how American culture around food was formed.
  6. Here is an interesting article about politicizing the wearing of face masks which is creating a large problem and dehumanizing the issue at hand.
  7. Did anyone else spend their weekend watching Hamilton on Disney+? It was my first time ever seeing/hearing the songs and it was so great! Here is a great history fact guide that lets you know what did and didn’t really happen in Alexander Hamilton’s life that was interesting.

I hope your week went well and that you were able to safely celebrate the Fourth! Wear your masks and stay well this week ahead!

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