Fall Foliage

Ugh. I hate to be one of those bloggers who always talks about the weather, but here we are. At least I haven’t mentioned, on any form of social media, whether or not I’ve had a Pumpkin Spice Latte yet (I haven’t) or anything about #SweaterWeather. I promise to try not to complain about how cold I am from November through March…

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Does Fall even, like, happen if you don’t take a photo of your feet on leaves?

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When my friends from the Southern states and/or California talk about how they wish they had “real Fall” where they live, I totally get it. Fall in the Northeast is stunning! When the leaves change and everywhere you look you see luscious shades of reds, yellows, and oranges, it is a feast for your eyes for sure. Here in Pittsburgh, though, Fall is a prize that we all collectively receive because we made it through humid AF August/September. It also helps tide us over until Springtime because winter here feels like it lasts a little bit too long and can be annoyingly bleak. Womp womp.

I try to squeeze in a Fall photo shoot every year because the foliage is so ridiculously pretty and photogenic (like this one from last year), but with Joel working longer hours to finish up a big project at work, I settled for a mini session in my neighbor’s leaves with my sister as the stand-in photographer. Yes I got a lot of stares from people driving by or busy bodies peeking out windows, but I just told them to mind their own business and leaf me alone….

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get it, “leaf“…..

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…….

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Bad jokes aside, try to enjoy Autumn while it’s here because we all know what comes next…

Winter. Winter is coming.

 

Woman Of The Hour Vol 6

Anyone who comes from a family with multiple kids knows that the relationships between siblings can be, well, complex… Especially with sisters. Feelings toward sisters are notoriously contradictory; we tend to love/hate each other more than brothers. I should know, I have three. Even though I have a twin, whom I love dearly, I’ve always been the closest with my oldest sister, Annie.

Annie is the most narcissistic, pretentious, sarcastic, moody, goofy, and hilarious person I know. She may not be particularly nice to your face, but she has that low-key kindness that only truly good human beings possess. Even though we have similar long, messy blond hair (hers is natural, mine not so much), we couldn’t be more different. I am honored that she has graced my blog with her presence as my next Woman Of The Hour…

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Annie was my Maid Of Honor (emphasis on the Maid)
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we both rocked bangs in 1993

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Describe your style in 1-5 words.

Dolly Parton is my spirit animal??? Not that flashy but when I do get dressed up, I like to channel the queen of country. I’ve also described my style to others as “Lesbian Trucker with a Feminine Side”.

Who is your style icon? I have a few icons- Bridget Bardot, Debbie Harry, The Olsen Twins, Alexa Chung, Aleksandra Zee, and Blake Lively.

What is your best feature?  My thick af hair and some would also mention dat ass. [best hair and best butt and best hairy butt i’ve ever seen]

What song would you want to play when you walk into a room to make you feel bad ass? Good as Hell by Lizzo or Boss with The Hot Sauce by the Detroit Cobras.

What beauty product can you not live without? Mascara and a good moisturizer!

If you were an inanimate object, what would you be? Probably a cast iron skillet.

What is your Myers Briggs score? It’s funny I used to be an ENFJ when I was younger. Now I am a solid INFJ. Definitely cherishing my alone time as an adult. [emphasis on the J]

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literally the only time Annie was ever taller than me

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What was your first aol screen name? motorcycleAC [this is because Annie once asked someone if motorcycles have air conditioning…]

Are you currently binge watching anything, Netflix or otherwise? Not really binge watching anythings rn. There is a new Netflix series with Michelle Dockery that I will probably watch. I am watching This Is Us on a week to week basis on Hulu! Guaranteed to make me cry! [Annie used to watch a lot of fan-made Downton Abbey videos on youtube, like this one]

What is your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever had? One year when I was little, I was little red riding hood. My twin brother was the wolf. When he wasn’t around, my grandma’s long-haired german shepherd, Annie, was his stand in. Annie the dog & Annie the girl. I came second! I remember having really curly hair and getting to wear red lipstick, too. [not sure why she answered this question like I don’t know who her twin brother, grandma, or grandma’s dog are, but whatever]

If you could go anywhere in the world for a week, where would you go and why? Germany!!! The week when November turns into December so I get fall and Christmas!

What is your drink of choice? Topo Chico with Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka and a squeeze of lime.

Give me an example of your biggest fashion win and your biggest fashion mistake. Biggest fashion win for me has been developing my personal style. In the last 3 years I have really figured it out. Forgoing most trends, neutral colors, and quality over quantity. Biggest fashion mistake: Walmart gaucho pants 2005.

What are your favorite and least favorite current fashion trends? I hate that most of the 90s is alive again. Like, the only thing good to come from that era fashion-wise was grunge, imho. I don’t think bell sleeves are functional. Choker necklaces are stupid. Pretty much not a fan of fast fashion at all. Favorite trends? Mules and bandanas?

Go-to karaoke song? Rilo Kiley! Portions for Foxes or A Better Son/Daughter if i’m feeling angsty.

Favorite song of the moment? Most of my music tastes are stuck in 2009. I’m liking the newest Brand New album and listen to it almost every day on my commute to work when I’m not listening to Waylon Jennings. [so you could say she likes that brand new Brand New]

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Who is your favorite sibling? You know who you are but I’m not going to go on the record. [IT ME.]

Best childhood memory of us? Waking up to Chumbawumba on the clock radio and jumping on our beds. The fights we had were pretty funny, too. [one of my favorite memories of Annie growing up was that she would leave for school early for Student Council meetings/Swim practice and I’d go into her room and I’d listen to her CDs while using all of her makeup/hair straightener, then I’d wear her clothes and she’d see me at school and get soooo mad… that’s what happens when you convince mom you deserve your own room and I had to share with the other two.]

Who do you think is mom and dad’s favorite kid? Whichever one of us who still goes to church. Probably you. [probably me]

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Best advice you’ve ever been given and would like to pass on. Work hard and be nice to people.

It was four years a go that I decided to move to Pittsburgh, and I don’t know what I would have done if my recently graduated from Grad School sister hadn’t decided to move with me. She’s my best friend and I hate how much I love her.

It’s Only Natural

 

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photo via

There are two ways of getting into a pool: the first way, you use your big toe to check the temperature and if that feels good, you slowly lower your body in as it gets used to the water. And the second way is… AHHHH! YOU JUMP!

I like to think of this scene from Superstar as metaphor when it comes to taking the plunge into living a more “granola” lifestyle. Though, unlike Mary Catherine Ghallager, we prefer the former method and are going ever so slowly into all-natural, organic living…

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Now that we are officially closer to 30 than to 20, we’re getting to be more aware of the products and foods we are putting onto and into our bodies. Did 21 year old Sarah care about how the synthetic fragrances and aluminum in her deodorant could potentially cause breast cancer and/or kidney problems? No! I just wanted to smell nice! Did I give a crap about all the plastic I was wasting by buying the tampons with plastic applicators?! Nope. I cleaned everything with bleach and other harsh chemicals and I never really cared about the effect it had on myself or the world around me. Had Joel, at age 23, ever even heard of Whole Foods or knowingly been within 100 yards of a Farmer’s Market? Probably not, too busy eating chicken wings or whatever… Ha! Just kidding, Joel’s parents are actually two of our healthy living gurus who raised their kids on lentils. Luckily, somewhere along the line, our eyes and minds started to open (thanks a lot to all of our gurus). That old saying about how “our bodies are our temples” always struck a chord with me; and since I plan to live a long and prosperous life, I need to start treating it as such…. Plus, we all need to start caring a little more about this world we have to leave to the generations to come.

The thing is, buying organic versions of all of your beauty/bath products (shampoo, soap, makeup, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, etc), cleaning products, plus all of your food can be ungodly expensive and ridiculously overwhelming. “Whole Foods? More like ‘Whole Paycheck’ am I right?” Hence the whole “taking it slowly” thing I mentioned earlier. We are implementing holistic teachings as well as plant based meal options bit by bit. I mean, I spent the last 2 years trying to find a good replacement for my old deodorant and I just now found one that actually works. Slow and steady wins the race, doesn’t it?

Going all natural is really not as hard or as expensive as I had originally thought it’d be… I didn’t know until recently that tofu could taste so good or that I could clean the bathtub with just baking soda and white vinegar! I’m glad that that being a little more “crunchy” is the cool thing to be these days. This is a band wagon that people should want to be on and I can’t wait to talk more about it!

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Hypothetically Speaking

I’ve spent the last 27.5 years trying to truly know myself. I know my favorite colors, my favorite things to do, my natural hair color (not blonde), what foods I hate, my Myers Briggs score (ENFP), which Hogwarts House I’d be sorted into (Ravenclaw), and a million other things only I care about. I think it’s important to get to know yourself a little more every day so you don’t go through life being dazed and confused about, well, you.

The other day, in an attempt to further this relationship with me, myself, and I, I thought of some hypothetical questions to ask myself. I asked the same questions to my two best friends, Joel and Allie, and we had so much fun laughing and comparing our answers. Scroll down for answers to 10 hypothetical questions I randomly decided to ask myself…

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  1. If you could reign over any one thing, what would it be? I’d be the Queen Of Crumbs or the Queen Of Unmatched Socks… All hail the Queen!
  2. If you could only have ONE for the rest of your life, would you choose pizza or coffee? COFFEE.
  3. If you could have not only the friendship but the respect of any celebrity, who would it be? Probably Larry David.
  4. If you had to choose one, would you rather lose your ability to see or hear? Hear (art major, hello!).
  5. If you had the opportunity to pack your stuff and move anywhere in the world for a year, where would you go? Germany or India.
  6. If you won the lottery, what would be the first three things you’d spend money on? Charity, Real Estate, and Shoeeeeeees!
  7. What would your low-key super power be? Talking to animals.
  8. Who would be your side kick if you were a low-key super hero? My cat, Peter.
  9. If you could resurrect three dead people for a dinner party, who would you invite? Carrie Fisher, Albert Einstein, and Michael Crichton.
  10. If you could travel back in time and hang out in any era for a weekend, which one would you pick? The Triassic Period… or the 70s.

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These would be really good conversation topics that you write on a notecard and hide in your purse for a first date… But since I’m already married and we have so much family coming to town in a few weeks for the holidays, I’m definitely going to be the (drunk) busy body at the table asking these questions…

GET YOUR ANSWERS READY NOW, MOM.

Montmarte, My Heart

If you find yourself in Paris feeling guilty about all of the gluten filled pastries you’ve been wolfing down, you might want to try burning some calories by taking a walking tour of the most charming Parisian neighborhood, Montmarte. It will be a delightful feast for your eyes!

One place we will probably never go inside of in Paris is the Moulin Rouge. Nothing against cabaret, it’s just that the film with the same name is one of my favorites of all time and I don’t want my illusions to ever be shattered. That being said, the Moulin Rouge is a good starting point for when things start to get steep. The hills and stairs you will go up will leave your thighs burning! Ready, set, hike.

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Oh, wait. Before you start heading up up up, be sure to check out the Pigalle Basketball Court. Seriously, if the San Antonio Spurs played on a court like this, I might start caring about the sport a little bit more… QUELLE MAGNIFIQUE!!!!

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Sitting at the top of Montmarte, is Sacre Coeur. I dare you to run up all of the steps in one go! Honestly, that’s the best way to get to the top while simultaneously avoiding people trying to sell friendship bracelets to tourists.

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The “Sinking House” can be found to the left of the last set of steps en route to Sacre Coeur (disclaimer- it’s not really sinking as Joel showed you in this video).

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When I think of Paris’ landmarks, I think of the Eiffel Tower, Arc Di Triomphe, The Louvre Pyramid, and La Maison Rose. It was probably the Millennial Pink shade that initially drew me to this place, but I also thought it was a bakery. It’s definitely not, so don’t try knocking. Worry not, though, if you’re looking for a well deserved snack after all that exercise you just did, Pain Pain is on your way down through Montmarte. “Pain pain” translates to “bread bread”, which translates to “yum yum” if ya ask me….

à bientôt, Montmarte! Je t’aime!

Halloween 2017!

Is it just me or is celebrating Halloween even more fun as an adult than as a kid?! Maybe that’s because anything that involves dressing up and drinking beer is my idea of a good time. As you may or may not know, Joel and I wear a well thought out couples costume every year, and even though we opted out of throwing our annual party, it’s not like we were just going to skip dressing up entirely! So with an original idea in mind and a costume contest at a bar to enter, we went to the spookiest place to buy the materials needed… A real life hell on earth, my least favorite place, Walmart. Dun dun dunnnnnn.

The concept: Joel would be King Kong. I would not be the sexy blonde lady that fits into  the palm of the big ape’s hand, but rather, the iconic Empire State Building (complete with blonde Barbie hanging onto the spire for dear life). Funny, right?!

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Materials:

  • Gorilla Onesie
  • 4 Poster Boards
  • Silver Spray Paint
  • Black Acrylic Paint + Brushes
  • Barbie
  • Gorilla Tape + Glue
  • A husband not only ready and willing to make this for you, but to dress in a gorilla onesie all night

As annoying as Walmart can be, you can find almost all of what you need there and the total will be under $50 (committed husband not included).

I should have known that my engineer/perfectionist husband wouldn’t just throw some tape onto cardboard and call it a costume. Even though he was working longer days at the office, he still spent a few hours every night building an amazing replica of the Empire State Building. It even lights up!

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While Joel was busy working on that, I carved our pumpkins, using nothing but a really dull knife. Any Rick and Morty fans out there? “I turned myself into a pumpkin, Morty. I’m Pumpkin RIIIIICK!” No? Okay…

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Last year, I really wanted to dress our cats up for Halloween, but since they were still so teeny tiny, we didn’t get a chance to… THIS YEAR, THOUGH…. Of course I bought our idiot cats costumes. Peter is a bumblebee and Sweet Dee is a ladybug. Best $14 I ever spent (thanks, Amazon!). Peter Nincompoop is getting so fat, though, that after I put his costume on he kept plopping himself down on the floor. I had to bribe both of them with a bag of cat treats to get them to cooperate for photos with a cardboard flower I made and taped to the wall. Eh, good enough.

 

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On Friday night, after one last costume fitting, I climbed into the back of an Uber with the Empire State Building while King Kong rode shotgun. We went to a local bar that was hosting a big bash, but were a little bit shocked to see that besides the waitstaff/bartenders, we were the only ones in costume. As the night progressed, though, more people showed up dressed up and we all danced the night away. Just imagine a giant box with legs sticking out of the bottom tearing up the dance floor with a Gorilla. It was hilarious and sooooo much fun, even though we lost the contest to a group dressed as things from Super Mario Bros. We did get a lot of validation from strangers along the lines of “you guys should have won!!!” as well as a million costume compliments so that made Joel’s hard work worth it!

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We spent the rest of the weekend watching Stranger Things and planning out what we’ll be next year. I can’t wait!

Bringing Up ChienChien

Even though I don’t have children of my own, I’ve always had an interest in Child Development. Kids fascinate me! Last year, my very pregnant Francophile sister-in-law recommended Bringing Up Bébé, a book written by an American mother raising kiddos in Paris. It was très intéressant. Basically, the French have perfected the art of child rearing; but not only that, they make it look so easy. Anyway, it’s a great read and I can’t wait to test it out on all 8 of the future Little Blumer Babies (jk, Joel, calm down!).  

During our most recent stay in France, I tried to make it a point to be especially observant of French children. Are they really as well behaved as Pamela Druckerman made them out to be? The answer is: I guess so? Honestly, I was way too distracted by how abnormally well behaved every single dog we saw was that I kind of forget about the tiny humans.

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Full disclaimer: I wasn’t always the crazy cat lady my Instagram followers have come to know and love. I was raised with a full spectrum of pets from cats to lizards and snakes, one ferret, a pigeon, and a brief stint with a piglet. As well as, of course, dogs.

The best pet I ever had, was my Great Dane, Samson.

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Samson loved me, unconditionally, and the feeling was mutual! Although our time together was brief, it would still rank as one of the top friendships I’ve ever had. He was a good boy, BUT…. he was terrible on the leash. I can’t even tell you the number of times my arm was almost ripped from its socket trying to take him on a walk around the block. Since we had a fenced in backyard, our walks around the neighborhood were probably not as frequent as old Sammy Boy would have liked. So if I, or family member, ever left the front door open (to bring in groceries or whatever), Samson would book it. And that big lug was lightning fast, so he’d be out of sight in no time. The quickest way to get Samson back would be to make a “Lost Black Great Dane” ad on Craigslist, which would take about an hour to work and I’d get a call from someone a mile or two away saying they’d found my baby. One time, though, he was brought home in the back of a police SUV. Every parents’ worst nightmare!

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My point is: this bad dog behavior would not fly in France. Almost every single dog I saw, ranging in sizes from tiny to huge, was walking alongside his/her owner sans leash. More than a few times, I’d look down and see a dog walking by Joel and I and I’d have to fight the urge to pick it up and start yelling “whose dog is this?!” over and over until someone replied, because the owner was always just a few paces in front of us and the dog would totally know it. Pups are welcome everywhere too! We went to happy hour one night and a sweet couple had their little chihuahua with them. The petite pooch would take an hourly sniff of the cafe in its entirety, then return to his master’s feet. Bon chien! If you find yourself an American in Paris, watch the dogs. Seriously…

So what is it that makes French Canines so good? Is it in the kibble? Are the French bribing their puppies with filet mignon every night to get their undying love and affection?! Are they wearing chew toy scented perfume to make their dogs follow them in the street? Is it that French Dogs have the freedom to take dumps anywhere and their owners don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess because the Parisian Poop Patrol will take care of it? I guess I’m going to have to move to Paris to research my next book… I’ll call it “Bringing Up TouTou” and it’ll be a New York Times Bestseller, too, I’m sure.

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the ONE dog with a leash in all of Paris

a blog BY ladies FOR ladies