I believe in miracles.
I try to change the world every day.
I love my husband, my friends, and my family.
I plan my next great adventure constantly.
I think most occasions call for a dress.
I write what I know and believe.
It’s been awhile since I linked up with Amanda and Christina, but I’ve got a few things to share that I’ve been loving lately!
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1 // I love the Kate Spade sale on sale promotions! You can get an extra 30% off with the discount code SWEET. I definitely picked up two pairs of sparkle shoes for less than the price of one regularly. I also love my workout clothes that I bought during the last sale. I wear the romper to my ultimate dance classes at the Y, and the other tops are great for barre classes. I haven’t been in a couple months, but I’m planning on going back next week.
2 // Reliving our anniversary trip as I edit photos. We really pushed ourselves to get up early, rest during the middle of the day, and stay out late so I could get some great photos. The PhotoPills app is a game changer when it comes to chasing light. I really can’t wait to share more of these photos. I can’t stop posting them on instagram. I can’t stop opening them on my huge iMac (it’s like being there again).
3 // The Been App. I love maps. I love planning adventures. I love remembering where I’ve been. I’ve only been to 9% of the world, 33% of Europe, and 68% of the United States. There’s so much more to see. Unfortunately, all my upcoming work trips are states I’ve already been to… so I’ll just need to plan more adventures.
4 // The weekend. I’ve been trying to take one day off each weekend to just do things I want to do. I usually have a couple of student meetings, essays to edit, or some things that I NEED to do, but I am working towards balancing that with the things I WANT to do. It feels good.
5 // I’m absolutely obsessed with Framebridge. I decided to give them a try to see how their photo print quality was and because I couldn’t find mirrored frames anywhere. The prints were gorgeous, I loved the Brentwood frame, and everything was packed so well. I’m a believer. I’m working a full post on the powder bath, but it’s challenging to photograph since it’s so small. The lights really throw off the mirrored frames. It fits the decor though.
Like many people, I woke up to the news about the Las Vegas shooting and was sad for my country. Certainly, I’m sad for the victims and their families, but I’m sad for the rest of us – the ones who believe the (stupid) narrative that now is not the time to talk about guns. Now is exactly the time to talk about guns. About gun control. And we need to act.
We can pray for Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Orlando all we want, but we need to DO SOMETHING, too.
But Sara, guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
Yes, they do. And guns help them accomplish that.
Despite growing up in Texas, I’ve never been comfortable around guns. When I was sever or eight-years-old, my family and I were leaving the mall after doing some Christmas shopping. A man was driving recklessly on the ice at high speeds, and when my dad pulled up next to him at a stop sign, he asked him to slow down – because there were people walking and it was dark.
The next time we ended up next to the guy’s car, he had a gun pointing out the window. He didn’t shoot (thankfully), but it terrified me. My dad, who suffered from severe heart disease, found a police office to report it to, and then ended up in the hospital that night because of the high blood pressure that resulted from one guy’s stupid reaction to being asked to act safely.
I’ve never forgotten that night – how easy it was for someone to pull out a gun because they didn’t like being told what to do. It scared me as a child. It still scares me now.
Perhaps I shouldn’t scare so easily, but maybe we shouldn’t let people amass ammunition and guns either. Maybe we should ask them to submit themselves to testing to ensure they aren’t a risk to others. Perhaps we should look at the number of innocent people who had to die because they chose to attend a concert, go to a nightclub, or go to a holiday party and ask ourselves if we aren’t a little guilty because of our refusal to act.
But Sara, I should have the freedom to bear arms.
Yes, and people should have the freedom to enjoy a concert without worry whether the noises are fireworks OR GUNSHOTS. People should have the freedom to walk into a nightclub without worrying whether or not they will make it home. And still, parents should be able to send their children to elementary school and not wonder if today will be the day that another massacre occurs. Freedom isn’t just about you.
But Sara, it’s a slippery slope… what about bombs, and, and, and…
You know what happens if you buy inappropriate products? The FBI shows up at your house. If you make a clock that someone thinks is a bomb? The authorities get called to your school. Anyone thinks you might be a terrorist and brands you as such? Your life and career gets ruined – even if the courts find differently.
Certainly, people might try and get creative. Things will get missed. We’ll make mistakes.
But, how many more innocent people have to die before we say enough is enough? Enough is the day when it’s your loved one, your friend, your parent, your spouse – but it can’t be that. If we are going to pray for whatever city, we should also love all of our fellow men enough to act courageously and say NO. This can’t be how it works.
And, we must be willing to say NO when people try and assign blame to others who have nothing to do with why this man decided to unleash hundreds of bullets on people he didn’t know. (I’m looking at you, Fox News.) The blame lies solely at the feet of Stephen Paddock (and the people who continue to do nothing about gun control). We know that mass shootings are a problem. They have become such a problem that the one that killed 5 people this week went largely unreported. We are desensitized to them. We say oh isn’t that sad, and then we do NOTHING.
We cherry pick which laws to follow and when. We use the Bible when it benefits our narrative and cite separation of church and state when it benefits our narrative. We believe in freedom for some people, but not for all. The ability to amass military style weapons and ammunition is crazy, but if we’re going to allow it, why not allow people to buy tanks, too? (In this case, a Hummer is not a tank.) Don’t come to me with nonsense about how taking guns away is stripping you of your freedoms. We strip freedom away from people every day, and certainly the people (all of them, not just the ones we chose to brand as “terrorists”) who are shot going about their daily lives – at elementary schools, at Christmas parties, or at concerts had their freedom stripped away because someone was able to carry 49 guns into a hotel room and no one batted an eye.
Okay Jacques Torres, you know you’ve made it when you are the New York Times best chocolate chip cookie recipe! It’s I don’t exactly know why I thought this would be easy. It’s just a chocolate chip cookie recipe, right?! I mean, they are published on the side of chocolate chip bags everywhere, right?!
So, there I was thinking I would try baking something new to add to my recipe page. I start throwing ingredients into the bowl, reading the recipe as I go. (Judge away, grasshoppers, I know I’m not the only person who does this!) Eventually, I get to the part in the recipe where the dough has to rest. Okay cool, I need a nap too, cookie dough. But wait, what?! THE DOUGH HAS TO CHILL 24 HOURS BEFORE BEING BAKED.
There’s YOUR warning, friends. This is not a quick and easy chocolate chip cookie recipe. It’s a slow-your-roll chocolate chip cookie recipe.
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla!)
1-1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips... I'm not fancy.)
Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.
Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them.
Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
Wait in agony. Put a lock on the fridge to keep wandering hands/eyes out. (This means your own.)
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
Scoop 6 3½-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie.
Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.
Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.
Eat warm, with a big napkin. (Really? Really dude? Hilarious.)
Notes from the Kitchen on the New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe:
Let me just own this bit first: Step 7 was added by me. Jaques didn’t say that. He clearly has self control.
This the smoothest chocolate chip cookie dough I’ve ever made. It’s like butter. (Probably because it uses lots of butter?) Whatever – it goes down smooth. (Hey, I never said that I completely succeeded at Step 7. I just recommended that you do as I say, not as I do.)
It is also the HEAVIEST cookie dough I’ve ever made. Seriously. It’s heavy yet oh so smooth.
Did I mention that the dough has to rest 24 hours before you can bake these cookies?
These cookies bake beautifully. They are perfectly fluffy and perfectly browned. They actually look like magazine cookies.
These would package really well for homemade gifts because they bake perfectly. Bag, ribbon, cookies, DONE!
Oh, journey of doing. This post has been a long time coming in a lot of ways. Part of me wanted to do in conjunction with a post about shedding the scars of summer, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it deserved its own post.
I started this blog in mid-2011 when I was still a petroleum engineer. (Wow, that feels like a lifetime ago.) My husband (then boyfriend) was in the process of starting his own firm and managing other aspects of his business. We were busy, to say the least. (I think we went three years without a vacation.) We worked 7 days a week. I was burnt out. I wanted something that would remind me to do things. Whether that was being, creating, or doing, I needed to do more than work. Thus, my journey of doing was born.
I quit my job in late-2011 after a startling day with a high school senior. In between helping her finish college applications and finding my new purpose, I tried to do more things. Baking, crafting, photographing. Some were chronicled on the blog. Others are still sitting on my hard drive to be edited. (I’ve never been a consistent blogger in the way that I wanted to be.) Nevertheless, I’ve always been happy to have this little space to chronicle my journey of doing. It’s always here. I can come and go, but it stays.
In 2012, I started to put my heart and soul into changing the narrative around public education. I told some of those stories on this blog. Some I kept to myself. I shared some of them via email with blog-friends I’ve met along the way. And, still, I tried to remember to take time to do things I loved. (I haven’t done well at that for the past few years.)
Journey of Doing – Married Life
I got engaged in March 2013, planned for a year long engagement (with all the DIY posts!), and moved up my wedding day when my brother-in-law thought he would be deployed. We got married six months later (and it was perfect). That summer, our non-profit took off and I haven’t looked back at all. I’ve spent the last four years pouring myself into it. It’s been hard, stressful, and sometimes impossible, but it makes me happy to know that my life has meaning. We bought our first house in 2014, began renovating it in 2015, and that stretched into 2016. I did a decent job chronicling that adventure. Heh. We’ve been slowly settling into life in our house, taking a little time to travel, and trying to take care of each other through some really tough stuff.
In some ways, I spent this summer trying to find myself again. I kept telling myself that it would get better if I put one foot in front of the other and pushed forward. Looking back, it seems a little silly. Thankfully, my husband is patient with me. He indulges me but gives me tough love when I need it. Also, he loves me when I don’t love myself. That’s what I needed. Tough love, unconditional love, and milkshakes.
Tom took me to Venice and Prague for our anniversary. (I can’t wait to share more about both trips!) This trip had been almost perfect until I started crying over something stupid. As hard as it was, it was the realization that I needed to stop stressing myself out. Yes, there’s a lot of stress, but I need to better control my respond to it. On our last night in Venice, we decided to grab a photo session with Ksenia. While I don’t love how I look (did I mention the summer milkshakes?!), I do love these photos. They remind me of just being. Being happy. With my husband. Somewhere I love. Not every moment is going to be perfect, but I’m in control of my life. I need to remember to do life – not just exist through it.
It’s time to snap out of the summer slump. Fall is here. October is a new month. I’ve closed the book on Summer Sara. It’s time to move forward.
Journey of Doing – What’s on deck for the blog?
I’m going to continue to repurpose old content that I never shared. You’ll see some new #ThrowbackThursday posts from the early days of the blog. I’m going to edit and share the photos from adventures over the past few years. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been sharing all kinds of pictures of sequence. It’s my instagram and I do what I want! I’m going to do some posts on some of my favorite things that I think you’ll love too. I’ll probably rant about things affecting public education. Whatever it is – I’m going to be me. But I’m going to try and find balance in my life. I hope you’ll try and find some in yours, too. (We could all use that reminder, I think.)
In conclusion, I’m going to do things.
Just like the blog said way back when. It’s my journey of doing.
After 11 days out of town and 14,852 miles traveled, I’m home. The bulk of my travel was a trip to celebrate my anniversary (more on that to come), but the last few were at NACAC, the national conference for my profession, where I presented with two incredible #wonderwomen and spent time with a third favorite. (These are a few of my #wonderwomen.)
Normally, I find that conferences are the best place to recharge my batteries – something I’ve been desperately seeking for several months now. There were many highlights (and hugs) from people I absolutely adore, but I’m still looking for the ignition switch.
My favorite moment, however, was when my co-presenter dropped the answer, “Wealth doesn’t equate knowledge [of the college process].”
How very true.
How often do we take knowledge for granted? How often do we assume that people know or should know more than they do?
I’ve challenged my colleagues to remember that we’re here to support, advocate, guide, advise every student and family…
but I’m going to challenge you, too.
In your professional (or personal) life, what do you assume and shouldn’t? How can we be a bit more supportive, a bit more loving, and a bit more patient? In today’s (annoying, stupid, ridiculous, insert adjective here) world, I think we could all use a little more support… so what can you do?