One Thing Led to Another and…

…I’m pregnant.

With change! I’m past my due date, so an emergency birth is scheduled for…NOW!

What I’m trying to say is that I manifested 8 pounds, 6 ounces of the exact change I knew was coming by just writing that last blog post. Because of that, I’m writing one right after this called “I’m a Billionaire”…

But really though, I should. I’m the only one that’s limiting myself. I see all of these bold, kickass women and I feel like I belong in that Girl Gang. If I think too long about it, I second guess myself, but when I don’t give myself time to over-analyze, I envision myself right next to Rachel Hollis, Glennon Doyle, Jen Sincero, and soon, Ashleigh Renard. Woah. I feel like the Universe is illuminating like the Vegas strip right now. The signs are flashing “Yasss”, “Welcome”, “Hey Girl”, “Right Path”, and “We Knew You’d Arrive”.

This is the kind of time in life when everything changes – like the sort of pivotal point where you know these next decisions will impact the trajectory of your life as you know it. Heavy shit. Good thing I work out.

 

 

 

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The New Normal

I’ve got a thousand incredible things happening to me now. Yet…the past few months I’ve been feeling uncomfortable, as if I’m shedding an old skin that doesn’t quite fit. “New patterns, new patterns”, I keep repeating to myself, “This is good! This is healthy! If you’re feeling anxious, it’s because you’re on the verge of change!”

This past Christmas, my younger brother said to me sadly, “It doesn’t even feel like the holidays. Is it always going to be like this now?” You know what he means. While the kids have all grown up and moved away, the traditions have diminished and faded out with them. New traditions with new family begins to emerge, but it takes a while for these new things to feel like old traditions.

On the eve of my 30th birthday, I sobbed into my pillow. This might not seem surprising, as it’s extremely common for women to “turn 29” multiple times, but I was actually really excited for what was to come in my thirties. Yet, I couldn’t help but mourn the loss of my twenties and all of the things I wished I had accomplished during that decade. And then – once that was over – I felt fierce.

I recently met an incredible man who is all of the things I’ve ever asked for – witty, handsome, intelligent, romantic, adventurous AND committed, thoughtful, hardworking, respectful, handy, emotionally intelligent, masculine, introspective, amusing, responsible (except for earlier this week when all of my banana pudding that I accidentally left in his fridge mysteriously vanished…lol), good listener, practical, easy going, close with his family, wants to get married, wants to have children, and insanely laugh-until-you-cry funny. Meeting him has got me all kinds of excited for what could be.  He makes me feel calm about moving forward, not scared or nervous. I trust him. I knowww – this is kind of a big deal for me *squeal* If this is really what I’ve been waiting for, it’s time to kiss goodbye every man of my past and any other that could be a man of my future.  If this is really what I’ve been waiting for, it’s time to slow down the momentum of “Are we there yet?” and coast into “It’s happening now!” All this joy has just got me reflecting on where I am now and respecting what’s got me here.

Work has always been the one thing that has been consistent in my life. Whenever the rest of my life was incredibly amazing or incredibly unbearable, my job has kept me sane. Since our company is growing, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to take on more exciting projects. With that comes new challenges, some of which aren’t as as easily hurtled as I would have hoped. I know that getting out of your comfort zone means that you’ll make mistakes, and be stressed out, and be critical of yourself. And I am all of those things. But, I’m trying to be nicer to myself while I’m learning, more constructively critical of myself while I’m improving, excited while I’m experiencing the opportunity to learn, and grateful while having a knowledgable team surrounding me. But, yeah, its uncomfortable while I’m figuring out how I fit in here.

When I moved into my beautiful Southern home, I had 2 neighbors with apartments in the same house. One had been here for several years and we bonded over our creative fields and the removal of rogue lizards in my apartment. The other moved in a week after me, and we met when I invited him into my bedroom…to dispose of a cockroach at 1am. These were the first people that shared my space when I moved in to this new town, and they both moved out this week. I don’t know them well enough to keep in touch, but I knew them well enough to feel a sort of emptiness when they left.

My family just experienced the loss of a loved one, so that has been weighing heavy on my heart. The feeling I have knowing that people I love are hurting is…hollow. I just talked to my cousin today and she said it would “take a while before everyone is comfortable with the new normal.” And I couldn’t have said it better.

That’s exactly what this feeling is – getting comfortable with the new normal. It’s big, and exciting, and sad, and scary, and fun, and uncertain, and exhilarating, and reflective, and melancholy, and new, and all of those things. Yet, we have to embrace it, but not too tightly, because as soon as we get used to our new skin, we’ll shed it again.

 

Fishing on the Right Side of the Boat

Can you believe that the whole time I was abroad, the writing bug alluded me? Why is it that other obligations – like a full-time job – cause divine inspiration? I’ve never been more compelled to write than on a Tuesday morning at 10am when I have 3 projects on my desk…

With this spring weather, I’m feeling all of the intense anticipation of the season. You know when you were in school and it started to get warm, and all you could think about was summer break? Well, this past weekend it was almost 80 degrees, and I’m ready for the sun, the beach, and anything else the warmth brings. I can’t help but feel like some awesome gifts are coming my way and I’m ready to make some adjustments to allow all of them to flow into my experience.

This Sunday’s sermon was about “learning to fish on the right side of the boat”. What you’re used to doing is your way, not God’s way, and often the results are “fish-less”. But, once you give it up to Him, and move to the right side of the boat, your nets will be breaking with the abundance. I still go back and forth about my faith and what I believe to be true, but I will say that no matter what you believe, you can probably identify with the idea that if you’re doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then you’re just…insane. You have to be willing to do something you’ve never done before in order to achieve something you’ve never achieved. So, with this in mind, I’m making a seriously conscious effort to rid myself of patterns, people, and thinking that no longer is serving me. Its 2019, the Year of Adventure, and I’m feeling the happiest I ever have and I am SO excited for what is already mine, and just waiting to be gifted to me.

Happy Spring!

❤ Sarah

 

 

May the Road Rise to Meet You…

Well, the road certainly rose to meet me for this “adventure”. As soon as I said I wanted to go to Europe, the whole Universe conspired to make it happen. Around Christmastime, I casually mentioned  to my aunt that I wanted to visit Europe, namely Italy…or France…or Spain. She soon informed me that a First Class flight experience topped my 90-year old grandmother’s Bucket List, and that my uncle was able to cash in his flight points to make it happen, but that no one in the family was able to take her anywhere far enough away to make the flight worthwhile…

A few months later, on Valentine’s Day, my “cousin” – a silly formality for a woman who’s closer to a sister – birthed a sweet, red-headed Irish lass in a Dublin hospital, where her and her husband now live. I wanted to meet our new addition so badly, but I’d have to wait until they came to the US in June. Unless…My aunt asked – Would I be able to take my grandmother to Ireland, in exchange for a free luxury flight whenever I wanted? Umm, YES!

The “hitch” was that we had to fly out of Philadelphia, where my grandmother lives. Now that I live in Charleston and work remotely, I visit my Philadelphia office every 6 weeks. Luckily, I was able to schedule our Europe trip right after heading to the job site for a few days. That got me “back home”, so my super cute Nanny, Mary Ann, and I could hop onto an international flight from PHL to DUB.

I’d been to visit Ireland before, so this trip wasn’t about wearing the most fashionable clothing while traipsing around the Cliffs of Moher. It was about taking a thousand pictures of a child whose parents don’t want any of them posted on social media. It was about spending time with my “sister” and catching up on all of the loving insults that we share. It was about laughing at the joys of being a caregiver for the first time ever. It was about having tea with way too many sugar cubes in an Irish country manor house. It was about going shopping in downtown Dublin by myself, only to realize that I’d much rather get back home to that cute, cute baby. It was about getting flipped off by my Grandma when I told her she wasn’t allowed to save leftover First Class snacks.

I posted a few photos of my journey, wore a few outfits more than a few times, and laughed until I had tears coming out of my eyes. Although it wasn’t necessarily the Mediterranean vacation I had originally planned, Ireland sure made me feel lucky.

 

 

365

Happy Saturday!

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting this past week, as it’s been 1 year since I decided to move to Charleston for real. It seems like yesterday since I was sitting at the Pineapple Fountain feeling like my whole life was waiting for me here, and I just had to finish tying up the loose ends in Philadelphia. No more double-life! Well, now I’m totally immersed in it and I’ve never.been.happier. I know I’ve made a few questionable choices over the past year, purely for the enjoyment of a single moment. But, when I made my mind up to move, never once did I question that choice.

So, I just wanted to take a second to revel in the calmness I felt then, and the happiness I feel now, knowing that I can trust myself to do what’s best for me!

 

Accepting Reality

Chris Harrison: This is the most dramatic post ever written on The Huntress Blog.

As I watched Colton get his heart broken by Cassie on The Bachelor, I unexpectedly felt tears stream down my face. I was familiar with that pit in his stomach, that feeling that “This is not actually happening to me right now. It’s not real” running on repeat through your mind. But it IS real. The love of your life (or your life as you know it up to that point) is walking away. And to be honest with you, the feelings that remind me of this are much closer than when John walked away almost 5 years ago. I’ve definitely been falling in love after that. Thankfully. *Hair toss*

Today, I felt Colton’s pain so raw like it was happening to me. Sometimes, I actually feel like I’m living my own Bachelorette series. There’s fewer than 25 guys, but that’s almost easier, right? It’s much harder when there’s only a few and you really start making connections. When you know their siblings names and how they broke their first bone. Like Colton, I think one of my greatest fears is being in a relationship only to realize it’s not being reciprocated. A relationship where I’m more in love, or one where I’m not able to match their feelings for me. Both are equally unsettling.

If you’re the one giving more, and your partner decides you’re not for them, the feeling can best be described as someone hollowing you out, removing everything that’s kept you alive, made you feel, allowed you to think, and just letting it sit there next to you. “Here’s good.”

On the flip side, the feeling of being in a relationship that’s just “nice”, makes you feel like you’ve let yourself down. That you might never find that fire that you’re looking for. I’ve had the fire. I know what love feels like for me. I know how it feels for me with different people. And I know when the wick has been sparked. I can tell that I’m going to love someone long before I actually love them. And I can tell when the match isn’t striking.

I’ve been in Colton’s shoes, where you just cannot stop thinking about someone. Every day you put your makeup on in hopes that your paths will cross. When you hear a joke, you feel like you’re bursting at the seams until you can tell your person and laugh together. When something awesome happens or when you’ve had your least favorite day ever, all you want to do is feel their presence in the same room, even if it’s a silent touch. That feeling of being terrified and safe, excited and comfortable, planning your future and enjoying your moments, laughing uncontrollably and seriously understanding, feeling dolled up and naturally beautiful, sharing physical electricity and complete mental immersion, approaching life as adventurous and committed, giving confirmation and receiving confirmation ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Well, shit. If that doesn’t feel like love, I don’t know what will. That doesn’t mean that’s what love IS. It needs to be all of the things love IS and feel exhilarating. Amen!

The most crazy part about all of this, is that when you’ve experienced “it not working out” enough times, you can breeze through your longing bravely. You’re not moping around under a dark cloud, you’re singing, and laughing, and looking freakin’ fabulous, and enjoying every delicious piece of joy that God and The Universe is handing to you. Maybe that’s the Denial stage…but I’ve found it’s really quite helpful refusing to believe that you are where you are, because once you’ve come to terms with your reality, you’re already on to what’s next for you. If the only thing that being “in love does”, is remind you how you want to feel, then, maybe that’s enough? Just thinking out loud here…

I thought about censoring this, because “you never know who’s reading”, but then that would really defeat the purpose of me writing honestly, wouldn’t it? I mean, this is my gift. I am a woman who speaks her mind in voice and in typed words. I get inspired and I need to get.it.out. NOW. And yes, if we’ve gone on dates and there’s been a connection, I’m going to write about you, tastefully. That’s what I do, that’s who I am, that’s another part of me to love. Will it be in a short blog post? Maybe. Will it be in my inspirational book that has an undisclosed release date? Probably. Curious? There’s still time to get your own chapter – I haven’t handed out my final rose.

 

The Truth

Since the new year, I’ve been inspired to take this blog more seriously. But more than that, to fill in the gap with what I feel is needed. I am NOT an Instagram Model, and I don’t aspire to be. I want to be a Role Model. There are so many opportunities to compare yourself with others on social media, and it’s seriously exhausting. I’m hoping to take an alternate approach and tell it like it is: with humor, honesty, and a realistic budget for the everyday single woman. At this point, I don’t get anything for free. I buy everything myself. On one salary. And I want to show you how to “live an abundant life” the same way. It IS possible to live fabulously AND save at the same time, and never feel like you’re missing out!

Having said that – I’ve been sitting on this post for several months now. Half of me wanted to share all of my secrets, the other half wanted to keep it all to myself. But, I went to the Sisterhood One Night event at my church in September, and the guest female Pastor was speaking about when you’re vulnerable and share your struggle with other women, they can share in your miracles too. And it got me thinking, “I’m never ashamed to talk about the deals I’ve scored, so, why should I be ashamed about the other things I do to keep myself feeling good?” If y’all can share in my struggle of trying to keep up with all of the other women, then y’all can share in the joy about having it all. Suddenly, we are all on the same team! And instead of trying to out-do each other, we instead share in the sisterhood bond of taking advice and tips where we can, so we can be the best versions of ourselves. The best women to get tips from are the women we admire – The women who ask for help when they need it, women who live the lifestyle we aspire to, women who have the relationship we desire, women who have scored the boss-job we crave, and yes, women who admit that they go to Hair Cuttery for trims to save money. Today, I’m hoping I can be the sister that shares her vulnerability, so that we don’t feel alone in our struggle to do/be/have it all.


Do you ever see Instagram or Pinterest photos and think, “I didn’t even know women existed that could look like that?!” Every contour is perfect, hair is flowing, clothes are endless, bodies are incredible, homes are out of a magazine, engagement rings are the size of a small car, oh, and their husbands are usually millionaire models.

How do they do it?? Well, I can’t answer for everyone, and I surely have some things that could be improved (currently working on snagging all of the above). But, I’m going to speak some truth and tell you my tricks for making me feel like a goddess on an everyday budget:

Beauty

SAVE:

I paint my own nails. I like Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure line, with her Gel Topcoat. I can usually get 3-4 days out of that!

I swear by a good self-tanner. If I could only do one thing, it might just be this. I recently linked  a new self-tanner on my Instagram profile that I tried and loooooved called Skinerals. It comes in a “normal” color that they call Californium Original Blend, and an “extra dark” version called Onyx Extra Dark Blend. It’s way affordable and you can get it on Amazon Prime!

I purchase my services in packages. I like to say that the only Italian trait my mother gave me is thick body hair. So, waxing is a MUST. For my Philly fans, I used to see Annie Morris at Salon L for the past 12 years! They used to take a percentage off of your visit if you “checked in” on Facebook. They may have updated their policy, but you could always ask if there’s a “bulk” discount. And just this past week, I just started seeing Liz Bailey at Bikini and Bronze by Liz. She gave me a great (and *almost* pain-free) wax, and I bought a one-time spray tan session to be used at a future date, since it was a little cheaper to buy them together! Same thing with purchasing mani-pedis together, if I feel like treating myself!

I buy some drugstore makeup products. In the winter, I mix my usual Lancome foundation with a drugstore brand, and I use drugstore mascara. I’ve tried expensive brands, but I think I get similar results with cheaper brands!

SPLURGE:

I REALLY REALLY REALLY need to have a skincare routine, and if I did, it would be in this section. Currently, I’m still in denial that I’m at an age where I need a skincare routine. Also, feeling overwhelmed with my options and the cost. I’ll need to resolve this sooner than later 🙂

I use Rodan + Files LashBoost. Using Rodan + Fields LashBoost isn’t cheap. I usually pay $135 per tube, but it lasts me about 4-5 months. However, it beats the cost of getting lash extensions every 2 weeks. *Note: There’s TONS of reviews, likes and dislikes about this product. I’ve had great results and I love it, but there’s a few other options you can look into if you’re still feeling unsure!

I buy a few good-quality makeup products. I love Lancome, Makeup Forever, and The Balm for my splurges!

I had Invisalign. OK, so this could be an entirely separate post by itself. And it will be. But I did spend the money to get my teeth to where they are now. However, I was able to save in a few ways – my orthodontist generously gave me a discount because my ENTIRE family (Step-dad, mom, brother 1, brother 2, ALL got their braces there) and I paid for everything up front, which saved me an additional 10%. Altogether, I paid less than $2,000 to get a straight smile.

I got Zoom Whitening. I probably would have wanted to get this anyway, but, after the Invisalign, I wanted to get my bonding re-done. Bonding only lasts 10 years, and I was running up in the 15+ zone, so it was time. It doesn’t bleach, so, in order for the new bonding to match white teeth, I had to get this done before the bonding.

I have bonding. Genetically, the two teeth on either side of my front teeth are extra small. This is called peg laterals. “Thanks, Mom and Dad!” So, bonding, which is *kind of* like an acrylic nail for your teeth, has really been helpful to create a seamless smile. This only needs to be updated every 10+ years, so it’s definitely not a normal splurge item.

Hair

SAVE:

I go to Hair Cuttery/Great Clips for all hair cuts. *Insert shocked face* I know…Can you believe it? Since I only ever get a trim anyway, it doesn’t make sense for me to pay more than $20.

I only get balayage 3x a year. By choosing a method that doesn’t require too much upkeep, I can keep my costs down, but still feel bright and sunny.

SPLURGE:

I go to a good stylist. When I DO get my hair colored, I don’t mind paying a bit extra, especially because I only get it done every few months. Side note: I was enjoying a rare third mimosa at a restaurant this past fall, and couldn’t help but stare at a woman at the table next to me with perfect hair. I went over and asked her where she got her hair done, and she said she does it herself. SHE’S the stylist! Not only that, but SHE’LL COME TO YOUR HOUSE! Shout out to my girl, Jenna Frontiero #networkingwhiledrinking

Clothes

SAVE:

I shop at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and outlets. With so many bloggers linking their clothes to LikeToKNow.IT, and listing all of the sales, it makes it easier to navigate so many stores. But let’s face it, I cannot afford Nordstrom every week…even if the items are on sale. My post on my favorite jeans for “petite height with normal thigh width” girls is coming soon – but TJX always has my favorite brands. Going to outlet stores and/or signing up for their online notifications has allowed me to score some pretty great deals., especially at J Crew Factory.

SPLURGE:

I’ll *occasionally* get a few key pieces at a boutique. Sometimes you just need a few unique, good quality pieces. And I think it’s important to mix expensive and affordable items together. As I get older, I have a little more money to spend on myself, so sometimes I splurge. But, it’s funny, because there’s times when I still can’t justify spending money on clothes that I think I can find at a better price elsewhere. Case in point: The $108 Pistola boyfriend jeans that I did NOT buy, which I featured on my Instagram Stories today. But, I’m sure to check out the sales rack first to see what deals I can score. I never really did boutique shopping in Philadelphia (no idea why…) – I’m sure there’s PLENTY of cute shops there, but I do have a few favorite around Charleston. Post to come soon!

Fitness

SAVE:

I paid for a package gym membership. By paying for a 2 year membership in advance, I was able to save some money. Bonus, it includes ALL of the classes I want to take, so I have full-access!

I follow YouTube fitness videos in between trainings. Check out these videos that I watch to supplement my training and classes. I also follow Beach Body’s “Leandro Carvahlo’s Tummy Tuck videos from his Brazilian Butt Lift” series.

*Note: I’m not a fanatic about these, I just do them when I get bored.

I don’t drink too much alcohol. I’m not much of a drinker…I mean, if I could get drunk on Betty Crocker brownies, then I might have a problem, but I’d ALWAYS rather eat my calories. I’d say I might have 2 drinks a week. Maybe more, if mimosas are involved…

SPLURGE:

I pay for personal training. I see Tom at Pivotal Fitness 3 times a week for weight training. This cost was separate from my regular gym membership, but I really wanted some one-on-one time with someone knowledgable. Now that I’ll know how to use the machines, I’ll feel more comfortable doing this on my own, intermixed with classes.

MENTAL HEALTH

SAVE:

I listen to Abraham Hicks on YouTube. This is totally free and has helped me way, way, way more than anything has ever helped me before. It has opened the door for my relationship with God and to see the abundance around me every single day. Abraham has calmed me down and opened my eyes to the fact that every day is made for my enjoyment. And it’s true for everyone, which is so wonderful!

I go to Church. Now, this is something that’s kind of new for me. I mean, I was raised Catholic but would hardly consider myself “religious”. In Philadelphia, I occasionally attended Epic Church, but in Charleston, I’ve become really involved in Seacoast Church. It’s my time to reflect, pray, and mostly THANK God for everything I’ve been given.

SPLURGE:

I work with Jacki Crawford from Everybody Energy. Jacki has seriously turned my life around. I highly, highly, highly recommend talking to a therapist, meditating, going to yoga, reading, listening to inspirational speakers, going to Church, or whatever else gives you some mental peace and clarity. I can’t say that I would have always been ready for the kind of work that Jacki and I do – I had to get to a certain place of healing before she could help me be more “bright and shiny”, as she likes to say. But I can always talk to her about what’s going on in my life and we work on how to overcome any obstacles.

Home

SAVE:

I shop at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Target. I’ve found SO many pieces of furniture, accessories, lighting, bedding, dishes, and candles at these stores, that I can’t even imagine going anywhere else to buy things!

I repurpose hand-me-downs. I’m lucky to have some really great antique pieces that my family has given me. I love that they tell a story. My home feels so much like me, because it’s filled with my history.

Through my profession, I’ve been able to use my trade discounts on furniture. Everyone has a skill that they use to help them. I can get discounts on furniture, but I pay to get my taxes done…so, we’re even 🙂

SPLURGE:

I buy a few key pieces from brand name stores. A few years ago, I bought the Montclair sofa from crate&barrel. My first “Big Girl” piece. I love it and it was worth every penny.

Travel

SAVE:

I fly Frontier as much as I can. Frontier has awesome deals, so I check their site first when I’m booking my flight. Sometimes I even book one-way trips, since it can be cheaper to mix-and-match flights.

I choose all-inclusives. Let me just say that I’m a super snob when it comes to hotels. I never want to stay at a place that isn’t as nice as where I pay to live every day of the week, so I can be picky. However, I’ve found some excellent all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean, and even better,  I could budget the entire tript by paying for everything together and upfront.

I stay with friends/budget hotels. Sometimes I’ll stay with friends or a cheaper hotel for a majority of my trip, so that I can stay 2 nights at a really fancy place.

SPLURGE:

I’ll stay at a nice hotel for a few nights max. By treating myself to a 2-night stay in a fancy hotel, I still feel like I”m living my best life, but not depleting my bank account!

Finances

I allot portions of my paycheck to savings/bills. This is one of my FAVORITE tips to saving money. I have a direct deposit to my savings account so I’m constantly saving with every paycheck. I also figured out how much of my paycheck needs to go to my bills, so I have that direct deposited into another account, meant only for bills. Anything else is for me!

I negotiate pricing for living arrangements. Often, apartment complexes will run holiday or seasonal specials. Look for them! If you live in an old house, like me, sometimes you can negotiate the cost, especially if you agree to stay for a longer term, or pay more upfront.

I take on side projects. I take on some side hustle if there’s something important that I’m saving for. I’ve been blessed to have some great, repeat clients that have helped me!

I cook most meals at home. I do go out to eat, but by cooking at home most of the time, I’m able to save some money there! This is SO hard to do in Charleston, because literally, every restaurant is unreal!

I really hope that spilling ALL of my secrets has been helpful. And, go ahead, tell everyone. These are the kinds of secrets that are meant to be shared!

❤ The Huntress

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