project 30 – sarah

30 Oct

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Sarah, 30 / from the site Sarah Ann Noel 


What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

I spent the first half of my twenties really looking forward to my thirties. I spent the second half of my twenties reminiscing the first half. The biggest lesson of my life continues to be be present. I wish that 21-year-old would have been solely focused on all the fun she was having, all of the world she was seeing; and that the later-twenties gal would have begun her “aging” process gracefully. Be present! That’s what I would have said to her at any stage!

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

I wish that I had taken my creativity more seriously when I was in my twenties. I was a very calculated, forward-thinking person. Of course, some twenty-somethings can sort of laze through the decade, and I’m glad I didn’t do that. But, as it turns out, I’m pursuing creative endeavors professionally now, and I wish that I would have allowed those tendencies to flourish when I was in the decision-making stages instead of just brushing them off as “hobbies.” On that same note, I wish I would have taken “pace” more seriously. Life moves as life moves, but I was definitely of the notion that I could will things into being by sheer force. It was very tiresome, but then I had more energy I guess. ;)

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

So many things! I was laughably serious at the beginning of my twenties, when now, I realize how your twenties are such a delicious in-between. But then, it really felt like THE BEGINNING OF THE REST OF LIFE and every decision I had to make was wrought with drama. I think, at the root of that, was still this desire to please people around me—authority figures, family, friends. So more than anything, I wish I had taken those opinions and perceptions less seriously and really honed in on who I was. I think if I had managed that, I might have had a more relaxed attitude toward a lot of other things.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

I always joke to Trevor, my husband, that I sometimes feel “frozen” at 21. Despite my high-strung personality, that year in particular was a really monumental one for me. I studied abroad in London, which is definitely a most cherished memory. It was such an experience to see the world, and I met a very dear friend who is still a friend to this day. When I returned to the States, I met my husband, right before college ended! It all felt like a sweep of experience, that whole year—traveling, falling in love so young, graduating from school. It was sort of like this sweet, sweet grace period between childhood and adulthood, and I’m quite nostalgic for that time.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I think I still expected to be “career woman” at that point. I’d just shifted to creative journalism studies, and so my attitudes toward a professional life were changing a bit; but I still imagined myself in an office, preferably that of a magazine! I seriously considered moving back to London and making a go of being an ex-pat. I also considered New York, and Chicago too, since it was nearby and special to me and Trevor both. I think I envisioned being in a big city and holding down a job that I was happy to dedicate the hours to. I was pretty certain I would marry Trevor, so I assumed we would be wed before I was 30; and I probably anticipated only beginning to entertain the idea of children as I entered my thirties.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Surprise! I was a mom, not once, but twice! Trevor and I did marry young (I was about 24), and by 26 I was pregnant with our first daughter, Iris. I really wrestled with what to do professionally because I wasn’t particularly happy with my current job, but I wasn’t sure that I was ready to give up working. I had always wanted to give freelance writing more than a part-time shot, so I left my office job and stayed home with my new baby, working when I could. Mostly, I learned to love being a mom, and then the other pieces of me really started to flourish. At 30, I am actually living in New York, and I’m pursuing writing “full-time.” But first and foremost, I’m a mom of the two most beautiful, bubbly, blonde-headed girls and loving what they’re teaching me every day. It’s a privilege I couldn’t have imagined for myself in my twenties, but one that I’m glad happened when it did. It really paved the way for me to 30.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

All the time! I still worry about it! Sometimes being 30 feels young and fresh and vibrant, like I can do anything. Other days, I feel so stinkin’ old, like I’ve missed my chances at everything! Of course, that’s all ridiculous. My twenties brought on so much change, so much that was different from what I had pictured; but it also ushered in this amazing peace and happiness. I started learning to love the things that “happened” to me way more than the things that I’d “made happen.” So while I still wonder if my goals or dreams will fall into place, I also know that the surprises of life can be even better anyway.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

I think the best gift is simply a bit of perspective. At 30, we are still so young, with so much to look forward to, so much to learn. But I also feel a bit removed from the hyperactive worry that I feel saturated my twenties. I’ve learned that life has sloping patterns, places that feel up, places that feel down; and I’ve learned that time never feels consistent either—sometimes life moves so slowly, sometimes you just blink and parts are over. While I haven’t mastered being present, my thirties are reminding me of the importance of it. The twenties I lived in the future, mostly, sometimes in the past; and I want my thirties to be about living in my thirties, realizing that everything that has happened is a collective part of who I am now, so that’s what really matters.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope to age with grace. I’ve surprised myself by not being good at that so far—I had always aspired to, and therefore assumed, that I would. I want to be less consumed with what’s changing on my body or how life feels different from what I pictured, and really just be where I am. So I hope that by 40, I’m just a more peaceful, content version of myself, like that these realizations and desires will mature throughout my thirties to yield someone who truly appreciates life for what it is. By my forties, I want to really be a role model of that for my girls, since they’ll be entering the years of decision-making and figuring out who they are.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

I am a lover of words, and so it’s hard for me to pick just one quote. I grew up in the church. As I’ve grown, my faith has grown and changed, but it has remained an important part of who I am. There is a verse in Colossians (1:17) that says, “He is before all things; and in him all things hold together.” I like the idea of things “meant to be.” I think a lot of us rely on that, whether we believe in a god or not. And so while I always want to be working toward a goal, and while I’ll never stop dreaming, I also like believing there is a plan and my life is following that, even if sometimes I get it wrong. Certainly my life is the picture of the unexpected and surprises; but as I’ve learned to appreciate that rather than fight against it, it sort of makes this verse (and the mentality!) make perfect sense. Whenever I feel out of control, I like to remind myself of these words.

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the new gang

28 Oct



On Friday night Brian and I had three of my favorite people over for the evening- Jen, Taline & baby Liam. The three of us ladies go way back- oh the stories we have on each other….too many. I’m actually happy these two have such great memories because they are always reminding me of hysterical moments….and some not so hysterical moments where I’m like…seriously??

Jen was visiting from, well, from everywhere I guess because she works for the incredible organization All Hands traveling the world doing disaster relief. She’s pretty cool, eh? She had yet to have the pleasure of  meeting Taline’s handsome little guy, Liam, so I thought an evening with takeout and wine was in order. Oh man, did we have fun. Liam only visited for an hour or so before his grandma picked him up for his very own sleepover date. But an hour gave us plenty of time to ohhhh and ahhhhhh over Liam ad nauseum (he’s one of those babies that makes ladies’ ovaries hurt- he’s such a sweet little dream man) and take new family photos. A photo in which Frank photo bombed with his lover…aka kitty cat…aka his Cheshire cat Halloween costume from last year. The love he has for that ridiculous furry pink thing runs deep.

After Liam left Brian said he got a glimpse into what my early twenties must have looked like. The three of us had a blast complete with a wine induced dance party in our kitchen. He’s such a trooper, that Brian. The sweetest part of the evening was waking up in the morning to the sound of Jen and Taline giggling from our guest room with my sweet husband sleeping next to me.

I’d call that my fun and wild twenties——–2.0

dinner club – moroccan food!

28 Oct


The dinner club that we have with two other couples has been very neglected in the past few months. Originally it was supposed to be a once a month occurrence and a fun way to try a new restaurant. But between work, honeymoons & a baby the six of us have been busy and we went many many many many months without doing it. But we resurrected it!!

Instead of going out and trying a new restaurant, we decided to do a Moroccan themed pot luck dinner at our house. Why Moroccan? I don’t know…why not, right??

It was decided that the Glodney’s would take the main course, The Garahan’s would take the salad & The Rocciho’s would take the side dish & dessert, with each couple also agreeing to bring an alcoholic beverage. Good plan, huh? Brian and I settled on a Moroccan chicken dish and a Moroccan kefta Tagine with lemon and saffron butter sauce (aka fancy meatballs). Preparing these two dishes took all afternoon between the shopping and preparation but it was totally worth it because both turned out delicious. Also, I have said this before but I will say it again- I love cooking with my husband. It’s such a fun way to spend time with him. We both assume our roles in the kitchen- Brian the executive chef and me the always happy to help sous chef. Brian is just more confident at tackling big recipes than I am. Let’s be honest if I was alone I would have most likely panicked half way through the tagine dish and opened a bottle of chardonnay while dialing the nearest chinese restaurant.



Where I do shine though is setting the dining table. I went with a fall theme (it’s my favorite time of year after all!!) complete with tiny pumpkins, flint corn & gourds, oh and two tiny gold camels, which were party favors from The Garahan’s wedding in May. If I told you how much joy setting the table brought me you would probably laugh. It’s the little things in life, right?



The evening was perfection…oh and the food was AH-mazing. Rachel and PJ brought a beet (that was prepared with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, garlic & red onion), arugula, goat cheese & pistachios salad with a reduced balsamic salad dressing that knocked my socks off. Such simple ingredients but so flavorful. Loni & Mike brought a Moroccan carrot and quinoa salad that was not only beautiful to look at but so damn tasty- I devoured my plate of it (recipe found here) and for dessert they brought Moroccan date truffles which were tiny pieces of heaven!


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Do any of you guys do a dinner club?? It’s such a fun way to get together with friends as well as EAT!


Misadventures Magazine

19 Oct


(photo taken in Nepal after we finished trekking through the Himalayas)

Brian and I were featured on Misadventures Magazine on Friday! Hope you enjoy my words and Brian’s photographs about our trek through the Himalayas because we loved collaborating on this project together. If we had it our way we would travel the world writing and taking photographs as a full-time job.

Did you hear that universe?


“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

Mary Ritter Beard


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nusa lembongan

16 Oct

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After three glorious days in Ubud, Bali, the next stop on our itinerary was a tiny island off the southern coast of Bali called Nusa Lembongan. When we were planning our trip to Bali both Brian and I wanted to try to avoid the touristy areas and instead find some much-needed peace and quiet – it was our honeymoon after all! In my mind, that consisted of finding a chic hotel off the beaten path, but for Brian that meant finding a tiny island off the southern coast of Bali with rundown beach bungalows as the only accommodation and one ATM machine – for the entire island – cash only my friends.

Different strokes for different folks, right?

Through our (Brian’s) research we stumbled upon Nusa Lembongan and we (Brian) instantly fell in love with what it had to offer…not a lot other than pristine beaches and great surf. In all seriousness, though, I had to agree with him, the island looked breathtaking. It’s what I imagine Bali looked like before it became a tourist haven.

So we booked five nights in the nicest bungalow we ( I ) could find on the tiny island of Nusa.

After a leisurely morning in Ubud that consisted of palm readings with Ketut (for moi) and a roasted pig lunch (for Brian) we had to race to the docks to catch the last boat to Nusa because our driver made a mistake on the departure schedule. Seriously, Brian and I were mid-bite when our driver rushed in with a look of sheer terror and announced that we had to leave IMMEDIATELY to have any chance of catching the last boat. I was more than happy to leave my roasted pig lunch behind but poor Brian looked a bit deflated.

After a harrowing drive down the twisting mountain roads from Ubud to the docks (I kept my head down and played solitaire on my phone to avoid looking at the oncoming traffic we were narrowly missing) we arrived with one minute to spare before our boat’s departure.

The minute our driver pulled up to the curb, I jumped out and started running towards the boat in an attempt to hold it while Brian bought us tickets. We both realized rather quickly that there was no boat to hold or to buy tickets for…well at least not for another few hours. Our driver had made yet another mistake and taken us to the wrong dock.

There was only one thing to do in such a situation…laugh and drink beers on the dock while we waited for the next boat.


After a few hours and a few too many beers we boarded a boat and took off for Nusa.

As we boarded the boat I realized that the boat was made for at least fifty passengers but that there was only ten of us- three hysterical couples from France, two girls in their early twenties and us.

Something seemed off about the whole situation? Why would we be on such a big boat? Upon arrival at Nusa I learned why when we had to transfer to a smaller boat to get to shore. The boat was doing the ten of us a favor by taking us to Nusa. It usually only traveled from Bali to the nearby island of Lombok. This was also when I learned Nusa does not have any boat docks. Say what?

After having to wade through knee-deep water with our luggage and finagling a ride with a local to where we were staying we finally made it to our bungalow and proceeded to do nothing for five days other than sit by the pool, sit on the beach, surf (bri), read, sleep, eat & drink cocktails. The order of that itinerary would change depending on the day but that was pretty much the extent of it.

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The only time we ventured out of this routine was when we hired two local men to take us on a tour of the island on the back of their motorbikes (Brian holding on to one guy and me on the back of another…yes, the image you have in your head is correct). We would have taken ourselves on this tour but neither of us could master the art of driving a motorbike. Well, that’s not fair…I didn’t even try; while I am a go getter, I also know my limits. Brian on the other hand did try but almost drove into a wall while trying to learn, with one very worried wife and one very worried but slightly amused Balinese women watching on. It was then I informed him we would not be renting a motorbike and instead hired two locals.

The big stop on our island tour was the seaweed farms and mangrove forests, a stop in which I not only got to see how they farm seaweed but I also got to see Brian nearly miss getting mauled by a tiny monkey. Let me tell you the seaweed farms were awesome but seeing Brian aimlessly walk through a tiny monkey den, with a big sign that read “DO NOT WALK THROUGH MONKEY DEN” was pretty awesome as well…. of course only after I was sure he wasn’t going to lose an eye or anything. It was something I would have done myself and probably would never have lived down, so I relished every minute of it. The fact that there was also a group of drunk Balinese men nearby to witness it was not lost on me either.

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After five days of pure relaxation it was time to head back to the mainland (Bali) and to our last stop on our honeymoon tour, Manggis, which was located in East Bali…and that, my friends, is where the shit hit the fan.

We woke up that morning to a dark grey sky and a turbulent ocean. Seriously, the waves were insane. Even the locals were out watching the angry sea pound into the shore. Remember what I mentioned in the beginning of this post…there are NO boat docks on Nusa. So on a normal day the small boats back into the shore as close as they possibly can and people wade through the water to board. This was not a normal day. I spent the morning watching boats try to manuever into shore while getting hit by huge waves. I swear a few almost capsized. When one would finally make it close enough to unload tourists, it looked like a scene straight out of a WWII D-day film. People would scream – go! go! go! – as they would frantically try to get off the boat before the next wave came (which was at most ten seconds). I saw lots of people fall and it wasn’t pretty.

I sat on the beach in horror popping xanax. The idea of having to board one of those boats was my worst nightmare…I am terrified of the ocean. When our boat finally made it close enough to the shore it was game time. Brian said he’s never seen me run so fast. The Balinese boat guy screamed “NOW!!!” and that’s exactly what I did. I got the fuck on the boat before the next wave came. But once I was on the boat I couldn’t help but think…why am I on this boat? Now we had to make it across the turbulent and treacherous Badung Straight in this boat? I’m not even trying to be funny when I say….I truly thought we were going to die during that boat trip. I spent the whole twenty-minute trip crying. Usually, I’d chalk this up to me being a tad dramatic but not this time. The situation was dramatic. When we made it across I told Brian I would NEVER be going to Nusa Lembongan again. I’m glad I have pictures.

Next up…East Bali and our stay at the otherworldly Alila Manggis

project 30 – raluca

16 Oct


Raluca, 36 / from the fabulous blog  What Would Gwyneth Do 

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Worry less. Have more fun. You have lots of time to worry, now is the time to live life a little more. Experiment and experience. You don’t HAVE to have your perfect career/perfect man/perfect home at 23. If you find it by then, great. If not, use this time to keep looking and trying new things.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Saving for a rainy day. My husband and I look back at our 20s and how little we put away in savings – until late in the decade when we got pregnant with our first – and wish we had saved more and splurged (a little) less. You don’t need to put away ALL your money at that age (see my point above about having FUN!), but get a start on some savings so that your 30s – and all the expenses that can come with them – aren’t such a rude awakening.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

My physical appearance. I wish I could have embraced it with the confidence that comes in your 30s because it was definitely worth embracing! I was too busy picking myself apart to appreciate what I had. It’s harder work in your 30s with a slowing metabolism, post-baby body and early signs of aging, but oddly enough, I have the confidence now that I should have had then.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Too many to count. I moved to Los Angeles from Montreal and embarked on a whole new life, which was a brave move for me at that time. I got married and had my first baby in my 20s, so those were amazing milestones. And building my career in that decade was fun, too. I grew a lot, learned a lot and experienced a lot of amazing things.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

Sort of right where I am. Married to my college sweetheart, with kids. We are in the suburbs which I have always been on the fence about (no pun intended, but it’s a white picket fence, if you’re wondering)…I thought I might end up back in a city. I also work for myself, which I didn’t necessarily picture in my 20s. I was moving up the corporate ladder at the time but taking a detour and starting my own business was definitely the right move for me in my 30s.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

It was starting to fall into place nicely, though of course I didn’t recognize it at the time. I am 36 now so your perspective can change a lot – for the better – in six years. I was married at 26, I had my daughter when I was 29 and started my own consulting business when I was 30. I was working from home and trying to figure out the working mother juggle, which felt very stressful at the time. I definitely had more insecurities and fears than I do now. And it was all wasted energy…of course, now that I look back on it, that is.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Every day. Every single day. Oh, the things I worried about in my 20s. And the funny part is, you think it’s a decade of do or die. Find the perfect career. Marry the perfect man. Find the perfect apartment or home. And then your tastes and goals and priorities shift so much in your 30s that you end up wanting to start all over again anyways! Except the man part, in my case. I don’t even necessarily want the job or home or handbag that I worried about so much back then. I want something entirely different. So I should have stopped worrying so much and enjoyed what I had. My mom, in her 60s, tried to tell me that all the time but I wouldn’t listen. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun in my 20s, but I do wish I was a little more carefree during that chapter of my life. Responsible and smart, but not so serious. Plenty of time to be serious later in life.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Confidence. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. You just come into your own a little more. You’re not driven by trends or expectations, your preferences and approach to life become more authentic and more real because you have more confidence in your choices and your voice and your aesthetic. My older sister always promised me my 30s would be better than my 20s and she was right.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

The same in some ways, different in others. I think I will keep the husband and kids ;) But I am still looking to evolve my career, my blog and my writing. There is still a lot to accomplish and look forward to on that front. I also hope to find a “forever home” by 40. We like where we are now but we feel like it’s still not “quite” the perfect space and place for us so we’re open to change. I’d like to feel more settled in that sense by the time I am 40. I have friends who are in that place now – completely 100% content with where they live, their home, their community – and I envy that. I also know that I am a creature of change and there’s a good chance that “100% settled” will just never be my approach to life. So I need to embrace that…and somehow convince my husband to do the same.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

Everything happens for a reason. It’s a cliché quote, but I find it to be invaluable in good times and in bad. It’s all happening for some reason. That reason may not be apparent now, but it will be some day, in some way. And I take great comfort in that.




14 Oct


This has been so so so true in my life and something I remind myself of often. Especially when I get annoyed something doesn’t go my way!

What are your thoughts?



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