music to cook to // august 2014

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21.8.14

music to cook to // august 2014 // sweetsonian

A bit of a somber mood today. Hope you’re enjoying the day! It’s a bit gloomy today in DC, but hopefully, a crazy thunderstorm will shake things up a bit. Also, the world has gone absolutely nuts, which helps me put my own issues into perspective.

Xo, Sarah

diner en blanc, washington, dc

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19.8.14

Have you guys heard of Diner en Blanc? It’s basically a giant flashmob dinner where everyone brings their own table and chairs, and everyone wears all white. The event started in Paris (obviously, it’s all very French) and has since spread to a whole bunch of other major cities around the world. It really looks like quite the spectacle!

Anyway, some friends of mine have been working on starting the tradition in DC (this is three years in the making) and I got looped into leading a group of Washingtonians from our meeting point to the dinner location, which won’t be revealed until the day of. In case any of you are going, or live in another city and are lucky enough to get a coveted ticket to these events, I’ve been planning with friends and colleagues — what to wear, what tables to buy, and what to have on our menu!

If you do end up heading to whatever iconic location the dinner will be at, get in touch! Would love to meet some of you — and I’ll be doing some photography and video during the event. Xo!

 

diner en blanc // sweetsonian

Above: hat // dress // tote // ring // wedge // necklace

First things first — I’ve been looking for a basic white dress that I could reuse for work or for parties. This v-neck will do the trick… and it’s under $100! At a splurge price point, this dress has a beautiful trim. And on the opposite end, Forever 21 has a great option — yolo.

Shoes — I’m not the biggest fan of white shoes for a few reasons, but these Topshop/Nordies wedges could end up being a comfy spring and summer staple. These neutral wedges are a close runner-up, and these kate spade gold wedges have my name written all over them.

Bag — the event calls for a “white picnic basket,” but in the videos, you see people with their neutral or multicolored carts. I’m not sure where the hell to find a white picnic basket, nor am I sure I’d use it more than once, but I already own and swear by this tote. I’m a fan of white bags for a polished look (as long as you put in the work to keep ‘em clean!) so the MK will be carrying my camera, and our dinner.

Accessories — the party’s supposed to be elegant, so naturally, I envisioned a big, white, Audrey-style hat. This neutral wide brim would be perfect! Here’s an all-white version for just $10 more. As far as jewelry, I’ve been switching from my high school and college obsession with bold silver pieces to delicate yellow gold pieces, so the Satya necklace might make an appearance. I’ve been pining over that gold flower ring, which I imagine would complete the look. Two of my favorite jewelry designers are Gabriela Artigas and Gorjana — check them both out! They make gorgeous gold pieces.

Table and chairsthis table rolls up into a carry-on bag, and these white chairs are just perfect. Looking for another option? This table would go perfectly with these little stools (and you could reuse them as side tables on your patio after the event).

Lazy Shish Taouk Bites

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18.8.14

shish taouk // sweetsonian

I’ve only had two jobs in my life that were so unbearably horrible that I hate to think back on. The first was when I was sixteen — I worked at one of those tutoring centers in the San Fernando Valley. Not the good kind, where parents send their over ambitious children to get ahead… it was the opposite, where lazy parents sent their rowdy, manner-less kids to terrorize sixteen-year olds, like me. I lasted three months — and when I gave my four weeks’ notice, my manager took me outside and gave me this incredible look, and scolded me for not giving her enough notice. She was terrible.

The other was my first real-life job after graduation, when I was twenty-two. I was working for an agency selling Xerox machines, six months after the big recession hit in 2008. It. was. terrible.

It was one of those work environments that was really responsible for giving sales people a bad name. The managers preyed on their employees’ profits, the company tried to sell products that were clearly terrible, and literally every person in that office spent a good deal of time applying to other jobs. Anything. I was even interviewing at restaurants all over Los Angeles, and striking out, partially because I had left restaurant work already, for a desk job. What they didn’t understand was that I would have gladly gone back to a job that I really loved — waiting tables — to escape the terrors something I hated and just wasn’t cut out for.

shish taouk // sweetsonian

shish taouk // sweetsonian

shish taouk // sweetsonian

Anyway, the three months I spent at Xerox weren’t a complete loss — I became friends with someone I’m still friends with today. In fact, she came to visit DC once (and we frolicked around Dupont Circle with Kristen in leotards) and we even traveled to Bogotá together. And when we were both incredibly miserable at Xerox, we would drive off to our sales territories together, do the minimum required to make a few sales/not get fired, and spend the rest of our time applying to jobs. A regular lunch spot there was a little Mediterranean sandwich shop which has since shut down — but I became friends with the owners, who were very Lebanese, so I got to exchange a little Arabic banter and enjoy their amazing Lebanese sandwiches.

I’ve since gone back to Monrovia, hunting for that shop, and that’s how I know it’s now gone. And I’ve been hunting for similar shops that mimic that impeccable flavor, but have really just failed.

So when Food 52 published a recipe for shish taouk, I couldn’t help but try it. And while I almost always turn to F52 as a cooking resource, this recipe was just a tad complicated and involved for me to carry out fully. So I broke it down, and simplified it into a meal that I could quickly throw together after a long day at work or a rough spin class at the gym.

And, being an apartment-dweller without a grill, I’m limited to a cast iron skillet and a George Foreman… so I opted for the latter.

shish taouk // sweetsonian

shish taouk // sweetsonian

Lazy shish taouk bites with whipped garlic and Greek yogurt, adapted from Food 52  (more…)

Summer Snapshots

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12.8.14

beaver damn swimming club 2014 // sweetsonian

{ diana jumping off a rope swing at beaver dam swimming club in maryland }

terrarium at the national botanic museum // sweetsonian

{ a terrarium at the national botanic museum // washington, dc }

hakata classic @ toki underground // sweetsonian

{ hakata classic, ramen from toki underground // washington, dc }

the view from the paddle boats, tidal basin, washington, dc // sweetsonian

{ the view from the paddle boats — we may or may not have smuggled cans of champagne onto our boat }

pop tarts at ted's bulletin on 14th street, washington, dc // sweetsonian

{ the pop tarts // ted’s bulletin on 14th street, washington, dc }

mac and cheese at ted's bulletin on 14th street, washington, dc // sweetsonianpop tarts at ted's bulletin on 14th street, washington, dc // sweetsonian

{ the mac and cheese // ted’s bulletin on 14th street, washington, dc }

the ted's burgh' at ted's bulletin on 14th street, washington, dc // sweetsonianpop tarts at ted's bulletin on 14th street, washington, dc // sweetsonian

{ the ted’s burgh’ // ted’s bulletin on 14th street, washington, dc }

Matcha Almond Cookies

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07.8.14

matcha almond cookies // sweetsonian

I am a creature of habit. If I force myself to do something over and over again, as annoying as it is at first, the task gets easier every day. Part of this process is repeating this statement over and over again, because if I train myself to become a creature of habit, well, perhaps one day it will be true.

On the one hand, I am and have been a creature of habit in the past, but on the other hand, I am incredibly stubborn… and sometimes lazy. Perhaps laziness happens as a result of being a creature of habit — because if I make being lazy a habit, well, then I’m back to square one, right?

When I was a kid, I would lose things. Coloring books and dolls at first, but as I got older, keys, sunglasses, and lip gloss would just get left behind, recklessly abandoned on a daily or a weekly basis. My dad, at one point, had an intervention. I remember his sigh of disgust, as in, are you kidding me, Sarah? You lost something again?

The trick, according to him, was to make sure everything had a place to go. I nodded, but also knew that this was also his way of trying to get me to keep my room clean (saw right through that, Dad). The solution that worked for me, however, was to essentially narrate my entire life in my head. Have you ever done that? Every time I put my keys down, I’d think to myself, I’m putting my keys down on my desk. Or, I’m leaving my sunglasses in my car tray.

It works for things. But there are still habits — like waking up early and eating well. I know that I should do both, but it’s hard to do when you stay up late and agree to go to happy hour four nights in a row. So this is my own personal intervention.

Now that it’s August, it almost seems like summer is wrapping up and we’re going to squeeze in every last drop of warm weather. But like every other summer, I find myself itching for fall. In fact, I replaced a pair of boots in July (re: they were on sale!). 

These cookies were a symbol of lack of control. I made them a couple of weekends ago, when I had a Monday off. So what was two boxes filled with cookies gradually dwindled to one, and by Tuesday, I had eaten an entire box, so I hid them in my purse and handed them over to the coworkers.

This week was the beginning of my detox. My conscious effort to make a habit of not eating half a batch of cookies, and of not spending half of my paycheck on expensive dinners and cocktails. Tomorrow is a new day. But it does feel good, to set a goal and actually get into the habit of sticking to your guns. But the matcha cookies (and a last brunch at one of my favorite spots in DC) were some damn good indulgences, and I do not regret them.

matcha almond cookies // sweetsonian

matcha almond cookies // sweetsonian

matcha almond cookies // sweetsonian

Matcha almond cookies  (more…)

recently pinning + links i love

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06.8.14

links i love // sweetsonian

dress //  dress // truth // read // drink // go

The Summer 2016 Olympics branding (hire me?) for Rio — bright, colorful, and fun!

Prettiest travel pillow ever. This one definitely beats my standard gray one.

How to chill your drinks in under 5 minutes. Also works for chilling your ice cream mixture faster if you make it from scratch on the stove.

My obsession with Norway continues — this beautiful Norwegian home makes me want to hop on a flight for even just a quick weekend on Silje’s lovely balcony. The window views remind me of the gorgeous forests we passed on the train ride from Oslo to Bergen.

How did I never think of this? Why wrap sandwiches in lettuce when I could be using one of my favorite leafy greens in the world?

I’m a big fan of drop earrings, so I might just have to purchase these.

I know it’s still summer, but it’s August… which means fall will be here before you know it. These booties are on my mind.

Interpreting the motifs on Turkish rugs — I didn’t even know this was a thing.

Have you heard of Diner en Blanc? Well, it’s basically a huge flashmob dinner, where everyone shows up at an iconic location wearing all white. It’s coming to DC this September, and I got roped into some logistics. If you’re going too, let me know! And if you need a place to find all of your purchases online, well, I put this together to aggregate all of the white supplies you might need to buy for it.

sailing in the bay

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05.8.14

sailing // sweetsonian

 

The darling family that takes us sailing got a new boat and started docking at a different marina (good bye, my sweet, sweet dream home — see you in ten years, when I build one of my own). The wind wasn’t around, for the most part, but the day was still gorgeous, and the water was unbelievably glassy. It reminded me of my morning swims in Tanzania — the morning water always looked like it was generated by a computer. Mesmerizing, tranquil, and shockingly beautiful.

Anyway, here are a few shots from my weekend. I need to remember to take my camera with me more often, because this baby is a winner.

sailing // sweetsonian

sailing // sweetsonian

sailing // sweetsonian

sailing // sweetsonian

sailing // sweetsonian

sailing // sweetsonian

sailing // sweetsonian

sailing // sweetsonian

“Side galloping,” as depicted by Kristen (left). I know she’s kinda weird, but she’s an incredibly talented teacher (and one of those teachers that I desperately wish I had at my school growing up). If you’re looking for a good cause to participate in, she and our friend Elise are raising money to help get enough projectors and computers for their school here in DC. Read more about their school in the link!

Sriracha Broccoli Slaw Hot Dogs

1

04.8.14

sriracha broccoli slaw hot dogs // sweetsonian

It’s barbecue season, and I was missing my beloved Weber grill last weekend. Before I moved into my first apartment in college, my dad took it upon himself to teach me how to use a charcoal grill — because nothing beats a burger cooked in your own backyard over a charcoal grill.

Since then, he’s upgraded to his own outdoor poolside kitchen, complete with an obscenely productive vegetable garden. Oh, to have a California summer. I do miss unlimited tomatoes!

sriracha broccoli slaw hot dogs // sweetsonian

sriracha broccoli slaw hot dogs // sweetsonian

sriracha broccoli slaw hot dogs // sweetsonian

Anyway, I had the day off today, so I got to catch up on sleep, cleaning, and a workout after a weekend filled with food and sailing. Hope you’re all having a lovely Monday! Xo.

sriracha broccoli slaw hot dogs // sweetsonian

sriracha broccoli slaw hot dogs // sweetsonian

sriracha broccoli slaw hot dogs // sweetsonian

 

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Hot dogs with sriracha broccoli slaw  (more…)

desperately missing: norway

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31.7.14

desperately missing norway // sweetsonian

I’ve been texting Silje in Norway, and following all of her lovely friends in Norway via Instagram and Snapchat — and I’ve found myself incredbly vacation-sick for Norway and it’s gorgeous views, bubbly language, and friendly faces. It was almost a year ago when I took just over a week to explore Oslo and Bergen! And since I held back on taking a vacation this year, I’m already daydreaming about the trip I’m hoping to take next year. My obsession with Norway continues, so you can bet that I’ll be taking at least another week there next summer :)

Here are some of the gorgeous views I’ve been pinning to my to-do list. If you want to make a Norwegian laugh, try pronouncing all of the Norwegian words and names out loud.

Atlanterhavsveien — “The Atlantic Road” is a winding, gorgeous road that was orginally proposed as a railway in the early 1900s (then abandoned). The road itself was build in the 1970s, and it now connects the semi-inhabited tiny islands of an archipelago in Western Norway.

Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway — I’ve had this image pinned for years. Lofoten is farther north than where most Norwegians live, and it’s a bit of a trek to get up there… but it’s first on my to-do list for my next trip to Norway. Last summer, I met a couple of Americans while I was in Bergen, and they had just come back from Lofoten. They described the water as being as blue as the Caribbean, but you’re instead up in the Arctic Circle. I want to go to there.

Trolltunga — “Tip of the tongue,” known as one of the most spectacular hikes in all of Norway. The little ledge of a cliff juts out, holding you more than 3,600 feet above sea level – how crazy is that?! It’s a day-long hike through high mountains, but the views are breathtaking and highly worth it.

Preikestolen — Pulpit Rock, a hike to a stone cliff that looms almost 2,000 feet over the Lysefjord. The hike is just over 2 miles each way, but… you start at sea level and climb all 2,000 feet in that 2 miles, so it takes the average fit person 2 to 3 hours. So… you’ll find me on the stairmaster tonight.

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