wishlist fig + yarrowi have a confession to make: i have ugly heels. like, gross, cracked, totally fugly please get those away from me heels. if i had a dime for every time a nail salon attendee has said, “WHY IS YOUR SKIN SO DRY?!” i’d be a millionaire at age 28.

it’s no surprise, then, that i’ve tried nearly ever foot scrub and foot cream under the sun – because all a girl wants is some smooth feet, you know? unfortunately, nothing works like a good pedicure, and despite my very best efforts, my heels still don’t look their best.

enter fig+yarrow’s alpine foot butter: the newest item on my wishlist. the brand bills it as “a velvety smooth alpine fresh whipped butter blend to treat and nourish feet.” i can get on board with that. see, i have a thing for alpine/christmas scented things. specifically, i have a thing for holiday-scented candles, but pretty much anything that smells like a tree makes me happy.

hence, i’m pretty sure that fig+yarrow’s foot butter will be a home run in my book. and since i can’t resist anything with pretty packaging, nor can i get enough of at home spa treatments, i’m also thinking of splurging on the winter herbal steam (at home facial here i COME), coffee + cardamom body scrub, and of course, the alpine foot scrub. HELLLOOO, at home pedicure.

ps: friends, fam, there’s still time to order before hanukkah ends! just kidding. sort of.

gingerbread muffinsLOOK! i still bake things and blog things! i once read this list of things bloggers should never, ever do, and #1 said, “don’t apologize for your absence, people get annoyed when you’re all, omg i’ve been gone for so long, i’m so sorry dear readers. but i don’t have very many dear readers, and WHATEVA, I DO WHAT I WANT, so, here’s my apology: life got away from me. dear god, it’s me, sarah, and it has been over 2 months since my last real blog post. i am here to confess my sins.

i really am hoping to talk to you guys, my faraway + internet friends, about what i’ve been doing the past few months, but that’s a story (or stories) for another post (posts).

we are gathered here today to talk about the deliciousness that is these gingerbread muffins. i adapted them from how sweet eats’ recipe (love her, want to be her), and by adapted i mean i didn’t have enough maple syrup, i was too lazy to walk the 2 blocks to the grocery store and i didn’t want to use the aunt jemima (ew) from the bodega across the street, so i used honey instead.

anywho, this recipe calls for LOTS of molasses, and i love anything with molasses. i always try to lick it out of the jar (TMI?), only to realize that while molasses makes other things taste GREAT, molasses itself tastes, well, bitter and gross and oh my god why did i put that in my mouth?!

i have the same issue with vanilla extract.

i made these muffins on sunday morning, and then i took a pretty picture of them on a pretty tea towel and marveled at my artistry and how perfectly baked they were. then i ate one on the way to soulcycle and resisted the urge to instagram my artistry, knowing that this here recipe would be a good one for the blog.

so here we are, folks. gingerbread muffins! OH MY HOLIDAY!

what you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (use fresh if you have it, i didn’t)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup (substitute honey if you don’t have enough – that’s what i did)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup milk
raw sugar for topping (i used THIS amazing vanilla bean sugar that in nashville last month and it is the BOMB DIGGITY. if you like to bake, ORDER IT)

what you’ll do:

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. line your muffin tin with liners (pretty ones make all the difference).

whisk together your dry ingredients in a small bowl: flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. set aside.

in a larger bowl (i used my kitchenaid mixer, also known as my BBF, my best baking friend), whisk together brown sugar and egg. once those are hanging out, getting to know one another, whisk in the molasses, maple syrup (or honey if that’s the path you chose) and vanilla extract. then, whisk in your melted butter until all is fully combined and right with the world.

stir in your dry ingredients until JUST combined. no overzealous mixing, please.

before they’re fully combined, stir in the milk. now you should have a smooth batter.

fill your muffin cups 3/4 of the way full, and top each with a big sprinkle of sugar. bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until your muffin tops are set. no one likes a jiggly muffin top.

(sorry, couldn’t resist).

now, eat, celebrate, share with friends, bring to your office, etc. most of all, ENJOY!

i went through a period of time in life where i was CONVINCED that i was going to the next fiona apple. i’d grown up taking piano and voice lessons, and after being accepted to my high school’s a capella group, i started dabbling in guitar as well. during my freshman and junior years of high school, hormones raging, i wrote many an emo deadjournal post (to think that those were the original days of blogging blows my mind) and even more emo songs. i didn’t grow up to be fiona apple; despite a few local open mic nights in high school, i learned that while i was okay, good even, i wasn’t great – and let’s face it, you have to be great to make it.

that being said, i can remember being infatuated with music from an early, early age. my mother has a pretty good voice, though she’d never tell you that herself, and i think i got it from her. she, too, loves music, to her core. put on a good song, and she is literally incapable of NOT tapping her feet, or shaking her shoulders (my current signature move, thanks mama), or moving her head from side to side with the beat.  it’s a quality we share.

my mother, however, doesn’t have my soft spot for vocal competition shows, for obscure youtube videos of cover songs, for backseat jam sessions like the ones below. she’ll tolerate me and watch them, saying, “pretty good” – but she’s not transfixed the way i am.

i came across these videos on jamie meares’ blog, and proceeded to watch about 10 in a row. i CANNOT get enough. nicki bluhm and the gramblers, consider me a brand new fan. now, who wants to rent a van and drive cross country with me so we can make music videos like these? folks with musical experience preferred, but all seatmates welcome.

fallhomedecor

WREATH | MARBLE CUTTING BOARDS | SUNBURST MIRROR | BRASS PEACE SIGN | MIRRORED PILLOW | DIPTYQUE CANDLE | PLAID THROW | APOTHECARY CANDLES | IKAT PILLOW | GOLD WALLPAPER | MERCURY GLASS LAMP | KILIM RUG | LEATHER BUTTERFLY CHAIR |

it’s officially october, and i can’t get enough of warm, cozy neutrals and candles that smell like bonfires. if i had a million dollars, i’d buy each and every one of the items above. kilim rugs, leather butterfly chairs, mercury glass and wool throws are what it’s all about come autumn. i just want to snuggle on my couch, light nine million candles, and marathon each and every season of chicago fire.

speaking of chicago fire, all of my fall shows are back, and i’ve been binge-watching tv like nobody’s business. like, i’m entering anti-social territory. but honestly, a girl can’t help it when the voice is on twice a week and dick wolf keeps creating amazing shows with hot guys that have ginormous hearts (swoon!).

this time of year is my absolute favorite, and i just want it to last forever. i’d roll around in a giant pile of leaves if any piles made themselves available to me. good thing i’m headed up to vermont this weekend! i’ll leave you with that lovely image, and for now, go admire the pretty things above, and drink some apple cider while you’re at it.

HAPPY FALL!

Best Fall Candlesfeu de bois | pumpkin chai | oatmeal cookie

i have a bit of a thing for things that smell good. this is my worst nightmare. as a ginormous neat freak and a person with what i’m pretty sure is a pretty hardcore nose (both in the large jewish sense and in the strong sense of smell sense), i’m constantly thinking of ways to make both myself and my home smell pretty. and by pretty, i mean, i want to smell fucking AMAZING (thank you, tocca cleopatra, for your help in that regard), and i want my apartment to do the same. when you’re a crazy cat lady to the max, this can be a little bit difficult. i try to keep smells to a minimum by disposing of penny’s lady bizness on the regular, and cleaning my apartment from top to bottom once a week (or more, depending on how anal i’m feeling on any given day).

but my real savior in the scent department is candles.

hi, my name is sarah, and i am a CANDLE WHORE. i cannot get enough. the security guard at the west broadway anthropologie store and i are pretty much on a first name basis (at the very least, he sees me and thinks, this bitch, buying her candles again). thank goodness my mother never remembers to read this blog, because she’d absolutely keel over if she realized how much i spend on candles on a monthly basis. my expensive candle habit takes a bit of a hit in the summer months, when fresh flowers take priority over a faux wax version, but come fall and winter, i am ALL ABOUT THAT WAX, ‘BOUT THAT WAX

specifically, i’m all about that pumpkin/fireplace/cookie/fir-scented wax. there is nothing i love more than sitting on my couch enveloped in the smell of nest’s pumpkin chai. it is, hands down, one of the best fall candles out there. RESPECT, nest. you kill it. (come christmas time, nest’s ‘holiday’ pretty much never stops burning in casa de sarah and kaitlyn). i may be a jew, but i LOVE me the scent of christmas trees, and since i can’t really get away with owning one, i can own the next best thing: a candle that smells like the real thing.

anyway, back to my faves. i’ve been known to go a little crazy buying anything and everything from illume (they do a separate line from anthropologie – don’t miss out on their oatmeal cookie and pumpkin souffle boulangerie jars), but when i’ve got extra cash money burning a hole in my pocket, i head straight for the diptyque. in the spring, i’m all about rosa mimosa, in the summer, it’s baies for the win (it’s baies for the win any season, really), but come autumn, i can’t get enough of feu de bois. there is, i tell you, no other candle that mimics the smell of a real, wood-burning fireplace better than this one. 

when you’re a city-dweller, and especially, a new yorker, a real, wood-burning fireplace is a pipe dream. it’s about as realistic as going an entire year without seeing a crazy person on the subway (love you, nyc). fireplaces and garages, i tell you. they’re what suburban dreams are made of. but since we concrete jungle folk can’t get the real thing ’til we head upstate to hudson or across the water to jersey, we’re destined to burn candles instead.

diptyque’s candles may be expensive, but they burn forever, they burn cleanly, and they smell beyond incredible. trust me when i say: if you can afford to splurge, feu de bois is THE fall candle. there’s nothing else like it.

can’t stomach spending more than $20 on a freaking candle? i feel you, girl. make a beeline for your local anthropologie store, and stock up on their oatmeal cookie boulangerie jar. at just $16, this candle burns beautifully, lasts for 35 hours, and best of all, doubles as an easy way to make people think you’re a baking goddess who whips up soft, molasses-laden oatmeal cookies on the regular. talk about killing two birds with one stone.

so, what are you waiting for? you have shopping to do!

 

d37ff42e4d64659ae9a6726e427c0777yesterday, i cried during a bar method class. that’s a sentence i never really thought i’d write. at soul, maybe. soulcycle’s all about letting your emotion out, and it’s a dark room lit by candles. crying (at least, quietly), is almost encouraged. but at bar method, poised and pretty, ballerina beautiful is what it’s all about.

before i go any further, let me say: i didn’t cry because i was sad. for once, i wasn’t crying because i felt out of place, or because i felt useless, or incapable, or that dreaded f-word, fat.

no, yesterday, i cried because i was happy. because i was proud. because lara, an instructor who’s been with me through most of my journey (and lord knows i still have a ways to go), said something so moving, so beautiful, so kind and goddamn wonderful that i almost lost it.

every bar method class starts with arms – shoulders, biceps, lats, then straight into pushups. mid pushup, i felt lara next to me. she repositioned my tuck (bar method terms for rolling your hips forward and squeezing your glutes til they feel like buns of steel), and told me to move my arms back a couple of inches. as i got into the correct form, she pushed her microphone to the side, and said, quietly, so only i could hear, “you’re making room for a body that’s no longer there.”

and just like that she was gone, and i was pushing up, and down, and up, and down, squeezing my eyes tightly shut so i didn’t burst into tears in front of 25 other women (many of whom, i should note, have become friends, and who likely would have been perfectly fine if i’d shed a tear or two).

it took a good five minutes for me to regain my composure, lara’s words reverberating in my head. my form was off because i was making room for a body that was no longer there. a body that was no longer mine. a body i’d worked so, so hard to shed – and a body i still felt (and feel) weighed down by.

when you’re on a weight loss journey (and lord, is it a journey), it can be hard to see your progress. it can be discouraging to step on the scale and see that the numbers haven’t changed as much as you’d have liked them to (especially when you know, deep down, that your body IS changing and the scale just isn’t showing it). it can feel like you’re plodding up a mountain that’s never going to end. i’ve been feeling that particular form of discouraged lately, following a recent annual physical where my weight stayed the same, but my blood work – my cholesterol, my numbers, all my internal markers – were off the charts good. look at my chart, and if you ignore the weight, i’m just about as healthy as a person can be. as my doctor likes to say, “you’re skinny on the inside!”

which is great, fine, well and good. health comes first, right? but in a world filled with body shaming and comparison and the never-ending pressure to be thin, not strong, i don’t want to be skinny on the inside, i want to be skinny where it counts.

every so often, i’ll have a moment – i’ll catch myself in the mirror at bar, or i’ll complete a sprint at soul – where i feel like, yes, i can. i can complete this class. i can keep up with everyone else. i can do this. i do deserve to be here. i do fit in. but those moments are few and far in between, because when you’re scrutinizing yourself every single day, it’s hard to step back and see the bigger picture.

but yesterday, lara helped me see it. she helped me remember where i was when i started, and just how FAR i have come. even if the scale doesn’t always reflect it.

after class, i lingered and waited until she was free, then tapped her on the shoulder and said, “i just wanted to say thank you.”

and she wrapped me up in the biggest of hugs and said, “love you.” and what she really meant, i knew, was, “i’m proud of you and i’ll keep pushing you until you get where you want to be.”

people often ask me why i deign to pay a staggering $250 a month to attend bar method classes. that story above? that’s why.

packing list_vermont

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN | ELEVEN | TWELVE

next weekend, i’m headed up to vermont for a weekend away in a ski town with a few girlfriends, and let me tell you, as a fall-loving basic bitch, i cannot wait. there is literally nothing i love more than the idea of wearing plaid, drinking a hot chai, sporting a leather jacket, and walking around in places where the leaves crunch beneath my feet. in my ideal fall moment, i’d also want to be simultaneously apple picking, and also wearing a sweatercoat layered beneath that leather jacket (depending on the chill, of course), also those karen walker sunnies above. i’m hopefully carrying that beyond adorable plaid kate spade saturday purse above, too.

did i mention i fucking LOVE fall? i swear, i loved it before it was cool to love it. all those buzzfeed lists about basic bitches and PSLs and all that ish can back off, because i am the original fall loving bitch. i’ve been pinning things like this for years. YEARS I TELL YOU.

anyway, moral of the story is that i just love this time of year so so much, and i cannot wait to spend a week frolicking in the leaves, drinking too much apple cider, sitting in the hottub and marveling at how amazing the foliage is in the northeast in october. october, i love you. northeast, i love you more and i promise i’ll never leave you for the west coast. fall outfits, i love you the most, and i want to spend all of my money on you. specifically on oversized scarves and big cozy sweaters and other things that are far from flattering but offer comfort beyond belief.

so, here’s what i’d be bringing to vermont if money was no object. chances are, i’ll be bringing a few of these things in real life (specifically, a fedora of some sort, a giant leopard scarf, and definitely a baggu for apple picking!), but the rest are on my “wear in my dreams” list.

next up on my packing list: MEXICO!

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