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Sunday
Oct302011

Community > Stress. But how do we get there?

Blogging proves to be a form of therapy. You are my willing (or perhaps not) therapists and friends, listening and offering moral support and feedback. Because a post is often the place where our inner thoughts—rational, irrational, sound, half-baked, insecure, confident—are chewed on, worked through, and said out loud, I thank you in advance for your patience in entertaining my Debbie Downer moments born from the always-uplifting news articles I read on a daily basis.

Stress is killing the modern family, or so they say.

Study after study supports this thesis, as emphasized in a recent New York Times Motherlode post saying that “for too many American families, stress has essentially become a way of life” and that “[t]he generation raising young kids today is squeezed for time at home, squeezed for income because of the high cost of housing and squeezed for services like child care that would help them balance earning a living with raising a family.” Because we know the government can’t get its act together to pass the most important of legislation (cough, healthcare, the annual budget, and on and on and on), it is highly unlikely that we’ll see any type of law passed that promises year-long family leave, subsidized childcare, or the like. Nor do I expect that Corporate America is going to get onboard and provide truly family friendly work options.

Well, s#*!….

What are we supposed to do?

[Cue crazy snowballing thoughts that keep me awake at night.]

Personally, I think community is the answer or at least would be a big help in beating the stress beast.  However, part of the problem—at least for me—is that we’re without community or the newly redefined community (thank you, technology) doesn’t align with our—my—personal, familial needs. My parents live in other states. I sadly don’t have any sisters or brothers, so there are no aunts and uncles. Many of my close friends live in other areas of the country so we have long-distance relationships.  Then there is the dual-income, technology driven, fast paced, 24/7 juggling act we all call our lives. It seems near impossible to seek out, develop, and sustain the meaningful, intimate friendships that are crucial to navigating and surviving stressful times. I know I’m guilty of this and I lament the fact that we have time for each other in the vacuum of Facebook and Twitter, but we can’t swing in-person meet ups or, at the very least, phone calls.  And I don’t think I’m the only one is the boat. Actually, I know I’m not.

I can speak from personal experience that my work-at-home lifestyle coupled with my laundry list of responsibilities makes it difficult to get out there and make lasting friendships in my new-ish city. Further sabotaging this desire to find a “village” is my mindset. I hate to bother my existing LA friends who have established lives and friendships—maybe there is no room for me, maybe they don’t want another person to add to their list of responsibilities (I recognize that friendships—especially new ones—take time to nurture and make work), maybe they’re just too busy.  I know I’m not doing myself any favors in finding or creating community with this line of thinking, but the reality is that everyone I know is busy and stressed so I feel guilty if I reach out and call—er, e-mail or text is more like it. Gah! Where does that leave me? Us?

Without community and belonging, we face stress in isolation and, if those studies are true, cause damage to our developing children. That thought alone makes you more stressed out, right?! What a vicious cycle we exist in. Besides unplugging or moving to a commune in the woods, what do you do to foster community and de-stress? Is it even possible to have meaningful relationships where you have standing Wednesday night dinners, regular Saturday brunches, or Fourth of July BBQs with friends who ultimately become family?

Hmph.

~ The Other Sarah

Thursday
Oct272011

Sarah's Favorite Things


Inspiration to cook a hot breakfast.

Inspiration to craft a beautiful wreath.

Inspiration to capture the everyday.

Inspiration to own your sexy.

Inspiration to be good enough.

~ Sarah Stewart Holland

Thursday
Oct272011

The Everyday

Thursday
Oct272011

Y'all KNOW I love a list

I think I've made my love of all things list related abundantly clear. The only thing I perhaps love more than a list is a giveaway! Well, Today's Mama has a contest where I get to combine my two passions by creating a 15 item Bucket List to enter a dream vacation giveaway!

Done and done!


1. Live in Paris. I'm a proud Francophile. I've been twice but the two weeks I spent there felt woefully lacking. I define "live" as longer than six months.

2. Write a book. Ever since Mrs. Neel raved about my dinosaur essay in 3rd grade, I think I've always known the truth. I want to be a writer.

3. Own a Kelly bag. This book best be MAD successful.

4. Meet The Dixie Chicks. I've met every other celebrity I adore. They are the only ones to evade me thus far.

5. Eat this.



6. Go on an African safari. 

7. Be interviewed on NPR. I'm not really picky here about what program or what for. I'd prefer All Things Considered but hey Pop Culture Happy Hour would work too.

8. Learn a language. Preferably French. See #1.

9. Dine at French Laundry.

10. Learn to sew. This one is popping up on list after list.

Image via Coastal Living

11. Own a claw foot bathtub. I love my soaking tub but there is just something about a claw foot tub.

12. Be a spokesperson. I've recently realized one of my favorite things to do is convince other people that a product is awesome and watch it positively impact their lives. Be great to get paid for it!

13. Jump out of an airplane. I have grand plans to do this George H. W. Bush style when I'm like 80.

14. Read War and Peace. All the way through.

15. Ride in a hot air balloon. 

So, do tell. What's on your bucket list?

This is my entry in the Just Ask Bucket List Getaway Giveaway. Just Ask offers breast and ovarian cancer screening and is encouraging people to share 15 things that they want to enjoy in their lifetime as a reminder to be aware of their health. Want to enter? Head over to TodaysMama.com to get the details. 

Wednesday
Oct262011

Halloween Candy Alternatives: Mummified Juice

Griffin's preschool politely suggested parents not bring any candy for the Halloween treat bags this year. Seems they don't want to care for toddlers hyped up on chocolate and sugar straws. Go figure.

I didn't want to just buy some cheap Dollar Store treat that would go straight to the trash so I scoured the Internet and came across One Charming Party's mummy wrapped drinks. Perfect!



I went with more cartoonish goggly eyes. Didn't want to frighten the two-year-olds. Taped on the eyes, wrapped up the bottles, taped down the paper and VOILA!



It was the perfect treat for his class because the candy alternative most people chose was pretzels. Juice was much appreciated.

~ Sarah Stewart Holland