Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Happy New Year!
Monday, December 29, 2014
I know Christmas has come and gone and everyone has already taken down their stockings, lights, and trees but I am just not ready to see it go! It comes so fast and then - BOOM - it's gone. It's my favorite time of the year and this year, I feel like I got the shit end of the stick since I got sick two weeks before Christmas and it was one of those awful colds that JUST DON'T LET GO!
Oh well. I can't be bitter. I thankfully started to feel better the weekend before Christmas so I guess I can't be too upset. Still, I missed a couple parties and was just not as into the spirit as I usually am due to feeling so terrible. Ugh!
To make up for it, I am posting about this year's Christmas dress!
Friday, December 26, 2014
So I love Casetify. What's Casetify? Well, it's a pretty rockin' place to customize cases for your phones, tablets, etc - WITH YOUR OWN PHOTOS! You can cover your iPhone/Android/whatever with your own photos or, if you're not photo-savvy, you can choose a funky layout they have created in their galleries. Not only are you protecting your device, you get to carry around your photos and memories. It's like a travel size photo album!
|My new case for my new iPhone 6 with memories from 2014!|
So, I started making Casetify cases for my phone (when I discovered them a year ago they were called Casetagram). I made one last year that included my favorite snapshots from the year. I decided to do it again this year as I eagerly awaited the delivery of my iPhone 6 (it FINALLY arrived over 3 weeks after ordering - phew! Talk about anticipation!).
Then I thought of something even BETTER. I knew I loved Casetify - I bet others would, too! I decided to make a bunch of my friends and loved ones a case for Christmas. Last year, I had made Red one for her birthday and she loved it. This year, I decided both my sisters and Cody's mom deserved one as well!
Monday, December 22, 2014
I got stuck with what people apparently call Travel Flu a couple weeks back. I traveled to Las Vegas (again, I know!) the first week of December for a conference EMC had a booth sponsorship with and upon my return got very sick! It was no fun! I had to cancel some of my holiday festivities and zombie'd my way through the others.
After being home sick for 2 1/2 days, wasting a perfectly good weekend on the couch with my tissues and chicken soup, and feeling oh-so-gross without being to the gym or yoga in 2 weeks (1 week due to traveling, 2nd due to sickness - yay!), I started to feel better.
I made it back into the office the following Monday and knew just what to wear to make me feel back to my normal self - my latest purchase from Capsule Vintage!
Friday, December 19, 2014
If you're anything like me, you love and appreciate an easy recipe. Especially when I am hosting - from a typical Friday night hangout to a whopping dinner party - I look for easy, simple, time-saving recipes and ideas so that I can spend minimal time in the kitchen (getting frustrated with myself in the process) and more time with my guests (also more time EATING the food I just made).
With next week being Christmas (SO EXCITED!), I thought I'd share one of my go-to appetizers to make your parties a hit without all the time and effort! Pigs in a blanket are small, flaky, delicious, and perfect as a finger food or as a starter for your guests to munch on before the main course.
Whenever I see the dreaded "bring whatever you want!" on an invite to a party, I typically stick to one or two things: some kind of dip or these baby weenies!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Have you guys ever watched an episode of Gourmet Holiday on the QVC? Now, I know QVC is known for their corny fashion shows catered to the stay-at-home moms and housewives of the world but have you ever tuned into the food side of QVC?
Well, I have.
Many a night this holiday season, Cody has come home to find me watching Gourmet Holiday. He just looks at the TV then back at me and asks, "Really, Sara? Really?"
I can't help it, you guys! I flip through the channels, pause when I see food, and suddenly I am sucked in! Even more so, I want their job.
Monday, December 15, 2014
What I want to do today is highlight 14 of my favoite finds/moments/experiences/items from 2014 - get it? The 14 from '14? Sorry, that was my attempt at being clever.
They're in no particular order (no playing favorites now!) and some may be repetitive to other blog posts so I apologize in advance if you're thinking "OKAY SARA, WE GET IT!" with some of them. So without further ado, let's get this party started!
1. EMC World in Las Vegas, May 5-8
This trip was full of so many firsts for me. The only other time I have been on an airplane was when I was 7 so going to Vegas for this work event was CRAZY. Luckily, Cody came along. EMC employees usually bring spouses to Vegas for our annual conference. While we work, they get to play, but hey, it's a free hotel stay for them so why not? Cody had so much fun exploring (he sent me constant selfies on his adventures while I was stuck working our booth) and I learned SO MUCH. I conquered a lot of fears and was very proud of myself for accomplishing the whole thing: the airplane, embracing a new place and experience, all of it! Cody and I had a great time together as well. I did work for most of it but we explored at night. We are definitely looking forward to the next EMC World in 2015!
2. One Pot Pastas (aka Wonderpots)
One thing I made a lot of this year were one pot pastas. TELL ME you've heard about this concept. Google it and you can probably find a plethora of recipes. Basically, a one pot pasta is a recipe that makes it possible to cook EVERYTHING together in one pot: the pasta, the sauce, the add-ins, all of it. Insanity, right? I've made all kinds of one pot pastas: Italian, Alfredo, primavera, lo mein, chili mac, taco pasta, scampi, all the pasta you can name! I originally discovered the idea of a one pot pasta on BuzzFeed. They listed 21 recipes and I think I have made about half of them by now. They're just so easy and convenient and most only take 30 minutes, which makes weeknight meals super simple!
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Although this will be Cody's and my 4th Christmas together, it is our 1st holiday season living together. Shit, that seems crazy to think! 4 Christmas seasons? Holy Moses. I know that is small potatoes to some but that feels like such a long time!
Since moving in together this fall, one of the things I was super excited about was getting a Christmas tree and getting to decorate it with our own ornaments and memories. Other than my family trees growing up, I have never actually gotten a Christmas tree for myself. I've always either lived in too tiny of an apartment or been so busy that it seemed pointless to invest in a tree and ornaments. It is also the first for Cody. So we have been pretty excited about it (not so much about the whopping Target charge after we picked out a bunch of ornaments, garland, stockings, and decoration though!).
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Not sure about you, but to me, it is insane that it's already December! I feel like we all have a moment of disbelief when another month goes by quicker than the last but, I mean, my pumpkins are still on my front steps, alive and well. I pass them everyday and think that I should probably get rid of them but they're still there. Not sure what's holding me back. Is it just laziness? Or the sadness of saying goodbye to the fall? Hmm...
It's just WEIRD to be done with fall and into winter. Goodbye pumpkins, falling leaves, Thanksgiving, and apple cider! Hello gingerbread, snow, icy roads, and Christmas!
Don't get me wrong, I am PUMPED for Christmas and all that comes with it. A part of me is still clinging to that fall feeling, though. Feelings aside, my pantry is still in fall mode. I've still got a container of pumpkin pie spice, a bag of pumpkin spice chips, half a jug of apple cider (hmm, that should probably be tossed, now that I think of it...), and I bet there's still a can of pumpkin puree in there somewhere. What am I supposed to do with all those fall ingredients?
Friday, December 5, 2014
Every year, EMC gets into the holiday spirit by giving to those in need. Every quarter my company sponsors a charitable activity (Charity Water in the summer, food drive in the fall, etc.) but my favorite one comes in the winter for the holidays - the Snowman Drive.
What's a Snowman Drive? Well, my friends, it's a way of bringing gifts to children in the area. Social workers provide EMC essentially with kids' wishlists and EMC employees play the role of Santa Claus. They print each child's name, age, clothing and shoe size down on a card along with some items they want for the holidays and the employees take as many as they want to shop for.
Wait - so I can shop AND do it for a great cause? Yes, please!
In my two winters with EMC I have taken two cards for each drive. Last year I shopped for a little girl and a little boy. This year, I selected two little girls - a two year old and a six year old. I tend to prefer selecting girls since I love buying feminine clothes, Barbie dolls, and all things girlie but it was fun picking out race cars and sneakers last year for the little boy I had as well.
Then comes the challenge - where can I go shopping for these little ladies? I wanted to get them AWESOME clothes that would be fashionable but would last them awhile. I also wanted to get a good deal and get more for my money. Hmm. Where oh where could I go? Does this kind of place exist in real life?
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
I love finding true vintage items and pretending I'm in a different decade, but even just ONE item that has vintage touches to it works for me. I just like unique items - a dress covered in cheeseburgers (someone design this STAT), a sweater with big cartoon buttons, shoes made to look like ice cream cones, shirts with a big bow on the collar, big voluminous skirts that will fit a petticoat underneath, you get the picture. With all this in mind, it can be a lot of fun to mix it all together. Throw in something old and throw in something new! It's like baking - only with your wardrobe!
I've got this thing with food, it seems - I wear food, I buy miniature food items like charms, magnets, or buttons, and now I'm make food/wardrobe analogies. Hmm...
I have collected quite a few old concert tees over the years. Real, vintage, falling apart tees taken out of my parents' attic - thanks for being slightly hoarder-ific, mom and pops! My dad was a scrawny thing when he was a young adult (thankfully for me!) and his old shirts fit me perfectly (I also have his old leather jacket!). I am pretty much my mother when she was my age (this becomes more true everyday!!) so hers fit me quite well also! I love throwing on one of these tees on the weekend with jeans and sneakers but the BEST is when I wear one of my tees and I style it with one of my louder skirts (with a petticoat, of course). Talk about a killer combo!
Monday, December 1, 2014
I was informed immediately that it could NOT go up but that I could go ahead and get it. So it’s been sitting in our garage, weeping quietly inside its box.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Last year, someone brought up the idea of having a Friendsgiving of our own. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Friendsgiving is basically Thanksgiving only with friends. No family allowed! OK, that's a bit much, but you get the idea. For Cody and me, our friends are our family (well, our second family anyway) so we knew we wanted to host one. Then came the question of WHERE we'd have it.
We couldn't host last year due to our living arrangement (I was still renting 1BR apartments and he still lived in his tiny cottage that barely fit a futon in its living room) but we knew once someone had a big enough space, we'd have Friendsgiving.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I’ve written before about change and how it gives me anxiety but I am also amazed at how much change happens in a year. In the past 3-4 Thanksgivings, I have been in so many different places in life – literally, physically, and emotionally. It’s crazy when I think back to last Thanksgiving and then the year before and then the crazy heartbreaking one before that. How is it that so many life-changing events occur for me at this time every year? Oi vei!
I have learned a lot. A LOT. My heart was put through the ringer one year but then fluttering with excitement the next. How does life do that? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF IT ALL? We’ll never know.
That doesn’t matter, though. The why and how don’t mean a thing – it’s making sure we just appreciate what we have and being thankful for everything.
So without further ado, and in no particular order, here is my list of what I am thankful for. Though it may be cliché (friends, family, etc.), it truly is what I cherish and what I appreciate having every day!
Monday, November 24, 2014
Greetings from my reading nook! I don't really have a reading nook, but man, how cool would that be? Do you have an actual reading nook? And NO, I do NOT mean the electronic device. Sorry. Electronic readers are a sore spot for me. I prefer a real, live, actual, BOOK.
This is my second edition of "What's Sara Reading?" and I'm thinking this will be a fun monthly topic. Maybe not every month (these days I do not go through books fast enough) but certainly every quarter. Too business-y for you? Sorry.
I used to eat books like snacks. Sigh. Not literally. Jeeze, I can't win today. Starting in middle school, I absolutely fell in love with books. Mom and I would go to the library every two weeks to load up. I would leave there with a stack of 5-8 books (not even kidding!) and I'd devour them in that 2 week period (still not kidding!). This was also when I started writing so the two went hand in hand. The more I read, the more I wrote. The more I wrote, the more I read. I was hooked.
I just loved (and still love) getting SUCKED IN by a story, getting to know a character so well it ached when it was all over, and just falling in love with the words on the pages. Anyone else relate? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Friday, November 21, 2014
My dad makes a mean oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. In fact, he was always the "cookie guy" growing up. He'd often take the first day of school and last day of school off from work and we'd always come home to cookies waiting for us. Granted, they were frozen Mrs. Fields cookies but we LOVED them.
Whenever my high school A Capella Choir had a cabaret (which was held in the cafeteria for some reason), we all brought goodies and drinks for our audience to enjoy. Whenever this happened, the entire group requested my dad's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. He sort of became famous for them.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
|Baby, we were born to ruuuuuuunnnnn!|
Monday, November 17, 2014
Friday, November 14, 2014
That's not the point of this blog post, though I immediately thought of their song when contemplating what to write, hence the title. It's such a good song and I love singing along to it when showering or driving. Another side note - showers and cars are the BEST performance spaces.
|The only thing constant is change!|
Just a change in my morning schedule can throw me through a loop. For example, today I had an early call with a rep in Spain - meaning I had to get up earlier than I normally do so I could get to work by 7:30am. This change caused me to wake up almost every hour in anticipation of my earlier alarm!
Do you feel that way about change? Needless to say, it causes a lot of anxiety for me.
Recently, there's been a LOT of change that has been out of my control (another thing that makes me tick - when I am out of control of things. I know, control freak, right? I know it!) and while not all of it is bad (actually, hardly any of it is bad), it still takes a toll on my introverted delicate mind. Change is a lot of adjustment and it usually requires a lot of work. I tend to get overwhelmed - even if I know and prepare myself for the change, I am bound to feel overwhelmed and in need of a good cry.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
The Simoes and I have kind of a cute history. Well, I think so. I've know them for 4 years now. They're one of my only clients that I've known that long and have become close to. At this point, we are genuinely a part of each other's lives. Who would have thunk that two doctors from RI would keep little old photographer me around to watch their kids grow?
Let's back up and time travel back 4 years. Oh 2010. A lot has changed since you were around - A LOT. In that year, I worked for Portrait Simple, an amazing portrait studio. I am a self-taught photographer but I learned SO MUCH more working in this studio for the couple years I did. I met so many awesome photographers as well as families in my time there. I especially loved when I got to photograph the same families repeatedly. It was always fun seeing folks come back and even more fun seeing how their children were growing and changing.
One of the families I met at the studio was the Simoes family! Meera and John came in when their son, Oliver, was 3 months old for newborn portraits as well as holiday portraits. I remember meeting them so clearly. It was at night, I was closing the studio, and we had the place to ourselves. I loved working at night there. It was quieter, I could work by myself, and usually had the best sessions at night.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Anyway, throughout my travels in the kitchen, I have definitely had my MEH moments but then there were the THIS IS AWESOME moments as well. I've collected a few foolproof goodies in my day that either rocked to make or rocked upon eating (I tend to use Cody's co-workers as my own personal taste testers - software engineers will eat anything but they also will tell you the truth about what it is they are eating) and will make them routinely since they just work. There are also items I turn to every year or every time I am invited somewhere and feel the need to bring treats.
So, what is one example of this? My pumpkin chocolate chip muffins! They are ridiculously easy to make, surprisingly simple, and pretty much scream fall when you shove them in your mouth. Sorry, not sorry, because that is what you'll want to do when they come out of the oven.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
One of the things I want to include in this blog is the occasional "What's Sara Reading?" roundup, where I write up my top 5 or so books that I've read and loved recently. Hopefully that isn't boring for everyone. Anyway, I have so many favorites on my book shelf from this year and last year I decided to start the series with a themed collection.
Calling all comediennes! In the past few years I've gravitated toward memoirs. I used to HATE non-fiction and memoirs. I've always been a fiction lover. I am actually very picky with my reading. I do not like fantasy or any kind of science fiction. I prefer stories that I can relate to or stories that are realistic and true to life. I used to be a strict YA reader (even when I was an adult!) but now it varies.
Lately though, my tastes have been changing. Now, I love me some funny gal writers who can make fun of themselves and share their amusing interactions and experiences in a book.
So without further ado, here are my 5 Favorite Funny Gal Titles thus far!
Monday, November 3, 2014
Friday, October 31, 2014
|My two other halves|
Happy Happy Halloween! Or if you're not so into Halloween - Happy Friday! See? There's always something to celebrate.
Halloween is a pretty cool holiday. It's not my top favorite (that's Christmas!!!!) but it is definitely in my top 5. Why? Well, lots of reasons! It kicks off the holiday season with a bang (Candy? Costumes? Cute kids in costumes?), you get to play dress up as an adult and it's acceptable, and you hopefully get to go to some parties!
OOOO! Quick joke! What comes before part B? Partaaaaaaaaayyyyyy!
Sorry. Actually, no I'm not, and those jokes aren't going anywhere. I am full of them!
Back to what I was saying - so Halloween usually comes with parties. Awesome parties! I never liked parties but now, as an adult, I have definitely gotten into CERTAIN parties. I love to host parties of the Birthday or dinner variety, and attending Halloween parties is certainly fun as well. These days, we tend to hit up the same parties.
My co-worker and close friend, Jamie, LOVES Halloween. She is the Halloween Queen to my Christmas Cookie. She throws a Halloween bash every year and when I say bash, I mean BASH! Now, I don't mean the parties rage on until the sun comes up (although, sometimes we're there pretty darn late!) or that the house gets so packed you can barely move. But Jamie has collected the solid group of awesome people and we all show up on Halloween to have a great time.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
This engagement session became one of my most fun and favorite session for a couple reasons - one was because we spent the day wandering around Salem, MA but also because the lovely lady in front of my camera was my cousin, Rachel! When she called me up to see if I would take her engagement photos with her now fiance, Cory, I immediately said, "yes, please!" I thought this would make a fitting blog as Halloween is this week!
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Yep! Those are the kind of essentials I'm talking about. Here are my top 5 - straight out of my wardrobe!
I've gone through two bow belts in the past year or so. The first I got at Ann Taylor Loft on sale but it didn't last long - the clasp was just a simple push pin sort of style and it quickly wore out the holes and stopped staying closed. I'd be at work and all it would take was me leaning the right way and POP - off goes the belt. Embarrassing. I found a replacement belt at Target and all is well in my world. I LOVE this belt. It goes with nearly everything and I wear it all the time. The Target belt, by Mossimo, is better quality than my previous one. It has much sturdier holes for the push pin piece behind the belt and I can tell it will last longer. The stitching helps (you can see it in the picture) and it is definitely made to last. Maybe it's the color - brown leather - or maybe it's just the cute bow. Either way, I wear this belt so much. It's one of the best belts I ever spent $15 on!
Friday, October 24, 2014
I've known Lori for years. She was one of the first friends I made in college my freshman year - we met when I joined Framingham State College's (now University) Right to Life League, a club for those who are pro-life and want to promote the message that every conceived baby deserves to live. It was a small club - hardly radical - and was mostly, a small group of loving people supporting each other. Lori was one of the members along with 4 or 5 others. Funny enough, I believe her husband, Sean, had been a member at some point as well! Obviously, they met in college as well. So meeting up with them to take some family photos along with newborn photos for their newest son was also like a little college reunion!
Lori and Sean have been the sort of friends that I don't get to see often but feel like they are very much a part of my life due to social media. Lori and I comment on each other's Facebook posts all the time and always seem to make sure we both know of each's other's friendship that way. While social media has its qualms, I do love that it keeps me connected to friends like Lori. She's not far away but we've both got busy lives. Things like Facebook help keep us connected for sure!
I have actually photographed Lori and Sean's daughter, Delaney, when she was a toddler and I still worked for a photography studio. Since then, Lori has always expressed interest in having me take their family portraits so I was so happy that we finally decided to do it upon Daniel's arrival and spend some time together with my camera.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I visited the shop soon after seeing the promo and was so glad I did. I immediately knew I was in trouble - puppy fundraiser or not - because WOW! I've visited a handful of vintage shops online, in person, and at flea markets but have never been as impressed as I am with Capsule Vintage's quality of inventory!
Monday, October 20, 2014
Speaking of literal little things, I want to share an adorably awesome Etsy shop with the world. I found Sucre Sucre Miniatures while perusing Instagram (where else would I be?) and the moment I saw the teeny tiny macaroni and cheese necklace, my infamous squeal left me.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. A little about the shop! Sucre Sucre Miniatures is run by the lovely Chelsea. She is based in Carmel, California, and apparently has Barbie doll hands. Kidding! Her hands are most likely human adult sized. No matter what size they are, they are full of pure magic! Chelsea, are you a wizard? Anyway, her work is down right works of art - in the tiniest form!
Luckily, Chelsea was having an awesome sale when I decided I deserved to buy me some yummy treat jewelry. The moment I saw the sale, though, I decided I was gonna go a little crazy and buy the entire store! Okay, I'm exaggerating. I didn't buy the entire store.
But I did get myself the necklace, adorable little donut magnets, a charm bracelet for me, and a charm bracelet for Red! I decided to make my own version of best friends bracelets and made my charm bracelet sweet themed and Red's savory! Clever? I thought so.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
I've been a big big fan of Kugel for as long as I can remember. In fact, I am pretty sure Kugel is one of the first things I can remember cooking in the kitchen with my mother. It was definitely one of the first things I cooked by myself. And it is DEFINITELY one of my favorite and ultimate comfort foods. This is going to be a funny post because as far as foods go, nothing is more hilariously gross sounding and gross looking as Kugel - at least the way I make it. I considered prettying it up, but that wouldn't be authentic, would it? And it's not real comfort food unless it's just as it is - as it has ALWAYS been. So consider this like an episode of Extreme Makeover: Comfort Food Edition. What started as kind of gross blossoms into something beautiful.
Getting excited for the final reveal yet?
Anyway, I make Kugel the same way my mother and Bubbie did so I don't really know how I'd pretty it up. There are TONS of various Kugel recipes online. Some are made with potato (what?), some are made to be sweet with tons of cinnamon and sugar (whaaaaat?), but the one I am used to and the one I crave when I need some comfort food is made with egg noodles and a lot of other ooey gooey buttery things.
Friday, October 17, 2014
|Image courtesy of the Poppy England website|
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
"When can we meet and get to know each other to plan the session?" I asked, offering what I normally offer, which is to meet the client prior to them booking with me to get to know each other.
"The thing is," Sandra continued, laughing nervously, "the photo is due FRIDAY."
Well that changed things! Instead of meeting, we simply agreed on the details right then and there. Within an hour, we had a plan set and I would meet Anna the following morning for a couple hours to take her portraits.
"We just need ONE! We just need ONE photo to submit to the yearbook!" Sandra exclaimed. I could only imagine how nervous she felt, as the mother, about getting the right portrait of her daughter for the yearbook.
Friday, October 10, 2014
As some of you might be aware - it's Fall here in New England! Gasp! Well, if you didn't know you sure do now. It's been 70 degrees and under for the past 3-4 weeks now. I think it's finally safe to say that summer has left the building! YES! I am definitely not a summer gal. I am more content in chillier climates with some sun, some clouds, some wind, and a lot less sweating.
I will miss dress weather. I have loved waking up and just choosing which dress to throw on. I mean, how could it get easier than that? Oh well! I suppose I will have to break out the wool thigh-highs, tights, and leggings to make it work. I will accept your challenge, New England Winter! I hear we have a doozy ahead of us.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's focus on the Fall. There are a lot of things folks love the fall here but some of the biggest are apple picking, pumpkin carving, boots, scarves, and, oh yeah, how can I forget those pumpkin lattes at Starbucks? I do not drink coffee so I have never experienced it but from what I hear it's "life." Oooookkkaaaayyy.
Anyway, last weekend my best friend Kaylyn (who I call Red and will probably call Red within this blog many times so get used to it!) succumbed to the Fall activity that is apple picking. We decided to find a new spot as a lot of the Massachusetts orchards are becoming quite the zoo and we've never been fond of crowds. A co-worker recommended a smaller orchard called Carver Hill Orchard. It's sandwiched between all the other popular orchards in Stowe, but has yet to get crazy. I love the Stowe area in Fall. It's like Las Vegas's strip, only for apple orchards. No strippers here, though, folks! Just apple cider donuts, which, in my opinion, are way sexier.
|Inside Carver's adorable shop (photo courtesy of their website)|