Friday, November 28, 2014

Friendsgiving 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

What I am Thankful For this Year

The thought of reciting what I am thankful for over dinner on Thanksgiving makes me want to gag. I know, I’ve got a cold heart. I just don’t care much for that kind of tradition on the holiday. I do understand and appreciate its purpose, though, so I thought I’d compile a list of what I am thankful for here, in my mini blogosphere.

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

What's Sara Reading?: November Edition

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

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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

Bruce! Bruce Will Keep Us Together!

Baby, we were born to ruuuuuuunnnnn!
I've been thinking about family lately. Maybe it's because Thanksgiving is right around the corner (gobble gobble what what?). It is the mother of all family holidays, after all.
Anyway, family. I know when I think of my family, I think of music. Do you play word association with your family? Seriously, though, I think of music when I think about my family. We're all music lovers. Growing up, my house was always full of music whether it was my mother playing Mariah Carey while we cleaned, baked, or decorated the tree (Always Be My Baby and All I Want for Christmas were the soundtrack of my childhood) or my father playing DJ after dinner (every night, like clockwork, he'd retire to the living room, load up discs into his 6 CD playing stereo and get the party started with Elton John, Billy Joel, Crash Test Dummies, Bruce Springsteen, Blind Melon, The Counting Crows, Stevie Wonder, and more - I know, eclectic taste, right?). 

This continued up until - wait, actually, it's continuING. What am I saying? It's still a major part of my family! My dad still plays DJ, my mom still gets that Mariah album on when we're decorating the tree, and my sisters and I are all extremely close with music. I've been singing since I was little but I also just have a great connection with music - it's wherever I go: the car, in my cube at work, when I take a shower, when I write, when I bake, everywhere! 

I love music that is sentimental (anytime I hear the songs I linked above, I get emotional thinking of my parents) and I love music that moves me. I love music I can relate to and I love music that packs a punch and hits you in the feels. It can be creepy when it happens, but I love music that takes you RIGHT back to a different time and place and you're so there that you smell whatever you smelled in that memory and can see what you saw then.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Discover New Blogs: The Liebster Awards

I was giddy and honored to see that Amanda over at Sans Scrubs nominated me to participate in the Liebster Awards! What are the Liebster Awards, you ask? Well I certainly had that question as well (being a bit new to the blogosphere)! The Liebster Awards is a way of getting to know your blogger friends or meet new blogger friends - like a fun summer camp game around the campfire. Kumbaya! 

That aside, there are some rules (don't worry, they're fun) and then there are some questions! The questions I am answering below were provided to me by my nominator, Amanda. How fun is this? 

The Rules!
1) Acknowledge the blog who nominated you 
2) Answer the 11 questions given to you from the blogger 
3) Give 11 random facts about yourself 
4) Nominate 11 blogs you think are deserving of the award (less than 200 followers) 
5) Let the bloggers know that you have nominated them 
6) Give 11 questions for them to answer 
7) Display the award photo in your post

My Questions!
1. What inspired you to start writing/blogging? 
I've been writing since I was in the 7th grade - I am talking full length novels! Yeah, I had no life. Then when I went to college and then started working, I wrote less and less and less. I hated it! I had written a blog before but it was more of a journal. I decided a couple months ago to start a new one in hopes to keep some type of writing in my life. I am loving it so far! Though I tend to blog about fashion, books, and food I make, it's a lifestyle blog, for sure.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Change Is Hard, I Should Know...

Any She & Him fans out there? No? Maybe? Well, if you don't know about She & Him, you need to. They're amazing. The band is a duo - Zooey Deschanel, who I admire and adore, and M. Ward, one apically awesome guitarist/songwriter. He is one of those musicians where if I hear him playing, I know immediately that it's him.

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!
I wanted to sit you down, my children, and talk about change. Just the word makes me cringe. I don't know if you harbor the same bad vibes, but for me, change is tough. It's just brutal. I normally avoid change and cling to my routines with all of my being when I am able to (just ask Cody!).

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.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Best Fall Treat That Can't Be Beat: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I've been baking for years (if we really want to be specific, I've been baking almost all my life. Some of my best memories are standing on a kitchen chair that I pushed up to the counter so I could help my mom bake). In all these years, I've made a little bit of everything - with some succeeding and some failing. I tend to make things once without really considering making them again - which is why having a cookbook for me is POINTLESS. I never really think to open them!

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

What's Sara Reading? (Funny Lady Memoir Edition)

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

Finding a Diamond in the Rough: My (Awesome) eBay Experiences

I've always heard about eBay and it's wonderful-ness but never really considered it...until recent. As I have gotten more and more addicted to finding awesome vintage and vintage-style frocks, I have also gotten more and more curious into venues of finding them. Etsy was one (and through there I have found so many cute shops, some of which I feature here on the blog!).

Well now eBay is just one of my stops in the online shopping world. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going bid crazy on every little thing just for the thrill of it, but I have found that every so often, you can really find a gem on eBay. 

Let me tell you, I never thought I'd be the person sitting at her PC while the last minute of an auction counted down, upping my highest bid because SOMEONE is DARING enough to outbid me in the last 30 seconds. OH I DON'T THINK SO, SIR!

One of my biggest successes on eBay has been with one of my favorite designers, Bernie Dexter. While I adore so much about her - the fit of her dresses, the quality, the quirky styles, the retro vibe - the prices of these darling items give me an anxiety attack.

Sometimes she has a sale on her website but it's never for very much - although, I did manage to grab one of her last two Paris short-sleeve blouses for $25, which rocked my socks. 

Then I discovered something fantastic - Bernie has an eBay page! I danced, I sang, I frolicked in the prairie - then I started bidding.  Bernie rocks eBay. She puts up a handful of items at a time. They're usually either samples or the "last one" and she starts most bids at a measly $55! Usually, that is not where the end price stays but it's a fabulous start.