Aurora Borealis


8.27.14 by sarah

aurora borealis in whitefish, montana // sweetsonian

Hi there! Just had to quickly post this photo — I’ve been traveling in Montana with the lovely Belle, and I managed to sneak outside to take some star photos. I was thinking last week: you know, it’d be really cool to see the Northern Lights. But I pushed it out of my head because I apparently know nothing about them and thought they only came out in the winter.

False. Here’s a shot I captured from the roof of our lodge. If you look closely, there’s also a shooting star on the lower left side of the sky.

Xo! Be back soon.

Maps + Links I love


8.22.14 by sarah

vintage maps at home // sweetsonian

clockwise, from top left: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Well, thank god this week finally ended. Am I right? I woke up on Monday legitimately thinking I had an easy week ahead of me, and by 11 am at the office, I was ready to burst into tears. Days like those are the worst.

But luckily after coming home, relaxing (and wallowing, I will admit) a bit, I was back in shape to tackle my work head-on. I’m prepping myself for a couple of trips — one, to visit my dear friend for a few days near Glacier National Park, and two, to visit the family in California. Cue a playlist filled with lots of Rilo Kiley.

In the meantime, here are a few things I’m pining for over the internet.

Maps, maps maps (links above). I’ve always been slightly obsessed with maps in decor, and someday, I’m going to score a beautiful vintage school map to hang in my living room or kitchen. To be fair, I was into this trend before it was hipster. I fantasized taking the ones from my elementary school when I was in the fifth grade… no joke.

How to save your summer produce for fall — put together by my friends/clients at Cava.

I’m obsessed with Pinterest, but every now and then, people post the absolute worst stuff on there. CapHillStyle and I collect all of our Pinterest pet peeves in one place. Knock yourselves out.

You probably know by now that I’m obsessed with beautiful things. This brand lettering — be still my heart. The packaging for this perfume makes me want to buy it immediately. This branded birthday invitation set is perfectly feminine and modern, and this add for Rifle Paper Co. makes me want to go make one of my own.

Speaking of Anna Rifle Bond, I’m pretty obsessed with these note cards (I’m a big fan of sending note cards in the mail), and this print about life giving you lemons. California girls out there? She makes prints on Yosemite, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. A little piece of home, wherever I end up living.

I’ve slowly been switching all of my accents and furniture from black to white, so this white lacquered desk set caught my eye.

Also, I’ve been pretty obsessed with Ebates for the past year, and have converted a good portion of my friends into believers. Basically, if you do a lot of online shopping, you should check Ebates first, and use their links to online retailers like Nordstrom and Sephora — they’ll deposit an extra percentage of your bill into a Paypal account every three months. As someone who does almost all of her shopping online, I can tell you that it’s really nice to get some money back every few months! Sign up here.

And these days, our mild, mild summer seems to be gradually dwindling into fall, so I’ve felt myself itching to break out the boots and scarves! This black and white swing dress would be a perfect fall transition, and this scarf (albeit vastly overpriced) is definitely the delicate, botanical design that could tone down summer and brighten up the winter ahead.

music to cook to // august 2014


8.21.14 by sarah

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


8.19.14 by sarah

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


8.18.14 by sarah

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


8.12.14 by sarah

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


8.07.14 by sarah

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


8.06.14 by sarah

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


8.05.14 by sarah

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!


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