My mama always made Halloween so fun (lots of decorations, hand sewn costumes, school activities, etc) growing up, so this holiday holds a special place in my inner-child's heart. I mean it's the one day of the year that you're expected (and encouraged!) to be something that you're not! She sent me some wicked (pun intended) green socks this year as a little gift, so I naturally had to put them to good use for my costume today :) Yep, this is what I'm rocking at work....
I couldn't pass up the opportunity to celebrate with my coworkers (i.e. I'm forcing 13 boys to put up with my school-teacher side at lunch today), thus I've created a few little tricks and treats for them.
Orange cupcakes with chocolate swirls...
That Drea and I turned into little witches!
I also prepped some mini grilled cheeses to serve up for lunch that we turned into festive treats, courtesy of a couple of cookie cutters...
Mummy cheese dogs, anyone?
And finally some apple Monster Mouths (my attempt to offer something somewhat healthy)....
This weekend was a hoot of time dressing up with my two fave SF gal pals.
I think I pulled off the "Hipster Dorothy" pretty well with my fellow Cowardly Lion and Tin Man :)
So much fun!
Happy Halloween from my desk to yours :)
Love and Light,
My beautiful friend and current Aussie, Nicole, mailed me the sweetest gifts from her vacation to Bali. She noted in her card that since it's a place I've always deeply desired to travel to she figured she'd send along some good Bali juju. Honey, I will take it!
Noodz- THANK YOU. Seriously, such thoughtful gifts. The note cards are especially beautiful and smell amazing (is it weird that I sniff them?); like wet grass on a spring morning. I love that they are so delicately hand made. I will for sure be snail mailing one back to you soon...the others I will ration for only super cool peeps :) Opening this package meant so, so much to me my sweet friend. I deeply appreciate you thinking of me and going to the trouble to ship me such perfect gifts. You lifted my spirits and made me feel your love from an ocean away! I miss you kiddo, consider the good juju vibes gratefully received and bountifully reciprocated. See you soon, k?
Love and Light,
From east coast to west, I've lived almost my entire life (not counting the 4 awesome years land locked at PSU) no more than 1 hour from the sea.
The sea is my happy place. My safe space. My reminder to reset and refresh; to humbly recognize I'm just one small piece of an infinitely mysterious world.
This weekend I had the great fortune of spending an 80 degree October day at Stinson beach with 2 friends (God bless Northern California fall days); soaking up the sun, being playful and childlike on the sand (limbo with drift wood anyone?) and even plunging into the freezing cold Pacific.
It never ceases to amaze me (though I know it really shouldn't) how when you put out genuine, heartfelt, honest, good desire into the Universe and then let go and trust the process how quickly these desires can manifest. I had *just* said last week on this blog how badly I craved a swim in the sea, but was too much of a chicken to swim in such cold temperatures. Then, just 2 days later, a Stinson Beach day popped up randomly and I accepted. During the drive our party discussed the possibility of swimming, but even then I was more of the "only if I get too hot!" scaredy pants mindset.
This mindset lasted about 5 minutes after pulling into the parking lot.
We arrived at the beach, plopped down our belongings and headed straight to the water to "test out the temperature".
Encouraged by the male in our party (encouraged = threats of being thrown and dunked) I decided to say f*ck it and go all in.
Squealing like a teenager I dove into the next wave....and immediately lost my sun glasses. Major bummer! Man, I loved those sun glasses (and MAN they were not cheap). After a few swear words, desperate dives to try and recover them and a joke about sucker punching a shark in the face (sharks are known to frequent Stinson Beach) if I see one wearing my Ray Bans...I let it go. What else was there to do, really? I didn't want it to ruin my lovely day and they were, of course, just a material object.
I love this picture; tangled, messy sea hair and all. We had just come from our swim (where the water never felt a degree warmer after splashing around for a half an hour...brrr!) and I was reflecting on some tensions of the past 24 hours.
To summarize; I really dislike when I misrepresent myself. Don't you? When you act a certain way out of fear or insecurity or anxiety or discomfort and after wards you're left thinking ugh, what the crap, that is so not me. I hate that I did/said that. These moments will happen from time to time and it's probably one of the biggest sources of frustration that exists in my life.
But, what can you do? You move forward. You take the lesson learned (patience, young grasshopper as my bestie would say) and apply it to life moving forward. Does it suck to learn the hard way; to feel like there's no real way to completely smooth things over or take back what happened? Absolutely! There's no doubt that certain behaviors can leave you cringing for some time. Coulda, shoulda, wouldas can be a real bitch. But that's where we have to learn to take a deep breath, forgive ourselves and vow to do better next time. And you (I) will do better next time. Was diving into a big ol' wave still wearing my fancy schmancy shades the best idea? Nope. But now I know not to do that again. Do I wish I'd handled discomfort and worry differently the night before? Yep, for sure. But now I know a) not to panic if this kind of scenario crops up again and b) that if it really is an "unsmoothable" situation, it probably was an unsustainable friendship in the first place. Which, is OK to be bummed about. And yep, I'm definitely bummed and disappointed. Sometimes the Universe steps in and does our dirty work for us--whether we like it at the time or not. Fortunately, everything and anything can turn around in an instant. Life, like the sea, is constantly changing and flowing. Which is why we must always move forward with as much forgiveness and patience with ourselves and others as our little souls can muster.
I've said it before--time is the great equalizer, but it is also the one thing you cannot rush.
A life by the sea is the life for me. I don't know where I'll end up years down the road but I truly hope and pray I'm never more than 1 hour from the ocean. It's my favorite place to come back to myself.
If a pair of Ray Ban aviators happen to wash ashore in your neighborhood...would you do me a decent and ship them home to me? I'd appreciate it :)
I'm working at Heritage Row today as a favor to my fave gal pal, Jenny, and I'm rocking one of her newest pieces by BCBG:
This shimmery skirt could not make me feel more like a Kardashian sister (holy curves)...and I love it!!
If you're in the neighborhood, come and say hi to me! :)
Love and Light,
I am obsessed with pumpkin flavored foods. Pumpkin breads, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin spice lattes.
Pumpkin ice cream!
Pumpkin Mac N Cheese?!?! (Pinch me)
I love pumpkin flavored foods so much that I naturally just HAD to try making this little recipe here.
First, I must note that I am a mess in the kitchen. Not in the sense of being unable to cook...I actually have quite a few skills and recipes that I'm an ace at. But I make a huge mess. I can still hear my ex saying (good naturedly, while chuckling) "I know this is going to be delicious, but goodness lady how many utensils and bowls does it take to mix cake batter!?". (answer: 17?). You should see me at Thanksgiving...there is no plate, bowl, spoon or casserole dish in my cupboards that goes unused.
Last night was no exception. Yes, I took up both sides of my oven as well as a portion of my kitchen table. And yes, I bake with pink heart shaped bowls. Oh and yes, red wine makes a great baking companion (one of those glasses belongs to Drea...don't worry).
The recipe was super easy to follow.
Mix up the ingredients, plop them in the muffin tin.
Swirl in a blob of Nutella (yum).
Bake for 40 minutes, and voila! Pumpkin banana nutella goodness.
So far I've been talking a lot about pumpkins, when this post is clearly labeled "my beef with bananas". Allow me to explain...
Bananas are kind of a little brat of a fruit. I don't particularly like them. Not only are they oddly moist and sticky and slimy, but I think people look ridiculous eating them. But the biggest beef I have with bananas lies in the fact that they are total flavor bogarters. I mean they really bogart some flavor, my friends. Like...why you gotta be the center of attention in any recipe you're in?
You put a banana in a smoothie with 34 other fruit varieties and what does that smoothie taste like? A banana.
You slice it up in your cereal with a little vanilla almond milk and what does the cereal taste like? A banana.
And apparently you put bananas in your pumpkin muffins and...you guessed it...those muffins taste like banana. No pumpkin flavor at all!! Arrgh!
Don't get me wrong, the muffins were still super delicious. Here are some co-worker gchat reviews:
artem: zomggg this is sooo gooooood
me: if you dont at least try a muffin, we can not be friends. no pressure!
George: whoa that's good
I felt very bamboozled by this recipe. So, in an effort to really stick it to the man (bananas) I frosted my next batch with Nutella to add more of a flavor I enjoy.
Ha, suck it, bananas.
Next time I make this (it really is quite good) I'm cutting the banana portions in half and doubling the pumpkin portions. But knowing bananas (such little fruit b*tches) they will probably still taste like banana.
Side note: There was an earth quake in the middle of baking. It shook my apartment pretty good. Drea and I had a few moments of heart pounding together. Then we kept baking. The end.
Happy Friday, loves!
I hope this is right. I think maybe it is.
Tonight will probably include running (I really, really hate running...so when I do it, you know it's serious) along the Bay, preferably when it's pretty cold out, so that the wind stings my eyes and creeps out a few tears in a more it's-OK-to-cry-in-public way. If I didn't think I'd die instantly of hypothermia I might be tempted to dunk myself in the water, too. The sea is very healing like that. Just like the fastest way to heal a summer cut is to spend hours splashing in the ocean (as a klutzy kid I healed many a boo boo this way), I think the quickest way to heal a bruised ego is to spend as much time on, near, or in the water as possible. Something about the immensity of it, I think. I'm so lucky to live right next to it; just a brisk walk away from beautiful spots to ocean gaze. Now if I could just find someone who owns a boat to be my friend....
Then I think I'll go home and bake this, courtesy of my best friend, who always magically has the right things to say when I'm not a very happy girl. I miss her so much I physically have a lump in my throat thinking of her....which, she will probably make fun of me for immediately after reading that. I can hear her little voice telling me to get up, dry your tears, and be kick ass! I plan to cuddle the crap out of her this Christmas, regardless.
And then I'll finally finish the vision board I promised another dear friend, whose little brother-esque perspective I've grown to value deeply; "I mean, you can't control other people...so the best you can do is represent yourself in a way that reflects who you are and what you believe in and let the chips fall how they can." I hope he knows how much I believe in him and his visions for his life. I'm stoked to see where his path takes him!
Silly Thursday. You haven't been my favorite.
In Gratitude for salt water,
Warning: This is a long post. Maybe even of the "rant" variety. Indulge me, yea?
If you follow this blog on even a semi-regular basis, you'll know of my great admiration for singer/songwriter Tristan Prettyman. The girl is seriously bad ass and I love her, her music, her energy and her blog to bits and pieces.
Reading her latest post this morning could not have come at a better time:
"...During this time where the new moon just passed and the seasons are changing, it’s a good time to clear out the old. Things, people, habits, etc..that no longer serve you. What kind of energy are you surrounding yourself with? What kind of people are you letting into your space? What kind of people are those people letting into their space? Your space is sacred. You can feel when the tap shuts off and things don’t flow as easily as they are when you are aligned with the life you really want to be living.
Now is as good a time as any to re-access your life, your friends, your goals, and your outlook on life.
Where could you do a little maintenance, a little tune up? What could you let go of?
Let it goooo, into the wind and don’t look back. You wont even know its missing in a couple days....
...At the end of the day, you have to live with the things you invite into your space, and if they aren’t working for you anymore, you have the right to escort them right out. If people frown, or your friends give you a hard time, or your family wishes something else for you, tough nuggets. Its not up to them. We all deserve to be happy, healthy and loved.
You always have a choice.
So choose it fully, and choose it well."
The past few days I've felt exactly that; like there was a block in my flow I couldn't quite put my finger on. After reading Tristan's post I realized this block was because I had begun a familiar pattern, once again, of inviting people into my life who simply are not ready to treat me the way I wish to be treated. Not bad people--actually quite great people. Just folks who have the potential for me to care greatly about who also are simply not on the same page as me.
My space is, indeed, sacred. While I will always stand by the belief that being open and welcoming to new people in your life can bring about awesome adventures, change and lessons, I am also learning to value my space and what I choose to bring to it. This is most applicable to my current friendships and the dating game.
Ahhh yes. The dating game.
As Tristan once said in another post of hers, I don't want to be with someone who isn't ready for me; I want to be with someone who can't get enough of me. So, as humbling as it is to admit, (arrrgh I really hate admitting this) if a person truly likes you and is interested in you--they will make time for you. And if they're barely acknowldeging your presence in their lives--going from adorably "trying not to get too excited!" to just...well...not being excited at all, then it's probably for the best to release them. To accept them and where they are on their path, and release them.
There's no need for me to fear it's not working the way I'd hoped because of something I've done "wrong". I know that I did the best I could, I made the efforts from my end. I don't need to prove anything to anyone. Hell, if I'm honest, I haven't really been given the chance to prove anything even if I wanted to. Which, while that can be an entirely frustrating feeling, is also a sign of needing to move on.
As my friend told me last night; "I say start over...he needs to be excited and stay excited...Be happy with yourself so that when the next guy comes along, he won't define you, he'll just add to your awesomeness...just don't let him let you feel small...And I mean it, he isn't acting like he deserves you. Until and if he does, just move on with your life."
So I guess that's where I am right now. Moving on with my life; holding space that is sacred.
F*ck it, I'm gonna be straight with you---I am a good time. Like...a real hoot of a good time! (I'm laughing while I type this, despite being dead serious!) :) My awesomeness is one I've cultivated through years of being a really great friend, neighbor, coworker, person. My awesomeness has a lot to do with the equally awesome folks I've surrounded myself with. I practically wake up in the morning and piss awesome! OK OK, that's slightly exaggerated. Also a little gross.
In all seriousness, I have an awesome career, a fabulous family, friends who rock, a life that knocks my socks off daily. I'm looking for someone who wants to adventure with me in all of these areas. You know...actually go out and DO things. Don't people actually DO shit anymore? Like, see a movie? Go for a hike? A concert? I live in an amazing city in an amazing part of the world where there is fun and love and laughter to be had all over, all the time. Who wouldn't want to explore all of this?
The most interesting part for me is that I'm definitely not looking for someone to get instantly super serious with--the idea of that actually scares the bajeezus outta me. It's really important to me that I am still able to do my own thing, and they theirs. It's SO important to me to have a fulfilling life outside of a romantic relationship and I'd want the same for my partner, too. I feel like guys sometimes assume when you want to hang out more it means things are moving "too fast" or that it's too much pressure or that you're going to get all needy on them. That's just stupid to me. I want to hang out because we had a good time and there is fun shit to do that I think we'd both like. What's so wrong with that?
We teach people how to treat us whether intentionally or not and I suppose I haven't been giving the best lessons on how I'd hope to be treated.
The bottom line?
I'd love to be with someone, spend time with someone, who is as open to trusting the process as I am; who wants to play--I love to play!--but won't make me his play thing.
And this is a balance I've been struggling to find lately.
Tristan is right. We always have a choice.
So, I think I'll choose to let go. My awesomeness can only be stifled for so long :)
Love and Light,
scenic hike in AZ
I went to a family wedding this month in Arizona and I've come back with 2 main emotions;
1. I feel really refreshed and pumped full of genuine love from the people who had a huge part in raising me. I laughed so hard I *cried* more than once in 48 hours--what an awesome, awesome feeling.
2. I feel incredibly homesick and nostalgic for my world back east. Spending a short but fairly intense amount of time with my family reminded me of how powerful our bonds are and how deeply I value them in my life as not just blood relatives but also as friends.
I loved being teased about the length of my dress (yep, totally on the short side, which I didn't remember it being until it was out of my bag and onto my body...my bad!); I don't think anyone besides an Aunt can get away with saying "c'mon, hoochie mama, let's dance!" (and dance this hoochie mama did).
I loved my mom being asked "how did she get so goofy?!" after I teasingly tried to get my Uncle to dance with me by performing ridiculous moves. For the record, "goofy" was often a way of life in our house. In my humble opinion, more people should take themselves less seriously.
I loved when the photographer, in her haste to pose us all for a group shot, turned to my other Uncle and said "I'm assuming this is your wife?" while pointing at me. We laughed so hard I nearly had to excuse myself to pee.
I loved watching my Aunts fearlessly cut a rug on the dance floor. Girlfriends have some serious moves! I also loved when my Aunt had to take a break, saying "The mind is willing ladies, but the body is weak..." (I'm still giggling thinking about this).
I loved that one of my grandmother's best friends was there. It felt good to have a piece of our Nanny present.
I loved staying up in our shared hotel room with my 2 cousins (I have 25 of them total!) having a heart to heart about life, love, spirit and forgiveness. They are both remarkable young women that I'm so humbled to know and love.
I loved watching the Penn State football game with my Pop and sister in the hotel lobby while eating cheese doodles (the Wise kind that I can never find in Cali and it kills me).
And I love the reply from my sweet cousin Liz when, in discussing a past romance, I stated how I felt like a failure; "No. I'd never call that a failure. It simply evolved to the place it was meant to be. You're still friends! How could that ever be a failure?". Lizzie- you have no idea how much this resonated with me. It was like finally, after 2 years, the light bulb finally went on. Thank you so much for saying that.
It's been so rewarding through the years to see my family step up for one another over and over again. It doesn't matter what we've been through; someone will always, *always*, be there for you. This is a huge blessing and flow of committed love I never want to take for granted.
I love my family.
It's me! Jumping out of a plane! Wow, so much fun :)
So, if it isn't obvious, I went skydiving last week...and it was as rad as I remembered!
I was talking to a friend recently about my then upcoming skydiving appointment and he asked what my favorite part was from the first time I jumped 6 years ago. I thought for a moment and said "the instant right before you jump and the release of actually letting go...I like that it suddenly felt like I was hovering/flying and not so much like falling." After this second jump, I stand by that choice. In fact, as I was teetering my foot out of the plane a little voice inside said, without a shred of fear, just let go. So I let go (not that I really had much of a choice at this point as there was a man attached to my back ready to push me!) and felt the rush of flying, once again, sweep over me.
But I also really liked my friends choice of his favorite skydive moment; "the instant the parachute is pulled and suddenly all of the wind and loud rush of air around you silences to a stillness. You wouldn't expect it to be so instantly quiet." I remembered him saying this during my second dive and it definitely made me appreciate that moment a lot more.
Even if the idea of skydiving is terrifying to you (although I highly encourage anyone interested to 100% give it a shot, it's completely awesome) both of these "favorite moments" can be applied to every day life.
For one thing, I know first hand the importance of just letting go. Freeing yourself from the fears holding you back in life has got to be just about the most amazing feeling ever. I think you'll find it will, more often than not, cause you to fly instead of fall. So have a little faith, muster up your courage (you're stronger than you know) and just let go. Release the ever-so-human need to control, control, control and let yourself take flight on an amazing adventure instead. Trust yourself. Trust your guide. Trust the process.
For another, I think sometimes we're so afraid of stepping outside the chaos--we're so strangely comfortable in it, whether we can admit that or not--that we miss the chance to pull the parachute, say enough is enough, and allow the quiet to surround us. We don't always listen very well when our inner guide tells us the time has come to pull our life saving safety device, which often comes in the form of simply choosing to step outside the chaos. We have the power to trigger this quiet whenever we want. Why wait until we land flat on our faces when the beautiful power of choice is available to us at a moments notice?
And now for a mini plug--If you're ever in the Bay Area and want a bad ass way to spend an afternoon, I highly recommend NorCal Skydiving. Their staff was so kind and fun, making us feel really safe and excited from the get-go. I super appreciate all of their hard work in making the experience truly amazing!
"the only people for me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing,
but burn, burn, burn,
like fabulous yellow roman candles
exploding like spiders across the stars..." -jack kerouac
In Toasted Goodness Gratitude...
(with a side of "this is a little too sticky, Sara please stop taking awkward pictures of me"),
My gratitude journal entry for today is very simple:
1. My mom.
2. My dad.
3. The ginormous pot of spaghetti sauce with meatballs and sausage sitting in my fridge, courtesy of a mother-daughter afternoon of cooking (anyone up for some pasta this weekend!?).
4. The generosity of my parents. It never ceases to amaze me how thoughtful and giving they both are. Also, that they continue to impress upon my sister and I the importance of exercising kindness to others. They are wonderful role models.
5. The knowledge that, no matter what we may go through, I have never doubted nor will ever need to doubt that my parents would go to the end of the earth and back again for me. I hope they know I would do the same for them, too.
During my afternoon Starbucks run yesterday I happened to look to my right and was surprised to catch a glimpse of my favorite little blue monster peering at me from the milk and sugar counter...
I literally squealed. Outloud. To no one.
Best. Children's book. EVER.
Holy instant nostalgic heart pangs.
I brought a total of 2 stuffed animals with me to California; the rest having been donated to charity or to the toy box at my parents house (does anyone else have more anxiety about getting rid of old toys since watching Toy Story 1, 2 &3?). The first, the build-a-bear sent to me by one of my besties as encouragement to successfully participate in Penn State's Dance Marathon. It still serves to remind me of both the amazing friends I have as well as how great it was to dance in THON. The second, Grover (who, by the way, was, is and always will be the best monster on Sesame Street).
I cannot tell you how many times I asked my dad to read this story to me as a kid. I can still hear his pretty impressive "Grover voice" animatedly telling the tale while I giggled and participated by turning the pages. I love reading this story to the little babescicles in my life, too. Without fail it manages to engage even the most ants-in-the-pants little kid and to hear them laughing along and asking to "read it again!" is such an awesome feeling.
I was giddy to share this news with my dad and we excitedly downloaded the App last night while relaxing in my kitchen. Then he, my mom and I sat and listened to the whole thing (all still able to quote most of it by memory). My dad even reached over at one point to turn the page on my phone (are you clutching your heart yet? because mine may burst). I grabbed my old copy off the bookshelf just to be sure it was the same and sure enough they did an amazing job keeping my loveable furry old Grover as charming as ever. I don't know who Melissa Schwartz is, but I owe her a plethora of gratitude for gifting me this little gem.
If I ever have kids, this is guaranteed to be in our rotation of bed time stories. I truly love this book!
Muchos kudos to Starbucks/iTunes. Forget "Pick of the Week". This is pretty much "Pick of the Year" for me.