Friday, June 26, 2015

Buen Camino

For the next 2-3 weeks posting will be fairly slow here on Simply Sarah. Thirteen other classmates and I are about to begin a long backpacking trip through the Basque region of Spain on a pilgrimage called the Ignatian Camino. In a nutshell, it’s a journey walking to various significant sites from the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola who founded an order of Catholic priests called Jesuits. Both of my undergraduate school and graduate school are Jesuit schools and my year in Alaska was with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, so it will be something to visit these places I’ve been learning about for the past 7/8 years. The Jesuits have a deep emphasis on immersing oneself into different cultures and contexts in order to be educated on root causes of social injustices. Their passion and commitment to social justice is what sparked my own passion and pushed me on the career path I’m on today.

We will begin walking in Loyola, Spain on June 26th (my mom’s birthday!) and end in Barcelona around July 8th (my grandpa’s birthday!) which is when we will fly to Rome for 3 extra days. I’m very excited, but also pretty nervous.

Here is a map of the Camino Ignaciano for those interested:

Needless to say, my access to internet and free-time will be limited, especially with how exhausted I will likely be. I have a few posts already lined up to share, so hopefully they will keep y’all interested and following ;)

Feel free to message me with questions! I can’t guarantee when I will be able to answer, but I can promise that I will answer!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Red Sundress

Every time I wear this sundress I can't help but get Kip Moore's, "Something Bout a Truck", stuck in my head. If you haven't heard it, it's a country song (don't hate me, I'm a country fan) that was fairly popular a few summers back. In the song is the line, "something bout a girl, in a red sundress..." which was circling my head all day.

I think it's pretty obvious why the song pops into my mind when I'm wearing this bright red beauty. I bought it and my braided turquoise necklace at Charming Charlie last summer and still can't get enough. Did you know they sell clothes?! I typically have problems with high-low dresses being to short in the front, but this one has enough material to stay on the appropriate side of sassy. The dress isn't in stock any more, but I did find some other great red sundresses to keep the sun on your skin and Kip Moore playing in your head - unless you don't like country... ;)

Dress: Charming Charlie (more options below)
Shoes: b.o.c (exact in black)
Wallet: Target (exact)
Necklace: Charming Charlie (exact)
Rings: Old Navy - in store only  (similar)
Earrings: Old Navy - in store only (splurge)

Sorry for the sporadic posts this week/weekend, I'm in the process of packing up and cleaning my apartment along with packing for my European backpacking trip. Woof. There's a lot to do before Wednesday and my head is spinning in every direction. I do have some fun ideas for new posts that should be coming soon though. Thanks for your patience!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Head to Toe Flamingo!

This round of "Save or Splurge" is going to focus on probably my favorite trend of this summer: flamingos! These colorful birds are finding their way onto just about everything you can buy, including cookies!

Did you know that a group of flamingos is called a stand? Well I can't stand how much I love this trend!

hats: left | right
scarves: left | right
necklaces: left | right
dresses: left | right
shoes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I will admit that I am not at all likely to wear a hat with flamingos (though I do find the less expensive version is cuter), but if it fluffs your feathers, go for it!

These shoes and this sweatshirt are at the top of my list. Which flamingo filled goodies do you want in your closet?


Here are a few more flamingos to browse. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

From That To This: Shrimp and Quinoa

School is out and I have slightly more free time than normal, which means more time to try new meals! During a break at work last week I decided to hop on pinterest for some food inspiration and this recipe was the first post on my "suggested pins". I opened the page to check out the ingredients and skim through the recipe and it seemed pretty easy. That was it. I love seafood, and I think y'all know how much I like quinoa. Decision made - I was cooking shrimp and quinoa that evening. It was love at first sight (soon to be love at first bite).

1/2 lb fresh shrimp w/ tails
1/4 cup chopped onion
4-6 cloves chopped garlic
chili powder
Old Bay
1 cup quinoa
1/8 cup chopped parsley

(Not Pictured)
 1 tbsp olive oil
1 can chicken or veggie broth

The first thing you'll start to make is the quinoa - that way while it boils, you can cook up the shrimp. All you need to do is chop your onion and garlic and toss them in a cooking pot with olive oil on medium heat. (Be sure to save about 1/3 of your garlic to cook with the shrimp.) Allow these to cook until the onions are clear (about 2 minutes or so). Feel free to add a tsp or so of the chili powder and even a bit of Old Bay. Add the uncooked quinoa and can of broth to the onions and garlic along with a little more spice. Spices are really personal to your taste, so only you will know what you like and don't like. Place the lid on the pot and let cook until all of the liquid is gone (about 15-20 min).

** hint: one of my roommates from my volunteer year taught me to crush a garlic clove with the side of a knife (as seen in the second photo) to make taking off the outer layer easier. Maybe this is common knowledge. I was never taught the trick and was impressed. Thanks Lou.

While the quinoa is cooking, peal the skin off of your shrimp and wash thoroughly. Start melting about 2 tbsp butter in a saucer with the rest of your chopped garlic and add your shrimp along with some good ol' Old Bay. Cook the shrimp until they are no longer clear. The shrimp will shrink a little and turn that pink color we are used to seeing with shrimp cocktail. This will cook in about 5-7 minutes. If you think it's done, it probably is. It's surprisingly easy to tell.

**hint: the original recipe says to leave the tails on the shrimp, but during my process of removing the skin about half of my tails came off and I liked those shrimp better. Next time I make shrimp I will probably take the tails off from the get-go.

By this point, your quinoa will either be done or have a very short amount of cook time left. Once it is done, dish a nice sized portion on a plate and top it with some of your delicious shrimp. Chop up some fresh parsley to sprinkle on top and bon appetit!

**hint: the original recipe suggests melting butter with garlic and drizzling it on top of the plate. I'm sure it is delish, but I'm not much of a butter person so I opted out.

Try it out and let me know what you think! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

Do you ever have moments where you know an outfit reminds you of something, but you can't quite put your finger on it? I wore this one on Thursday and spent the majority of the day wondering why it felt so familiar. It was a pretty hot day so I decided to braid my hair to get it off of my neck. Midway through braiding, it hit me! Dorothy! This gingham outfit could pass for a modern day version of that charming girl from Kansas who finds herself lost in Oz. 

The Oz-vibe probably comes most from the gingham Gap top (try saying that 5 times fast). I normally don't like the way button-downs look on my figure, but I loved it paired with this white midi-skirt (also Gap). The texture from the cut-outs at the bottom of the skirt paired with the gingham pattern complimented each other beautifully and adding a thin brown belt sealed the deal.

The next time I wear it, I might see what my cherry-red flats look like with it. Probably not though, because I am obsessed with my B.O.C wedges. I couldn't find them in brown online, but I did find the exact same pair in black here. They are seriously one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I have ever worn. Normally after a few hours of wearing heals I have to take them off to save my poor feet, but I wore these wedges all day and had no problems. I think I'm in love. 

Shirt: Gap (exact)
Skirt: Gap (exact)
Wedges: Marshalls - B.O.C (exact in black)
Sunglasses: Charming Charlie (exact)
Belt: Old (similar)
Ring: Hand-Me-Down

 Here are a few other B.O.C. sandals available. I can't recommend them enough. I'm already looking into my next pair.


 linked up with SydneyFashionHunter, StyleElixir, PumpsandPushups, PleatedPoppy, CurlyCraftyMom, Mix&MatchFashion

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bloomin' in June

I was on the hunt for a new pair of jeans at an outlet mall a week or so ago and ended up looking at more than just denim (obviously). You're all shocked, I'm sure. I had already found a great pair of jeans at the Gap (seen here) but figured it wouldn't hurt to drop by J Crew and boy was I glad I did. Shuffling through the sales section, I stumbled upon this beautiful skirt.

 I'm sure you've seen the print out and about and on other blogs (for example here and here). I've been admiring it for some time now, but didn't have an occasion to justify a full price buy. With an additional 40% off on sale, plus J Crew's student discount (one of their best kept secrets if you ask me), I ended up only spending less than $25 for it!

I paired the skirt with a chambray top and simple nude ballet flats, but can't wait to wear it in other ways. I'm thinking a navy or maybe white top and some fun wedges. I absolutely love it, especially because it's not like other clothes I have in my closet. Here's to branching out and trying new patterns.

Skirt: J Crew Factory (exact, another pattern)
Top: Pac Sun - old (similar)
Shoes: Target - old (similar)
Necklace: Old Navy - in store only (similar)
Ring: Hand-me-down from my Grandma
Bag: Gift for being a bridesmaid. There's an "S" on the other side :)


Thursday, June 11, 2015

This Insta Life

I tried to do a little play-on-words with the title of this series. Instead of "this is the life", "this insta life"... Insta for Instagram. See what I did there? 

Anyway, now that I have started somewhat regularly using Instagram, I thought I would share some pictures from from there that don't necessarily make the blog.

Be sure to follow along @Simplysarahsblog

Obligatory selfie on the way to my college roommate's wedding. I could count on one hand the number of times I had worn lipstick before this event and now I'm in love with lip color - not necessarily red all the time, but I've definitely been busting out some new lip shades. (I'm wearing Sephora Collection "Pure Red" color lip last and Charming Charlie sunglasses.)

Have I mentioned I love succulents? We have about 15-20 plants my apartment inherited one of our porches and I'm obsessed with them. Minimal upkeep and maximum beauty = my kind of garden. (As you can see, I am once again wearing my favorite sandals and my toes are paint with Essie's "Blanc" nail polish.)

One noticeable different between the Bay Area and where I grew  up in Ohio (minus the snow) is that flowers bloom all the time here. The university where I work has hundreds, yes hundreds, of rose bushes and they have blooms at least 90% of the time. Couldn't help but snap a picture of this gorgeous rose after a picnic on campus last week. So pretty.

Now that it's officially summer I want to keep trying new recipes and experiment with delicious meals. I hopped on pinterest on Tuesday to look for some inspiration and right at the top of the suggested pins was this recipe for shrimp and quinoa. Two of my favorite foods in one spectacular recipe - it was fate. Keep a look out on the blog for another "from That to This" including some changes I made to suite my tastes.

Finally, yesterday I attended an event at the Gap in San Francisco where they introduced their partnership with Birchbox! For those who don't know, Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription that shares generously sized samples of high end make up and beauty products. We were able to build our own Birchbox while we drank champagne, received free makeovers and shopped around. It was a ton of fun. You even got a free gift just for posting a picture to Instagram, which ended up being a lipstick (to add to my new and rapidly growing collection) and a travel sized bottle of shampoo which will be perfect for my European travels this month! I'm super happy to have stepped outside of my comfort zone and gone.

I hope you're all having a wonderful Thursday! Does anyone have fun weekend plans?


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Plum Casual

Though I typically prefer wearing dresses or skirts, there is nothing like a comfortable, nice looking pair of jeans. Pair them with a soft, cotton tee and I am in heaven. This super causal outfit came about on a day where I really didn't feel like putting together an outfit. I had decided to just wear jeans and a tee - classic and simple - but walked past a scarf I recently bought at Old Navy (for $5!) hanging on my door handle and bada-bing bada-boom. Not the most creative or imaginative outfit, but I do love the simplicity with the little jazzing up the scarf provides.

What accessory would you add to a plain outfit to give a little more "oomph"?

Tee: Target (different colors)
Jeans: Gap Outlet (exact)
Sandals: Target (exact)
Scarf: Old Navy - sold out (other options)
Sunglasses: Charming Charlie (exact)
Bracelet: Fair Trade Expo
Rings: Old Navy - in stores only (very similar)

I've also recently jumped aboard the midi-ring train. I wasn't sure how I felt about them at first. I'm typically a one-ring-per-hand kinda girl, but I bought a set from Old Navy (they sell jewelry in the stores here!) and fell in love.


ps I'm linking up with SydneyFashionHunter, PleatedPoppy, PumpsandPushupsStyleElixir and DousedinPink on this post :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Last week I was home in Ohio for a quick visit before starting work and travel this summer. Going home is always a very delicate balance for me. There is a very fine line between having too little and too much time with my family. I think that this 10 day trip (which included a weekend away for a wedding) hit the sweet spot. I had enough time to fix my missing family but did not reach the point where we were at each other's throats. Always a plus, right?

I lent my tripod to a friend and it wasn't returned in time for my trip home, so the one outfit I documented in Ohio was recorded via my grandmothers kitchen counters. Very scenic, I know :P

As you have probably started to notice with outfits I have posted, I tend not to go for super bold patterns and colors apart from certain accessories. I don't know if it's me staying "safe" or just happens to be my tastes. 

When my mom gave me this dress she found at our local thrift shop, the stripes initially turned me off. Don't get me wrong, the colors are right up my alley, simple black and white, but I found the strips to be a pretty bold (for me) pattern. Honestly, I thought it looked close to a zebra and I am not an animal print kinda girl. But the dress is so comfortable in a sort of jersey material and I think it fit me pretty well too. Because I feared the pattern (and was limited in options since my clothes are in CA), I chose to pair it with black flats and a black bag (have I mentioned I love black?). 

Dress: Thrifted by mom ( very similar)
Shoes: Target (exact)
Purse: Kate Spade (exact)
Bracelets: Old (similar)
Watch: Boutique in South Korea (similar)
Ring: Gift (similar)

One nice thing about the color of the dress is that it will pretty much match with anything. I was brainstorming maybe wearing a colorful shoe next time (like my teal flats) or maybe a more colorful purse? Thoughts? Am I being ridiculous by thinking the pattern is bold? This is where my hopes of the blog pushing me outside my comfort zone come in...


linkup with Mix&MatchFashion

Friday, June 5, 2015

Save or Splurge: Tropical Prints

Guess what! It's Friday! Oh man, I felt like this week would never end and now there's just one workday left and a weekend to explore! I flew back to Berkeley on Tuesday afternoon and jumped straight into the office prepping for next school year already. Can you believe another school year has come and gone? Crazy.

Anyway, today I thought I'd share a little bargain hunting I have been doing with the Tropical Print trend that has been popping up everywhere. Here are just a few items I've found...

maxi dress: left | right
iphone case: left | right
tank top: left | right

How great are these printed maxi dresses? They both look so comfortable! The black and white pattern leaves lots of room to accessorize with pops of color (just don't go too far - the prints are already pretty bold). I also love the criss-cross back of the Forever21 dress. It's sexy, but still pretty covered.

The phone case at Forever21 caught my eye because (duh) flamingos! The Nordstrom version is a little less busy with so clear spacing to let your phone peak through.
--- side note: I did not realize how expensive phone cases were nowadays. I finally upgraded my iphone 4s to a 6 this week and couldn't believe case prices! You know it's something when Forever21 is charging about $25 for a case.

I really like the ruffles on the Forever21 tank and think they could be flattering on everyone, but I would need to see if it is long enough. The Vince Camuto top is gorgeous! The material is so light and airy and is made to be worn out in the summer sun.

Have you seen any tropical printed goodies out and about? Any other summer trends I should keep my eye out for?

I hope you all have a wonderful (and restful) weekend!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

To Home and Back Again

This morning I flew back to San Francisco after about 10 days home. As nice as it was being in Ohio, after a week of rushing back and forth from babysitting, to being in a wedding, to visiting with friends and family, etc... I am beat.

It's nice to have a calm place to venture back to after a hectic week. Tomorrow I will start working full time at the university for a couple of weeks before heading to Europe, but until then, I think I will just sit back in my own bed, toss on some Netflix, and admire the sunset out my window.

I love all of the shades of purple in the mountains tonight. #nofilter ---  I'm clearly getting the hang of the lingo ;)

Follow me on Instagram @Simplysarahsblog. I can guarantee there will be more sunsets from my balcony shared.