happyweekendso, as is the theme in pretty much every blog post/facebook post/tweet i’ve read today, labor day weekend is here and HOLY SHIT HOW IS LABOR DAY WEEKEND HERE?! i am usually not really a fan of summer, but even i am slightly sad that the scorching season is done. this summer flew by; it seems like just a week or so ago i was pulling my maxi dresses to the front of the closet and scoping out shoe stores for a few new pairs of sandals. time flies when you’ve got summer fridays, i guess. i’ve got one last beach day scheduled for tomorrow, and then it’s back to the grind. no more early fridays, back to 6pm soul with my girl krista, and back to weekends that aren’t peppered with sand and hot sunshine. to be honest, i’m a bit excited for fall. and by that i mean, it’s my absolute favorite season of all, and i can’t wait to pull out my cozy sweaters and big scarves and just be one big ball o’ COZINESS. with apple cider, of course.

there’s something about september that encourages you to push the reset button, and i intend to use this next month to do just that: get back into my routine, but in a way that feels natural and relaxed, not frantic and full of fear. this summer was wonderful, but i feel like i spent it running around, trying to squeeze everything in, worried i’d miss out on something. what that something was, i don’t really know. but i’ve got very few plans this weekend, and i’m quite happy about that. i’ve been away more days than i’ve been home in august, and i’m excited to do super-boring things like wash my couch covers, get my nails done, go to soul cycle, cuddle with penny, and whip up some new recipes. #grandmastatus

i hope that whatever you’re doing this weekend – however you’re ending summer and pushing reset – you have a wonderful time.

now, for the things i loved this week: 

the one word that comes up in women’s performance reviews (but not men’s). a good (albeit slightly depressing) read.

a dream home in sag harbor. this “cottage” is so pretty – i’d move in immediately.

speaking of moving in, i want my imaginary boyfriend to take me on a romantic weekend to the cape, and i want to stay here. 

my new favorite read. so much pretty here!

i was obsessed with taylor’s apartment when it was originally featured on design*sponge a few months back, and i’m even more obsessed with the before and after shots. proof that you can take a shithole and turn it into something beautiful so long as you’ve got good bones. side note: the idea of painting my kitchen cabinets and putting up backsplash makes me nervous – but maybe that’s just because i’ve always had “big bad corporate” landlords and not small town crown heights ones.

i just finished this book, and L-O-V-E-D it. i haven’t read a book that’s stuck with me like this one did in quite some time (the last book i loved this much was cheryl strayed’s “tiny beautiful things“)

6 jumpsuits to wear into fall

TOP ROW: ONE | TWO | THREE      BOTTOM ROW: ONE | TWO | THREE

hi my name is sarah and i think i need to check into jumpsuit rehab. i can’t stop buying them. i can’t stop wearing them. my coworkers probably think i only own three outfits (if a jumpsuit can even be considered an outfit). i can’t wait to transition my jumpsuits into fall outfits, complete with slouchy sweaters and oversized scarves. i just CAN’T GET ENOUGH. i mean, they’re essentially pajamas that can pass as real outfits. what more could you want?

thankfully, it seems like i’m not the only one who’s obsessed. topshop and nordstom, as well as my beloved anthropologie, have jumped on the jumpsuit train, and jumped on hard. this printed version is soo chic for september (insert rachel zoe voice), and this one is straight up sex pot. hellooo, strapless sweetheart neckline. i like you, yes i do. above are six options i’d happily add to my closet (i think i might just splurge on this joie option after seeing it on emily schuman). what about you? are you on the jumpsuit train?


happyweekend

how is it possible that this week felt long when it was in actuality quite short? last week, i worked just one full day, and a “half day” from montauk (which doesn’t really count, right?), and this week, i worked just monday-thursday. and yet, by 3pm on thursday afternoon, i was ready to call it quits. things have been a bit slower at work as of late, and that always makes me feel sleepy and all together unaccomplished. after a week away from my usual workout routine, it was really nice to get back into the groove. in just 4 days, i managed to squeeze in 4 bar method classes and 2 soul classes, which makes me feel like much less of a lump – a lump who’s eaten a shit ton of ice cream cones lately, i might add. next week i’ll have another 4 day week that’ll likely be just as slow, given that it’s pre-labor day, and after that, it’s back to the daily grind of 5 day work weeks with no summer fridays in sight for a very long time. but at least it’s almost fall, and i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t super excited to get back into my cozy sweaters and leggings uniform. i’m a bit sick of my maxi dresses, and there’s really nothing more comfy than a giant scarf. here’s to autumn and apple picking just around the corner!

anywho, now that i’ve given you that boring update, below are a few things i liked this week.

keeping starbucks stores unique. on how a coffee chain that might seem like a sea of sameness works hard to differentiate its retail stores.

a hilarious critique of people who live in brooklyn. my brooklyn friends, i love you, but you really do talk like this, at least, a lot of the time.

hitting the rest button in your brain. hint: going on vacation but still checking your instagram feed every ten seconds does not count.

my photo went viral. this piece broke my heart and put it back together all at once. here’s to us defending one another and building each other up instead of breaking one another down.

the business of taylor swift. on her carefully calculated image, and the fact that she changes her hair every two years. plus, is her new video racist?

actor jesse williams talks about the michael brown case.

jessie randall of loeffler randall’s beauty routine (with a soulcycle shoutout!).

and, just for good measure, some good advice from jenna lyons on getting old (hint, eat ice cream).

PS: i’m currently reading this book and i can’t put it down.

what i want this week

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

this week’s shopping list is an odd blend of fall-focused items (hi cozy sweaters and cute chestnut leather totes) and a few final odes to summer (those mirrored j.crew sandals are sold out, sadly, but they’re still on my wishlist). i cannot believe that summer has flown by so fast. it’s usually my least favorite season, but new york has mercifully been spared the terrible sweat lodge days i hate, and this summer has actually been quite lovely. i’ve been away for the past 2 weekends at the beach (rhode island and my first visit to montauk, respectively), and tonight, i head away for 5 days in asbury park. dirty jerz, here i come! i feel like once this weekend is over, and i settle back into my routine, i’ll be ready for fall. cold weather, crisp air, brightly colored leaves…ahh, autumn, i heart you.

5 Tips for a Better Night Sleep

so, yesterday, i talked about my overall sleep issues – from the little ones that plague me in my own bedroom to the bigger ones that hold me back when traveling – and today, i’m offering up 5 tried and true tips i use to help get me on my way to dreamland. these tips work best for me at home (of course), but they’re also easily adapted to travel. little things such as bringing a pillow spray that reminds you of home, toting your eye pillow from place to place (i’m that girl), and making sure you hunker down with a good book before bedtime can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. so, without further adieu, sleep tips!

5 tips for a better night's sleep

number one: invest in nice sheets. my personal favorites are these from pottery barn (and i have this duvet). they’re soft as can be (and only get softer over time), they come in crisp white (my favorite for creating a calming space upon which to snooze), and bonus: they’re pretty darn cheap! which means you don’t have to feel guilty about replacing them when the sun yellows them or you accidentally spill food that stains in your bed (what? that’s just me?). if you invest in anything, make it your sheets. there’s nothing like getting into a bed with scratchy sheets (my legs are tingling just thinking about it). your bed should be your oasis, the place where you escape from the world. so make it nice. bonus points for a big fluffy comforter, lots and lots of pillows, and a good mattress (which can make all the difference).

number two: power down. this is probably one of the most important ones. i know we’re all glued to our iphones, and i personally am guilty of checking my instagram feed right before bed, but it’s best for all of us if we just SHUT THAT SHIT OFF. an hour before bedtime, power down. shut off your computer, your phone, your ipad, your nook, your kindle, your TV. anything with a glowing screen should go bye-bye. except the old school kindle, which doesn’t glow at all (!!). hop into bed, or your favorite armchair, or your couch, and grab a book. research shows that the artificial light exposure created by our devices suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhancing alertness and shifting our circadian rhythms to a later hour. AKA, making it way more difficult to fall asleep.

number three: make it smell good. i’m a huge fan of linen spray, and pretty much anything that makes my life/room/body smell good. so when i stumbled across this pillow spray during a trip to space.NK while in LA earlier this year, i pounced on it. and never turned back. scented with lavender and chamomile, this spray lulls you into dreamland with its calming aromatherapy.

number four: make it dark. really dark. natural light is great for waking up in the morning, but not so great for going to sleep. if you, like me, live in a city, you know that it never REALLY gets dark, what with all the lights of the concrete jungle glowing around you. i’ve been using an eye pillow since middle school, and i kid you not when i say i CANNOT sleep without it. something about the light pressure of the flaxseed, the calming scent of lavender, the cool silk…eye pillows are a godsend. they’re also great for headaches and stress, and can be popped in the microwave/fridge depending on how you’re feeling. i get mine here, in my hometown beauty shop (they’re locally made), but any silk/lavender/flaxseed version will do.

number five: embrace the cold. people sleep better in cold, dark rooms. we’ve already tackled the “dark” part above, so now, we’ve got to tackle the temperature. set your thermostat to 65 or lower, turn on your AC in the summer, open your windows in the winter, invest in a good fan – do whatever you have to do to cool it down. this is a really interesting read from the nytimes on how cooling down your bedroom won’t just help you sleep better, it might even help you lose weight! SCORE. personally, i love the feel of sleeping under a heavy comforter, so i ALWAYS keep it cold (this means i keep my windows open in the dead of winter). there is nothing i love more than the nip of chilly winter air coming through my window at night.

and there you have it: my five tips for falling asleep. other ideas include: exercising daily (this works wonders for me), no coffee after 3pm, and writing down tomorrow’s to-do list before you shut off the light (alleviating all the “omg i have to do this and this and this tomorrow” worries).

now, go on and get some shut eye!

 


happyweekend

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ah, weekend! i am so, so happy friday is here – mostly because it means that i’m officially on vacation. AHHHHH. that’s my big ass sigh of relief. tomorrow morning, i head to rhode island to spend five days on the beach with my family. a whole lot of ice cream eating, tanning and book-reading (i downloaded THREE new books on my kindle!) is about to begin. then it’s back to new york, where i’ll be hitting up central park summerstage for a gavin degraw concert weds night (haters, hush, i can’t wait), a single full day at work, and out to montauk for more beach time. a good august, indeed.

what do you have planned for this lovely weekend? and ps: where did summer go?!

fuck you. pay me. a great read on freelancing, and gettin’ those benjamins like you deserve.

imagine if the subway was a spa. too good, too funny, and too freaking ON POINT. this stunt was conducted by an improv group, but it’s actually a genius idea for a skincare company looking to make a splash with their out of home advertising.

i cannot get enough of this song lately. sam hunt, you do it so good. those drums in the background, that sweet like molasses voice. if you want me to have your babies, i will.

sometimes i think about where i’ll live when i’m a real grownup. you know, because i don’t think i could raise my kids in the city – i want them to have a real yard and i want a garden and maybe even a garage (gasp!). and because i can’t imagine living in connecticut (eek, so conservative!) or westchester (eek, too moneyed), i tend to imagine myself in the hudson valley. and why not? there’s so much good there.

this story, of two women playing a soccer game to choose which last name they’ll use post marriage is amazing, hilarious and heartwarming.

i’m OBSESSED with this video of the lion king cast surprising a crowded A train with the circle of life. so good, and such an ILOVENY moment. i would seriously shit my pants if this happened to me. that, or cry tears of musical geek happiness.

and, in case you missed it:

a story about anxiety, and trying to sleep + homemade almond vanilla granola 

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so, i’m going to let you in on a little secret: my name is sarah, and i’m a bit of a shitty sleeper. even though i need a LOT of sleep to function (we’re talking like 8 or 9 hours), my sleep in our fair city is disrupted at best, and positively terrible at worst. when i’m home at my parents’ house, i sleep like a baby. no waking up to pee, no sirens shaking me out of my dreams. i can easily spend 10 hours tangled in my sheets, with not a care in the world. now, part of that’s how damn quiet it is in the woods of western massachusetts, and i’m sure an even bigger part of it is the fact that i feel undeniably comfortable and safe in my parents’ home – feelings i’d have to admit i still don’t 100% feel here in new york, even though i’ve called the city home for six years now.

new york has also re-awakened in me an anxiety problem that’s bogged me down in the past. lest you think i’m a total crazy, rest assured: it’s nothing too bad – but because life here moves fast, and my life is a busy one, i inevitably spend nights tossing and turning, my mind like a broken record player, skipping from moment to moment, to-do to must-do. if i’m stressed even just a little bit, i won’t sleep well, or even worse, i’ll barely sleep at all. i find sunday nights particularly tough – something about the impending week ahead takes my anxiety up a notch.

i’m also a terrible sleeper when i travel – so much that my doctor kindly prescribed me ambien, something i take only in the worst of situations – i do much better in my own surroundings, or at least, in places i feel comfortable. see, i have a thing about sheets.

let’s back up. since i was a child, i’ve had sort of an issue with sensory stimulation. ask my parents about dressing me as a little girl, and they’ll tell you i refused to wear anything with buttons, anything too scratchy, anything that came too close to my neck (god forbid you try to put me in a turtleneck). i liked things that were soft, stretchy, and easy to pull on and off. i hated loud sounds (the vacuum cleaner was not my friend), too. and forget trying to get me to eat something with a strange texture (seafood was out). a weird child, right? apparently, this is a real thing. and yes, my doctor parents have “diagnosed” me with it.

as i grew up, i somewhat “grew out of it” – though what that really means is that i learned to adapt. to dress in things i could tolerate, to sleep in my own bed most of the time, to be careful what bedding i brought to camp each summer (shopping for a sleeping bag was NOT my cup of tea, and my grandma’s old army blankets were OUT), and to try new things, food-wise.

story time:

my family loves to tease me about a trip we took to france with my best friend K the summer before our freshman year of high school. during our 2 week of travel, we spent a few nights in a historic hotel built into the rock face of a small, picturesque village in the south of france. the hotel freaked me out. beyond freaked me out. everything was dark and scratchy. the building seemed to shift at night. there were spiders crawling on the walls. the bedding felt damp, dirty. it was quaint, and romantic, and beautiful – but all i could see was how the place was going to eat me alive.

i slept on bath towels for the entirety of our stay. i couldn’t bring myself to let my legs touch the sheets.

because my parents are saints and K loves me despite my quirks, everyone just let me do my thing (albeit with a bit of light teasing).

fast forward to the summer after i graduated college. i’d planned a 2 week eurotrip with my friend alex, who was studying abroad in paris. he was going to take the train down to barcelona; i was set to fly there and meet him. we had an entire itinerary planned out.

on my flight over, i sat in front of 2 tiny children who were totally out of control. they kicked my back the entire way to heathrow. i arrived in london bleary-eyed and ate a shitty airport croissant before hopping on a ryanair flight to barcelona. by the time i arrived in spain, i’d slept not a wink in 24 hours. i was totally crazed, beyond exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to pass out.

we spent the night in an adorable little hostel with the typical set up: our room included a series of bunk beds; alex and i grabbed a pair of bottoms. when night fell, alex promptly fell asleep. i climbed into bed and prayed that sleep would come.

but it didn’t. instead i listened to the man above me smack lips with the woman he’d met not an hour earlier. i listened to the streets of barca whirl by me. and i listened to the whirring of my overtired brain, as it scaled through all the reasons i wouldn’t be able to sleep. the sheets felt like paper against my skin. i felt bugs crawling up and down my legs (not real ones, of course – they were in my head). i listened to alex snoring slightly, his chest rising and falling with each breath. i counted sheep. i counted the tiles on the ceiling. i watched as the bunk above me sagged slightly with the weight of the couple above.

but i did not sleep. around 1am barcelona time, i took my international phone out of my pocket and went out into the street and called my mother.

she answered on the second ring.

“sarah? what’s wrong? what time is it there?”

“IT’S 1AM AND I CAN’T SLEEP AND EVERYONE ELSE IS SLEEPING AND I’VE TRIED EVERYTHING AND I’M SO TIRED AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS SLEEP BUT I CAN’T. ALEX IS SLEEPING, THE ENTIRE HOSTEL IS SLEEPING AND I’M AWAKE.”

i lasted about 10 seconds before bursting into tears. i was the crazy american girl sobbing into her cellphone on a random bench, legs curled beneath her under a streetlight that cast washed out yellow light onto the cobblestoned street.

my poor mother, my wonderful mother – she sat on the phone with me for an hour, as i breathed in and out into the phone while she coached me into relaxation.

“deep breath. in, and out. in, and out. in, and out.”

and then i went back inside.

sometime around 4am, i fell into a fitful sleep. i hadn’t slept in over a day.

the next morning, i awoke totally flipped out. i’d had my first ever panic attack, and my entire body was on edge. i felt like i had hives, like i was vibrating negative energy out onto the streets of barcelona. my body was a live wire. i felt certain i’d collapse or explode at any moment.

i made it three days before i booked a flight home to massachusetts. alex and i didn’t speak for two weeks.

i abandoned him on our journey, on a trip we’d been planning for months, because my anxiety (created by my inability to sleep) got the best of me. when i told alex over lunch that i needed to go home, that my mind was out of whack, he put his head down. and told me he understood. and then promptly told me he needed the afternoon to himself. i didn’t blame him, i couldn’t. i only blamed myself.

since then, i’ve been extremely careful about how i travel. i bring my own sheets, because i know if i sleep in bedding i know, i won’t feel spiders crawling up and down my legs. i know that if i bring my eye pillow, i’ll have a little bit of home with me. i know that if i book nice hotels, i’ll have less of a chance of finding a hair in the bed that’ll set my anxiety off like a firecracker.

did i mention that i LOVE to travel? that i wish, more than anything, that i could be that down ass chick who shacks up in a hostel on the beaches of bali without a care in the world? that i could pack everything i needed for a  2 week trip into a backpack and just head out into the sunshine with no worries at all?

my “sleep issues” – or whatever you want to call them – have held me back more than i’d like to admit. there’s places i haven’t been, trips i haven’t enjoyed, because i’ve been too goddamn anxious and tired to enjoy them.

it’s sad, isn’t it?

so you can imagine that even when i’m home, in my own bed, i still don’t sleep all that well. ever since my panic attack on the streets of barcelona, i’ve become a more anxious person. a person whose blood electrifies her veins just a bit more than the average human. that night was like flipping a switch. i’d never really had anxiety. i’d never had a panic attack. and all of a sudden, i was a person who did, who had.

now, if anything is out of whack, i won’t sleep well. i’ll spend the night ruminating over the things i could have done, should have done, wish i’d done.

which is why i’ve developed a serious system for sleeping. a series of 5 things i do, each and every night, to prepare myself for a good night’s sleep (or, as good of a night of sleep as i’m capable of). i’ll be sharing those here tomorrow, with the hopes that they’ll help some other bad sleepers get some shut eye.

if you’ve made it this far in my miniature novel, kudos to you. now, go get some sleep.

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