2 Jan


“Year after year
On the monkey’s face:
A monkey’s face.”

― Matsuo Bashō

New year, old me. Same old me as last year. I will never be a new me. Or, I suppose you can argue that I will never be an old me, I will never be the me that was, because every day, every minute, every second, every moment, I am changing in the most minute ways on a molecular level and I am continuously different than I was the moment before. Which is it, then? Who cares! I am the me I am now, and that’s really all I’ve got to work with. And hopefully I will never wake up with a monkey’s face!

And so, it is a new year. I don’t plan on making a lot of big changes and I haven’t got much in the way of resolutions, but I guess I will do a few things differently in 2019. 2018 felt like a year of stasis, nearly to the point of stagnation. One major reason is something I’m not going to talk about here, it’s a family matter, and it’s constantly on my mind; there is never a second, never a minute I am not thinking about it, and it’s really taking a toll emotionally and mentally. I am hopeful that it will be resolved this year because it’s a heavy weight, and frankly, I am tired of bearing it. I think in 2018 my depression was as bad as it’s ever been. Which is not nearly as bad as I know a lot of other folks have it, but let’s face it, it is exactly as bad as it feels, and I don’t think there was a single moment in 2018 that I felt “good”.  But I can’t not live my life while I’m waiting for matters to work themselves out, and I can’t use that as an excuse to make poor decisions, to not take proper care of myself, to not take measures when I feel myself sinking to that low, dark place where the self-criticism is deafening and the self-medication is unchecked.

How did I get to talking about all that? I am not sure. Sometimes when I want to write about this thing or that, I figure whatever I’m sharing needs a bit of an introduction to get everything rolling; somewhere along the line though, the intro gets out of hand and runs off the rails, and we end up in a very different place than where I hoped to take us– and, in the getting there, the whole tone of the piece has become something I didn’t intend. Let’s dial it back a bit. I came here today to talk about my goals for 2019. None of them were meant to be about what a bummer last year was. Moving forward!


Goal: Use the nice things that I have. Here we have a spot of pre-new years cleaning and paring down. There was an entirely separate container of lipsticks on this dresser, as well as a mug of mascaras, before I went through and tossed at least half of it. The purpose, other than clearing out gross, expired product and things I don’t actually use, was to clear a small space, something I’ll see every day, and choose a few perfumes and pieces of jewelry to lay out and wear for the week. I’m great at collecting these things, but not so good at actually using them. I’m hopeful that this practice will help!

Seen here, perfume-wise is Myrrh Casati by Mona di Orio, which sometimes smells like spicy licorice incense and sometimes smells like Cinnabon, but with posh ingredients and prepared by a world-class chef, for rich people. Both iterations are okay by me. To the left of it is French Lime Blossom from Jo Malone, which kinda reminds me of fusty, old-fashioned soap, but sometimes I am in the mood for that sort of thing! If you’re into that too, well, unfortunately it’s most likely discontinued.


Goal: Continue tracking, on a monthly(ish) basis, the stuff I use; noting what works, what doesn’t, and trying to be smarter in general about the purchases that I make, and making sure I’m using everything up. If you follow me over on instagram, or remember my year-end post for 2017, this is not news to you. The above are products I emptied in December: the mask and the sample-sized hair products will not be repurchased, they really did nothing. I am still looking for that HG shampoo and conditioner for coarse, color-treated hair! I liked the Beauty Water, or I thought that I did, but I hear from a friend in the industry that micellar waters are a bunch of hooey and a waste of money, so I don’t think I will re-stock on that one. I will always buy more Tom Ford Oud Wood shower gel because it is the most beautifully-scented shadowy-forest-temple shower gel out there, but it is also $68, so I might not get more any time soon. Definitely will grab another packet of Banshee + Cinder coffee as it’s delicious, and I would buy another Lost In The Woods candle (it smells like a path of Sweet Tarts in a dark, fairy tale woodland) by A Dark House, but I am not sure where or how to even do so. I think the creator only sells her candles at events, and I’m pretty sure this was a limited release anyway.I’m on the fence with the Omorovicza Queen of Hungary mist, because it’s really just rose water, right? Surely I can find something just as nice and much less expensive!

 Hot, charred cherry tomatoes with cold yogurt from the book Ottolenghi Simple A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi
Charred cherry tomatoes with cold yogurt from Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook

Goal: Cook more. I like to cook. Except when I don’t! Which, in Sarah-speak, means I like to cook when I have time to cook. When I can do it leisurely, when I can linger over the process. For me the getting there is much more important than the end result, because let’s face it, I’m not actually a very good cook, and oftentimes the outcome falls hilariously short of my expectations.  But I don’t let that stop me! Unless, as I noted, I’m tired, or stressed, or rushed for time. At those times I have no desire to do the cooking and will instead drive to Chipotle or order a pizza or maybe just eat a box of crackers smeared in margarine. I am also going back to a vegetarian diet this year. Ish. (I may keep eating fish). I ate entirely vegetarian for a year or two a decade ago and I don’t think I have ever felt so good in my life! I looked pretty good, too! Man, if I could go back and give 2008 me a hug and tell me how gorgeous I was, I totally would. Collarbones! Lordy. I can’t remember the last time I saw those.


Goal: Food diary. More tracking of things! I’m trying to figure out what all triggers my acid reflux, which I started noticing when my mom got sick in 2012 and has been sporadic ever since, but getting progressively worse. I think I’ve got it pinpointed to a combination of certain starches + fats (stuffing is the worst offender) but sometimes it will come on suddenly when all I have had is a glass of water. Wine and spirits are no good, either, which is sad…but…at least it’s not coffee that’s a problem. I don’ think my weight gain over the ensuing years is helping, either, but ugh, diets are boring and dumb and you’re never going to hear me talking about them again. I’m sure it would also help for me to see a doctor, but I refuse to take a prescription for this, so: nope. As a matter of fact, since this hasn’t been diagnosed, do I even know it is acid reflux? But what else could it be? Thank you, WebMD!


Goal: More stranded colorwork knitting! These Underwing Mitts were part of my 2018 goals, and to be honest, I didn’t even start them until the end of December. Though I at first hated their fiddly tediousness, I soon became addicted to seeing the pattern emerge and I finished it up in a few days time. It obviously took me forever to get around to attempting them; in my nearly fifteen years of knitting, this is the first colorwork project I tried my hand at! Despite the fact that I throw myself into terribly intricate lace knitting all the time, I have always found the concept of colorwork daunting. Well, now I’ve done it! The only problem is…now I have to knit its mate! If all goes well I will take on these gorgeous Russian Flower mittens next…


Goal: Read 5 books. Which may seem a little light if you recall my reading challenge from previous years–heck, in 2018 I read 101 books! But this year I am doing something a little different: there’s a handful of books from the past 3-4 years that I began, and for some reason–either they were dull and plodding, or I was distracted and wasn’t in the right headspace at the time, or whatever–I never finished them. There’s actually only four books in this list that come to mind, but I am sure that there has got to be a fifth! Of course, I can certainly read any other book I wish (and trust me, I always have a long list of titles I wish to read!) , but to reach my goal, I must have read:

Debi Shapiro Photography
Debi Shapiro Photography
Ohhh Lulu Lingerie
Ohhh Lulu Lingerie
Harlow And Fox
Harlow And Fox

Goal: More flowers! You may not know this, but before your friend Sarah was all about books and jewelry and perfumes and ghost stories and horror movies and snarking on runway couture, she was super-obsessed with blooms and bouquets and all things “flowerdy”. She was also maybe five years old. But she never, ever lost that true-heart-love for posies and garlands, to include even a single, perfect blossom. Fresh flowers are expensive to keep on hand all the time, but maybe I’ll treat myself once a month or so? And seeking out and swooning over floral art doesn’t cost a thing, so I’ll definitely be doing that, whether it be the beautiful photography of Debi Shapiro, or gorgeous botanical lingerie set from Ohhh Lulu or an exquisitely luxurious loungewear from Harlow and Fox. Expect to see a lot more florals on the blog this year!

Do you have any goals for 2019? Any habits you are trying to break or practices you’d like to develop? Are you going to ignore Infinite Jest for another year? Let’s encourage and support each other in the comments!

Anton says

I feel comfortable ignoring Infinite Jest forever and ever! My reading goal is to get through two dozen unread things on my kindle. There's no urgency because I can't see them! A friend suggested writing the titles on post it notes and sticking them all over the cover so that's what I'm doing.

Theodora says

Re - depression - you poor thing. In 2015 I hit rock bottom because there was some awful family stuff going on that, like you, was constantly heavy on my mind. I am not sure if you are taking medication but if not, definitely go see your doctor. I also recommend speaking to a proper therapist. I pretended there was nothing wrong with me mentally for years and inevitably ended up having a breakdown. Really hope things resolve themselves for you this year and you can find some release xx

Beautiful art and clothing choices as always. You have the best taste! I really want to try some of that amazing shower gel too...not sure if we get it here in the UK! xxx

Liz says


Liz says

My goals for 2019 are small- Be tidy, read more than last year, and take more baths. But all three combined SHOULD make a big difference in my mental health, right? We'll see, I guess!

S. Elizabeth says

Take more baths, absolutely! My bath window is between December-February, otherwise it's just too hot and I'd rather take a cold shower.
It's already the end of January, so I may have missed my window :(

But decluttering your space and some soothing baths and some quiet reading time should definitely make a difference!

Daisy says

My goal for the year is to focus on being all around healthier. I'm now a stay at home mom so instead of doing 5-8hr retail shifts on my feet, I spend an awful lot of time on the couch (or the floor) and it's not good for my body or my mental health. So I'm trying to find ways to stay active that are baby friendly (walking and 10min stretching yes, anything involving equipment, no). As well as cut down on fast food, attempt to read more instead of sitting on my phone, and move out of daily sweat pants and into real clothes. I just want to feel like a PERSON again, instead of a Mom.

S. Elizabeth says

I totally get it! I mean not the stay at home mom part, but I do work from home, so real-person clothing has sort of fallen by the wayside in recent years. I'm trying, though! Wearing jeans and a tee shirt today! Except...it's the third day in a row I've worn them (don't tell.)

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