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?