un-cocktails: Sparkling Water & Shrubs

sparkling water with shrub vinegar

If you've been playing along here on this blog, you've noticed I enjoy the craft cocktail. Problem is, sometimes I'd like to have that fancy drink in my hand feeling in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday. And well, let's just say that's not always appropriate. 

Enter my favorite way to whip up a non-alcoholic libation any time I want: shrub + sparkling water. (Also good for guests who chose not to imbibe.)

I use a soda stream for my bubbles, but any type of sparkling water will do. For this particular drink, I used Nostrum's blackberry, cacao nib and sage shrub, and then I muddled in some basil just because. Easy peasy. I love Nostrum's flavors BTW- I discovered them when I was staying at the Ojai Rancho Inn, and I've been a big fan ever since! 

Style: Spring California Casual

Florals and Suede California Style
Florals and Suede California Style

This look is basically my uniform: Jeans, sleeveless top, boots and some sort of light jacket or sweater. During winter in California, I throw a blanket scarf on top and I'm good to go. In the springtime, when it can suddenly get hot in the middle of the day, I just toss the jacket aside.

If I'm not in yoga pants (the REAL Los Angeles uniform) I'll pretty much be in some version of this. It's polished but still casual and super comfy. And swap out the boots for heels and it's easy to dress it up for a night out too.

Vintage Coach Purse with Casual California Style
Florals and Suede California Style
Vintage Coach Bad with Cowboy boots
Florals and Suede California Style

But let's talk about this jacket, shall we? I bought it on a whim and it's become an indespensible part of my wardrobe. Super soft, lightweight and soft as butter vegan suede with the perfect drape in the front. I wore it a ton back in the Midwest over the winter, it's been a great springtime transitional pieces, and I anticipate grabbing it quite a bit on those chilly summer SoCal nights. The even better part- it was crazy cheap! I picked it up at Nordstrom Rack for about $30. (It looks WAY more expensive than that!)

Florals and Suede California Style

The other thing we need to discuss are these insane sunglasses. They're vintage Christian Dior, and I found them at the Rosebowl Flea Market. They are completely ridiculous, and I think in the past- even though I would have still loved them- I may have been a bit reluctant to wear them. I think once you get to a certain age you have less F's to give though and you just wear things that make you happy- even if the rest of the world thinks you look insane. Personally, I like to think I'm channeling a little piece of Iris Apfel or Linda Rodin when I have them on. And who doesn't want to grow up to be exactly like either of them?!

The rest of this outfit is primarily second-hand: Lush top, vintage Coach saddle bag, (both thrifted) and Dingo boots found at It's a Wrap in Burbank. (If you don't know about this store, and you live in the LA area, you have to check it out. Everything comes from film and television sets- marked with the show or movie it was used for- and I've found some amazing deals on designer clothes there.) My trusty Loft jeans and Brass and Stone pocketknife necklace finish off the look.


My go to (all natural) weapons for getting over a cold fast


I've been traveling a lot and spending a ton of time on planes recently, so it came as no surprise when I came down with a humdinger of a cold on a recent business trip. 

Once I got home I dove into my apothecary of home remedies so I could try to lessen the damage. Over the counter medicines will make you feel better most of the time, but they won't really help you get better any faster. I know lots of people say natural remedies help you feel better, but I look at them more like recovery aids and immunity boosters. Here are my top 5 tricks for getting over that cold in no time flat:

Essential oils are cited a lot for making you feel better- Eucalyptus and peppermint in particular along with some steam can open up sinuses. I've found that while this is true, the relief is temporary at best. So I prefer to diffuse them into the air- in particular when I'm sleeping. You will get some of those stuffy head clearing powers, but more importantly, you're filling the air and then breathing in oils that have powerful antibacterial and anti-viral properties. Both key in fighting back those nasty bugs. The oils also do a number on killing those same germs in the air- so you're less likely to pass your sickness onto others in your household. My favorites are eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, frankincense and lemongrass.

This is another one that loads of people bring up as giving relief from a stuffed up head- which it does, for sure. But, again it's fairly temporary. The more important piece for me is rinsing away all those germs growing like crazy in your nasal passages Again, helping you get better faster. I also REALLY love the neti pot towards the end of a cold. You know, that period of time post-cold when you feel better, but you have all that lingering "gunk" in your head and throat. There is no better feeling that watching all of that crap flush away in the sink. 

By now we're all familiar with the old standards: Zinc and EmergenC. I do bulk up on both of those as soon as I feel something coming on (be sure to always take zinc on a full stomach). But there are a few others I load up on too: Vitamin D, fish oil, astragalus root and magnesium. 

The first 2 I'm sure you're familiar with. Astragalus root is a super immunity booster, and really- especially during cold and flu season- you should think about taking it daily as a preventative. When I do I never get sick- even when it seems everyone around me is dying of the plague. Magnesium is another one that should already be a daily supplement (That's a different post for a different day) but especially when sick, your body could use an extra kick of it. (Powdered forms, and even topical magnesium "oils" are best.) Which brings me to my last remedy:

Salt baths will hands down make you feel better + help you recover faster. If you only have Epsom salts, use em'. They're loaded with magnesium. If you want to kick it up a notch, I love using dead sea salts. They're full of all sorts of minerals that your body loves, well anytime, but especially when you're sick. Seriously- they help you detox the bad stuff out and your body will also absorb all the good stuff in. Not to mention that baths are just down right pleasant when you're sick. Throw some essential oils in there while you soak and you've got yourself a double whammy.

Sure, any kind of tea will make you feel better, but I'm talking about the kinds that will actually help your body get back to fighting form. I love Matcha because it's bursting with antioxidants, and it will give you a little extra energy boost without the dehydrating effects that coffee has. My other go-to is 21th Century Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. It's a comforting and strengthening infusion to offer immune system support with Organic Nettle leaf, organic Red Clover blossoms, organic Elder berries, organic Alfalfa leaf, organic Red Clover herb, organic St. John's Wort, organic Sage, and organic Ginger root. Seriously good stuff. 

So there you have it. Are you familiar with these natural remedies? Anything on this list surprise you? I'd love to hear!

image source

Sweet Potato carrot orange juice recipe

sweet potato carrot orange juice
sweet potato carrot orange juice
sweet potato carrot orange juice

Sometimes my juicing adventures can be a little dodgy (just ask Mr. Gooder.) I rarely follow recipes- deferring instead to rifling through the fridge and tossing in a little of this and a little of that. 

I have mostly adequate, sometimes completely disastrous results, but every once in a while complete magic comes out of the juicer spout. This, my friends, was one of those times. 

I heard juicing sweet potatoes was healthy. Honestly, it sounded weird, but I had one and not much else so figured "what the hell." My strategy was to stick with all orange and it worked out brilliantly. Here's what I tossed in:

• (1) Sweet Potato
• (2-3) average sized carrots
• (1) large or (2-3) small to medium oranges. 

The texture is not like other juices. It's almost creamy from the sweet potato. And the sweetness of the orange balances out some of the earthiness from the potato and carrots. (Although, those have some sweetness too- this is definitely NOT a low carb juice!!)

Try it out- I'd love to know what you think! 

Creating airy pastel photos with A Color Story

Maybe I'm a nerd (and by maybe, I mean most likely), but I REALLY love editing photos. Sometimes I find the process to be just as creative as taking the photos themselves. I'm captivated by the ability to create different looks and moods with a single image.

This morning, I went down a rabbit hole playing with the effects filters in A Color Story- one of my favorite editing apps. It was instigated by their newest effects pack "Skies Over" designed by Jeff Mindell.

2 1/2 hours later of playtime, I decided it would be fun to post some of the results here. Scroll through and use the arrows keys on each image to see the before and after. (Clearly, I was in a pastel mood!)

It got me thinking that it might be fun to teach a class on editing photos with your phone. I know there are already a lot of classes out there about editing alread, but I'd love to know if it's something you'd be interested in learning from me. Let me know in the comments below!

Thrifty Style- Floral Bomber

Florals and Stipes Target Style
Casual Spring Style Florals and Stipes

Today's thrifty style post is an example of how I love to mix slightly more expensive pieces with trendier pieces that I'll probably only wear for a season. 

I picked up these AG cigarette jeans over the holidays, and no, they weren't cheap, but they are so amazing: the perfect amount of stretch, and they feel like satin- so soft! I knew I would wear them a ton so the price was worth it. (And in just a couple of months, I've worn them countless times.)

Here, I'm mixing them with some pieces from Target- mainly this adorable floral bomber and a simple striped tee. I love the mix of the 2 patterns, and the bomber looks adorable dressed up with heels for a night on the town too. 

I picked up the leather slip-ons at the thrift store (Sorry, I can't figure out what the brand is!), and the Rebecca Minkoff crossbody purse my friend found at a discount store for $10. YES!!! $10! She's the best! (And not just because she let me have the purse!)

Photos Kate Richards

The Moon Juice cookbook

The Moon Juice Cookbook
Moon Juice cookbook
The Moon Juice Cookbook
The Moon Juice Cookbook

Hi, my name is Sarah and I have a cookbook addiction. 

It's true. A full cupboard in my kitchen is dedicated to them. For me, good cookbooks are the perfect marriage of food, photography, design and sometimes a sprinkle of education. When these elements come together in perfect harmony, it's almost impossible for me to resist.

The Moon Juice Cookbook is exactly all those things. In fact, this one hasn't even made it's way into the cupboard yet. It's been too preoccupied in my living room and on my bedside table as I hungrily devour all of the information and gorgeous photography.  I can't seem to get enough. It's a cookbook that's been elevated to coffee table book status- although it's still stuffed with plenty of elixrs, and concoctions I'm dying to try out. And that right there is what makes this book different: The focus on alchemy, elixrs, and superfoods. Flipping through the pages it's easy to see how Moon Juice creator Amanda Chantal Bacon (and yes, I do think it's hilarious that her last name is Bacon) has created such a captivating brand. The pages ooze with her light, infectious, healthy vibe. By the last page, you'll happily be declaring "I'll have what she's having!"

Go check it out and prepare to be delighted. 

Starting Our backyard container garden

Very Sarie Container Gardening
simple vegetable container gardening

I've experimented with backyard gardens in the past with varying results. (Mostly not great, if I'm being perfectly honest.) It's been a few years since we've grown any vegetables, but when Mr. Gooder announced he wanted to get a garden going again this year I was ready for the challenge. 

Our biggest issue is that while we have a decent sized yard, we also rent, so it limits us in where and how much we can plant. Basically, we're restrained to having a container garden. But... we already had one very clever container garden in the works:

Rain gutter self watering garden

Let me introduce you to the self-watering rain gutter container garden. Ours (Pictured above) looks a little scraggly because it's actually 2-3 years old. It was used the last time I tried to do a vegetable garden and failed pretty epically. I made 2 REALLY big (rookie) mistakes. 1) Too many plants in one pot, and 2) COMPLETELY wrong spot in the yard for sun exposure. My poor plants were getting blasted with the western setting SoCal sun every afternoon and there was no amount of water that was going to help them out. Poor babies. 

I'm not going to go into the logistics of the self-watering garden now- maybe another day in another post. This youtube channel will tell you everything you ever wanted to know thoug. Plus, if you are anything like me, you will fall in love with Larry from Brainard MN. (The super smart guy behind this, and several other DIY self-watering garden ideas.) We cleaned everything out, refilled the pots with fresh soil and were ready to go in no time.

starting a container vegetable garden
self watering vegetable container garden
growing vegetables in a container
planting a sweet potatoe

We had some already started plants that we grabbed from the garden center, but we also decided to try our hand at starting some things from scratch in seed pods. (I know- party animals!)

And I grabbed this sweet potato that started sprouting on our counter and plunked it in the ground as well. Even if we don't get potatoes, I love the look of sweet potato vines in the garden.

Starting seeds in jiffy pods
seed starts for vegetable garden
Grow Great Grub gardening book

Then I pulled out Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail.  I picked it up a few years ago, and it's still one of my favorite gardening books. It explains things very nicely for beginners or someone like me (who knows enough about growing vegetables to be dangerous but could definitely know more.) The back section of the book has individual plants listed out with the best ways to grow them + solutions to problems you may encounter. A few recipes are scattered throughout as well for good measure!

I'm looking forward to giving little updates here and there about our little garden as it (fingers crossed) takes off! Wish us luck!