Saturday, December 28, 2013

Revelations and Resolutions

Hey everyone. The holidays have come and gone so I guess it is time to check back in. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday in whatever way you celebrate. We went out to dinner in the city for Christmas Eve and had a relaxing day at my brother's house for Christmas day. My brother took video of Delilah coming down and seeing all of her gifts under the tree and it was so adorable. She's so big now, I can't believe how quickly the time has passed. She was thoroughly spoiled by Santa and she was a happy camper. Now we can finally go back to normal, though with the new year creeping up on us I'm sure a lot of people have been making their resolutions and figuring out what they can do to improve their lives in the coming year. I'll get to all of that in a second, I just want to show you guys two catch up pics before I start get into all of that.

This is the only baking I did for the holidays. These are birthday cake truffles... basically funfetti cake pops (chocolate frosting) minus the pop. They have a thick chocolate coating that has a very satisfying *snap* when you bite into it. They are very rich but oh so good. I made one batch for my friend as a birthday/holiday combo gift. Otherwise I did no baking at all other than a batch of brownies for my office.

How awesome is this guy?! I was driving with my mom (well she was driving I was taking the pic) and we saw this guy driving around in his sweet ride waving to everyone! It wasn't snowing even though it looks like it was... dirty windshield plus instagram filter equals snowy looking pic. I thought this guy was too cool not to share.

That's all I have. The pics I have of Delilah aren't great (blurry) so sadly I have none of those to show you.

So... I'm NOT a resolution kind of girl. In fact, the only reason I titled the post Revelations and Resolutions is because it sounds good. I feel like resolutions are doomed for failure and I'm at a point right now where failure is not an option. I'm talking about my physical and emotional health and I have basically been working on a plan to improve both in the coming months.

As background, let me fill you in a little on my last few months. As you know, I've found out from my Allergist that I've developed quite a few environmental allergies that are pretty severe. We are well past the second frost (it's snowed several times for heaven's sake!) so my allergy symptoms should be gone but they are just as bad if not worse. In addition, I've been experiencing some symptoms that have led me to believe that I'm starting to develop chemical sensitivities which is pretty alarming. For example, I've been dying my hair since I was 16 years old. I have sensitive skin so once in a while I would have minor skin irritation during the process but otherwise nothing too bad. I've been going to the same salon for years and the last couple of times I've used a supposedly natural hair dye (I really don't think it is completely natural) and I've had a HORRIBLE reaction to it. Within hours of the treatment my scalp is unbearably itchy and continues to be itchy for WEEKS. I have bumps on my scalp and hairline and all I wanted to do for at least 2 weeks after the treatment was sit in the shower to soothe it. Similarly, I get random skin irritation that seems odd to me but perhaps it is from soap or detergent? Also, I won't get into the details because it's gross and upsetting, but cryptically I'll say I've had to sit in a room all day for two days that was sprayed with chemicals and I was SICK... massive headache and nausea and whatnot. Every time I clean with commercial cleaning products I get a headache within minutes. And my nausea is always at its worst when I eat processed, yucky foods.

Moral of the story is I'm exhausted, I'm uncomfortable in my own skin and I feel sick all the time. I'm an emotional wreck from all of this and I feel pretty lost and yucky. And I've decided to do something about it. I'm a pretty open book but my reasoning for sharing this plan is more for accountability. I need a place to check in and share what I've found and what I've accomplished.. what works and what doesn't. So I'm here today in what is already proving to be an epic post to share my plan with you and to put it out into the universe.

80/10/10 21 Day Challenge

I've tried the 80/10/10 diet once before and didn't even get through a whole day because I was overwhelmed and unprepared. As a refresher, the 80/10/10 diet is basically a low fat, raw vegan diet where you eat tons of fruit throughout the day and feast on a huge green salad or veggie meal for dinner. Obviously all is organic (read: chemical free for me) and it is supposed to be great for the digestive system and flushing out your body. I won't sit here and tell you that it is something that I think is a feasible diet for me for the long term, but I think a 21 day challenge will be perfect. I can detox, reset my digestion and fill my body with chemical free food as a complete system reset. 

I've mentioned before that I get most of my information from Megan Elizabeth and Fully Raw Kristina and I decided to do this challenge based on a video posted by Kristina. I'll be following along with her from January 5-25. I'm walking into this with a better understanding of what it will take and also knowing that I need to cut myself some slack. If I feel like all of that fruit is getting too sweet for me I'll switch out my afternoon fruit meal for another salad or veggie meal when necessary. After the challenge I'll probably transition back to a more Crazy Sexy Diet/Kris Carr way of eating (all organic of course). I'll be checking in with my progress for accountability and moral support ;)

Live Chemical Free/Form Holistic Habits

It became very clear to me that even if my inclination is incorrect, the dependence on chemical laden products is really unhealthy and can't be contributing anything useful to my life. Therefore, I've decided to completely get rid of products that contain chemicals and start to explore more all natural options as well as practices. I've been watching a lot of videos on the Holistic Habits YouTube channel and have found a lot of really easy ways to make simple changes. My biggest takeaways from her so far are the DIY deodorant (a reliable source told me it works really well!) and her hair tips. My hair has been a sad casualty of this health situation and my once thick head of hair has become noticeably (to me) thinner and it has been bothering me for a while. After watching her videos I've decided to use no heat on my hair for a while as well as employ some of her other strategies (check out the first video she ever posted for the rest). 

Getting rid of the chemicals may not help solve all of my problems but I can't imagine that it could in any way make anything worse. If anyone has any tips for all natural brands of soaps, detergents, shampoos/conditioners, etc. I'd be very grateful!

De-clutter My Life and Mind

I'm not a hoarder or anything but I definitely hold on to things that I don't need. I have so much crap in my room and it drives me crazy but I just never get rid of it. Well, this year my "spring cleaning" is about to get a lot more intense because I'm going to get rid of EVERYTHING that I don't need. The stuff, the clutter... it all causes chaos in my head and it is driving me nuts. The Virgo in me craves organization but I was never able to really commit to getting rid of all of the extra nonsense... until now. Living a minimalist life has always been appealing to me and I think that this overhaul is exactly what I need right now to get back on track. I know I'm making it seem way worse than it is... I'm not reaching hoarder status by any means... but I don't need to take up 3 shelves of my bookcase with grad school books that I will never read again. 

So there you have it, my major goals for the rest of the Winter and the Spring. I think it is unrealistic to plan any further than that until I see where I stand  with these three goals. I think they are definitely attainable and like I mentioned before I'll be coming here for accountability and to share what I've learned that I think you may like (products, etc.). You guys have always been amazingly supportive of me and I appreciate that so much! Sorry if this became a woe is me post as it was not the intention... I just wanted you guys to be prepared for what's coming your way over the next few months ;)

Do you guys have resolutions (or goals) for the upcoming months? Any plans for New Year's Eve? I'm just going to be hanging out since I'm not really a NYE party kind of gal so I'll be laying low.

If you've made it through this epic post thank you so much! Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pretty in Red

Hey everyone. Been a while, eh? I'm not going to offer any excuses... the long and short of it is that I basically didn't feel like blogging. Thanksgiving/Hanukkah were nice and quiet and now we are heading into the holiday season. I could definitely do without the cold but this is the beauty of living in NY I suppose... we get all 4 seasons.

Anyway, Delilah came into the studio last week and I took her annual holiday portraits and I couldn't in good conscience hold them back from you :) I can't believe how much she has grown up! We got some really cute shots so I figured I'd pop in and share them with you.

Being nice...

And being naughty ;)

Can you deal with how adorable she is? And I'm not just saying it because she's my niece :) I love her dress, she looks so freaking cute.

Anyway, there you have Delilah's 2013 Holiday Portraits. It's so fun to see her grow from year to year. 

I will do my best to come back and show you some holiday treats at some point when I stop being too lazy to make them. I think I'm going with a candy theme this year and will be making homemade chocolates and candy to give away. I guess we'll see how that works out.

Hope you have all been well!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Time Flies

My oh my, has it been a month already? Sorry guys, I know I kind of fell off the face of the earth but it has been crazy over here. My boss had a baby, my co-worker has gone back to school to earn a certification and then there's me. It seems to have evened out and my hours are back to normal but the first couple of weeks there were some extra hours thrown in and I was working a lot of evenings. Add some anxiety and depression in the mix as well as some computer problems and blogging just wasn't in the cards.

I'm hanging out at my brother's house today and tomorrow and I currently have Tyler cuddled up next to me. I decided to post a quick grocery haul from this morning and I have some old pics (digging into the archives for these - they've been posted before but I figured recycled pics are better than no pics) of some things I've been eating lately. Hopefully the yuck will pass soon and things will get back to normal but this is what I've got for you right now.

First up is my produce haul. Some chard, carrots, gala apples, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, pears and garlic.

Skinny Pop popcorn, Whole Foods Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (they finally brought it back!), frozen brussels sprouts to keep on hand, roasted cauliflower and broccoli (because I'm lazy and they had it) and some Tofutti so I can finally try those damn Pumpkin Bagels I got from Trader Joe's ages ago.

I immediately thought of Shen when I came across this freezer case and had to take a pic for her. Check out all of the different holiday roasts/stuffed faux turkey options. I was pretty impressed by the selection but walked out without any of them.

These are the kinds of things I've been eating lately:

Lots of oats. I love changing up the toppings and I've been using bananas lately, apples and of course the one pictured above is a great combo.

Lots of stir fries because they are quick and easy.

DIY burrito bowls.

I've been LOVING apples lately and really eating a lot of them. I'm going to cook up the chard with some garlic, a teensy bit of tamari, some onions and some nooch and eat that with brown rice or quinoa and some mashed cauliflower. I'm going to try moving back toward Crazy Sexy Diet type eating for the winter since I get sick so easily (I've had a cough for two months and it won't go away!) so hopefully that will help me stay healthy and maybe even improve my mood.

Things have been the same otherwise. Delilah turns three next week, I can't believe how quickly the time has gone! Now it's cuddle time with Tyler.

I hope you've all been well!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Update Time

Hey everyone! Jeez, I didn't realize how long it has been since I've updated. I guess because nothing has really been going on? Or at least just nothing that I find interesting but I guess that is subjective? I have a feeling this update will turn out to be longer than I expect, but that's ok I guess!

OK, so up first, this is long overdue! Ingrid was such a sweetheart and sent me a really sweet birthday gift!

First, how adorable is this card?! This is nerd alert central and I'm totally in love with it!

The packaging was so pretty I didn't want to ruin it!

So here is the beautiful bracelet and the hilarious lip balm that Ingrid sent me! I love them both, thank you so so much Ingrid!!

OK, so I guess the Virgo/Type A/OCD is about to come out because I'm about to categorize my post :X

Health Update

OK, so not too much to update here. I'm on a shitty medicine that I hate but I'm going to speak to my Dr. about it the next time I go in to see if there is anything else I can switch to. 

In more interesting(?) news, my allergist completely blew my mind today. Like seriously needed to take a minute to recover from how gross the info was. And because I'm the kind of person that says "ew this is gross, try it" I'm going to share this info with you. 

Remember how I told you I was tested for a cockroach allergy as part of the standard airborne allergens testing for the Northeast? I must have hallucinated that he said I wasn't allergic because it turns out I'M ALLERGIC TO FUCKING COCKROACHES! Ok, so yeah that's gross and it took me a minute to soak that in but then I was like ok, I don't have roaches in my house or anything so I guess I'm ok? And he asked me if I ate chocolate and I said yes and then he told me that it is possible I'm ingesting tiny amounts of roaches. Digest that one for a second, let it soak in. He said processed chocolate but when I looked it up (as you know I would) it said that it can be traced back to the bean. And it's not just chocolate... it's fruit, wheat and other stuff. But honestly if you think about it... it's not a huge surprise considering all of that stuff comes from nature!! It is not my intention to freak everyone out, I just thought it was interesting information so please don't be freaked or grossed out!

Is your mind blown? Luckily my LONG allergy season is almost over and so the only allergies I'll have to deal with are my cat and cockroach allergies. I am debating trying allergy shots next year or the year after but I don't know. Has anyone ever heard anything about allergy shots? Are they gross like flu shots or is a good idea to just try and get rid of the seasonal allergies that take me out for 8 months of the year?

What I'm Listening To

I don't get into music too much on my blog but I figured that I'd kind of give you a peek into what is filling my ears lately. I don't think I've ever mentioned it here (or in blogs past) but I am a HUGE Metallica fan. Starting in high school they were one of my absolute favorite bands and while I haven't been listening to them as much in the past years, every time I play through my VERY extensive Metallica music library I'm reminded of how amazing they are. They've shown up on a lot of radio shows and podcasts lately as they have released a movie to theaters so listening to all of the interviews has made me feel very nostalgic and I've been in Metallica mode for the last couple of weeks. I was going to see the movie but then I heard that there's a lot of footage of a kid getting his ass kicked in between footage of a live show and I just don't think I can deal with that so I'll probably pass. I checked out the soundtrack on iTunes though and the sound quality of the live performances is INCREDIBLE. If you are a fan of theirs at all I definitely recommend checking out the soundtrack.

They have also illustrated another point I've made a million times in my life and one reason I hate men and that is because the older they get the better looking they are. It's really damn annoying that men just age really gracefully and look BETTER as they age. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. 

So when I tell you that James Hetfield looks like this at the age of 50 you get my point. NOT. FAIR.

Anyway, what kind of music do you listen to? Who are some of your favorite artists? I'm a hard rock girl at my core and topping my list are Metallica, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, the Deftones, Tool and many more.

I've also been trying to expand my podcast horizons so I've started bingeing on episodes of the Nerdist Podcast.

It's hosted by Chris Hardwick (you may remember him from the show "Singled Out" on MTV) and he talks all things nerdy with TONS of different guests. He's done like 400 episodes or something crazy and has amazing people from Metallica to Tegan & Sara to Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper!! and math nerd!) to Kevin Smith etc, etc. So far my absolute favorite episode other than Metallica was the Alton Brown episode!! If you are a podcast enthusiast I definitely recommend you listen to the Alton Brown episode. He is so interesting and hearing him curse was kind of amazing. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for this podcast (bonus points if you get that reference).

What I'm Watching

So I'm sure that this will come as no surprise but I've been watching the Weather Channel pretty exclusively ;) There is a show on there called Prospectors and I LOVE that show. I've seen every episode a million times (thanks On Demand!) and it's basically about a group of gemstone miners that mine their claims in the Colorado mountains. It's such a dangerous job but at the same time I would really love to just drop everything and move to the mountains and mine for gems. When I was a kid I collected rocks and gems (how the hell did I NOT study geology in school the first time around?! The signs were all there) so I've always had an interest in it and the show just brought all of that back up for me :) Luckily, I do live in a state where you can mine for certain gemstones (Garnet and Herkimer Diamonds specifically) as well as gold so I'm hoping to plan a fun weekend trip upstate in the spring the check out some mines! Nerd Alert right there!

What I'm Reading

Finally, I picked up a book I've been meaning to read for a long time:

Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live! My goal is to really try to use my diet as my main "medicine" and since I decided to give myself a break when it comes to my diet I've been feeling extra crappy so I decided that I'm going to try following this plan. To break it down to it's bare bones explanation, your diet consists mainly for fresh fruit and veggies (with a goal of 1 lb raw and 1 lb cooked veggies daily) supplemented with beans, nuts and seeds. There are no added oils, salts or sugars either. Supposedly just a few weeks can make a huge difference in your health so I'm really excited to get started!

Has anyone tried Eat to Live? How did you feel?

Alright, I guess that is my boring life right now :) I am sure I'll be posting more of my food as I start Eat to Live so stay tuned for that! I hope you have all been well over the past few weeks!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dirty 30

Hey everyone! Well, the day has come and gone and I've thoroughly celebrated my 30th birthday. I'm exhausted and I didn't take a single photo of the festivities but I assure you that my family and friends made me feel very special, spoiled and loved.

The celebration began on Saturday night with a beautiful birthday dinner at a fun new Mexican restaurant near my house. The coconut margaritas flowed (I had just short of two) and let me tell you... they were DELICIOUS. The food was incredible but the company was the best part. Just so you understand how hilarious my mom is, she told me before we went "I even made sure to get you a cute waiter." To which I responded with hysterical laughter and a thank you. And she delivered, he was indeed cute although a little young ha! Anyway, it was a really lovely evening.

Then yesterday was the big day and I think some it brought me some luck! We had some yummy breakfast in the morning and then after that I was on a mission. I was in desperate need of some good clothes for the fall (I didn't even have one pair of jeans that wasn't ripped beyond repair... I wear my clothes until they die) and I don't know about all of you but a trip to the store for jeans rarely ends without tears. Well let me tell you, not only did I get two pairs of jeans, but I also got a pair of nice black cargos for running errands, black pants for work, and a new denim skirt. The best part was NO TEARS!!! And my mom bought them all for my birthday. Let me assure you I felt like a spoiled little brat but it felt damn good, ha! And today my mission was tops and I bought $100 worth of tops from Old Navy for less than $50. Being thrifty is awesome.

There were a few other things I got for my bday that I thought you guys would like to see. I didn't get a Vitamix (I mean $500 is a bit steep, no?) but I did get:

a Ninja Professional Blender!!! I finally got my grubby paws on a high speed blender and I can't wait to play! It's going to be great to make a smoothie and not have to do the blender dance ;)

How freaking adorable is this owl tote bag?! I'm so excited about it! It also came with a makeup bag inside... it's going to be so fun to use! I love the blue too, it's so pretty.

There was also a lot of resting involved in between all of the festivities since I'm still feeling a bit crappy. I'm getting a little concerned that I'm getting headaches associated with spinal fluid leaks since they seem to be better when I lay down but I'm going to give it a few more days before I panic :)

So today I woke up on a mission. I needed to get a gift for a baby shower (accomplished) and I wanted to run to Trader Joe's to see what they had. Let me tell you my friends... Trader Joe's looked like a pumpkin threw up/exploded/whatever graphic image you prefer(ed) all over and IT WAS AMAZING!!! They have pumpkin everything now. Pumpkin mixes for everything (waffles, pancakes, bars, pies, loaves, scones, etc.), pumpkin desserts in the freezer, pumpkin snacks, pumpkin drink mixes, pumpkin butter. It was so festive! I will have to look at the ingredients of some of them more to see if there are any vegan friendly options but it was so fun and really great to see all of the pumpkin yumminess!

To be a bit nostalgic, here's a mini haul from Trader Joe's. Not too much but a little taste of what I'll be eating.

Yay, spaghetti squash!! I'll be making that with cauliflower cream sauce and some zucchini noodles mixed in. I have been craving pineapple like crazy lately (hence the pineapple spears)... which means I'm probably missing out on whatever vitamins/minerals it is rich in... I should check that out.

And because tis the season for eating heavy foods, I got some heavy foods. I saw the tots and figured what the hell. It is a huge bag too, so it's going to last a while. I saw the TJs version of Gardein faux chick'n tenders for like half the price so I grabbed those too... because who can resist a deal? Not this Jew (sorry I make Jew jokes at my own expense all the time. It's how I do). I was also happy to see the triumphant return of the Everything Crackers and picked up a box of those. After testing negative for Celiac and a wheat allergy, I'm going to be more lenient on the wheat because dammit it's delicious.

So that's what I've got for you. I'm 30, and I feel exactly the same ;) I had a really special weekend and I feel blessed to have amazing people around me. I'm excited to start making changes and to make my 30s amazing :) And I'm bringing all of you along for the ride!

I hope you all had a great weekend!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Peek in My Kitchen

Hey everyone. Long time no see! It has been a very busy week with doctors and whatnot and then last Wednesday I had to have a spinal tap done. While it wasn't fun by any means it wasn't as horrific as I thought it would be. The recovery takes a few weeks so you basically don't spring a leak of fluid from your spine. I go to work and lay down basically lol. I got my results and what's going on is pretty benign so it's all good, just need to take a medication to restore some balance (cryptic I know but it is what it is). Of everything the med has been the biggest annoyance and has basically knocked me on my ass. It makes me VERY tired, sometimes dizzy and my appetite is way down. Supposedly it should get better as I get used to it though. Anyway, that's the fun stuff that I've been doing since my last post ;) Haha what a perfect lead up for my birthday this weekend.

Anyway, there hasn't been much coming out of my kitchen since I have a very small appetite right now but there are a few things I can show you. I know inquiring minds want to know ;)

I'm usually somewhat modest with my baked creations but there is no room for modesty with what happened in that picture above. I'm very proud of these beauties. My coworker's birthday was on the 10th and one thing I pride myself on is customizing everyone's birthday treats to their personal tastes. I know she loves fresh fruit in her treats so I made an inside out cupcake with fresh strawberries! I made large chocolate cupcakes with I split open and filled with some frosting, sliced strawberries, more frosting and topped with the top half of the cupcake. I then poured some thick chocolate ganache (I can't remember what recipe I used!!!), added a little more frosting and a whole fresh strawberry. These things are ridiculous!

Yesterday I had my annual physical with my Primary Care Physician. After that I did some grocery shopping at Fairway and came home to do some cooking. Above I used every veggie in my house to make a huge batch of Cauliflower Fried "Rice." I processed a head of cauliflower to look like rice and basically stir fried it with zucchini, broccoli, onion, carrot, garlic and bok choy. There is a lot of this stuff and it is very delicious! I'll probably make some soup out of it too if it continues to be this chilly.

I didn't get a lot from Fairway but these bars are definitely noteworthy. I received one of these Bobo's Oat Bars in a Care Package Swap a few years ago in the maple pecan flavor and it was delicious. I've since tried the Chocolate Almond flavor and it was even more delicious! They are hard to find some when I saw them I grabbed a Chocolate Almond and a Coconut! I had never seen the coconut so I'm excited to try it. These will be a good snack to eat when I'm not hungry since they are calorie dense and compact. These were a very good find.

You know how I feel about the pickle barrels! I only got two half sours though since I don't know how many I'll get through and I don't like wasting stuff. Other notable purchases were oranges (yay!), some cut pineapple and some Smart Water. Something I need to watch with my new meds is that they cause electrolyte imbalance and I'm not into Gatorade so I'm going to try and drink a liter of Smart Water every day to keep all that straight.

That's all I've got for you now. Hopefully I'll be able to post a more fun update in a bit when I'm feeling normal again. I'll definitely have some yummy fall meals to show you and I definitely think some Garlic Soup will be on the menu soon.

Hope you've all been well this week. I've been having fun reading all of the MoFo posts :) I'm looking forward to celebrating my 30th with my family this weekend. From what I understand the place we are going to makes a mean Coconut margarita. Just sayin ;)

Monday, September 9, 2013

30 At 30

As of today I am less than two weeks away from my 30th Birthday. It is my understanding that turning the "big 3-0" is a bit overwhelming to most. Believe it or not I'm actually looking forward to my 30s. I feel like it is a clean slate for me. New decade, new Sarah. I'm looking forward to trying new things and making big changes.

I've decided to make a list of 30 things I would like to do in my 30s. A bucket list of sorts and it ranges from small goals to big dreams. I figured I would share my list with you and I'll be able to check things off my list here.

Sarah's 30 At 30 List

1. Go back to school and start a new career.

For about the past year or so I have been thinking about what I truly want to do with the rest of my life. My current job is fine, but it's not my passion.  Part of the problem was that I didn't know what my dream was. Well, after some soul searching I've decided that I want to go back to school to study Geology. I'm not sure where in that field I will end up but there are so many different parts of the field that fascinate me and I'm looking forward to exploring it more. I'm planning on doing this within the next few years (assuming I can get in to a program!).

2. Move out of NY.

I LOVE NY. But NY is expensive and can be overwhelming. I don't know where I want to end up but I know that I want to start a new life somewhere else. My guess is that a move will occur with a new job but I've still got a few years left in NY as I wouldn't move until after I go back to school.

3. Travel.

Some of my most amazing life experiences have come from travel and it has been a long time since I've done any traveling and exploring. I'm hoping that I can do some more traveling in my 30s. I'm especially hoping to get to Hawaii... and who knows, maybe my new career will bring me there in the future ;) I would also really love to get to Scandinavia and fulfill that dream that I've had since I was 13 years old.

4. Learn how to REALLY do my hair.

This one probably seems silly but I don't know how to properly do ANY hair styles. I basically dry my hair and that's it. No style, no product, nothing. I've always wanted to learn how to do my hair and finally have some variety in my styling and I think now is the time to do it. I'm a big fan of beachy waves (pictured above) and I'd like to be able to do that whenever I feel like it :) Like I said, New decade, new Sarah.

5. Learn how to do makeup.

Along the same lines I really want to learn how to do my makeup. I rarely wear makeup and when I do it is very natural. I want to learn how to use makeup to flatter my features and so I can present myself in the best possible way. Plus, makeup can be fun!!

6. Reclaim my health.

The last few years of my 20s have been tough as I've been experiencing some health problems. I am going to turn this around and reclaim my health, my vibrance and passion for life through a balance of diet, exercise, rest and pursuing my passions. I am going to work on my physical, mental and spiritual health and on not sweating the small stuff. Positivity and optimism are key.

7. Positive Self Image.

I have a history of being unkind to myself in terms of how I view myself. It's easy to fall into a cycle of oh man I'm 30 and this is all I have to show for it. It's time to break the cycle and embrace the things I do well and what I love about myself.

8. Take More Risks.

Maybe it's because I'm a Virgo, maybe it's my anxiety, or maybe it's just because I think I know better, but I'm not a risk taker by any means. I think this also means I miss out on a lot beautiful experiences. It's time to take some risks and experience more.

9. Develop a personal style and buy a new wardrobe.

Rounding out the hair, makeup, clothing trifecta... I would like to explore and discover my personal style and build a wardrobe reflecting that style. Right now I'm wearing the same clothes year after year... casual and neutral pieces that do not represent any style or personality. I see clothes that I like all the time but never buy anything new unless I absolutely need it.

10. Learn how to say NO without feeling guilty.

I have a very hard time saying no to people. I end up doing things I don't want to do and taking time away from doing the things that I want to do. If I do say no I inevitably wind up feeling guilty. It's ok to say no. 

11. Get out into nature more.

Last year I went hiking with my friends and we had a beautiful picnic on the beach. It was a really amazing day and thinking about it makes me wish I would do it more often. It's time to stop wishing and to just go out and do it. I think a career in Geology will certainly help get me into nature as well and I'm definitely looking forward to it!

12. Create my dream home.

I absolutely can't wait to have to opportunity to create a home for myself. It is important to have your own space and I plan on making my space cozy and homey and the perfect place to relax and recharge :)

13. Maintain regular yoga practice.

Unfortunately I have not been able to consistently practice yoga but when I do I can feel huge physical, mental and emotional improvements. I feel open and balanced and happier. I love yoga and I want to make it a regular part of my routine.

14. Try new "workouts."

I'm sure that my friends that have been reading for a while now know that I am not really a weight machine kind of girl. I love workouts that don't seem like workouts. I trained in kickboxing for about 6 years and loved it but sadly the impact has become too much. I want to find new workouts in my 30s that are low impact but still high in fun and intensity. I've always wanted to try paddle boarding, indoor rock climbing and surfing. This will also bring me out into nature ;)

15. Contribute money and/or time to charity.

Charity has always been a big deal for me but sadly I've never been in a position to give sizable donations. I will figure out ways to give back by either volunteering my time and donating some money to people (or animals) that really need it. Even small things like paying for someone's meal in a restaurant or bringing hot coffee to people working outside in the cold can make a difference.

16. Get more organized.

Right now I maintain organized chaos.  I know where everything is but there is no rhyme or reason as to how everything is organized. I'm a Virgo, I am good at organizing... I'm just bad at keeping things organized. I also want to be more of a minimalist and really only keep things that I need.

17. Go to comedy shows.

I'm a huge fan of comedy and love watching comedy specials on TV.  For some reason it never occurred to me to go out and see comedy acts at comedy clubs and to see my favorite comedians when they come into town (probably because I'm a homebody). I think comedy shows are a great way for me to get out and enjoy a night out on the town while avoiding the typical bar/club scene that I don't like. I'm starting this in December with the Impractical Jokers live show :)

18. Unplug

I am VERY connected. I have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my blog. I check my e-mails more times a day than I can count. I answer texts immediately. It's completely unnecessary and causing me to miss out on being in the moment. I'm going to make a very conscious effort to be more unplugged and less dependent on technology in my 30s.

19. Pay off my student loans.

I'm still paying off my student loans and it seems like I will be paying them off forever. I will pay my loans back more aggressively once I am in the position to put more money towards it every month (after I begin a new career hopefully!). I will also be making changes that will cut other bills every month and that difference can also go toward paying off my loans.

20. Complete DIY projects.

I would like to save money by completing some DIY projects that I have in mind. Sometimes it is less expensive to do things yourself ;) It will also allow me to start putting touches of my style into my living space and work space.

21. Attend a beach bonfire.

Why not?

22. Host parties.

I love hosting parties. Once I have my own space I would love to host a party every month. 

23. Participate in a holiday cookie swap!

I've helped my mom bake for her cookie swaps but I've never participated in one on my own! I think it would be so fun to get together a group of friends to have a swap every year. I should get on that ;)

24. Overcome my shyness.

As I've mentioned before I'm a bit of a homebody and that can be partially due to the fact that I'm incredibly shy and an introvert. I've touched upon it in previous items of this list but I'm also planning on making an effort of overcome being shy and allowing myself to put myself out there to meet new people and put myself in new situations.

25. Take photos of things that make me happy.

Although I work in a photography studio I don't really do too much photography anymore. Maybe I'm burnt out or maybe I just haven't been inspired lately. Starting a photo project where I take pictures of things that make me happy is great for so many different reasons. I forces me to pay attention to what's around me and find beauty in my surroundings. I'll be consciously looking for things that make me happy which can never be a bad thing!

26. Participate in fun 5ks.

I'm not a huge fan of running but a great way to get into it is to train for FUN 5k runs like the Color Run and Run For Your Lives. I'd love to run in these at some point.

27. Start a podcast/YouTube Channel.

I've wanted to start a podcast for a while now and eventually would like to start a YouTube channel. It's just a matter of finding someone to be my partner in crime but it is a goal for my 30s for sure!

28. Get a new car.

My 1998 Altima has treated me well but I don't think it's going to last much longer!

29. Treat myself to a massage once a month.

It is nice to reward yourself with nice things and this will be doing double duty by helping relieve the insane tension that builds up in my neck.

30. Live a greener life.

In my 30s I'm going to make a greater effort to be more "green" and environmentally conscious.


So those are my 30 goals for the next decade of my life. I think it is a pretty good list and will definitely help me to be happier, healthier and more adventurous in my 30s.

What are some of the items on your bucket list?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are?

Alright friends, this is where I start to get a little nerdy ;) Have you ever seen the show Who Do You Think You Are on TLC? It is a really interesting show where celebrities do genealogical searches of their family trees and find out information about their ancestors. For example, Chelsea Handler's grandfather was a reluctant soldier for the German army in WWII who was later captured in France and taken to the US. The significance to her family was that she was actually raised Jewish and was curious to know her grandfather's role in the German army. She found out he was not a Nazi enthusiast and was basically going through to motions so he and his family would not be harmed. Interesting stuff right?

Gratuitous picture of me as a cute little kid ;)

I think it is impossible to watch this show and not be interesting in finding out a little more about your family history. I have always been interested in my family history but have never gotten too much information out of my parents. All of my grandparents passed away when I was young: my maternal grandfather when I was only 2 months old, my paternal grandparents when I was 6 and 7 years old and my maternal grandmother when I was 11. I do have memories with all of my grandparents except my maternal grandfather. It is interesting because whenever I would see a picture of him when I was younger I would feel a connection to him even though I never knew him. After watching this show I was determined to find out any information I possibly could about him and his family.

I signed up for a free 14 day trial at and found out as much as I could using the documents available to me. There wasn't much info about my father's family since their records are International (which they charge a hefty premium fee to access) so I trudged along to find out more about my maternal grandfather.

They didn't have a ton of information about him but it did remind me that he was in the Navy. They had no specific records so I don't know too much but my mom was able to tell me that he was a medic in the Navy. The only other info I could find out was that he served from 1944-1946.

While I didn't find out a ton of information about my Grandfather using ancestry, I did find some information about his parents, my great grandparents! I never knew them either obviously but it was so interesting to find out some info! I was named (middle name) after my great grandmother (Anna, my middle name is Ann) and I found out that my great grandfather was one of SEVEN children! Not only that, but I found out that he was a twin AND he had a set of twin sisters. That's two sets of twins. When I brought all of this information to my mom she was definitely surprised that I found all of that info and then laughed and confirmed that twins do run in the family. Which freaked me out, haha! I am not sure how I feel about having kids myself and the chance that I could have twins is definitely something to keep in mind ;)

Cool stuff huh?! Well I'm not done ;) After my search on Ancestry I decided to bust out the bins of family photos that I had because I was determined to figure out why I feel this connection to my grandfather that I only met a few times as a newborn. So I started sifting and found some amazing pics which I will share in a minute. The other document that I found was really short but helped me gather quite a bit of info. It was a really great find!

The document I found was an Employment letter from the last company he worked for before he passed. In this letter I found out he had a Master's degree in Engineering (I'm the only one in his blood line that I know of that has a Master's degree) and his job was basically TO BUILD BAKERIES. My grandfather built bakeries. Seriously. He built bakeries all over the world in fact. It may seem silly but this information blew my mind since it has been my dream since I was 13 years old (so that is about 17 years my friends) to own a bakery. And the one part about owning a bakery that has always baffled me is how the hell to set it up and build it. I'm not a logistics girl haha. To think that my grandfather could have built me my dream bakery is crazy to me. My mom confirmed all of this info for me and told me he was very smart and very well respected which made me very happy.

So it's not a ton of info but it's a lot more than I knew before. Genealogy is very interesting to me and hopefully one day I'll have the resources to find out more about both sides of the family. I am very lucky though because at a recent family reunion I was given discs of my mother's maternal grandmother telling stories of her life and that is an amazing piece of family history to have. My maternal grandmother's family has a very interesting story as well but that's for another day :)

I will leave you with my all time favorite photo of my grandfather that I found while sifting through boxes of family photos:

He looks like a total bad ass here! I love love love this photo :)

So there you go, a little bit of nerdiness for your weekend :) I definitely encourage you guys to check out the show because it is incredibly interesting. Maybe it'll help inspire you to find out a little more about where you came from!

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Hey everyone, I'm back with another post already! I just have a lot of fun things to show you! First, while I was at my brother's house for the week, my mail carrier spoiled me rotten! I came home to find so many amazing things waiting for me :)

First, I got my tickets to see the guys from Impractical Jokers (AKA The Tenderloins - yes that is the name of the comedy troupe) and I'm SO EXCITED!!! I've expressed how much I love the show and their sketches and podcasts in the past and I've missed two live shows already so I was not going to miss this one. I'll be going with a friend in December!

The other super fun thing I found waiting for me was my first Vegan Cuts Beauty Box! It certainly did not disappoint!

So here's what was in it:

Sunology sunscreen for the face and body. Both of which are SPF 50 which is good for my pale skin.

NCLA Self Adhesive nail wraps in fun colors and patterns.

Fanciful Fox organic Peach tinted Lip Balm.

Relogy acne spot treatment.

Lip Glosserie Cherry Almond moisturizing body lotion.

Schmidt's all natural deodorant in Bergamot & Lime scent.

Perennial Soaps bar of soap.

So when I opened the box the smell was so lovely! There's a lot of yummy smelling stuff in here :) So far all I've tried is the tinted lip balm (love it!) and the Cherry Almond lotion. This stuff smells incredible and made my skin so soft! It's not greasy either which is really nice.  I did smell the Schmidt's deodorant and it smells like the most incredible fresh lime sorbet! Can't wait to try this one!

So that's my box for August! I've decided to stay signed up for September as a birthday gift for myself :) Can't wait to see next month's haul.

OK so that's the fun stuff I've gotten in the mail this week! Here's a few more critter pics from the rest of my stay. I'm home now, I miss them already!

Can you deal with Tyler's cute little legs and paws crossed on my keyboard?!

Eddie in his favorite spot. Have to get this pic every time I go :) 

I don't know why but I love this one. It's the top of his head but it's so damn cute.

That's all for tonight! I'll be back sometime next week with something nerdy, I promise.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crazy for Kitties and Some Puppy Love

Hey everyone! Thank you so much for checking out my new space! As you can see I've decided to jump ship back to Blogger and also change the feel of the blog. I've been exploring more of my nerdy interests lately and it has been making me very happy so I figured I'd expand my blog to focus more on that. I don't plan on posting more than once or twice a week and while I may post about food once in a while it definitely will not be the main focus of my blog anymore. I'll probably only post about it when I have a great meal I feel like I have to show off ;)

For this first post I figured I'd bribe you into staying by showing off the cutie pies I've been babysitting this weekend :) All of my friends that have been reading for a while will recognize these cuddle bugs.

First up we have sweet little Tyler! He's my little shadow, he follows me everywhere. 

He is a very sleepy baby. His favorite thing to do is cuddle in bed. When I have friends over  at night he basically chases them out by giving a sad puppy face and waiting by the stairs so they'll get the hint that he wants them to leave so we can cuddle. It's hilarious because most of the time it works. Oh and for the record... his favorite place to sleep is right smack in the middle of the bed. Really Tyler?

Striking a pose!

The only pic I have of Eddie so far. He's such a handsome cat. He's very cuddly too.

One of my favorite pictures I've taken of Jack! She's gotten so much more affectionate too. She has been very cuddly and purrs so loud when I pet her.

I hope my plan worked and that you will stick around! Have a great night!