I  think I can speak for all of us when I say 2016 has been a spectacular shit show so far, amirite? Seriously, people have got to stop killing people, period. And I’m terrified for our future presidency.

Personally, this year hasn’t been easier for me. Coming into 2016 I was doing so well mentally, as evidenced by my last post. That sassy Sarah got herself in the motherly way she is today, proof that life was very good six months ago. Becoming unexpectedly pregnant and having to quit taking my medication, Cymbalta, cold turkey has made those six months particularly challenging. I honestly don’t know where the line differentiates between withdrawal symptoms from my meds and all those fun symptoms that come with being pregnant at an “advanced maternal age,” but I do know none of it feels good.

Except for when he kicks. Our little Henry William Scoular is getting stronger every day, even if he is a little punk ass. This kid is going to be so loved it’s ridiculous.

Quitting my meds and feeling like warmed up garbage for six solid months, combined with return of my depression and anxiety, hasn’t been fun for me or my family. That’s where the shame comes in. I haven’t been able to function very well as a human being for a while now. My activity levels have dropped to nothing and the only food that stays down reliably is junk. I feel like a failure as a mother and a wife and a person and it’s so hard to talk about or admit to anyone, including myself. But I also recognize a lot of that is the anxiety and depression – my dumb brain – doing the talking. I’ve been so afraid to take antidepressants because who knows what it could possibly do to my little boy (gods forbid), but my nurse midwife took one look at me on Wednesday and told me I need to be taking something. The odds of me suffering from postnatal depression are extremely high (hell, I have it antenatal) and that isn’t a good outcome for anyone involved. As Hank is almost 24 weeks now and fully formed, I agreed to a low dose of Zoloft and already notice it being a tiny bit quieter in my head. Now if only the constant nausea would go away…

Should I feel shameful for needing this kind of medication? My nurse midwife put it this way: If I had an infection, I’d take the antibiotic, right? If I needed chemo I’d take the chemo, right? Why is it different with antidepressants? Don’t get me wrong, I will never go back on Cymbalta again and will never, ever, stop taking my meds without tapering first, but if I know this could help I have to try. Surely I’m not the only mama who has been in this predicament?

Also, about our future presidency? For the love of all things good and holy, please do not vote for Donald Trump.

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acheivement unlocked!

acheivement unlocked

What a happy surprise upon opening my blog! It just so happened to coincide with my decision to blow off the dust and update you on my life for the first time in a year. I’ve taken nearly twelve months to focus on my own mental health and happiness and it has proven to be the best year of my life thus far. With sincerity, I look at pictures of myself from just two years ago (and many many years before that) and see the sadness hidden behind my eyes. Now I look in the mirror and see the true Sarah looking back at me.

I’ve bounced around so many ways of beginning this post, and basically what it all boils down to is this:

The human brain is dumb.

It says things it doesn’t really mean, makes you do things you don’t necessarily want to do, tricks you into believing things that aren’t necessarily true. It’s as if there are more than one of you in there, each one fighting to be the person you think you should be, the person you used to be, the person you want to be, and the person you truly are. The voice you choose to listen to guides your life. Through yoga, meditation, theraputic lifestyle changes, individual therapy, trial and error of medications, and wellness and nutrition coaching, I have found ways that help me identify which one of me is talking and which one serves my purpose in that moment.

I am unable to pinpoint the exact moment everything clicked, but one day very recently I woke up and was ME. Unfiltered, unfettered, absolutely loving myself and the skin I’m in, and unabashedly loving the man I am married to. Our stars aligned. All the work I’ve put in over the past year brought us to where I once was pleading with myself to be. The catalyst was my decision to take the overwhelming step of asking for help. For years and years and years I told myself I needed help. Once, in college, I went to the student health center but the guidance they provided wasn’t the right fit for me at the time. I felt like I just needed someone to tell me what to do to feel happy. To like myself. To feel connected. So at the end of 2014 I did it. I went to Bert Nash for an evaluation and was somehow blessed with Chloe Moushey as my therapist. Without Chloe’s help I would not have been successful in making real change in my life so quickly and for that I am forever grateful. On November 11 I will graduate from her therapy and somehow actually feel ready! Unfortunately, Chloe’s leaving Lawrence soon after my graduation. Not only will I miss her guidance, but also the pleasure of being her teacher, guiding her through my yoga and meditation practice.

Sometimes, when you open your heart, angels find their way in. But it allows that grace and love and peace to flow out of us too, doesn’t it? Now that my heart and brain have broken open, there is space to allow people in to the party I already started. Speaking of, please take a moment to watch this video on being truly happy in your life.

One of my proudest outcomes from my personal journey is the creation of Yoga in LFK. Sharing my story is so important to me in order to help end the stigma surrounding mental health. This is my way of sharing what I’ve learned with all of you. Come to my class, won’t you?

Love and light and gratitude. Namaste.

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Between dealing with the chikungunya virus, tonsillitis, gastroenteritis, and a bit of family drama, it’s been a rough couple of months. My yoga practice has been irregular and my strength (both mental and physical) has suffered. My eating habits and the goings-on of my digestive system deserve their own post entirely.

While my yoga practice has been less regular than it once was, it’s still there. I’ve had the opportunity to take a few more classes rather than only attending the ones I teach and it’s always such a lovely experience. I’ve learned to wear my glasses to class and take them off right before we begin. Without my glasses the world around me is a blur. No chance to gaze in the mirror and pick apart the bits of my body that “could be better,” no comparison of myself to others: “do my back muscles look like hers?” “I can fold way deeper than her,” or insert other bullshit here.

During these classes I’ve set a few more intentions for myself than I would have otherwise. One Sunday afternoon my intention was to have a practice that was “not perfect.” Wednesday’s intention was to “be easy” with myself. But the one I have come back to most frequently is the intention of grace. Treating myself with grace, feeling graceful in my breath and movement, seeing the grace and beauty within myself.

Fake it till you make it, right?

In all honestly, I feel graceful when I’m mindful of what I’m eating and practicing yoga regularly. But that isn’t always my reality. I’m working to feel that grace even when things aren’t “perfect,” when I’m eating a bag of Cheetos in the afternoon and just don’t feel like getting on the walking desk at the moment. Okay, that isn’t really graceful, but you get what I mean. It’s like when take off my glasses and let everything get all fuzzy and just accept everything exactly as it is, that’s living with grace.

I find participating in a yoga challenge on Instagram helps motivate me to stay in that mindful place. Madeleine motivates me during those times too, asking about that day’s yoga pose and helping me with creative ideas. A few days ago I thought to myself that I missed the #yogagirlchallenge and all it inspired. Then yesterday Maddie asked “what’s today’s theme?” and it just clicked. I told her I wasn’t currently doing a challenge but that we should make our own. She’s already come up with the initial pose; watch for it on November 30.

Our theme? #DecemberGrace. While this 31-day challenge will include asana, there are no hard and fast rules. Yoga travels off the mat, not only in the way we treat others but most importantly the way we treat ourselves. During each day capture some way you are treating yourself with grace. I’ll come up with a few suggestions as we go along. I’m not giving away free yoga pants or any other tangible prizes, just the reward of ending 2014 in a mindful and graceful way.

Please join us! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and include #DecemberGrace in your posts.


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birthdays and bad habits.

Today was pretty much the most awesome day the Scoulars have had in quite a while. Probably since we were in Colorado. Madeleine turned six and we went full out. Keeping with tradition, she woke up to streamers on her door and balloons filling the hallway. Actually, she asked about it for the first time ever last night. “Am I going to have a 6 this year?” referring to the large number Bill always makes. “Nope,” we said, “we didn’t have time for balloons or anything. Dad might go make one in the morning or something.” Boy we had her fooled. We also took her to “test drive” bikes at Walmart after dinner last night, sneakily leading her to the bike we bought three days earlier and had hidden in the office.


Needless to say, we had a pretty awesome morning. For breakfast we went to Munchers for strawberry cream cheese donuts and chocolate glazed with KU colored sprinkles and strawberry milk. Afterward, we went to Target to find an Elsa cake topper for her cupcake.

Then we had a meltdown. Madeleine is a model citizen when we’re in stores, admiring but not asking for everything all the time. But after being told yes all morning and then hearing a no about listening to the Monsters High doll display (seriously that thing is god awful), we had a monster Maddie on our hands. Thankfully, after a good talk in the car, the rest of the day was pretty spectacular.

What is that, the always wanting more? We all do it. I don’t do it as much as I once did but there are times where I just want more money, more clothes, more whatever, even though I have some seriously awesome shit in my life already.

A little backstory. Last Thursday night I went to yoga in the park with one of my favorite yoga teachers who moved to Boston but comes back to Lawrence occasionally. I was super looking forward to it. It was a lovely evening but holy lord did I get devoured by mosquitos. Through my clothes, on my face, they were relentless. Melissa kept us moving but we had to skip savasana for fear of being mosquito buffets.

Late Saturday afternoon my lower back started really hurting. I complained, bending over in the grocery store and stretching repeatedly. I laid on the couch the rest of the night. Sunday morning I woke up with a virus; swollen glands, a nasty red throat, fever, pain everywhere in my body. My joints ached, I had no strength in my hands and was completely exhausted. I laid around until I had to relieve Bill at a six-year-old’s birthday party (which was utter hell, I felt like garbage and this kid took seriously 45 minutes to meticulously open all her presents). I stayed home Monday, in bed and barely moving. I went to work the rest of the week, getting a lot done by sitting in my chair and not moving much. I “taught” yoga Thursday night, which was basically a farce, modifying each pose to not put any pressure on my wrists and barely opening my hips because of the excruciating pain. Thankfully I found a sweet sub for my Friday night Body Boutique class because I just couldn’t do it.

Fran, my sub, got me thinking. She expressed concern that I might have had a tick bite or something. Then I thought of the mosquitos. A quick google search for ‘Kansas mosquito-borne virus’ popped up with numerous articles from this summer about the chikungunya virus.

Now, I haven’t been diagnosed but as it’s a virus and there’s nothing a doctor can do anyway, I’m not paying someone to confirm it. I’m 99% sure this is what I have. It sucks. Somehow I got through my daughter’s kick ass birthday anyway because that’s what we do. Right?

My daughter’s birthday party at Laugh Out Loud was super fun, not just because the kids got to go insane but also because the kids’ parents were super cool. We all had a great time. I made redonkulously delicious mint chocolate chip cupcakes at Madeleine’s request (Bill, Maddie and I ate the frosting straight from the piping bag into our mouths this morning). We pretty much ate garbage all day, aside from the veggie salad I had at Chipotle for lunch.

Which also got me thinking. Of course, your birthday or your loved ones’ birthdays are the time to go nutballs and eat and do whatever it is you want to do because it’s your birthday and you can. But why is it so easy to stay slipped into those habits after the party ends? After Maddie’s transformation today, it finally clicked for me that sugar makes you a different person. It triggers that desire for more. It’s so flipping yummy but it flips a switch that is difficult to turn back off.

I’ve gained some weight this year and even though I sometimes struggle when I try on my skinnier jeans or look in the mirror, I’m honestly in a really good place. My weight is at a place of ease, no restricting of anything, eating mostly what feels good, and doing the movements I love: walking and yoga. In the past month or so I’ve been doing less of those movements, eating more of the sugary things that make me “feel good,” and yet I don’t feel good.

Even though we know exactly what’s good for us – what is proven to work not only on others but also on ourselves – why do we do the things that don’t serve us?

The CDC website says this virus can cause pain for a week or so but sometimes a month or more. I don’t want to be in that category. I have a distinct feeling that eating sugar in the amounts I have been would not serve me well in meeting that goal. I know I can do this, I’ve done it before, but I’m curious. How do you find ways to be consistent in doing the things that make you feel truly good?

Also, when in the fresh hell did I become the mother of a six year old?


IMG_4856 (1)


A slight addendum, as I wrote the post above late last night.

Life is weird. As Eliza’s mom pointed out, our girls are mature for their ages and sometimes it’s easy to take that for granted. Madeleine had a few six-year-old moments this weekend. Those times when you feel so strongly about something but just don’t know how to understand or express that feeling. Yes, the sugar and the yeses and the excitement amplified the situation, but we’ve all been there. Every single one of us has been six years old and felt those feelings. Life is weird because we’re all doing it every single day and not a single one of us really knows what we’re doing.

As such, I’m really curious to hear your responses to the questions I posed above:

Even though we know exactly what’s good for us – what is proven to work not only on others but also on ourselves – why do we do the things that don’t serve us?

How do you find ways to be consistent in doing the things that make you feel truly good?

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My heart is filled with so much love right now I don’t even know where to begin. My long-empty cup is suddenly overflowing.

Don’t get me wrong. My life is blessed beyond measure: loving husband, brilliant daughter, successful jobs, a house to sleep in with food in the cupboards. But my personal cup, the one that can never be filled by other people no matter how much they love you, has been empty for quite some time. I’ve felt lost, directionless, unsure of what the future holds.

One of the hardest things for me to remember and accept is that it is not selfish to take care of me, it’s necessary.

In February, Bill moved his friend Nick to Buena Vista, CO where Nick’s daughter Heather and her husband Danny live. Bill’s friendship with 67 year old Nick never ceases to crack me up and deserves its own post. But I digress. When he returned he couldn’t stop gushing about how it was just like heaven. Even though the drive through snow storms and treacherous mountain roads scared him shitless, the experience when he got there blew all of that away. Because of my own issues I had trouble hearing and was reticent about Bill’s suggestion to visit in the future.

Before I even realized it our trip was scheduled over Independence Day weekend and July was rapidly approaching. Following a nasty car accident in the middle of Nebraska 15 years ago, I’ve struggled to enjoy road trips and cannot fall asleep in the car, and this trip is 10 hours long. Having driven through Colorado a few times but only staying in Loveland once, I was looking forward to a vacation in a new destination. Focusing mostly on the negatives – cost, time, fear – I was excited but wary.

We left on Thursday with Bill at the wheel. The drive was uneventful but fascinating. We stopped in places we’ve never been and visited oddities such as the 80ft Van Gogh replica of 3 Sunflowers in a Vase in Goodland, KS. Once you hit Manitou Springs, CO though, things get interesting. That’s where I took over.

I was thankful to be in control through the winding mountain roads but sacrificed a few breathtaking views of new terrain and quaint mountainside towns. Don’t worry, I gawked a bit too. My first time seeing mountains was on a cross-country road trip with my family at 13 and I cried upon spotting their outline on the horizon. This time was no different and seeing the look on my daughter’s face was priceless. We stopped at points of interest and soaked up as much as we could.


Finally we arrived in Buena Vista, CO. This tiny town on the Arkansas River is surrounded by the Collegiate Peaks, a line of mountains over 14,000ft high. The town itself has an elevation of 7,965ft (Lawrence is 866ft) and has a population of 3,500 in the winter and around 10,000 in the summer. It’s ridiculously adorable.


Everything you could possibly want to do is within walking distance and caters to pedestrians and bicyclers. When I say everything I mean every type of park and terrain you can think of. Boating. Rafting. Hiking. Shopping. Antiquing. Eating. Yoga. Yoga. Yoga.

Arkansas River Mt. Princeton

And then there’s Danny and Heather. Bill told me they were the nicest people he’s ever met and that I had no trouble believing because Bill and I like the same kinds of people. He was completely right, of course. If you witnessed our easy conversations about life, food, yoga and our successful collaborations in the kitchen, you never would have guessed that Heather and I only met five days ago. They are great people and extremely gracious hosts.

Maddie and Heather

It’s the same for pretty much everyone else in that town. Overly kind, polite, considerate non-litterers. No one locks their doors and the police station has the ability to close during the day because there’s no crime. I guess people who can get legally high and play in the sunshine tend to be happier.

And the weather? Dear god, the weather is amazing.

Everywhere I turned I encountered some coincidence or connection to my life. The woman sitting next to me at the Fourth of July parade? Graduated from KU, originally from Wichita and the mother of a 5 1/2 year old girl who is about to start kindergarten. The lady at yoga I spotted during down dog wearing a Free State Beer t-shirt? Also visiting from Lawrence and lives off Harvard Street.  A cute house that caught my eye was numbered 325 (the house number where I grew up and the address where I currently live) and my favorite places had little details that made me think of everyone in my extended family. The restaurants have sections of the menu devoted to kale and quinoa and most people lead healthy, active lifestyles.

Then there were big signs. The owner of jalaBlu asked us to focus on Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, during our first practice. She reminded us that not only does Ganesh remove obstacles in our path, he may even place what we perceive to be negative obstacles with the intention of driving us the right way. It spoke to me in a profound way and opened my heart to a beautiful practice. And when I came back to her class the next day she had a guest musician play guitar and bless us with her voice during savasana. The first song she sang? Hallelujah, which always makes me think of my Grandma ArLee.

Side note about Grandma ArLee, one of the most significant people in my life – ever since she passed she has made her presence known in the form of a cardinal, always appearing when I need support, comfort, reassurance or simply a smile.

After the torrential downpour (laughable by Kansas standards) on the afternoon of the 4th, the most vivid double rainbow I’ve ever seen stretched fully across the sky. We walked down the train tracks and saw where the rainbow actually touched the ground, so bright and colorful it was surreal.


On Saturday afternoon it all came to a head. Bill and I had already toyed with the idea of moving to BV one day and as we sat on the patio I asked Danny if this is really what it’s like to live there. Everything seemed just too perfect to be real. When he confirmed that yes, it really is that awesome, the statement “I am meant to be here” bubbled out of my heart and mind and escaped my mouth. Like any life-altering change, it hit me upside the head like a ton of bricks and overwhelmed me with the logistical items required to make it a reality. Honestly, it broke my brain a bit.

Trying to compose myself, I went inside and locked myself in the bathroom with the thought “I am meant to be here” reverberating in my head. Followed shortly by the thoughts, “am I meant to be here? Can I do this?” At that exact moment the clock on the wall chimed. This clock displays twelve different north american birds and chirps at the top of the hour. Guess which one is positioned at 3:00?

Hearing the familiar cardinal call washed away all fear and any shred of doubt. My family and I are meant to live in Buena Vista, CO. I’ve never been more sure of any decision in my entire life. On Sunday Madeleine started sentences with, “When we live here can we…” so I can confirm we’re all on board.

Clearly, this isn’t an immediate endeavor. But we’ve already set a plan in motion that will get us there in the next few years. Once we’re there I promise every single one of you will want to visit so you can fill your cups as well.

What I’ve realized is there are no accidents, no coincidences. The universe is unfolding for you exactly as it is meant to. You just have to be open to receive the message.


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facebook and other fucking things

Do you ever feel alone?

Like totally and completely alone? Even when you’re surrounded by the people who love you the most?

That’s where I’ve been. Where I’m at. I have a husband who loves and supports me like no one else on this planet and a magical little girl who captures everyone’s heart everywhere she goes. And yet I’m still lonely.

It’s funny, the one thing that has truly made me feel this way is Facebook. The place where you connect with your friends and loved ones. But Facebook makes me crazy. It opens your thoughts and opinions to the people in your life and sometimes the people in your life don’t share those thoughts and opinions. Which is just fine. But people don’t interact in person the same way they do when they can write it on your wall for all to see.

Facebook also brings out a mad case of jealousy in me. Yes, I’m grateful for the things I have in my life. However, any number of things in my timeline – new homes/cars/toys, vacations, conversations – can cast a shade of green over my thoughts. That being said, I’m just as guilty as the next guy. Who doesn’t want to post their success stories and shining moments for all to see? The drawback to showing only the positive is giving people an uneven perspective of your life. We don’t post the negative because who wants to show that? But that’s the piece that makes a relationship real. Knowing the good and seeing the bad and supporting you through it all. That kind of connection only happens in real outside-of-the-internet life.

In any case, to keep myself sane I’ve hidden about 80% of Facebook from my view. I have the power to participate in conversations I choose and see content that brings positivity to my life. At the same time I’m trying to find the right balance in my own sharing. Questions I struggle with most: “Who gives a shit if I post this? Why am I posting it? Will I only feel validated if people like or comment on it? And why the fuck is that?”

Whitney Yadrich pinned this post yesterday and it’s just spot on. Why do I care what other people think of me? The only person who needs to be happy with me is me. I mean really, I’m the only person I will be with my whole entire life. So I’m going to do me –  whatever that means – and focus my efforts on my people who matter.

And Twitter, I love you, but I just need a break.

If you miss me, you can always find me on Instagram, Pinterest and this Tumblr thing where I mostly just like yoga pictures, Beyonce gifs and whatshouldwecallme. People are way nice over here. 

Or you could do any of those old fashioned things like email, call or text. I’m trying to be better about those things myself. I’m terrible, actually. But I’m trying.

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2013 in review

Today I’m feeling retrospective. Aren’t we all on the last day of the year?

2013 was the first year in my nearly 34 years where I really focused on myself. That may sound selfish, but hear me out. I’ve got a whole lot of crazy in my head that had gone untended for far too long. Depression, anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder, self-loathing, self-doubt, the whole bit.

So I started tending to it.

In January I began a happiness experiment. In February, a gratitude practice, and watched as the Derby Public Library dedicated the Children’s Reading Room in my grandma ArLee Killion’s honor.

March brought us to a debt management counselor and worked out a budget, which lifted a massive boulder from my chest.

April saw the launch of my gorgeous friend Tiffany’s project SmashGlam and the little bit of help I could provide in her social channels through my gloom.

May and its glorious sunshine started to kick my SAD’s ass, took me to Modesto, CA, gave me one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and also marked ten years of marriage to my husband.

June, July and August were devoted to long walks in the sun and a shit ton of yoga in the park. It’s here that I realized yoga is truly the answer to the darkness I struggle with. It quiets my mind and connects me to my body, which I’ve truly learned to love in all of its parts. I learned that taking care of myself first, mind body and soul, is not selfish, it’s necessary.

In September my baby girl turned five (5!!!) and I officially became a certified YogaFit Level I instructor.

October, typically the busiest for me as a Cerner employee, was even nuttier as I was put in charge of a huge project at CHC. And I rocked it. And then Bill and I got to celebrate our second 10th anniversary in Vegas because a Cerner sent me to JiveWorld.

November came with more and more opportunities to teach yoga and December gave me the chance to spend real time with my family. And of course the holidays that bring all of the cookies and pies and cakes and coldness that keeps me out of the sun, which means I get to start it all over again.

But I have a plan. No resolutions here, just a few action items and themes to carry me throughout the next twelve months. My action items are boring (check the budget daily, meditate nightly, blah) but here are my intentions:

Acceptance. My mantra: You are enough, you’ve done enough.
Accept myself as I am, right now. Accept others as they are because I don’t always know what they may be struggling with. Judgement and speculation do not serve me. Accept the moment as it is, positive or negative, because it is exactly as it is meant to be. Find the lesson within that moment.

Release expectation, especially of myself. Expectations set me up for disappointment because they rarely meet the exact criteria my brain conjures up. Be my best and do my best because that’s all I can do.

Disconnect. From stuff. From my stupid smartphone. From my fixation on what others think of me. This one is big. And probably the hardest. It means I’m going to distance myself even more from the social networks* I’ve defined myself in (Facebook is a HUGE source of my crazy) and work harder to connect with the people I care about in real life. And I suck at that, so it will be serious work. But it will be worth it.

*Except Instagram because it is a huge source of inspiration for me. And Pinterest because, Pinterest.

And perhaps my favorite, the one I’ve been repeating to myself for a few weeks now, in 2014 I will be unapologetically ME.

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hard work.

Yesterday I received a reminder card from my cardiologist that it’s time for my annual echocardiogram. It’s been a year since I learned about my PVCs and an annual trip to my cardiologist is a thing now.

And what a year it’s been. Work is good, crazy. Still spending two hours a day commuting (adding an extra 24 hours on top of the 108 I clocked in the past 12 days). For the past four months I’ve lead a team of associates across our organization, tasked with creating an interactive hallway experience at the Cerner Health Conference, our massive yearly conference with ~10,000 associates and clients attending from across the globe. It was hard. Stressful. Exhausting. But it turned out fantastic. I heard responses from clients that “getting to create their own button” was the highlight of the conference and that “it made their whole trip.” Even though I didn’t get to officially represent uCern this year, I’m grateful I still had an open forum to connect and meet with our clients.

And all of that was on top of my day job.

And on top of that, I’m a yoga instructor now. I’m able to teach yoga three hours a week at work (I mean c’mon, what other job lets you do that?) and I am completing my YogaFit Level I certification by offering free intro classes one hour a week for the next 6 weeks.

Yoga is a whole other thing entirely. I’ve been in some deep, dark places this year and thanks to a workshop about practicing yoga to combat anxiety and depression, I’ve found my way out. It isn’t perfect – nothing is – and it is a daily practice. It’s helped quiet my mind while working to change my negative self talk into positivity. It also knocks my heart into a steadier rhythm (except during savasana. The motherfucker never chills out during savasana).

Oh yeah, Bill and I have been married 10 years this year and we’re taking a trip together for the first time! I’m attending JiveWorld (a conference for the social platform behind uCern) later this month in Las Vegas and he’s coming with me. It’s perfect, I get to do awesome nerd stuff while he wanders Vegas and does awesome nerd stuff on his own. But we’re staying in the Cosmopolitan on my company’s dime and have enough free time to wander the strip and eat at Bobby Flay’s restaurant, Mesa Grill. So. Excited.

Side note: I’m still maintaining my vegan/vegetarian diet. I’m about 98% plant strong, occasionally indulging in homemade treats and minorly cheesy things. Bill calls me a Sarahtarian, which I quite like, because I make my own rules. My body simply feels good and functions properly when I stick to fruit and veg. But mama has a sweet tooth. And after looking at Bobby’s menu I will be ordering the lobster tacos and tiger shrimp tamales.

Two weeks ago Madeleine turned five years old. Five. Not sure how that happened. She is an amazing little ray of sunshine that rides on the backs of unicorns and sprinkles happy dust on her loyal subjects everywhere she goes. You may think I’m biased but it’s factual truth. Every boy and girl and parent and teacher at Maddie’s preschool is infatuated with her. They gush to Bill and I about her sweetness and everyone, I mean everyone, says good morning and goodbye as she passes.

She’s my girl.

I’m sure there was a whole lot more that happened but those are some big points. Sorry if you’ve felt neglected, my social network, but I’ve been busy working on me.

Side side note (spoiler-free): I’ve listened to the first three books of Game of Thrones on audiobook and man, number one: it’s interesting to hear story lines that were changed for the show and number two: weddings, man.

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merely existing.

In light of recent tragedies (Boston Marathon, Newtown, friends and family battling cancer, all the other crazy shit that happens in this world), I’ve been thinking a lot about how precious our time on this earth is and how nothing, NOTHING in the future is promised to us. Anything can happen at any second. Because of this, one question has been stuck in my mind all morning:

Am I living my life or am I merely existing?

Through my happiness experiment I’ve tried really hard to stay present, focus on the moment and have gratitude for all the little things I experience each day. And yet each evening I find myself so zombified after a long commute that all I want to do is look at Pinterest and go to bed by nine. The only hours of my day I truly have for myself, wasted.

It’s too easy to think, “I’ll do it tomorrow/this weekend/next month/someday.” But what if tomorrow never comes? (You’re welcome for the Garth Brooks earworm by the way.) Would I be satisfied with what I’ve accomplished to this point? Were my last words – spoken and/or written – kind? Did I spend enough time with my family? Does everyone important to me know how much I love them? Most importantly, was I happy? If I’m truly living my life, the answers will be Yes.

Guess I have some work to do. Starting today, obvs. I’m curious, are you living your life or are you merely existing?

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It’s day 21 of my happiness experiment and guess what? I feel happier.

The principles of Shawn Achor’s plan were easy to incorporate into my day and were actually pretty enjoyable. Exercise was already a part of my daily routine – I practice 30 minutes of yoga each morning and walk at least 30 minutes each day – so that was a no brainer. While I do meditate for a few minutes during yoga, I added five minutes of pure meditation each night before bed. Evernote made it easy to journal my gratitudes from my phone, iPad or computer whenever necessary, and I stuck to emails and Facebook messages for my conscious acts of kindness.

In addition to Shawn’s principles, I focused on these ten things to stop caring about and supplemented with a week-long happiness challenge. My husband and I also addressed a major source of stress in my life – our finances – by visiting a financial counselor who helped us create a budget and debt reduction plan. Naturally, I also stuck to my clean, plant-strong diet.

And I feel good. Really good. Things were dark there for a bit but it’s clearing up now. I feel lighter, more relaxed. Even though it’s the last day of the experiment I’m going to continue practicing these principles; the awesome article I read this morning will help as well. On dark days it will be nice to look back at my journal and remember all the things that are wonderful in my life. Speaking of, can you pick out a few common themes?


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