These are all things I’d love to get in my stocking (usually I just get wine and candy, but hey, not complaining) — especially if you’re gifting a photographer, fitness lover, or overall smartphone addict.
The Ban.do gem speaker is everywhere — and it’s by far one of the most attractive bluetooth speakers out there. If only it came in gold! If you’re in the market for something with better quality, my friend Jen has the Mini Jambox — I was beyond impressed by that little thing. It was more powerful than my whole speaker system at home. Here’s another gorgeous glam speaker option for $60, and this Switch column is something that’s been on my purchase list for ages. It even doubles as a speakerphone (perfect for freelance conference calls).
Ages ago, I got a free brick phone battery from an event for work — it changed my life, especially when I had long interview days in Manhattan, where finding an open outlet is a nightmare. Triple C has been making some gorgeous chargers — like the slate card charger above. That even fits in your wallet. I have this solar charger (energy nerds unite) and this walnut piece will charge two devices at once. Time is money, right?
The estylo bamboo, double-pointed stylus has been on my radar for about a year now… but I have yet to pull the trigger, because I haven’t picked up enough lettering work yet. But, it’s just so pretty.
I first checked out the Misfit Shine on my trip to Montana with CapHillStyle — and she was able to tell us how many calories we burned and how many steps we took on our hike… so I ended up getting one. And then we got one for Emily, for her birthday. The cool thing about the shine is that it runs on a watch battery, so there’s no recharging necessary (until you have to replace the battery). Is $100 a little much? No worries, they just came out with a $50 version.
Last but not least, if you’re like me and don’t have an iPhone 6 yet but want better quality photos, a superwide phone lens could help. Another fun smartphone accessory I’d like to try is this smartphone projector (because watching youtube videos on your phone could be so much better, for $28).
I’ve always been a fan of pretty metallics, but lately, all I’ve wanted is everything in gold. I pulled together some great options ranging from stocking stuffers to the trivet set (swoon!), basically, things that would work well for a little glam gift swap.
Happy Monday! Hopefully, you’re in a place where the sun decided to come out. It’s full-blown winter here in DC, and the sudden onslaught of rain and wind chill has made me realize how much I really did purge my closet this over the summer (and how much I failed to replenish it). But, I’ve been trying to stick to a budget lately, so that explains a little bit of the lack of fancy recipes. I’ve been focusing more on work than on blogging… and I’ve been trying to prioritize travel a bit more, now that I’m probably going to be in DC for a while.
In the meantime, here are some things I’ve been coveting on the interwebs as of late. Like the image above? It’s a gorgeous watercolor piece by Shane Willmett, an artist I discovered on the Daily Imprint. Check out his stuff — I’m smitten.
Holiday dresses: I sadly could not get my hands on this dress before it sold out (do I dare try to squeeze into a 6?). It would be perfect for Thanksgiving with the family, and New Years in Oslo… yes, I’m going to Oslo for New years and cannot wait. But this sequin dress would be great for some holiday parties, as would this sheer sleeved navy piece.
OMG Shoes: obviously. I got rid of a few pairs of heels that I had completely torn up on the sidewalks years ago, and am slowly but surely building up my shoe collection again — emphasis on slowly. These spotted booties are high on my list, but these blue suede and gold-tipped pumps are higher. And if I still lived in a warm climate, these strappy silver numbers would be a staple in my wardrobe.
Coats and accessories:Nasty Gal has been nailing the affordable coat selection this year. When I first moved to DC, I visited the Lincoln Memorial with a friend in town from New York, and we saw this incredibly chic woman wearing a tailored houndstooth coat, hat, and gorgeous heeled boots. I’m pretty sure this is a replica of her coat (which I’m sure, was five times more expensive than this one). This gorgeous black & leather piece was sold out in my size, but maybe I could live vicariously through you. Also, if I weren’t such a knitting fiend right now, I’d be wearing these faux fur mittens with this head band, all day, every day.
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.
Have you guys heard of Diner en Blanc? It’s basically a giant flashmob dinner where everyone brings their own table and chairs, and everyone wears all white. The event started in Paris (obviously, it’s all very French) and has since spread to a whole bunch of other major cities around the world. It really looks like quite the spectacle!
Anyway, some friends of mine have been working on starting the tradition in DC (this is three years in the making) and I got looped into leading a group of Washingtonians from our meeting point to the dinner location, which won’t be revealed until the day of. In case any of you are going, or live in another city and are lucky enough to get a coveted ticket to these events, I’ve been planning with friends and colleagues — what to wear, what tables to buy, and what to have on our menu!
If you do end up heading to whatever iconic location the dinner will be at, get in touch! Would love to meet some of you — and I’ll be doing some photography and video during the event. Xo!
First things first — I’ve been looking for a basic white dress that I could reuse for work or for parties. This v-neck will do the trick… and it’s under $100! At a splurge price point, this dress has a beautiful trim. And on the opposite end, Forever 21 has a great option — yolo.
Bag — the event calls for a “white picnic basket,” but in the videos, you see people with their neutral or multicolored carts. I’m not sure where the hell to find a white picnic basket, nor am I sure I’d use it more than once, but I already own and swear by this tote. I’m a fan of white bags for a polished look (as long as you put in the work to keep ’em clean!) so the MK will be carrying my camera, and our dinner.
Accessories — the party’s supposed to be elegant, so naturally, I envisioned a big, white, Audrey-style hat. This neutral wide brim would be perfect! Here’s an all-white version for just $10 more. As far as jewelry, I’ve been switching from my high school and college obsession with bold silver pieces to delicate yellow gold pieces, so the Satya necklace might make an appearance. I’ve been pining over that gold flower ring, which I imagine would complete the look. Two of my favorite jewelry designers are Gabriela Artigas and Gorjana — check them both out! They make gorgeous gold pieces.
Table and chairs — this table rolls up into a carry-on bag, and these white chairs are just perfect. Looking for another option? This table would go perfectly with these little stools (and you could reuse them as side tables on your patio after the event).
I’ve been texting Silje in Norway, and following all of her lovely friends in Norway via Instagram and Snapchat — and I’ve found myself incredbly vacation-sick for Norway and it’s gorgeous views, bubbly language, and friendly faces. It was almost a year ago when I took just over a week to explore Oslo and Bergen! And since I held back on taking a vacation this year, I’m already daydreaming about the trip I’m hoping to take next year. My obsession with Norway continues, so you can bet that I’ll be taking at least another week there next summer :)
Here are some of the gorgeous views I’ve been pinning to my to-do list. If you want to make a Norwegian laugh, try pronouncing all of the Norwegian words and names out loud.
Atlanterhavsveien — “The Atlantic Road” is a winding, gorgeous road that was orginally proposed as a railway in the early 1900s (then abandoned). The road itself was build in the 1970s, and it now connects the semi-inhabited tiny islands of an archipelago in Western Norway.
Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway — I’ve had this image pinned for years. Lofoten is farther north than where most Norwegians live, and it’s a bit of a trek to get up there… but it’s first on my to-do list for my next trip to Norway. Last summer, I met a couple of Americans while I was in Bergen, and they had just come back from Lofoten. They described the water as being as blue as the Caribbean, but you’re instead up in the Arctic Circle. I want to go to there.
Trolltunga — “Tip of the tongue,” known as one of the most spectacular hikes in all of Norway. The little ledge of a cliff juts out, holding you more than 3,600 feet above sea level — how crazy is that?! It’s a day-long hike through high mountains, but the views are breathtaking and highly worth it.
Preikestolen — Pulpit Rock, a hike to a stone cliff that looms almost 2,000 feet over the Lysefjord. The hike is just over 2 miles each way, but… you start at sea level and climb all 2,000 feet in that 2 miles, so it takes the average fit person 2 to 3 hours. So… you’ll find me on the stairmaster tonight.
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.
Happy Friday! Since I haven’t had much time to cook this week (thanks a LOT, WINSTON), I thought I’d compile some of my favorite blogs as of late. Enjoy!
My Scandinavian Home — You probably already know I’m obsessed with all things Scandinavian because of my travels in Norway last summer (and because, well, Norwegians are all just so pleasant and beautiful). Scandinavian design being the best of the best doesn’t ease my obsession.
Meg Fee— loooooooove her whimsy yet real writing style. My former roommate once tweeted at her to hang out on a trip to New York. And she did. Besties! Anyway, that’s how I found her blog, and I’ve been smitten ever since.
Souvlaki for the Soul — amazing food photos, and a minimalist design. I haven’t actually tried any of the recipes, but I have spent hours salivating over them.
Dreams + Jeans — graphic designer for Madewell, has impeccable taste and visual style. And her blog rocks. Basically, I’d like to be her, in the classiest of sense (and not the creepiest).
Summer has arrived, swiftly warning me of its brutality.
Today is my day off — I didn’t have much planned except for yoga this evening, but Kristen invited me to speak to her 6th and 7th graders about having a career in art. While one class seemed more interested in knowing if I knew “how to hack” or not (I told them that Google knew every single thing they did on the internet, so it was in their best interest to not hack), some students were genuinely interested in learning more about art and design.
I sure wish I had someone to talk to about careers in creative when I was younger! My newspaper advisor in high school (now a client!) was always supportive of my want to pursue design as a career, but being part of a family who only cared about finance made art school impossible.
It’s weird, isn’t it? I have friends working in almost every industry that exists. Some whose parents are creatives and encouraged creative careers — some of that backfires and sometimes it works. There seems to be a delicate balance. My parents strongly (forcefully) encouraged me to pursue finance and accounting. Sophomore year of college, I took an accounting class, and was doing pretty well. I hated every minute of every econ class I ever took, and I went into that accounting class with an A. But halfway through the final, I thought to myself, why the hell am I here? I hate accounting. I refuse to ever take another accounting class again.
So I walked out of the final exam. I got a C.
My dad wanted to kill me, but I knew I had made the right decision. It was the decision to choose my own courses, and to finally stop letting my parents dictate what I wanted. Back then, I wanted to be a CIA operative. I started taking Arabic classes, and I excelled. My parents rolled their eyes.
And don’t get me wrong, I loved my college experience, and my Arabic wasn’t bad — I had a couple of job offers for career paths close to being a CIA operative (but not quite the real thing). And I liked it, but there’s just no comparison to how much I love what I do now. I don’t think time was wasted, per se, but man, twenty-seven year old Sarah would loooove to travel back to 2004 and whisper some advice to high school Sarah. It wouldn’t be to specifically go to art school, but it would have been to stop letting my parents scare me into a career that I didn’t want.
Instead of the year and a half of economics classes for the business major, I could have been taking illustration and design. I can take those classes now, but sometimes, I wish I had a better base.
Of course, the grass is always greener. Who knows, if I went to art school when I was an undergrad, the recession could have killed any marketing budgets that could have funded a budding career — especially in Los Angeles.
It’s one of the many reasons why I love talking to kids about my job. I tell them about how I always loved art and creativity, and that I was somehow able to make it my full-time job, and that these days, it’s much easier to find work in creative than it was ten years ago. And half of the interesting stuff lies in the fact that I didn’t go to art school. I technically didn’t have to go to school at all. But it shows that you don’t need a degree in whatever the rest of your life will be spent doing.
And when the kids ask me how many hours I spend working, it’s always shocking to add it up and tell them sometimes up to 70 hours a week. I can see their eyes bug out, but I always supplement it with telling them: You know, if you’re lucky enough to really love your work, it won’t always feel like work. Which is true. Now, if I could just turn writing this blog and making yummy treats my full-time job. That would be a treat, wouldn’t it?
3/4 cup hazelnuts, finely ground
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Zest of half a lemon
1 pint fresh blueberries, cleaned and picked over
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
Combine the flour, walnut meal, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork, and set aside.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the sour cream and lemon zest. Slowly add the dry ingredients (I have this thing to keep my KitchenAid mixer from spraying flour all over the counter) and mix until just blended.
Pour the batter into your loaf pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Pour the blueberries into a baking dish or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with brown sugar and butter, and stir to combine. Roast them in the oven until the blueberries are about to burst — about 10 minutes.
Serve each slice of cake with a spoonful of roasted blueberries, and garnish with mint (optional) if you like.