Friday, May 31, 2013

A Vivid Memory

Day 31, Friday: A vivid memory.

Oh my gosh, remember that one time when I blogged for an entire month straight?! That shiz was cray! I know y'all are probably anxious to get back to boring book reviews and mediocre kitchen adventures, but let's take a moment for one last challenge post, shall we? 

I remember wondering if Stewart was going to propose on our trip. But he checked all his bags... and I had our carry on... there was no place he could be hiding a little black box. When we arrived in London, days went by and nothing happened. How could he take me to Europe and not propose?! But I still held out hope.

My vivid memory is of a sunny day by the fountain outside Buckingham Palace. I was on a monarchy high after seeing the changing of the guards through the fence, and we were walking through the crowds exploring the grounds. We wandered in circles around the Victoria Memorial and eventually stopped to throw a few pence into the fountain. I distinctly remember making a heartfelt wish as I tossing in my coin, "Please, please let Stewart propose on this trip!"

It was such a beautiful, exciting, fun, wonderful day, and I remember in that moment being filled with the hope of a giddy school girl in love.

Silly Stewart... he sure did leave me hanging! I had basically given up hope when he finally dropped to one knee a few weeks later while we were hiking in Italy. So my wish came true after all.

Holy moly you guys, can you believe I got through the month?! This challenge was inspiring and overwhelming all at the same time. I hope you enjoyed at least some of the posts, and that you got to know me and Stewart just a little bit better. I'm sure I'll do a more thorough recap at some point, but right now I think I'll take a well-deserved break. 

Catch you in June!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Two Cents

Day 30, Thursday: React to this term: Letting Go.

If a little girl lets go of her mother's hand and attempts to cross the street alone, she's likely to get run down by a truck.

People make a big deal about letting go... let go of grudges, hate, anger, resentment. Yes, forgiveness is good, but it's not always best to forget.

I've been really hurt quite a few times in my life. Get over it, move on, let it go... these are definitely pieces of advice I've received. But you know what? Maybe it's important that I recall those times when I was treated badly, in order to avoid those same circumstances in the future. To help me remember to stand up for myself, and not allow someone to take advantage of me or stab me in the back again.

I have definitely been accused of being too nice. I let things go, I don't speak up when something bothers me, I take the high road, I become a martyr. I wish I was a stronger person, someone who stood up for myself more and who could say, "You know what? NO. This is not okay, and I'm not going to just let it go." Because I deserve better.

On the flip side, if there's one thing I have learned about letting go, it's that unfortunately most friendships won't stand the test of time. Friendships often form because of temporary circumstances (you live in a dorm together, you’re in the same class), and friendly activities often center around the freedoms of young life (going out on a Wednesday night, suntanning in the middle of the day, road trips). But once you reach your late 20s, your circle will mostly likely dissipate as people begin careers, move or get married, and you’ll find out quickly which friendships are going to withstand the burdens of stress, distance, and time.

This is normal, and it's okay. I think it's better to have a few close friendships than a bustling, superficial social circle. And while it may seem more fun on the surface to party with a huge crew, I've learned that it's much more important to focus on building lasting relationships with a few true friends. And as the gaps widen between you and all those convenient, superficial, acquaintances... it's okay to let go. Don't hold on to a friendship that's not beneficial to your life anymore just because of superficial feelings of nostalgia. Go ahead and let go, and let those people fade into the past, making extra room for the friendships that truly matter.

But that's just my two cents!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Go ahead, sing along.

Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories.

Our first dance at our wedding:

Stewart's favorite karaoke song:

My favorite karaoke song:

One of many amazing songs by my favorite band:

And let's just throw in an awesome classic:
Whew, that was an easy one! Just two days left of the challenge... I can see the finish line!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend at Priest Lake

Day 28, Tuesday: Only pictures.

We headed over to the Alway Family Lakehouse last weekend to help prep the house and property for the summer... here are some photos from our trip.

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Cailin!

Today is my forever friend Cailin's birthday, so I just wanted to give her a quick shout out.

Happy Birthday, Gorgeous!

We went to Teatro ZinZanni last weekend to celebrate, and I had forgotten how much fun that place is! They are doing their "Lucky In Love" show right now, but ironically Stew was on shift that night and couldn't go with me. He was super bummed, especially when he found out that the main course was traditional English Beef Wellington. I meant to bring him home a to-go box, but unfortunately my plate was completely empty when I looked down... oops.

Here's Cailin with all most (we missed you, Stew!) of her favorite people...
A fantastic way to celebrate a birthday, if I do say so myself!

And now let's return to the last few posts for Blog Every Day In May... we're almost there!

Dear Readers

Day 27, Monday: A letter to your readers.

Dear Readers,

Life As Always is written for you. We hope that you look forward to stopping by, and that you stay awhile... ideally while curled up in a blanket with a kitty in your lap and a warm cup of tea. We hope you giggle, and roll your eyes, and maybe even tear up once in a while. Knowing that you enjoy our posts makes writing them worth it.

And please, don't be shy... if you read something you like, go ahead, leave a comment! Or shoot us an email and tell us your thoughts, even if they don't align perfectly with ours. We try to reply to each and every comment we receive... usually be email, or sometimes in the thread if you are a no-reply blogger. So speak up!

Is there anything that drives you crazy about this blog? Or something you'd like to see more of? Honestly, just let us know! We'd love to make this a place you want to come back to, again and again. We're doing our best to catalog our lives in an interesting and entertaining way, and without you, this blog would have no purpose.

So thank you. We're honored that you think our meandering journey through life is worth reading about.

Love Always,
Sarah & Stewart


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Can't Hold Us!

Day 26, Sunday: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you'd like.

Today I'd like to share a statement I read online earlier this week by Chris Hansen. Honestly, this guy is a true class act and I can't believe how gracefully he has handled an incredibly frustrating, unfair, and downright crappy situation. I don't want to bore any of my readers who aren't Seattleites or sports fans, but for those of you who live under a rock haven't followed the story, here's a quick synopsis:

Basically, in 2008 a 41-year-old NBA franchise was stolen from us, and investor Chris Hansen has been working diligently, fairly, and honestly to build a new arena and return the SuperSonics to Seattle. But it was recently announced that despite his best efforts, the NBA Board of Governors Relocation Committee unanimously recommended against relocating the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.

Of course we didn't want to "steal" a team from another city, basically doing exactly what was done to us in 2008 (except not quite, because when our team was purchased, it was with a broken promise that the Sonics would not be moved from Seattle). In this case, Chris Hansen was totally transparent in his intentions to move the Kings to Seattle. Unfortunately, his honesty was rewarded with a kick in the teeth by NBA Commissioner David Stern (ironically the same dude who supported the ownership group that moved the Sonics to Oklahoma City in 2008).

Honestly, as I've followed the whole situation as it's unfolded, a lot of the time I've wanted to stamp my feet, pout my lips, and scream like a 2-year-old about the unfairness of it all. Except for the moments when I was jumping up and down and singing at the top of my lungs with Macklemore and the rest of the hopeful basketball fans, of course.

If anyone has a reason for fit-throwing, it's Chris Hansen, but his statement this week was incredibly humble and mature, and I'm super proud to be in his court.

"Most of all I would like to thank all of the fans and community groups that rallied behind our efforts. You have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that Seattle has great fans and deserves to have an NBA team back. Keep the Green and Gold alive… and just know that we remain as dedicated as ever to seeing Sonics Basketball return to the Emerald City."
Chris Hansen
Chris, thank YOU for fighting for our city, and our Sonics. With your continued help, we can still bring 'em back!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Freshman Fifteen

Day 25, Saturday: Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget (good or bad).

When I went home for Thanksgiving my first year of college, a family member remarked on my gaining the "freshman fifteen," and I'll never forget how mortified I was.

I had been the "skinny" girl for my entire life up until that point. Something about the combination of having a slender body type, daily cheerleading practices, stress, lack of sleep, and a youthful metabolism had allowed me to eat whatever I wanted, any time I wanted, while never gaining a single pound. But then I was introduced to dining hall food, excessive alcohol consumption, and the realization that when you stop exercising, your body tends to react negatively.

In my defense, here is a photo of me at the end of high school:

And here is one taken around the time the "freshman fifteen"comment was made:

So yeah, maybe I had put on a couple pounds. But was it honestly enough to remark on, especially to an extremely young, impressionable college girl? Luckily, I came down with mono by Christmas and that took care of any extra weight and then some (at least for the time being), but that comment has always stuck with me. It's made me think that everyone is always looking at me, watching my weight fluctuate up and down (as it tends to do these days), and judging.

I'm sure my family member didn't mean anything by it at the time, other than to make a casual joke (I think it was accompanied by a pinch to my waistline), but it really hurt, and I've remembered it ever since.    

Friday, May 24, 2013

No one's perfect

Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits.

Well, this is kind of an awkward post to write! Of course Stewart has no bad traits (or at least none I would care to highlight on this public forum), so let's just focus on me, shall we? No one is perfect, and here are some of my least favorite things about myself.

Inflexibility. As we discussed earlier this month, I'm a planner. I have every day/week/month... even the whole year planned out in advance, and unfortunately I don't deal well with change. If plans are altered or canceled at the last minute, or if I find out I haven't been looped in on something, it's pretty likely you're in for a total freak out on my part. I know... not a good quality. Why can't I be easy-going and just go with the flow? Because if plans have been made, they must be followed! If the itinerary says it's time to go, we'll be going. If the directions say turn, we'll be turning (and I don't care if it looks like a dead end)! Rules and scheduled need to be followed precisely at all times, or otherwise we are at risk of encountering total chaos. Yeah...

Control Freakishness. See above. I need to be in control. Like all the time. That's why my knee injury has me going just a little bit bonkers. It needs to be my way, because I know best. Stewart isn't even allowed to pack his own suitcase anymore, because he just does it wrong. It's the little things that push my buttons... like the nice helpful house guest who inadvertently loads the dishwasher totally backward can induce screaming inside my skull (and you can bet I'm doing it over the second they leave). Clothes should all be hung facing the same direction, separated by type and then organized by color. Books should be placed on the shelves alphabetically, by author's last name. Shoes should be placed toes out, organized by style. I could go on and on... I may have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Procrastination. I always, always wait until the last possible second to get things accomplished. It's a terrible habit, and it drives Stewart crazy. As I mentioned before, as much as I love checking items off a to-do list, I somehow can't manage to start a task until I absolutely have to. I just need the pressure to function properly or something. I actually think I loved working as a newspaper reporter because I thrive in a deadline-driven environment. Ask Stewart how many times I press the snooze alarm every morning... It's probably the one thing we ever fight about. Ironically though, the things I'm not doing nag at me all the time. It's a problem...

Well that sure doesn't make me seem like a very fun person to be around! Not my favorite prompt so far, Jenni! Here is a selfie to remind you that I'm actually a nice, normal person most of the time.

Just one week left of the challenge... are you enjoying it?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Lesson From Sarah

Day 23, Thursday: Things you've learned that school won't teach you.

In school, you sweat puddles of stress into the creases of your textbooks, trying to grasp the semi-precious nature of subjects and content that you will ultimately never, ever, use again. College teaches us tons about evolutionary biology, organic chemistry, the English language, and world history. But more importantly, in college we learn how to do our own laundry, how much tequila can safely be consumed in one evening, how to construct edible meals out of dining hall food, and the many joys of afternoon naps. But what's missing?

Here are some things I've learned that school just doesn't teach... 

Life isn't fair. Supposedly, if you work hard, it will pay off, and you'll succeed. But in reality, sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you work, because life just isn't fair. It isn't fair when a tornado leaves thousands homeless in Oklahoma, or when an 8-year-old boy watching a marathon is killed by a terrorist's bomb, or when dozens of people die in an explosion at a plant in Texas. It isn't fair when a friend has a miscarriage, or when a child lives a lifetime of difficulty because of a genetic disorder. It isn't fair that I have IBS, or that Stewart doesn't have any hair (although I prefer him that way). And it definitely isn't freaking fair that the SuperSonics won't be returning to Seattle. Don't get me started. Life isn't fair... but it's still pretty darn good. Bad things happen, but it's in our nature to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep moving forward. You should still work hard, do your best, have a positive attitude, and hopefully most of the time it will pay off.

Your GPA doesn't matter. Honestly. Since graduating, I've been on a ton of interviews and I’ve never ONCE been asked about my grades or GPA, even when I was right out of college. Seriously, never. And it was kind of awkward the few times I chose to volunteer the information. The only numbers that mattered were how many years of experience I had and how much money they were going to pay me. Not saying you shouldn't work hard to get at least semi-decent grades (because otherwise school would just be a waste of time and tuition), but work just as hard networking, interning, volunteering, and taking as many jobs as possible while you're still in school. Get to know your dream profession and gather experience and contacts in that field. And somewhere in between all of this, make sure to have as much fun as possible. Because in the real world, it's hard to get away with showing up to a meeting rocking last night's makeup and tequila breath.

Travel, and take risks. For me personally, this is one of my greatest regrets. I truly didn't realize how important it was to travel when I was in college. And as we get older, life begins to just sort of happen to us. We end up with more responsibilities, more burdens, and more obligations. But when you're young, you get to do what you want without the weight of careers, families, mortgages, and 401(k)s on your shoulders. So get out there and take a look at the rest of planet Earth! Experience the world and figure out who you want to be, based on adventures and people outside the little bubble that has been your world thus far. Traveling will change you, and you will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small. I know what you're thinking: What about school? What about my job? What about my boyfriend? What about debt?  Don't be a coward. Almost everyone I know who waited to travel the world never did. But lots of people I know who went to grad school, or have a steady, solid-paying job, did those things after they traveled. You won’t always be young, and life won’t always be just about you... so get out there and experience the world for all it's worth!

Write up a decent resume. Really folks, it isn't that hard to pull together. I'm currently in a position where I occasionally interview job candidates, and I can honestly tell you that if I find a typo on your resume, I'll round file it without a second thought. You're not getting a call for an interview. Misspellings, grammatical errors, inconsistent spacing... these are all details that I consider. If you can't manage to put enough effort into your resume to make it presentable, why should I think you'll treat your potential new job responsibilities any differently? I don't care if you've got experience in a relevant job or field coming out your ears. These are tough times, and there are ten more candidates in line after you, so if you can't manage to use bold and italics consistently throughout your document... buh-bye. Get a friend to proofread, or hire a professional resume writer if you have to, but please, please don't waste my time by giving me a lazy, garbage document (especially one that highlights your Greek extracurricular college shenanigans as "activities"). And of course please forgive any typos in this blog post.

I’ve never let my school interfere with my education.
Mark Twain
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
Bill Gates

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel.

Oh my goodness, Jenni, you don't even know what a huge can of worms that you just opened up. I don't usually use this blog as a place to rant and rave, but in this specific instance I'll make an exception for the challenge.

Why are people so rude about RSVPing?!

Apparently, people in the Pacific Northwest are famously reluctant committers. We are socially passive-aggressive, superficial, and accommodating. And when it comes to RSVPs, we live in a world where no = no, maybe = no, and yes = maybe.

My good friend Heather and I talk about this all the time. Technically, RSVP means répondez s’il vous plaît. Or, Really: Send Verdict Pronto. Whether you're coming or not! Unfortunately, it seems like most people are unaware of, or unconcerned with, this fact. Rude.

In the modern world, we have technology that allows for more spontaneity in our lives. Social media shows us everyone else's plans before we have to solidify our own, and we don't necessarily have to commit far in advance to fill our social calendars.

Perhaps the days of the formal RSVP are dying. But pushing "reply" or filling out a response card can't honestly take more than about two minutes. So really, if I don't hear from you, you're obviously just waiting to see if something better comes up. Rude.

Here's the deal... if I send you an Evite, I can see whether or not you have viewed it, and when. Could you please (honestly) just let me know if you plan to attend my event? Apparently not. Maybe you're waiting on another, better offer. Maybe you're waiting to see if the "fun people" are coming. Maybe you're waiting to see if it's going to rain. Maybe you're just rude.

Come on guys! It's common knowledge that party hosts need to know how many guests to prepare for. I went to the grocery store with a head count. I spent my precious free time and hard earned money on yummy foods and beverages with you, specifically, in mind. I spent hours prepping and preparing delicious treats, decorations, and entertainment for you.

Was it always your plan to text me the day of the party and say that something came up? At least have the courtesy to invent a believable excuse, then. Or were you just planning to quietly no-show and assume I wouldn't notice? Rude.

Sometimes, if I would have realized how many people were going to skip my party, I could have skipped it, too. But instead, you all said yes, or maybe, but then found something better to do and left me with a mountain of uneaten cupcakes, brie cheese, and caprese skewers. I'm going to look pretty pathetic when I put them in the lunch room at my office on Monday. I guess I'll just drown my sorrows in the bottles of wine you didn't show up to drink.

And let's just take a moment to mention the poor brides, who come justifiably unhinged about wedding RSVPs. Do you people realize that wedding receptions can run upwards of $150 per person? The happy couple pre-paid that cost for you. So is it really any surprise that friendships are often shattered when guests no-show on this extremely special and important day? Super rude.

Phew. Deep breath, Sarah. I need to get down off this soapbox before my head explodes.

But honestly, if I send you an invitation to something, I genuinely want you to be there and consider you an important person in my life. So please, be courteous enough to let me know if you can't attend (or don't care to). It's just the decent thing to do.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Remember that one time...

Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives.

Holy moly! Who knew today's challenge was going to be one of the most difficult yet!

As I began to search through my archives for posts to feature today, I definitely saw a common theme: We did this... here are some photos. I made this... here are some photos. We went there... here are some photos. I read this... here's what I thought.

Wow, seems a bit dull. 

However, I was eventually able to choose some posts that I would say are some of my favorites, and here's why...

I remember having fun writing about my love affair with books. I have actually gotten a Kindle since I wrote that post, but I pretty much only read it when I'm traveling. And I've also acquired quite a few more "real" books in the meantime, especially since getting my new bookshelves.

I LOVED writing this post about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and revisiting tons of childhood memories. It wasn't super popular and didn't receive a single comment, but it's still one of my favorites.

I wrote this at a time in our lives when we were thinking about making a huge change, and even the process of putting the words out there helped solidify our decision. This post also sparked a lot of conversation... and even debates in some cases!

I chose this one for the list because I still get asked about the whole ridiculous issue sometimes. Yes, it's 100% true that we did have our very own Ugly Naked Guy. I often wonder if the new owner of our condo has noticed her "friend" across the way yet...

And finally, I wanted to take one last opportunity to showcase my wedding photos, because I think they turned out great and I love any chance to re-live that wonderful day. It's definitely a photo-heavy post, but take a gander if you're interested.

As I said, today's Blog Every Day In May challenge definitely opened my eyes as to what "typical" content appears on this blog. Honestly, I probably would have chosen some of the challenge posts from this month as my favorites, but that didn't seem quite fair. Anyway, it's definitely made me re-think this little Internet space I've carved out for us, and wonder what direction I'd like to take it in the future...

Monday, May 20, 2013

So here's the deal...

Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

I hate to be a complainer, but I'm still really struggling with my knee injury, both mentally and physically.

Luckily I only suffered a grade two MCL tear, which means that eventually it should heal on its own without surgery. I've followed all the rules that my doctor and physical therapist have given me: rest, ice, compression, elevation, brace, anti-inflammatories, stretching and strengthening. And life has definitely improved, especially since I've been off the crutches, out of the brace, and stopped limping.

I understand that people heal at different rates, and that it's important not to rush things. And I know that if I start using my knee before it's healed, I could cause permanent damage. But I'm so anxious to return to my previous level of physical activity, and it's aggravating that my body isn't bouncing back more quickly. I guess this is the true sign that I'm getting older.

Most days I have a pretty positive attitude, but deep down I'm frustrated that it's almost summer time (bikini/boating season) and I haven't been able to tone my body as much as I'd like. It's been a struggle to force myself to slow down and let my body heal. And it's been especially difficult for me mentally, because I feel out of control; something that's definitely in my comfort zone.

I did just pass the three month mark, so I'm hoping that soon the daily soreness will pass and I'll be able to get back to normal.

So there you have it... my fairly first-world struggles.

Are you struggling with anything in particular right now?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Some of my faves

Day 19, Sunday: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them.

I follow and love so many different blogs, so I was having a really hard time choosing between them for this post. So I decided to go a different route and feature some of my favorite bloggers who I also know in real life. Here goes, in no particular order...

Chronicling the life of one of my very best friends since the seventh grade, Brooke. She is a wife and mother of an adorable three-year-old boy and is originally from Washington state. After high school she lived in Alabama for nine years and then moved to Oregon for just over a year before heading back to Alabama. She started her blog to document her family's experiences and memories as they moved from place to place. Brooke is a great photographer and she's really good at capturing detailed little moments with her family. She features a lot of trips and the outdoors, plus some fun home projects.

This blog is written by my friend and fellow high school cheerleading buddy, Nikki. She and her husband have been together for more than ten years, and they share their lives with an adorable Yorkie and precious baby girl. I've really enjoyed following Nikki through moving, pregnancy, childbirth, and everything that has followed. She always posts adorable photos of her family, and it's been so much fun to follow along. Everyday Edelsons definitely succeeds in making everyday life seem like an adventure!

My very good friend Jeanna and I were journalism nerds together in college, and I think she was actually the person who encouraged me to start blogging in the first place. That's What Je Said is an awesome, real, hilarious account of her life, which has led her from Seattle to San Francisco. That's actually where she started her most recent project, which I've mentioned here before: 50 Food Truck Dates. We are in the midst of Jeanna's self-proclaimed "Year of Love", and she is going on 50 blind dates to food trucks in San Fran and around the country... and she's writing about it. The energy and time she puts into her posts is totally evident, and they are always such a fun read!

This personal blog is written by our friend Jessica, the wife of one of Stew's oldest friends. She started The Average Jess to remember her life... you know, the details we're all destined to forget, but are so important. Jessica is a fantastic, down-to-earth, funny and witty writer. Her posts always have character and excitement, and she's really hilarious a lot of the time. I love watching her adorable daughter and goofy dog on their adventures together. I also really admire how she accomplishes such awesome posts by using succinct words and photos (whereas I just tend to ramble on and on...)

My good friend Jessica has been working to carve out a nice little blog space for herself over at The Odell Yodell. Jessica is an absolutely hilarious, honest, kind, awesome person, and her personality really comes through in both her writing style and the photos that she chooses to include with her posts. Jess features a ton of trips, books, sporting events, recipes, etc. that are often really parallel to my blog, so I always enjoy reading them. She is also participating in the challenge, so stop on over to check out what she's currently yodelling about.

What are your favorite blogs? Please, share!