Tag Archives: friends

Hosting The Perfect Brunch Party

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Hosting The Perfect Brunch Party

Brunch parties are an excellent way to bring your friends together for any type of social event, whether it is a bachelorette party, baby shower, or just a general get together. When it comes to brunch, you do not have to plan an elaborate setup for a fun gathering because it’s a much more laid back event. Here, we look at how to host the perfect brunch party:

Think about who you are inviting and your budget:

It is important to work out the kinks in the plan before inviting everyone to your brunch of the century via group text. Decide how many people you can comfortably seat and go from there because this will help you plan your budget accordingly. Figuring out the amount of money you intend to spend on food for a brunch is your next task. Having a rough idea of your spending limit in advance will help you plan a menu with a reasonable budget.

Plan your menu:

It is time to start thinking about brunch menus after you have a guest list and a ballpark budget in mind. In order to please everyone in attendance, it is critical to include a variety of foods, both sweet and savory, on your menu. Creating your meal can be accomplished in many different ways including:

  • The first alternative is to prepare a number of little plates, similar to those served at a tapas restaurant. This allows you to experiment with all of the recipes you have saved on Instagram and Pinterest throughout the years.
  • Traditional meals can also be served with just one main dish and a few side dishes. With this method, you do not need as many components, which saves time and money.
  • In order to make a brunch truly memorable, you will want to serve dishes that highlight your culinary prowess and leave your guests clamoring for the recipe, such as this shrimp and grits recipe.

Don’t forget the cocktails:

Brunch drinks like mimosas, Bloody Marys, and sangria go well with the meal. Offering a selection of alcoholic beverages will help your guests relax and unwind. The longer a drink like sangria sits, the better it tastes. You do not have to worry about being a bartender because you can make them a few days ahead of time.

Nonalcoholic components can still be mixed in advance if you are making bubbly drinks like mimosas. All you will need to do is pour the champagne and mix it well before guests arrive. Make sure you have a selection of virgin mocktails for guests who would like a nonalcoholic option.

Lay the table the night before:

If you are hosting a brunch for a large group, it is a good idea to set up the table the night before. Putting out food and decorations may not seem like a big deal, but if you are a perfectionist, you could spend hours nitpicking. Take your time and create the party layout you have envisioned. The mood can be ruined if you are not thrilled with your setting because you had to rush.

Good food, yummy drinks, and great company will make your next brunch get together the best ever!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

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Preparing Your Backyard For Parties

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Preparing Your Backyard For Parties

After being tucked away from the cold this winter, it’s only natural to be daydreaming about warm weather, outdoor activities, and parties hosted from your own backyard. Not only are outdoor get togethers a lot of fun but they are much safer from a COVID perspective too. If you have hosting an outdoor gathering on the mind, think about the following as you make your preparations:

Set The Space:

If you don’t already have a patio in the backyard for lawn furniture, this could be a great project to undertake. Stone or terracotta tiles set in a pleasing arrangement can provide the perfect space to set up an outdoor dining arrangement for your cookouts. If you’re not keen on doing this yourself, there are sure to be lots of local professionals who can make this happen. Getting the driveway interlocking services will greatly elevate the curb appeal. It’s a win/win situation!

Outdoor Activities:

Enjoying the great outdoors with your friends is a good way to get active so take advantage of it! Badminton, volleyball, cornhole, croquet, and bocce ball are all sure to be a hit. Hosting tournaments for some friendly competition will definitely get you moving! If you and your guests have green thumbs, you could have a literal garden party and plant flowers or veggies together. Don’t forget the lemonade and finger food to snack on.

Add A Fire Pit:

Your new patio will also be a nice space to set up a fire pit for an evening get together. Roasting marshmallows and hot dogs while the sun sets is always fun and will provide a touch of warmth during those chilly summer nights. A fire pit can also serve you well in the wintertime too to sip hot chocolate and munch gingerbread cookies around.

Keep Pests At Bay:

There is nothing worse than getting bit up by mosquitos during an outdoor gathering so a supply of citronella candles will go a long way. You also might want to consider calling in local experts if you have a lot of burrow holes on your lawn. You don’t want anyone tripping and spraining an ankle during your volleyball tournament!

Spring and summer activities are not as far off as we might think! Put your daydreaming of fun in the sun to good use by preparing your backyard soon.

Warm Up With These Indoor Winter Activities

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Warm Up With These Indoor Winter Activities

Hello! I love the way the snow makes everything look like a holiday greeting card… and that’s about it lol. Driving in it is for the birds and as someone who is constantly cold, I can do without the extra dose of brrrrrr. So, needless to say, I like to enjoy my winter activities from the great indoors! If you feel similarly, try out these ideas all from the comfort of being wrapped in your favorite blanket:

Present Wrapping Party:

I absolutely LOVE shopping for holiday gifts but wrapping them? Not so much! Of course, it is a necessary evil and making it more fun can make it, dare I say, pleasant? Invite your friends over for a present wrapping marathon complete with hot cocoa and holiday movies. You can even have a gift swap at the end as a little reward for a job well done.

All Aboard:

In my neck of the woods, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers all kinds of fun winter activities and you can peep the falling snow without being stuck in it! For the little ones, they offer the Polar Express and for adults, there tends to be a beer or wine tasting event as you ride the train. If there is something similar in your area, it could be a fun way to shake things up for a unique winter memory.

Craft Competitions:

There are so many winter baubles and trinkets that you can craft and you can up the ante by turning it into a competition. How about a gingerbread house bake off? Creating your own candles with festive scents? Or decorating ornaments for your tree or mantel? The prize could simply be bragging rights or a small gift to commemorate their victory.

Santa Hat Movie Viewing:

If you’re looking for a boozy time with friends or drinking a lot of hot chocolate, then have I got a game for you! Whether it’s a holiday movie or not, put a Santa hat on the corner of the TV and when any character ends up “wearing” it, take a drink. I promise that it will make the Hallmark movie marathon way more bearable! πŸ˜€

Winter Game Night:

Game nights are always fun and, this time, you can put a holiday twist on it. Try charades with famous holiday movie scenes to act out. Or, go around in a circle and each person will have to say the next word of a Christmas carol. Pin the ornaments on the tree? A holiday edition of Never Have I Ever? You could even make a photo booth set up for goofy holiday pictures… The possibilities are endless! Don’t forget a hot chocolate bar or trail mix station for your guests!

Don’t let it snow on your parade with the ideas above and stay comfy cozy all while achieving the ultimate holiday spirit! πŸ˜€

PS: Spread the joy by putting a “buy in” to each event you host by having your guests bring a canned good to donate to a local shelter. ❀

What is your favorite winter activity? What puts you in the holiday spirit? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Haulidays: Bestie Edition

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Happy Haulidays: Bestie Edition

Hi!! When lifewithlilred was in its early years, I developed a friendship with a fellow blogger and fashion enthusiast named Kate of Live In The Nautical. What started as comments on each others blogs turned to Facebook friendship, texting, video chats, and a trip to New York City to visit her! For years, Kate has been one of my absolute best friends and I am so thankful to the blogosphere for bringing us together. ❀

From a love of Harry Potter and figure skating to celebrities we can’t stand, Kate and I can talk for hours on end about everything and nothing and I always look forward to our FaceTime dates. We also both love gift shopping for birthdays and Christmas so the holiday season and our close together June birthdays are a very exciting time for us!

This past week, Kate and I exchanged super early Christmas gifts in the mail and it was such fun. Despite the fact that her package used SO. Much. Tape. that I compared it to trying to break into a jail when attempting to open it! Lol take a look at these darling prezzies from my darling bestie:

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Both Kate and I can concur that our friendship is the best gift of all but the gifts above are a nice touch! I am obsessed with the Espresso Patronum mug a la Harry Potter and plan on drinking all of the coffee spiked with Baileys in it… Or maybe just Baileys! And, of course, I can’t wait to test out the bath bombs from Lush because Kate knows that they are my favorite. ❀

Every day I am so grateful for Kate but times of celebration like the holidays make me realize how lucky I am to have her in my life even more. I can go to her for anything, judgement free, and I know that she will listen, offer sound advice, and make me laugh like no other. I love the self who I am when we are together (albeit through a computer screen) and she is one of the best things that came out of starting my blog in the first place.

The blogosphere is such an amazing way for people to come together and near or far, I have made a best friend for life. Kate, I love you so much and thank you for everything you do for me. Now, everyone go check out her page!

Have you met any best friends through your blog? What is your favorite thing about blogging? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!! This has been a year full of exciting things for yours truly including getting married, achieving a 1,000 day writing streak, and being fully vaccinated with a booster shot included. I am so thankful for all of this and, as always, I am so thankful for all of you – my dear readers and friends. ❀

Without your unending support, lifewithlilred would not be going strong for seven plus years and I love being with all of you on my blogging and life journey. While I feel lucky for this every day, days like Thanksgiving make me feel extra sentimental about it and I can’t express my gratitude enough.

I will keep this post short and sweet so you can go back to enjoying your Thanksgiving day. I just wanted to say that I love you all and hope you have the most joyous time with family and friends! ❀

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Love To Read? Start A Book Club!

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Love To Read? Start A Book Club!

Hello! When I am not working, binging Criminal Minds, ice skating, or playing way too much Animal Crossing, I absolutely love to read. There is nothing better to me than cracking open a good book and reading “just one more chapter” for hours on end! While I don’t belong to an in person book club, I take a lot of pride in Lil Red’s Book Club on the ol’ blog and so enjoy sharing my latest reads with all of you.

If you and your friends are avid readers too, there is no better time to start a book club. The cold winter months means extra time at home and nothing says comfy cozy like curling up on the couch with a new book. It doesn’t take much to create a book club of your own and you can get started with these ideas:

Decide What To Read:

First and foremost, you have to decide what your book club will be reading and how these books are being chosen. Will each person take turns selecting a book? Will you be reading popular books from different genres? Or maybe going with authors in an alphabetical order? You could even make your book club exclusive to one genre like romance or true crime.

However you go about choosing your books, it is important that everyone agrees on it. If you are going the true crime or horror route, do screen the book ahead of time in case there is any subject matter that might be triggering to any of your club members.

How Often Are You Meeting?

Whether you’re meeting in person or virtually, make sure that you come up with a schedule and follow it. Should your members have a book finished in one month to discuss? Or, perhaps, they might read forty pages per week? Keep in mind that everyone’s schedules are different and you don’t want anyone to fall behind with their reading. It can be discouraging if one member is flying ahead in the book while everyone else is stuck on chapter three!

What Will You Talk About?

Some book clubs use an open discussion format when discussing their latest book while others might have a list of questions or topics that they want to talk about. Prior to hosting your book club session, come up with key talking points ahead of time to keep the conversation moving. Some books as well as author’s websites include book club questions which are all great starting points for inspiration.

Snacks & Drinks:

A five course meal is definitely not necessary for your book club meeting but some light snacks and drinks are a must. You could sample different teas, beers, wines, and finger foods popular in where the book is set. Or, you could have themed treats like button cookies if you read Coraline or endless supplies of chocolate if your club just finished Chocolat. If you are having virtual book club meetings, then fear not. You can leave treat bags at each member’s house.

Book clubs are an amazing way to bring fellow reading enthusiasts together for an evening of good company and conversation. Don’t forget that you can host movie nights too if the book you have read has been made into a movie! πŸ˜€

What is your favorite book turned movie? What is your book club currently reading? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fun Activities To Get You In The Holiday Spirit

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Fun Activities To Get You In The Holiday Spirit

Hello! Whether snow falls in your neck of the woods or not, there is no denying that the holiday season is approaching quickly. Now is the perfect time to finish up your holiday shopping and do some fun activities to help get yourself and family into the winter spirit. No matter the weather where you are, these ideas will always be a hit:

Have A Holiday Card Drive:

Sadly, many people celebrate the holiday season alone but there are a lot of different ways to include them in the holiday season too. How about organizing a holiday card drive for your local senior living center? An abundance of season’s greetings to open on their celebrated holiday is sure to put a smile on their face. You could also select a family in need to cook a holiday meal for or donate presents to. Don’t forget local homeless and women’s shelters or soup kitchens that you could donate or lend a helping hand to. Part of the holiday season is spreading joy to others and these ideas will help you do just that.

Movie Night:

If holiday movies are your favorite, why not make an event of it? Invite your friends and family over for a Hallmark marathon or a screening of Elf and let the good times roll. You could do a gift swap, decorate cookies, and set up a hot chocolate bar for everyone to enjoy. If you want to make a boozy time of it, you could play the classic holiday game of setting up a Santa hat on the corner of your TV and taking a drink every time an actor ends up “wearing” it. I, myself, have never participated in this but I think it’s hilarious lol.

Holiday Lights Tour:

Grown ups and children alike love seeing holiday lights so take a tour in the evening. Go for a drive and scope out all of the wonderful decorations that different houses have set up. Bring something warm to drink, crank the carols, and experience holiday magic from the comfort of your car. You could even leave a small gift on the doorstep of whichever home was your favorite to commend them for their hard work.

Get Crafty:

I had so much fun participating in a holiday themed paint night with some of my girlfriends a couple of years ago and would love to do something like it again. Have one of your artistically inclined friends walk all of you through how to paint a winter scene or you could find a YouTube video to instruct you how. No matter if you’re the next Picasso or not, it will be a great activity to do all together. Afterwards, you can take a vote and hand out awards for the best creation, honorable mentions, and not so muches!

Bake Off:

Decorating cookies is always a hoot so how about taking it the next step further and hosting a bake off? You and your guests can make an afternoon of baking (and eating) your favorite holiday desserts together. Cakes, pies, chocolate, and an assortment of cookies can be shared and it will give you new recipe inspiration for your own holiday dinner. While the treats are baking, you can decorate a tote or goodie bag to store the sweets in for your ride home.

The holiday season is such an exciting time and the ideas above will provide you with lasting memories for years to come. Happy holidays to all!

How do you celebrate the holiday season? What is your favorite thing about the holidays? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red Loves: Game Night

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Lil Red Loves: Game Night

Hello! Prior to the pandemic, you could usually catch Johnny and I hanging out at our favorite bar called the Zephyr on a Friday or Saturday night. Now, I can’t tell you the last time we have been to a bar so it is all about nights in when we want to hang out with our friends. Johnny and I have always been avid gamers and we have a huge collection of board games and a variety of gaming systems including a Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Wii. With this expansive collection, game nights are now the move for our weekend activities.

While you don’t need much to make a game night a success, here are a few tips that I have found effective to make your evening even better:

Ready The Room:

Prior to hosting a game night, please do a deep clean of your space! Lol, this should go without saying but it is so true. You want your space to be the perfect set up for people to relax and have fun which means clearing clutter, taking out the trash, and doing the dreaded cleaning of your bathroom. Have fresh hand towels at the ready, light some candles or fairy lights, and prep your space to be the ultimate chill zone. (Keep in mind that if you are partaking in dranks, a guest room and comfy couches are a must so no one risks the safety of themselves and others to drive home.)

Location Is Everything:

Normally, Johnny and I will alternate which home we are having our game night at and this always works out well for us. However, if you are having multiple people over, a small apartment like mine might not cut it so that’s something to think about. If you are having guests from several different areas over, it’s best to choose a home that is it at the center of all of yours so no one has to drive super far.

Food & Drinks:

I absolutely love cooking for people so for mine and Johnny’s game nights, our friends will alternate between who is cooking dinner. This doesn’t need to be a fancy five star meal but just something tasty that everyone can enjoy. For example, I made a big pot of homemade mac n’ cheese for one of our game nights while our guests brought sides of salad and garlic bread. That being said, there is nothing wrong with ordering Chinese takeout or pizza if you want a quick and easy meal! (Also, make sure you are attentive to any of your guests with dietary needs or preferences. Last game night, our friends brought veggie burgers for their favorite Lil Red vegetarian!)

If your game night is one that tends to run longer, don’t forget the snacks. You can get creative with themed snacks like decorated cookies or cupcakes that look like the mushrooms in Mario games but a bowl of chips will also be just fine. Fruit salad, a sundae bar, and a Chex or trail mix station can also be a big hit.

For drinks, it is important to think about all of your guests because some might not drink alcohol. Always have your Britta pitcher full or water bottles at the ready as well as a variety of different sodas and juices. If you are partaking in dranks, there is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned White Claw lol but you can also play bartender and make a signature drink. How about a pitcher of Sangria or white wine spritzers? Every game night house could have a different signature drink!

Playlist Perfect:

Any good game night will have some music playing in the background. For this, Johnny and I have our record player but we also have a Bluetooth speaker which we love. Remember, you don’t want the music to be too loud to disturb your neighbors or that you have to yell to talk to your friends. Just something quiet that everyone can agree on to add to the party ambiance.

Games Galore:

Now, most importantly, are the games! Are you having video gamers over? Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. will be a huge success. Board game lovers? How about a night based off of classics like Monopoly and Sorry or a co op game to solve together? Word game fans? Scrabble or Catch Phrase will go over well! Card game aficionados? Try a Magic The Gathering tournament or a casino night.

You know your guests best so it is up to you to choose the perfect selection of games to keep your evening rolling. A good rule of thumb is to avoid overly involved games that are difficult to explain or have a ton of rules. You want to play things that are easy to catch on to for maximum enjoyment for everyone. There are also some party games that can truly become annoying if you are playing with a group of people who have a ton of inside jokes that everyone might not be in on, so definitely be mindful of that.

With the tips above and your own special take on a game filled evening, your game nights will turn into an event that your friends will spend the week looking forward to. Play well and have fun!

What are your favorite games? What are your tips for hosting game nights? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Making Your Blog The Best It Can Be

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Making Your Blog The Best It Can Be

Hi! My 1,000th day of writing on lifewithlilred is fast approaching so there is no better time than the present to talk about some more of my favorite blogging tips and tricks that have helped get me to this point. Obviously, I love to write or this crazy long streak wouldn’t be possible. If you are not passionate, then it is going to be difficult to sit down at the computer every day to create a blog post.

Just as importantly, I love the blogging community and my amazing friends and readers and this encourages me to keep coming up with daily content for them. Today, we are going to discuss some of my favorite ways to help strengthen your blogosphere to make your blog the best it can be. Let’s get to it:

Communication Is Key:

This may seem like an obvious one but you would be amazed by how many people leave comments or emails unanswered and this is a huge no no! The foundation of your blogosphere will be very flimsy, indeed, if you ignore these communications because it is what keeps readers coming back.

Once you start a dialogue with your commenters, the real blogging fun begins because it is a great way to make new friends! In fact, one of my best friends is from the blogging world and it all started with commenting back and forth on each other’s pages. ❀

Don’t Be Vague:

I have always considered my blog to be my online journal, which is why a lot of my posts feel so personal as it is coming straight from me and my experiences. Of course, you should only post what you are comfortable with. As far as what you are writing about, don’t spare any details! While some vague posts are okay, like if you are announcing something exciting in the future, a lot of grey area doesn’t give your readers much to go off of so your page could become boring fairly quickly.

Remember, your readers want to relate to you. This is why they continue to visit your page! Encourage this by writing as the “real you” with genuine posts. Not only will it enhance your stats but it will improve your writing skills too!

Share The Love:

While it feels nice to have people liking, commenting, and following your blog, it is so important to give the love right back. Interact with the members of the blogosphere on their own page to show that you are just as interested in what they have to say as they are about you. Don’t forget to link to their blogs when appropriate on your posts too as a friendly tip of the cap.

Reading other blogs can help inspire you and you might just form unique collaborations from it. Trust me, it’s really fun to do collab posts with other writers and it helps set the groundwork for lasting friendships.

You could have the best written posts on planet Earth on your page but it means nothing if you don’t have the support from our wonderful blogosphere. This is what will help make your blog the best that it can possibly be. πŸ™‚

Do you have a favorite blogger? Have you formed any close friendships in the blogging world? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Date Day!

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Date Day!

Hello! This past Saturday was so fun because Johnny and I had a date day. We were joined by fabulous friends along the way, got to explore a brand new to us consignment shop/art gallery, and heard some great live music. It was one of the best outings that we have had since being fully vaccinated and I can’t wait for many more to come! Let’s get to it:

On Saturday afternoon our dear friends in the band, the Buffalo Ryders, were playing at the Jenks Building in Cuyahoga Falls. I have been dying to see them play again because they give me all of the Jack White vibes and the venue was a whole five minutes away from our apartment so we just had to go.

Our friends were playing at the Jenks Building and, despite living in CFalls, both Johnny and I had never heard of it. We plan on going there often now that we know it exists because it is literally the coolest place ever. It is a consignment shop/art gallery/music venue and as soon as we stepped inside, I felt like I wasn’t in Ohio but rather a big city. There just aren’t places like it or even remotely close to it in my neck of the woods.

Browsing through the Jenks Building was an adventure and I have never seen anything like it before. The basement was an art gallery with the most unique pieces I have ever laid eyes on and Johnny and I wanted all of them for our apartment. The ground floor is a consignment shop completely filled with treasures and a garage style area for bands to perform. There is a second floor, as well, with an in house painter and a photographer too and even more items you didn’t know you needed to look through.

Shopping around while hearing the Buffalo Ryders play was awesome and the Jenks Building had a huge beer selection so you could have a drink while you look around. Johnny and I both tried a fruity sour beer and it was delicious! We left with lots of amazing finds that you can see tomorrow and I can’t wait to go back so I can take pictures, interview the owner, and buy all of the things!

After the Buffalo Ryders set was over, we headed down the street together to mine and Johnny’s favorite cocktail bar, the Cashmere Cricket. Johnny and I went there for our first date and we celebrated at the Cricket after getting engaged too. Saturdays at the Cricket are the best because they make all of their drinks with dry ice! Our minds were blown when the beverages came out bubbling and smoking like a potion after our engagement and it was a hit with our boys in the band too.

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It was so nice to hang out on the patio of the Cashmere Cricket with my husband and such wonderful company. The weather was great too. There was a much welcomed breeze which was so refreshing after the past week of stifling hot and rainy days. We already have plans to go back and, afterwards, I am making all of the guys watch Jesus Christ Superstar with me and I am beyond excited lol. πŸ˜€

When Johnny and I returned to the apartment, we Doordashed Taco Bell and played Pokemon Snap until one of our other band boys came by for a spell. As always, it was a hoot and it was so sweet of him to come by since he was in the area. ❀

Once our hang outs with friends were over, Johnny and I had our usual weekend festivities of listening to music, playing video games, and talking the night away. We got a couple of records at the Jenks Building so we listened to some of them and then turned to YouTube because we love introducing each other to our favorite songs and bands.

Our Date Day was a huge success and I am so excited to go back to the Jenks Building and many more Dry Ice Saturdays with our darling friends!

What is a perfect date like for you? Do you have any exciting upcoming plans? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah