Cookbooks almost always make the perfect gifts — they’re not too expensive, are filled with pretty things, and usually include activities you can do with the person you’re giving them to. There are so many cookbooks out there, it’s pretty easy to find a cookbook that sums up your relationship with your friend or loved one. Here’s a handful of selections from my Pinterest wish list, and ones I’ve had the pleasure of perusing or owning.
Woo hoo, check out the first Sweetsonian video! That is if you don’t count this one.
My talented colleague and friend, Matty, came over one Saturday, and directed a fun video on how to mix up your very own Pimm’s Cup — which has been my cocktail of choice all summer. Why stop at fall? I’ll probably be drinking them all winter long, too.
I’ve had these photos in store, but it’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and put together a decent set of words.
There’s probably just a handful of days left in DC for grabbing summer tomatoes — run! do so quickly! — so I figured I needed to post this recipe ASAP.
It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks, filled with freelancing and negotiating photo rights, but I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend filled with yoga, sleep, and reading. I’m putting a do-not-disturb sign on my life. Have a great fall weekend! Xo.
Quick post as I catch up on projects and emails — bread and butter pickles are my absolute favorite. This recipe is fast, simple, and will leave you with the perfect pickle to throw on sandwiches, mix into salads or deviled eggs, and to eat straight out of the jar with a fork.
I’ve only had two jobs in my life that were so unbearably horrible that I hate to think back on. The first was when I was sixteen — I worked at one of those tutoring centers in the San Fernando Valley. Not the good kind, where parents send their over ambitious children to get ahead… it was the opposite, where lazy parents sent their rowdy, manner-less kids to terrorize sixteen-year olds, like me. I lasted three months — and when I gave my four weeks’ notice, my manager took me outside and gave me this incredible look, and scolded me for not giving her enough notice. She was terrible.
The other was my first real-life job after graduation, when I was twenty-two. I was working for an agency selling Xerox machines, six months after the big recession hit in 2008. It. was. terrible.
It was one of those work environments that was really responsible for giving sales people a bad name. The managers preyed on their employees’ profits, the company tried to sell products that were clearly terrible, and literally every person in that office spent a good deal of time applying to other jobs. Anything. I was even interviewing at restaurants all over Los Angeles, and striking out, partially because I had left restaurant work already, for a desk job. What they didn’t understand was that I would have gladly gone back to a job that I really loved — waiting tables — to escape the terrors something I hated and just wasn’t cut out for.
Anyway, the three months I spent at Xerox weren’t a complete loss — I became friends with someone I’m still friends with today. In fact, she came to visit DC once (and we frolicked around Dupont Circle with Kristen in leotards) and we even traveled to Bogotá together. And when we were both incredibly miserable at Xerox, we would drive off to our sales territories together, do the minimum required to make a few sales/not get fired, and spend the rest of our time applying to jobs. A regular lunch spot there was a little Mediterranean sandwich shop which has since shut down — but I became friends with the owners, who were very Lebanese, so I got to exchange a little Arabic banter and enjoy their amazing Lebanese sandwiches.
I’ve since gone back to Monrovia, hunting for that shop, and that’s how I know it’s now gone. And I’ve been hunting for similar shops that mimic that impeccable flavor, but have really just failed.
So when Food 52 published a recipe for shish taouk, I couldn’t help but try it. And while I almost always turn to F52 as a cooking resource, this recipe was just a tad complicated and involved for me to carry out fully. So I broke it down, and simplified it into a meal that I could quickly throw together after a long day at work or a rough spin class at the gym.
I am a creature of habit. If I force myself to do something over and over again, as annoying as it is at first, the task gets easier every day. Part of this process is repeating this statement over and over again, because if I train myself to become a creature of habit, well, perhaps one day it will be true.
On the one hand, I am and have been a creature of habit in the past, but on the other hand, I am incredibly stubborn… and sometimes lazy. Perhaps laziness happens as a result of being a creature of habit — because if I make being lazy a habit, well, then I’m back to square one, right?
When I was a kid, I would lose things. Coloring books and dolls at first, but as I got older, keys, sunglasses, and lip gloss would just get left behind, recklessly abandoned on a daily or a weekly basis. My dad, at one point, had an intervention. I remember his sigh of disgust, as in, are you kidding me, Sarah? You lost something again?
The trick, according to him, was to make sure everything had a place to go. I nodded, but also knew that this was also his way of trying to get me to keep my room clean (saw right through that, Dad). The solution that worked for me, however, was to essentially narrate my entire life in my head. Have you ever done that? Every time I put my keys down, I’d think to myself, I’m putting my keys down on my desk. Or, I’m leaving my sunglasses in my car tray.
It works for things. But there are still habits — like waking up early and eating well. I know that I should do both, but it’s hard to do when you stay up late and agree to go to happy hour four nights in a row. So this is my own personal intervention.
Now that it’s August, it almost seems like summer is wrapping up and we’re going to squeeze in every last drop of warm weather. But like every other summer, I find myself itching for fall. In fact, I replaced a pair of boots in July (re: they were on sale!).
These cookies were a symbol of lack of control. I made them a couple of weekends ago, when I had a Monday off. So what was two boxes filled with cookies gradually dwindled to one, and by Tuesday, I had eaten an entire box, so I hid them in my purse and handed them over to the coworkers.
This week was the beginning of my detox. My conscious effort to make a habit of not eating half a batch of cookies, and of not spending half of my paycheck on expensive dinners and cocktails. Tomorrow is a new day. But it does feel good, to set a goal and actually get into the habit of sticking to your guns. But the matcha cookies (and a last brunch at one of my favorite spots in DC) were some damn good indulgences, and I do not regret them.
It’s barbecue season, and I was missing my beloved Weber grill last weekend. Before I moved into my first apartment in college, my dad took it upon himself to teach me how to use a charcoal grill — because nothing beats a burger cooked in your own backyard over a charcoal grill.
Since then, he’s upgraded to his own outdoor poolside kitchen, complete with an obscenely productive vegetable garden. Oh, to have a California summer. I do miss unlimited tomatoes!
Anyway, I had the day off today, so I got to catch up on sleep, cleaning, and a workout after a weekend filled with food and sailing. Hope you’re all having a lovely Monday! Xo.
After the past few weeks, ibuprofen is definitely not enough.
Y’all know that I’ve been working hard to make my move to New York a reality. The first half of the year was made up of aggressive interviewing, during which, I learned to be much more selective about which interviews I take and how to negotiate salaries. I relaxed a bit when my office was more open to letting me telecommute from New York, which would have eliminated the need to hunt for a new job for a year or so, but last week, prospects of that happening seemed low.
Three people on my team have put in their notice, which would be jarring for anyone on a nine-person team (which should really be at twelve). So the hunt continues.
Also taking place during my blogging hiatus was a week of illness — what I thought was the flu happened to be the precursor to pneumonia. So yeah, fifteen days of antibiotics later, I’m a real person again!
In the meantime, I made a few of these cocktails last weekend on a hot day that I spent mostly inside, and it brought me back to a day a couple of years ago, spent on the dock of a bar in Annapolis, drinking these high-sugar, high-fat cocktails. They did not disappoint then, and they definitely fixed the debbie downers that have been creeping their way into the past couple of months.
I’ve been coming to terms with anxiety, and whether or not turning to meds is the answer. And after years of playing therapist to friends, I turned to some of mine, who have also struggled with anxiety. I come from a family that legitimately does not acknowledge emotions — I struggled with depression and anxiety through high school and much of college, and it went entirely unnoticed, mostly because my parents put a huge stigma on anxiety, and being diagnosed with depression or anxiety was just. not. an option. For most of my life, I was under the impression that any form of anxiety was mental illness in disguise. That you can solve any problem by yourself. That insecurity and anxiety are qualities that make you a weak person.
All of these notions are false. So incredibly false. While there are many times I feel like blaming my parents or my high school or my college, what it probably comes down to is the changing world — growing up in a generation of people who have been helped by therapy and who have recognized that feeling nervous, insecure, or regretful over a snippet of a memory of something that you did or said ten years ago might be due to a chemical imbalance… that it’s not normal to go sleepless over something that, in the big picture of your life, is too insignificant to interfere with the present.
And sometimes, the solution is to take medicine that corrects that imbalance. A solution that goes into your brain and calms you down, because your time is too valuable to waste, worrying about something that doesn’t matter. But sometimes, you can figure it out on your own. Sometimes, a nap or a good cry can calm down my emotions. Or validation from a comedian, who read a book about the female brain and came to the conclusion that it’s a miracle that we’re not bursting into tears all 24 hours of the day (truth girl, truth). Or a yoga class, which helps you differentiate the strengths and weaknesses of your mind from the strengths and weaknesses in your body.
But sometimes, a couple of stiff cocktails with your favorite people work more magic than anything. Because there are few things in this world that take pain away better than sharing delicious treats with people who make you feel loved.
The past couple of weeks have been weird for me, and filled with situations where I’ve felt unlike myself. I won’t get into too much, but part of it might have had something to do with having Airbnb’rs and cat sitting for Winston and second guessing when my move to New York actually will be. Rest assured, I’ve figured it all out. And once I did, I took Saturday night to myself — I took advantage of a quiet apartment and read most of the current summer read, and ended up taking a late night trip to the gym. I missed the spin and yoga classes, but generally, I’m okay with that, because I can just hop on a bike and coach my own spin class. The Sarah Gerrity spin class.
On my walk to the gym, dusk was setting and the fireflies just started appearing — side note, we don’t have fireflies in California, so they have a special place in my heart, and I still get excited every time I see them — but on my walk back from the gym, it was dark. There were some straggler fireflies, and the crispness of the night instantly brought me back to my first summer in DC, back in 2010. Having recovered from my first, very brutal winter, I was more than ecstatic to have a spring and a summer, filled with rooftop bars and embassy parties, and cooking dinners on my Dupont patio. Watching the flight patterns landing and departing from DCA, with a glass of wine and usually while sharing hookah with Kristen or Rachel was the usual. Saturday night reminded me of that. So naturally, I was wistfully remembering the days of my youth. Not that I’m not still young, but it’s weird how much you could change in four or five years.
Back then, I thought I’d live in DC forever, I thought running was the only exercise I’d ever need, and I also wanted to stay in that first group house until everyone else moved on, so I could just buy it for myself and gut it completely when I was ready to have a family of my own. Oh, how things have changed. I’m trying to savor my last summer in DC as much as I can. The days aren’t quite numbered yet, because a few things are still up in the air. The air is crisp, and I’d hate to say things are changing, because I’ve said that so many times and the changes I think might happen don’t actually come about. But as much as I love the winters, the summers are nice too. And I’m going to soak up every inch of not-urban jungle that DC is.