19 Feb

I am going through a weird time. I’m reading a dozen things and not paying attention to any of them. I have been halfheartedly knitting the same socks for two months now and somehow not making any progress, and I was just realizing that I haven’t tried any new and fun recipes for a long time. We eat soup and salads daily because I just feel like I don’t want to be bothered with the whole business of cooking. Don’t get me wrong; we’re not turning into ascetics over here; these are exceptionally loaded soups and salads; nothing minimalist about them (like that kimchi stew in the image above) but still…it’s a lot of the same thing, over and over again. And I’m …kinda fine with that? Which worries me for some reason that I can’t put my finger on?

I feel like…I’m not looking for the New Thing anymore. I guess I was forever trying new things because I was always looking for the holy grail of *something.* And there’s something that always felt necessary and vital (to me, at least) in that pursuit of that Best Good Thing, whatever that might be. But could it be that somewhere along the line, I found it? And if so, what was it? And why don’t I feel satisfied? But also, why don’t I feel like looking anymore? Why don’t I feel like doing anymore?

I guess that’s what I’m struggling with: whether these feelings I am experiencing right now are of being content? Or is this more like..stagnating?



Another thing I feel like I have sort of given up on is Instagram. Or I guess I should say, I have stopped trying to be good at it. I struggled with this last year, but it turns out the weirdest, most counterintuitive thing is what helped me. For three years, I have been posting perfume review videos on TikTok, and until the end of 2023, I kept it mainly on that platform. I did talk about perfume from time to time on Instagram, but not too often because people aren’t really into it, and those posts got very few views and engagement, and it just generally made me feel shitty about myself. I shared the TikTok reviews in my Instagram stories only because it cut off at the 30-second mark, and it was only on the app for 24 hours or so, and then it was gone.

But a friend encouraged me to post these video reviews on my main Instagram feed because many people don’t have TikTok and don’t get to see them. I waffled about it at first, knowing that these are the exact things that would flop when I post them because it’s a niche thing, and not many folks/friends share that interest. But I gave it a shot. And I do think it made some people happy. But I was right; the perfume video posts on Instagram are all very unpopular duds.

Here are some numbers. I have 13.4K followers on Instagram. Most things I post get around 100 likes on average. That seems a little weird and low, but I am used to it by now. Sometimes it’s more than that, but between the vagaries of the algorithm and people in general, I have no idea why or how. My perfume videos, which I now share as reels on Instagram, get about 20-25 likes on average, which is awfully pathetic. But you know what? I kept at it for the past two and half months, and while the numbers have not increased or changed, my attitude about it did. I’m used to it. As pitiful as it sounds, I have adapted and become inured to those butthurt feelings of rejection and moved on, so all in all, I am actually glad that I started doing it. I’m sorry if it’s not what people want to see, but oh well! So now you could say I am actively leaning into being bad at Instagram. The above image is from my Lorenzo Pazzaglia Van Py Rhum perfume review. If “slutty bloofer lady” is your vibe, you may dig this one.

Wow, all of these sounds like a bummer, and it all sounds like dumb, petty problems. I wouldn’t disagree if you said so. Of course, other things are going on with me, too, things that are much more of a bummer and a whole hell of a lot dumber… but that’s too much for this little blog. Let’s move on to something nice.


We are celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary this week! With yard work! How romantic! The constant threat of a letter from the HOA keeps us on our toes; we are a corner lot on the main road through the neighborhood, where a prominent founding member of the community once lived, so I feel like we are under extra scrutiny. We have a lot of trees on our property, and the leaves are falling perpetually, matting up in the shady areas and killing the grass, so it requires constant vigilance and dedication to keep on top of it.

And the thing is…we are neither vigilant nor dedicated, and I think I can speak for Yvan in saying that what we lack in vigilance and dedication, we make up for in simmering resentment about all of it. We just want to let our lawn do its thing! And in a neighborhood without an HOA, that would be fine. But that’s not where we live, so we both took off work on our wedding anniversary to rake leaves. We could be mad about it, but we’re gonna have a little picnic lunch and make the best of it. Recommendation time! I know I have mentioned these before, but they are probably my favorite thing in the world: these Duluth Trading Company gardening overalls. Pair that with a tie-dye UV protection tee shirt, a Garfield bucket hat, and my neon blue ponytail; I definitely cut a colorful figure when I am out in the yard, even if I am grumpy and scowling the whole time!

We went to a local brewery yesterday for an early celebration, though, so it’s not all manual labor and aching limbs… we celebrated with a tipple, flipping through a seed catalog, and ignoring each other in favor of our books because we know how to party!



I guess February is a little late to chat about New Year’s goals, but I somehow forgot to talk about it at the beginning of the year, so here we are. This year I made four goals for myself, and my face is the featured image for this section because I’m thinking real hard about my goals, okay?

  • Start downsizing my book collection. The goal here is NEVER to load fifty boxes of books onto a moving truck again. I am slowly selling the things that I know I will never read again over on Pango, and I’m doing okay, I think; I’ve already sold 60 books! I upload new titles every week, and I run sales every weekend, so if you are looking to supplement your bookshelves with some weird and spooky titles, go give my Pango shop a little peek.
  • Figure out how to do Downward Facing Dog. Sure, I could say, “Start doing yoga every day,” but that’s a very broad and nebulous goal, and it’s easier for me to focus on one very specific thing. Since January I stretch for about five minutes every morning while waiting for the kettle to boil, but here’s a confession. I’ve been working on the version of this pose that exists in my mind, but I only just this second looked up how it’s supposed to look and how to do it. Classic Sarah!
  • Get back to taking the time in the morning to write down my dreams. I have been doing this on and off for twenty years, and I fell out of the habit right before we moved,
  • I have begun writing fiction. It’s all I have ever wanted to do in my entire life, and I’ve come at it through my writing in every way: from the side, underneath, essays, poetry, interviews, articles, blog posts, and reviews–every kind of writing BUT fiction because I’ve just been too chicken to try! So I try to get as close to it as possible through all these other writings! It has been super scary, and nothing might ever come of it, and I am trying to be okay with that. To clarify, it’s not the thought that it won’t be published and people will never read it that’s giving me pause; it’s just…I’m not sure what my end goal is here. My writing has always had an end goal: post it up on the blog or review site, send in the article for publication, submit the chapters for the book deadline, etc. I have difficulty thinking about nebulous projects (see “yoga,” above.) I mean, I guess at this point, the point is practice and building writing and thinking about writing muscles that I don’t know how to use, but beyond that…what then?

A few more recommendations before I toddle off to bed early because YARD WORK…

  • In the first several episodes of Harlan Coben’s most recent Netflix adaptation, Fool Me Once, Michelle Keegan’s lips are practically blue, and I don’t think this was intentional, but I want the look. The hydrating shine lip balm from MOB in sheer black is super, super close.
  • Not a recommendation per se, but I know that me and a thousand of my close friends need this sweater from Batsheva’s Fall 2024 Ready to Wear collection.
  • This headband and wristband combo for washing your face (I hate it when the water splashes up your arms! Thanks for giving me the head’s up on these, Shar!)
  • While it says it is a noodle basket/colander, I love it for washing and straining vegetables and leaving them to dry while making a meal.
  • I have been living in this Victorian spider lady sweatshirt from Altar & Orb!
  • I’ve written before about how I can’t stand the feeling of not wearing a bra, but I also hate traditional bras with pokey wires and pushuppityness. Last year, I finally found something perfect for daytime, which sort of swaddles and flattens (which may not sound ideal, but I love it), but everything for sleeping seemed too restrictive. This cropped tank from Girlfriend Collective doesn’t really provide any kind of support, but it turns out that it’s exactly what I want under my tee shirt for sleeping.

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Emera says

Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! I love that you celebrated by looking at a seed catalogue and not talking (too much). And I'm looking forward to hearing future thoughts about flexing your fiction muscles.

S. Elizabeth says

The really cool thing about that afternoon which I forgot to mention is that we made a few new friends at the brewery! This happens ~so rarely~ that it really is a thing worth celebrating!

Sam says

I have lots of thoughts and then I opened the pango link and everything went out the window

S. Elizabeth says

I really did not expect much with Pango, but I have been pleasantly surprised! Maybe it's because I've got stuff that's a little bit different from an oversaturated offerings of the same old titles, or maybe because I've been obnoxiously hollering about it all over social media and I've been directing a good number of eyeballs my way, but I have made way more sales than I ever expected to. And of course it's not like I am making oodles of money here, but I also think $5-$6-$7 for a paperback, is a heck of a lot more than you'd get from a used bookstore trade-in (if book stores still do that?) even counting in the fees that Pango takes. I'm pretty pleased with the whole thing!

Mathyld Pyramids says

I feel exactly the same about IG... This is depressing, but I keep at it. However, I am thrilled to read about your wedding anniversary. I love it whenever I see two beings sharing their oddness and feeling at home with one another. I don't exactly know you both, but that is what I feel when I read about you two. Bon Anniversaire de Mariage!

gk says

I gave up on insta a few years ago during the pandemic's heights. And, interestingly, sort of "gave up" on "findings something new" (culture as a whole?) at the same time. I've since focused more on home/family life AND making overly hearty soups too! I always chalked that up to the closing in horror of climate change, politics and horrible human behavior. In other words, holding down the fort until the storm passes. Or, "something new" actually comes along!

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