The Light at the End of the Tunnel

After last week’s post, one my dear, sweet readers left this in the comment section: THANKS FOR SHARING.  I’M WHERE YOU WERE BACK THEN.  WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHANGE? WHAT WAS YOUR TURNING POINT?   

It struck a chord with me, it resonated deeply because I felt in those words such a strong yearning for something different. So my tender hearted and beautiful reader, here is my answer:

First and foremost, if you’re looking at the physical portion, which I suspect you may be- how did I go from looking like that to looking like this?  There’s no simple answer to that- it was years upon years of learning to value myself enough to eat foods that are healthy (and learning what that meant), it was my Crohn’s diagnosis, it was following my dreams (which, incidentally, involved packing up my car and moving 3,000 miles across the country to go to school to study photography).  It was having a college boyfriend break my heart over and over and over again, and not loving myself enough to put an end to it.  It was excessive amounts of drinking and drugs to try to escape.  There was no turning point, there was no diet- I tried a good many of them at one point or another in my desperate search.  {more after the jump}

click to read yo



I think with yesterday being the last of my series with Tommy Bahama that today is the perfect time to share today’s post!  I’ve been wanting to write it for years but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I was too afraid, and too attached to the image I’ve cultivated of myself.

I’m assuming you know that when you see photos of me, and our home, that they’re the creme de la creme of the photos.  That I’ve styled, prepped, edited and tried hard to make everything (including myself) as pretty as possible.  I’ve done this because it’s nice to look at lovely photos, one only has to spend 3 minutes on Pinterest to understand that it’s a part of our current cultural language.  Also, as a photographer, it’s always felt like my job- to make things appear even better than life, if possible.  But it’s important to note that this site and the photos featured are very much an edited version of reality!!

I’m not saying these photos aren’t real, of course they are, but they’re a partial truth.  Here are some other truths: for the past four months the dogs have napped on a gigantic pile of papers in my office.  Our couch pillows are so very rarely perfectly fluffed, they’re more often haphazardly tossed in various spots on the couch.  There are piles of dog fur the size of small bunnies that blow like tumbleweeds through our hallway.  If I’m ambitious enough in a day to put on makeup I most often wear it to sleep and through the next day, if not two.  I have an amazing ability to reserve proper showering until my hair is nearly in dreadlocks.  I eat meals that are comprised of leftovers or what others might consider snacks, or sometimes I just eat spoonfuls of nut butter because I’m too lazy to cook.  I can be jealous, greedy, hot tempered, rude, sad, and an entirely other spectrum of humanity than what you see here.  It’s not all quinoa salads, skirts and crop tops at our house my friends, it’s just not.

But I don’t think that you’re necessarily here to look at piles of my paper on the floor, you didn’t wander over from Pinterest one time because you saw a photo of me wearing yoga pants and on the couch typing away on my laptop sitting in my own filth. (HA!)  So I’m here to remind you today, this site- and ALLLLL of the others like it, are partial truths. I’m sharing beautiful inspiration photos because it’s JUST that, inspiration.  It pains me to think that someone would aspire to anything visually featured here.

I’ve shared some of my real, less polished truths above, and here’s a bit more – circling back to the Tommy Bahama bikini photos.  I used to be 165 lbs and you can see the photos of me above.  I barely recognize myself.  I was a girl that scooped ice cream up with potato chips after coming home from high school.  I was depressed, I was unhealthy, I felt trapped.  I realize that in looking at these recent photos of me doing yoga poses on the beach you might never have thought that.  I’m also aware that I’ve never been brave enough, or ok enough with myself, to say YEP, THAT WAS ME.  That IS me.  That overweight girl has been like a cobweb: clingy, frightening and better avoided.

I had a complicated childhood, I’ve worked hard to become a stable and healthy person, but the truth is that I’m very much a work in progress.  What I’m learning these days, the most important lesson of my life so far- is that the greatest freedom, the greatest happiness lies in LETTING GO.  Right here, right now I’m letting go of my need for you to think that I’m anything but exactly who I am.  I’m not who you see in ANY of these photos- I’m the words that you’re reading here.  And with that, in case you hadn’t, you can also realize that you’re not the photos you’ve seen of yourself.  You are not the size of your jeans, the length and color of your hair, the style of your clothes.  You are not your body, as strange as I know that sounds.

If you’ve found that in reading the above you feel acceptance for me- that reading about my flaws softened you towards me somehow, please turn that right back around to yourself.  Soften to yourself, your own flaws, your own very human-ness.  If you reaction was negative, or judgemental, notice that too.  Turn that around in your head as well, examine what part of yourself you’re struggling with that may relate.  And try to soften to yourself.

I can only write that because I’m in the thick of softening to myself.  I’m changing that conversation from “Hey former overweight and unhappy girl, you’re a mess!” to “HEY FORMER OVERWEIGHT AND UNHAPPY GIRL!  YOU ARE AMAZING AND HUMAN AND BRILLIANTLY, PERFECTLY, WONDERFULLY IMPERFECT!  THE WORLD SHOULD SEE YOU!”  I’m facing fears.  I’m turning towards the cobwebs and walking towards them instead of running away.  Letting go.  Learning to love myself.

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for every bit of love you bring into the world.  We are all connected.  I feel it.  xx- Sarah

Spring Cleaning!


Greetings my friends!  I’m currently reading The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up (alongside almost every one of my friends and possibly a good part of the rest of the internet!)  Are you familiar?  It’s amazing!  Like, as the title states, LIFE CHANGING AMAZING.  The principle of the book is that we all have way more things than we actually need or use, and these things weigh us down and clutter up our lives- not just physically but mentally and emotionally.  The solution for this, according to the author, is to go through every item in the house and ask if when you look at it and hold it in your hands, it sparks joy.  If the answer is NO, the item goes.  {Read more after the jump!}

I was a little suspect at the beginning of my process, thinking that since my closet is so organized there was just no way that purging it would make me happier.  But purge it I did and OMG!  Walking into the space and having LESS CHOICES is actually hugely liberating!  Every single item in that room is something I LOVE and will wear- not maybe someday wear or might need for a very specific special occasion wear but something I’d 100% wear- and most of it I’d wear TOMORROW.  The truth is that less is actually more when it comes to a wardrobe, and things in general- and that the real joy comes in having only things that you LOVE LOVE.  There were somethings that I thought- no, this doesn’t necessarily spark joy but it’s necessary (ie: trashcans) and so I had my own approach of do I NEED it when it came down to more utilitarian items.  The books is incredible (at times funny and a little kooky too).  It will certainly make me a far more discerning shopper- I will be asking so many more questions of myself before I buy- such as: Do I need this item?  Will it spark joy in 6 months from now?  A year?  Or am I buying it to just spark a little joy right now and will need to purge it shortly thereafter?

We’re having a garage sale on Saturday and I’ve spent the better part of the past couple of days going through the house- every cupboard, drawer, closet, nook and cranny finding the items that don’t “spark joy” or aren’t 100% functional/necessary to have and putting them in a pile to prepare for the sale.  You’d be amazed at how large the piles are.

And the BEST thing is happening- I feel lighter!  The energy in our house feels lighter!  I’m feeling an itch to go further, to have even less.  And to replace the utilitarian items that I have and don’t love with those that I do (hello flatware, knives and mortar & pestle- I’ve got my eyes on you!)  This has just been such an amazing experience that I had to share it with you!  Wishing you all the very best with your own Spring cleaning projects!  xx- Sarah

We ALL Have Our Shit


Happy Monday friends!  I hope you had a great weekend!   I took the full two days to myself- the first time since we moved here in January that I’ve had a proper two days off.  I needed it in a bad way.  So unfortunately I didn’t get the recipe posts up for today that I was hoping to- and it may take me a couple of days still.  I spent a few hours on the beach by myself Sunday, thinking about life- and that time to be alone with my thoughts has been so few and far between this year with all of the craziness surrounding selling/buying houses and moving and business and regular life stuff and four months of struggling with my health.  I needed it.  And I’m in the midst of working on what I like to think of as “my shit”.  I apologize for those of you who my language offends but I come from a family of pirates and I embrace it. {photo via and more after the jump} click to read yo

A Little Reminder


I shared on my Instagram that lately I’ve been struggling- as I do when we move and life is unsettled.  I’ve been more sick than I’ve been since I was hospitalized, and I’m doing everything in my power to get better- acupuncture, yoga, meditation, 100% clean eating, rubbing lavender oil all over my body like it’s juice from the heavens, etc.  And I am, don’t worry!  But for some reason this time my body doesn’t want to let go of the stress, which of course exacerbates my health issues which then causes more stress and anxiety.  Ugly cycle!  I’m having trouble sleeping, the “fear bunny”, which is what I call that thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night feeling panicked- it’s ever present.  I can’t seem to just SETTLE.

Sunday night I had a panic attack that landed me in the ER- I was so overwhelmed with trying to heal myself, with all that’s going on in our lives- personally and professionally and with just trying to get our feet under us, that I came unravelled.  It was an out of body experience.  I couldn’t move my arms or legs- I could feel them tingling but as hard as I willed my mind to make them move- they wouldn’t.  I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I was alternating sweating and shivering.  My body was twitching.  I couldn’t get my thoughts under control, all I could think about was how very out of control everything in my body was.  It was a giant un-doing and it was terrifying.  After about an hour or so Lou and my best friend were able to calm me enough to carry me to the car and off to the ER for some medications to help. I slept for a full 24 hours after.

This is my life at the moment.  And so rather than keep resisting it- I’m going to lean into it.  I’m going to accept that this is just where I am, where I may be for who knows how long. This unnerving sense of anxiety- it’s just going to be a part of my life until one day it isn’t.  I’m seeking western medicine’s help on this one as well- my acupuncturist said that I may be so exhausted that a little boost from modern medicine might be just what I need to help me get back to myself and that anti-anxiety medication may help me stabilize.

I wanted to write about this, as personal and scary as it is to share, because there’s an awful stigma about mental health in our society.  I’m a perfectly lovely, perfectly sane, perfectly has-my-shit together person- 99.9% of the time.  But I have anxiety.  And I know so, so, SO many of you do too.  Among other mental health issues.  IT’S OK!  I repeat: IT IS OKAY!  We’re all doing the best we can.  We’re all exactly where we need to be- learning and growing and struggling and God-willing we’re overcoming.  So if you have anxiety or depression, or any other malady (mental or physical) – please know that you’re not alone. You are so very, very not alone.  And it will get better.  I believe that with all of my heart. And we need to talk about it- loudly, clearly, with passion and compassion.  The stigma needs to go the way of mile high 80’s bangs.  We are all: exactly. as. we. are. meant. to. be.  Keep going, keep growing.  I love you.  xx- Sarah

Musings: Share Your Secrets


Hello my friends!  I’m excited today to revisit my musings column.  My intention is to write more this year- to touch on the things I’ve learned from struggles I’ve overcome or experiences I’ve had, things that I’m reminding myself of or just random thoughts that have been kicking around in the ol’ brain for awhile!  Today’s Musings post is about the secrets we keep and how sharing them can set you free.

We all have a history- we’ve all done things that we are ashamed of.  We have things about ourselves that we’re embarrassed by, that we don’t share with ANYONE.  And that feeling, that shame, it’s toxic.  It’s the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough.  It’s the voice that keeps you from feeling like the best self that you already ARE.

Whatever you’ve done, the very worst of it, is forgivable.  Whatever those things are about yourself that you don’t share, that you feel ashamed of- those things don’t define you, they have nothing to do with your value or how lovable you are.  You’re perfectly perfect and wonderful and exactly as you’re meant to be- just as you are.

In my experience, the only way to start believing that, truly believing it, is to share the things you’re terrified to share with the person who you trust most.  And then to keep sharing if possible.  Those secrets feed that negative voice in your head, they perpetuate the myth that there’s something to be ashamed of.  Sharing them forces you to confront that.  It’s not easy work.  It’s terrifying and invites a vulnerability to your sense of self like no other.  But releasing those secrets is a tremendous gift to your spirit.  And the burden of that shame will be lifted, one shared secret at a time.  Challenge your secrets.  Be free.  Love yourself.    xx- Sarah