Category Archives: How To

Practicing Gratitude

I feel like I should preface this by saying that this is not exactly easy for me to write. It’s hard for a person to be vulnerable and put her/himself out there without feeling like a little bit of an asshole, but whatever. I’m doin’ it anyway.


Something inside of me changed when the new year started. I can’t explain what it was exactly, but it felt profound. I knew deep down that this year, 2018, will be the year that I cut the bullshit, and find happiness. True, unrelenting happiness. Not that I’m not a “happy person”… because, dude, I’m the epitome of a happy-go-lucky, optimistic gal, to the extent that it might annoy people. I live a good, happy life. But my core happiness has always felt like a chunk was missing and I just found out what it is: gratitude.

Sure, once a year (usually around the 4th Thursday of November) I like to think about the stuff I’m thankful for in my life. But to be thankful and actually “practice gratitude” everyday? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Right? WRONG!

This process started when my best friend sent me an episode of Oprah’s podcast, Super Soul Conversations. I listened to the episode featuring the late and oh-so-great Maya Angelou. When Maya mentioned that she woke up every morning and just said “thank you” to God, no matter what was going on in her life be it happiness or hardship, I was so taken aback by the simplistic beauty of the small act that I probably started tearing up (I was a basket case, TBH). I have since listened to the podcast’s episodes featuring Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love), Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project), Brene Brown (Daring Greatly), Shawn Achor (Big Potential), and so many more where they all said the same thing, something along the lines of “there is no joy without gratitude”. HOLY CRAP THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE.


So I’m making the effort to pause and be grateful every single day. Here are a couple of obvious things I’m beyond grateful for:

  • That I live in a world that can be so inspiring if I let it be. Just knowing that I gain so much inspiration from any and all things colorful has made me so, so happy! Thanks world and all artists everywhere.
  • That I found a partner in life who has the exact same sense of humor as me and that we find pure joy in making each other laugh. Thank you, Joel Blumer!
  • That I am always ready and willing to learn new things and for my undying love of reading. Thank you to all literature and libraries!

Just sitting here writing this is giving me an overwhelming sense of gratitude! I’m so grateful to have a creative outlet, this very blog, where I can share the “secret” to happiness with people all over the world. This epiphany is not something I want to keep to myself, but rather something I want to shout from a metaphoric rooftop. Thanks, Internet! And thank YOU so much for reading!



It’s Only Natural: Bathtub Cleaner

There are two types of people in the world: those who get grossed out by the thought of sitting in a tub of one’s own filth, and those who think that there’s nothing more relaxing than a nice, hot bath. I have always been, and always will be, one of the latter. I. LOVE. BATHS.

Growing up, my designated Saturday chore was to clean the bathroom. Part of which was to scour out the bathtub (that our family of 8, minus my dad who has been a strict showerer his whole life, used) with Clorox and Comet. I definitely inherited my mom’s “bleach the living shit out of everything so all the germs will die” mentality, which I have been trying to get away from for a while now. Last time I was in Texas visiting my parents, my sister and I made a deal with our mom that if we cleaned the whole house she’d pay for us to get manicures and pedicures. I volunteered to take charge of my old stomping ground, the bathroom. When it came down to cleaning supplies, instead of handing me the usual harsh, germ murdering chemicals, my mom pointed me in the direction of the kitchen to grab three things: vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap.

Although I had been into finding natural replacements for products for a while at that time, I was still doubtful of how well this technique would work; especially when compared to the lethal combination of Comet and Clorox. I was shocked to see that using natural products actually works so much better than the other stuff! Bonus points for not having to open a window because the fumes are burning your eyes. Here’s how to clean your bathtub using natural ingredients:




  1. White Vinegar
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Dish Soap (optional, you could use water instead*)
  4. Scrubber Sponge
  5. Elbow Grease (but not that much)


How To

  1. Squirt (ew “squirt” is one of my least favorite words ever) some dish soap into your bathtub and use a damp sponge to spread it all around.*
  2. Sprinkle baking soda onto the soap (you really don’t have to use the dish soap, but it helps the baking soda stick to the sides of the tub)
  3. Spray vinegar onto the baking soda and watch it fizzzzzz for a couple of minutes.
  4. Using the scrubber side of your sponge, scrub your tub. The chemical reaction of the baking soda and vinegar should do most of the work for you.
  5. Rinse your tub.

Et viola! This technique has gotten rid of all sort of bathtub gunk, even purple hair dye splatter and glitter bath bomb residue!



Take a bath, wash yo-self. Take a bath. Show me whatcha scrubbin’ with….


How To Fight The Winter Blues


Last spring, when the flowers started blooming and we, in the Northeast portion of the U.S, started to see Mr. Golden Sun a little more often, I realized just how bad my seasonal depression was. Like a switch had flipped, I suddenly had much more energy, was less lethargic/sluggish/depressed, and my general outlook on life had returned to positive as soon as winter was over. Not to be dramatic, but spring made me feel like I had reason to live again…

Since this winter, that pretty much just started, is supposed to be worse than last, I thought I’d try some ways to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder. Because, who wants to be S.A.D?! Not me!




Tips For Combating Seasonal Depression

  • Sunshine– Even though it’s rare to see the sun from December-April in Pittsburgh, anytime it shines, I make it a point to go outside and stand in it. 15 minutes of sunlight will give you a sufficient amount of vitamin D. Even if the temperatures drop to single digits, bundle up, go outside, and let those sunny rays of delight do their thang.
  • Vitamin D3 supplements– since the sun can be an elusive sonofabitch, I started taking these in November and they seriously make a huge difference. You can get vitamin D3 from food, but it’s so much easier to take a little supplement than it is to eat a can of sardines if ya ask me.
  • Exercise– A BIG FAT DUH. There’s no way around the fact that you should be exercising. I was loving our routine of me running/walking in intervals + weight training while Joel rode his bike at the park by our house, but then stupid winter happened. We ponied up and got a gym membership because we can motivate each other to go.
  • Cute Winter Clothes– when I moved to Pittsburgh, my aunt bought me a really nice wool peacoat and it was pretty much the only thing I had to keep myself warm. Fast forward 4 years, and I am now the proud owner of too many sweaters, a few faux fur coats, and an array of colorful leather jackets. These items of clothing are just enough to brighten the dullest day and remind me that I usually look forward to getting dressed in the morning.
  • Make A Grateful List– it’s so freaking cold and you’re probably feeling cranky and annoyed about it, but try to remember all of the good things in your life! I am so grateful for the roof over my head, gas heating, and for all 3 of my almost identical gray faux fur blankets. I am feeling especially thankful for the cow that made my one authentic leather jacket. If he/she hadn’t sacrificed his/herself, I’d probably have pneumonia by now. Thank you, cow.
  • Plan A Trip– I may have had a stomach bug and had to miss my twin sister’s wedding at the beginning of January, but we’re booked to go to Texas for my brother’s wedding at the end of this month. Little weekend trips to get away from snow and ice? I’ll take them! We’ve also been flirting with the idea of a springtime road trip, which gives us something to look forward to.
  • Fresh Flowers- IDK what it is about having fresh flowers in our home, but it’s a small thing that makes me so happy. If you’re a monster and see fresh flowers as a waste of money, try potted plants instead.




I have to say, I have implemented these few things into everyday life and I feel SO MUCH BETTER than I did last year. It’s kind of crazy that tweaking my routine a little and making a ritual out of taking vitamins and working out has completely changed my life. I can feel myself (slowly, but surely) becoming the best version of myself and all it took was a quick seasonal ass kicking.

You may have won the battle last year, winter… But I’m gonna win the war. 46 days until the first day of Spring!

Dress/SheIn, Faux Leather Jacket/Amazon, Shoes/Sold Out (similar),Floral Stickers/A Design Kit

How To Get Away With Wearing PJs In Public

Fashion, much like art, is at times simply “what you can get away with“….

IDK about you, but I am definitely an advocate for wearing pajamas in public places. I’ve been known to go to the movie theatre in an American Flag print nightgown (worn as a dress, obviously) and I’ve graced quite a few strangers at the grocery store with the presence of my Darth Vader boxer briefs (I originally bought them for my husband, but kept them for myself). Since it can be annoyingly difficult to find “dressy” clothing that can hold a candle to the comfort of sleep clothes, I decided to test drive wearing a bathrobe in lieu of a jacket to see if I could get away with it.

Long story short: If you looked up “pulling it off” in the dictionary, you’d probably find these photos.





Bathrobe/Target, Skirt and Top/SheIn, Sunglasses/Forever21, Mules/ASOS

Speaking of bathrobes, when we were getting ready for Paris back in September, I ordered this beautiful floral kimono to wear around the city of lights. When I opened the package from my online purchase, Joel said “ohhh that’s a pretty bathrobe” and that’s part of where the inspiration for this post came from. Bathrobes (and bathrobe inspired kimonos) are, like, so IN this season.



“Is that a bathrobe?!” -The man in the striped shirt


Floral Bathrobe Kimono/Zara

Confidence is key to wearing pajamas in public. Just try not to accessorize with a shower cap and/or bunny slippers and you’ll be golden.

Top French Sayings To Know In Paris


Fact: a little bit of an effort to speak the local language will go a long way in a foreign country. I mean, that makes total sense, right? To give you some perspective, imagine you’re in your hometown and a stranger comes up to you and starts speaking a language you only kind of understand. You’d be like “yo, I took Mandarin in high school, but I don’t understand this specific dialect… English? Maybe?”

I’ve heard stories of Americans going abroad and just assuming everyone speaks English, but you know what they say about people who assume, right? Don’t make an ass of yourself, learn the bare minimum of a new language to at least skate by without annoying everyone you meet! The effort goes a long way, especially in France. Hence why this post you’re reading has come to fruition: it’s not just me blabbing, it’s actually useful (I even included links to youtube pronunciation videos)!





French Phrases You Should Know In Paris:

  1. Bonjour/Bonsoir“- GREET. EVERYONE. OR YOU’RE BEING RUDE. Okay, greet everyone you encounter in businesses (the hotel concierge, taxi/uber drivers, the coffee shop barista, the boutique employee, the checkout guy at the grocery store, etc). Don’t greet strangers on the street or you’re being a creepy American weirdo (the beautiful French person doesn’t give a shit if you like her scarf). Bonjour means “good day,” so when evening rolls along, be sure to change your greeting to bonsoir (apparently 6 p.m. is a safe time to make the switch).
  2. S’il Vous Plait/Merci“- Please and thank you. Because manners are important, duh.
  3. Pardon“- Manners, remember? If you’re thinking “excuse moi” is the acceptable version of “excuse me,” well you’re wrong.. It’s not your fault, “excuse moi” just translates closer to “sorry” than “pardon me”.
  4. Apres vous“- We’ve all done that awkward hold-the-door tango, right? Gesturing and saying “after you” in French will get you into the building much faster.
  5. L’addition, s’il vous plait“- This is probably the most useful thing you’ll learn to say en Francais because once you’ve been given your food at a restaurant, your waiter will probably leave you alone until you’re ready to pay. When you do grab his or her attention, asking for the bill in French is sure to get you a smile of appreciation.
  6. D’accord“- Okay! Look at you being all agreeable!
  7. Au revoir“- Much like greeting, it’s important to say your goodbyes as well. Too bad I can’t say “au revoir” without wanting to yell “SHOSHANNNAAAAA” after… you know, because of Inglorious Basterds? Oh, just me then…
  8. Parlez vous Anglais?“- Sometimes the answer is “no,” so it’s much more polite to ask people if they speak English than to assume that they do.

I was going to include “puis-je épater votre chien?” but the answer to “may I pet your dog” is always “non” anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.






Yes I took French in high school, but that doesn’t mean I don’t butcher this beautiful language when it comes out of my mouth. I’d say that in Paris it’s okay if your pronunciation isn’t perfection, and that a little effort goes a long way. Even my husband (who has never spoken a lick of French and actually kept accidentally saying “hola” the first time we were in Paris) had these few phrases on lock down and used them everyday!

It’s also a good idea to have the Google Translate App downloaded and ready to use. You know, just in case the one person who doesn’t speak English at all happens to be the pharmacist you’re trying to buy laxatives from. That’s not something you want to mime out. Trust me.

Can I Get A Hand?

Being a mother, you learn quickly that there are not enough hours in the day. You have kids that you actually have to keep alive! That means, feed them, make sure they use the bathroom (hopefully in the toilet), sleep, stay clean, and learn something in day. That is a whole day in itself. So how in the world are you suppose to get everything else done? You just figure it out.


Kids had one too many macarons!


I won’t lie to you; most days, I have one or multiple piles of clean laundry laying around waiting to be folded and put away. I go to start, and then a kid starts screaming and I get distracted and have to make lunch then find out we are late for a doctor appointment… and the laundry gets forgotten about. “Maybe Tomorrow” is spoken way too often out of my mouth.

In the midst of all the madness, you have to remember to take care of yourself too. Recently, I’ve taken up BUTI Yoga. I got a subscription so I can workout at home, anytime I want and my kids can join me if they want to. It’s been a good way to focus my physical energy to better myself and know that it’s helping me focus on one thing for a restricted time.

I’ve been trying to go “hands-free” as much as possible. I recently finished up a whitening session with Smile Brilliant. I first sent in my personal compressions and had custom teeth whitening trays sent back to me. It turned out to be way easier than I thought. Sometimes I would pop them in before leaving the house since they can stay in anywhere from 45min-3hours. Pop them in, go grocery shopping, come home, work out, and during all of that, I’ve whitened my teeth. Being an avid coffee and wine drinker, my teeth were desperate for some attention.

My teeth before starting my whitening trial

After being approached by Smile Brilliant, I started my whitening sessions. Most of them were done in the evening before bed but I also whitened on the way to the beach, and once while at my grandmother’s house for a few hours. Simple, comfortable, and efficient. Perfect for a mom on-the-go!

Smile Brilliant Whitening Kit!


Before starting my sessions, I looked through some teeth whitening testimonials and a little research on what to expect before whitening. My teeth do tend to be a little sensitive so I made sure to get approval from my dentist. Other than some slight tingling on my gums, I never had any issues or side-effects. My smile is my favorite feature, It’s not perfect but it gives everyone else a spark of positivity and joy! If there’s a way to make it shine brighter, I’m all for it.

My pearly whites after completing my Smile Brilliant Whitening Kit

Aside from being able to whiten my teeth hands-free, I’m always trying to do some sort-of social gathering through the week. As much as I love staying home in my yoga pants, being around others gives me energy and lifts my spirit! It can be a lot to juggle but I always try to remember there are only so many hours in the day and to make sure to spend those good hours focusing on what’s worth living. My family, my friends, and myself! If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of everyone else.


Multitasking while watching the eclipse, not watching my children…
For a chance to win you’re own Whitening Kit, enter into our giveaway we are offering from today: August 30, 2017 until  September 6, 2017
For a coupon when you order for $20 off, use the code: thatswhatsarahsaid20


Hair Extensions (For Dummies!)

Joel and I have this one friend, Ben, who is an actual real life genius. He is a neuroscientist with an IQ of, like, 160 (probably). THE ONLY time I have ever seen Ben stumped or in disbelief was when we were all hanging out around the time of our wedding last year and he saw me casually pull out my hair extensions… The “waaaait, whaaaat?!” look on his face led my to believe that if I could fool someone so unfoolable, I must be an expert… yes, an expert at clipping in hair extensions, but an expert nonetheless.

I’ve been wearing hair extensions for a longgggg time because my stupid hair won’t grow all the way down to my butt no matter how hard I will it to do so. Also, I keep cutting it on top of forgetting to take my biotin so there’s that.

Back in high school, I used to buy the hair and sew in the clips myself, but these days, ain’t nobody got time for that. My friend suggested eBay for buying extensions, which is what I did this last spring. I would definitely recommend buying these if you want to give hair extensions a try. They’re inexpensive and good quality and if you need to tweak the color to match your own hair, it’s easily accomplished (my cousin applied a toner to mine and now they blend perfectly).

Here is my tried and true method to hair extensions:


  1. Begin by sectioning off the very bottom two inches of you hair. Clip the rest on top of your head.
  2. Using a teasing brush, back comb your roots (I read in a magazine once that this helps the clips stay in place)
  3. Clip in a two or three clip piece of hair and curl in sections (I like to use my trusty old curling iron, since my curling rod is MIA, to curl the top of the strands first then pull the curling iron down to the bottom instead of trying to wrap all the hair around at once.)
  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Sectioning, teasing, then curling. When your head feels like it’s 15 lbs heavier, you’re probably good to go.
  5. Lightly brush through all of the curls before adding hairspray and/or texturizing spray.



Other Uses For Hair Extensions

  • Add extensions to a top knot to make it look like an avant-garde birds nest.
  • Misplaced your Groucho Marx disguise glasses? Use hair extensions to make yourself look like a sexy unibomber and go spy on your neighbors.
  • Need material to make a rope because you’re camping or on a boat or something? Braid your hair extensions and use those.




Additional Tips

  • Brush your hair extensions both before and after every use.
  • Wash your hair extensions semi-regularly (obviously not as much as you wash your own hair, but don’t never wash them).
  • Definitely unclip and pull out your hair extensions in a public place to see peoples’ reactions.
  • If you’re wearing hair extensions when you go visit your sister and she asks in that patronizing way of hers if  “that’s all your real hair?” say “yes”. I mean, it is your hair, you paid for it.
  • Name your hair extensions. I call mine Sylvia.
  • Stop calling them hair extensions and refer to them only as your “weave” or by the name you gave them in the last tip.


FullSizeRender (18)

As someone who will never be able to pull off sexy, short hair, I appreciate the hell out of hair extensions (I mean “my weave”! I MEAN “SYLVIA”!). I plan to keep these luxurious locks for an unbe-weave-ably long time.