Category:About Life’

Francis Drake Eyewear

 - by Sarah Lipoff

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I have been squinting through super-scratched sunglasses for way too long so was on the hunt for some new shades that would stand the test of time. I happened upon Francis Drake Eyewear and was offered the opportunity to test out their one-stop website to order sunglasses and prescription glasses. The selection is filled with stylish and trending frames — and the price is so right. For $95 you get your prescription fit in any frame and delivered to your door in just about a week. But are they really such a good deal?

The Italian-made sunglasses have a unique five-barrel hinge design that creates a really comfortable feel. Based in the Bay Area, all prescription glasses are hand cut in house and finished with sturdy stainless steel spring hinges, ensuring a great fit. I really liked the weight of the both frames and everything came packaged with cases, cleaning cloths, and a nice little thank you note. And they don’t look or feel cheap in any way — the quality is really high-end.

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If you’re looking for distinctive frames at a great price, Francis Drake Eyewear is the right online store for you. They even have smart tips for fitting the perfect frames with your face shape and a virtual try on feature, which is so helpful.

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I love my new sunglasses and frames!

*I was not paid or asked to write this review in any way. I wrote this post because I’m so happy with my new frames and was nicely compensated with free sunglasses and prescription glasses.

 

Salted chocolate peanut toffee

 - by Sarah Lipoff

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Years and years ago I decided I would make something tasty as holiday gifts for the teachers I worked with. I knew everyone loved chocolate and wanted to experiment with something different. When I came across a recipe for chocolate peanut toffee in Gourmet, I was smitten. The combination of salty nuts, crunchy toffee, and melted chocolate sounded divine. And the recipe boasted making a big batch, meaning I’d have enough for treating my fellow teachers and still have some leftover to send with the husband for holiday giving at his work.

And the ingredients needed for making this delicious toffee cost around $5 — especially if you hit up the dollar store.

Over time I’ve adjusted the recipe and found the perfect combination that makes one of the best crunchy chocolaty and nutty toffee around. I look forward to making it every year (and know people look forward to receiving it too). This is a recipe that will make your friends and family thankful for this toffee treat. I definitely splurge for organic ingredients, which does add a few dollars to the final deliciousness, but it’s totally worth it.

(Adapted from Gourmet)

Ingredients

3 cups butter (salted or not – but I actually like using salted for this yummy treat)

2 cups sugar

4 cups low salt (or no salt) peanuts plus 1 cup chopped

¼ teaspoon vanilla

Dash cinnamon

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Sea salt

Directions

Place the butter and sugar in a large stockpot over medium heat and wait for the butter to melt.  You want the butter and sugar to turn a rich honey brown and register around 300 ˚F on the candy thermometer (which you need!) before the next step, which can take around 15 minutes of babysitting. Candy making takes patience — and just the right temperature. Even though I’ve been busting this toffee out for the last five years, last year I attempted one batch without a thermometer, and it was a sad disaster.

While you’re waiting for the butter and sugar to boil, line a 11 by 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Once it starts simmering, whisk the mixture to incorporate the butter and sugar.

Chop one cup of nuts for topping your toffee and measure the chocolate chips so everything is ready when the toffee is. I’ve found using a low-salt peanut creates a seriously sweet and savory toffee, instead of one that’s bombarded with over-salted nuts. I pick mine up at Trader Joe’s.

Once your toffee hits 300 F, turn off the heat, remove the candy thermometer and add the three cups of nuts. Give the mixture a stir and then add the vanilla and dash of cinnamon.

Spread the peanut toffee in the parchment covered sheet pan creating a nice and even layer of goodness. Now sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let sit for a few minutes until the chocolate melts.

Use a knife to spread the chocolate over the toffee and then sprinkle with the chopped nuts and a light dusting of sea salt.

Pop in the fridge for an hour and then use a large serrated knife to cut the brick of toffee into pieces. Place in decorative bags and you’re ready for holiday gift giving.

 

Happy holidays!

When life happens

 - by Sarah Lipoff

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I started this blog as a spot for sharing recipes, random thoughts, awesome kid-freindly art activities, and general musings about motherhood. I love how it’s grown and turned into something more than I ever imagined, but things have been a bit busy lately and keeping up So says Sarah… has definitely been pushed to the back burner. I’m lucky if I get a moment to stop by and brush off the cobwebs — much less hang out on Twitter or Facebook.

Eh.

Honestly? I’m not feeling that bad about it.

I’m really happy where I’m at in life and don’t feel like I have to constantly update everyone about it. I don’t need to tweet that I’m making homemade mac-n-cheese for lunch or all the other random stuff that happens during the day. I don’t feel like posting every cute picture of my tot doing something new on Facebook.

I’m trying to be more present.

But.

I am busy.

A company that I totally love has offered me permanent work (YAY) so you can find me over there. I get to share my love of animals and all things DIY while having the flexibility to spend quality time with my family. Life happens and you just have to go with it.

Take a break.

Do something new.

It feels really good.

Vacation (and what happens when there’s no WiFi)

 - by Sarah Lipoff

We spent the week at the beach enjoying the hub’s home digs. It was the first visit for the tot, and was packed with meeting relatives, actually getting into the warmer East Coast ocean, and walking the boardwalk. Along with having someone to meet or somewhere to go the entire trip, the cool pad we stayed at wasn’t equipped with WiFi. At first I panicked. How was I going to check and see what was happening on Twitter? How to share on Facebook? I might need to see what was hot on Pinterest, catch up with celeb gossip, search for a recipe, check Twitter, update my Facebook, check my website stats, check Twitter….

Yeah.

It was awesome to have a break from it all and just be. Even though we had a bit of bad weather, the sunny days and great visits with relatives and friends made it a seriously memorable trip. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our vacation (thanks to the husband – although I did happen to snag the camera and snap a few of him too).

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And, if you’re not a relative or friend that knows where we spent our vacation, extra credit if you can name our destination in a comment below….

 

The Birch Aquarium

 - by Sarah Lipoff

While we were down south, there were a couple of days the weather wasn’t right for hitting the beach, so we explored the area for a few fun things to do. And we found ourselves heading to La Jolla for a stroll through the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego Birch Aquarium.

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I enjoyed the informative guides lurking (well, not lurking, but roaming in the darkness of the aquarium) and ready to answer any questions or share fun tidbits of information. We all became quite intrigued with the eels in the above left photo, and were told all about their amazing lives together (yup, that’s a proud mama and papa), how they’ve produced hundreds of baby eels, and are often found nestled together in the tank. But the collection of jellyfish just about put my tot in a tizzy…

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Located next to each tank are helpful plaques sharing facts about the fish and other sea life, perfect for us adults that have no clue what we’re looking and then can utterly amaze our not-yet-scholarly tots by reading (without them realizing it) bountiful information about the amazing sea creatures.  And it’s great for older kids, allowing them the opportunity to learn more on their own. We loved this huge tank filled with coastal sea life.

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And part of the aquarium is dedicated to educational and interactive learning about the sea and California coastline. Most of it was totally advanced for our daughter, but that didn’t stop her from putting her hands on everything.

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But the seahorses stole the show. We were all impressed and amazed by these little creatures. A whole wing is dedicated to educating the public about the lives of seahorses, sharing how the aquarium is helping to nurture and build their numbers, and showcasing the amazing beauty of the cool sea animal.

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And we had such a great time, we ended up walking (well, running) through the aquarium one last time at the tot’s insistence to see it all over again. Along with the indoor tanks, the Birch Aquarium has outdoor interactive tide pools, a shark tank (not interactive), and some really cool solar activities for the kids to check out. Perfect for kids of all ages, the aquarium has something for everyone, is easy to navigate, has a small outdoor snack bar on site, a gift shop, and wonderfully friendly staff. If you’re in the La Jolla/San Diego area, it’s a fun way to spend an overcast day.

*If you’re not from the area, please, PLEASE, make sure to have directions before you head out to La Jolla. No joke, every time we go to La Jolla from the north, we get lost. It’s really not crazy difficult or anything, there are just a few twists and turns that can catch you by surprise.

 

Sexy food: Breakfast pizza

 - by Sarah Lipoff

breakfast pizza

Valentine’s Day is this week and there’s no denying that along with the giving and receiving of hundreds of cheesy and impersonal cards, lots of lovebirds are heading out for special dinners, giving small blingy tokens of appreciation, and trying to figure out last minute ways to show some love. What I find absolutely and  wonderfully sexy is a great homemade breakfast that you can eat in the comfort of your own home (especially now that I’ve got a small thing running amok in the house as early as 6 am). The idea of eating a velvety, luxurious breakfast on a special morning (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Birthday, Christmas, Child’s Birthday, Saturday…) is the perfect way of showing true adoration.

My husband is known to toss together amazing slow-cooked scrambled eggs that melt in your mouth.

Delicious.

And, thus, why he is my husband.

But this Valentine’s Day, I had plans for making a special breakfast that would  fill my sweetheart’s tummy with savory goodness. And the Shine Supper Club’s challenge this month is all about sharing sexy dishes, making this breakfast recipe wonderfully fitting.

Breakfast pizza.

Crisp crust topped with thinly sliced prosciutto, slivers of fresh Parmesan, and topped with soft eggs that spill and run all over the whole shebang. How perfect is that? And you can use store purchased pizza dough, which makes this recipe wonderfully easy for any home chef.

Ingredients

Pizza dough (homemade or store bought)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese

1/8 pound thinly sliced prosciutto

Fresh spinach leaves

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

4 eggs

Fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Preheat your oven to 425F so it’s really hot when you’re ready. Having your oven temperature just right ensures those eggs will set properly on the breakfast pizza.

Lightly grease your pizza pan and then press out the dough to create a nice even thickness. Top with the olive oil, Italian seasoning, and the spinach leaves.

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Now layer on the prosciutto and sprinkle half of the shredded cheeses over the pizza. Carefully crack and add the eggs to the pizza and then toss the rest of the cheese over the eggs.

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Carefully place in the hot oven for 10 to 13-minutes, or until the eggs are just set.

Give the finished pizza a light covering of fresh cracked pepper, slice, and serve alongside fresh strawberries, hot coffee, a big kiss, and you’ve got the perfect sexy breakfast. And the longer you let the pizza sit before cutting, the eggs will set to your liking.

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*Just so you know, this recipe is also wonderfully delicious as a late-night snack…

 

 

We are in the now.

 - by Sarah Lipoff

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We decided long ago that we would take a vacation this week. I prepped by finding the perfect person to hang with our cats (so we wouldn’t be constantly worried about them and not relaxing), I put in extra time last week so most of my work would be done, and I planned our return so we’d have one full day to recoup before revisiting the real world. And then, at the last minute, we put a crazy spin on things by leaving a day early, driving the seven hour trek in the afternoon instead of waking up in the wee hours to make the jaunt.

It was totally worth it.

We got here.

And guess what?

The internet connection sucks.

I found a cafe that I can head to in the early mornings to catch 20-minutes of work while sipping my vacation mocha before the sun gets warm and the beach is calling, but the rest of the hullabaloo is off.

There’s no Twitter.

No Facebook.

NO PINING.

At first my fingers were twitching — I started freaking that there would be something missed, an urgent email let go, a pin that needed instant repining, a TWEET THAT WAS AWESOME, FACEBOOK, EMAIL, TWITTER, AAAAAAHHHHHH!

Whatever.

I’m unplugging for the week.

I think it’s worth it.

See ya later.

The week in review…

 - by Sarah Lipoff

I haven’t posted anything in a week and it’s kind of nice. I love sharing recipes, projects, and musings, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break. Between having a toddler, the holidays, and my parents visiting for the week, there’s been a lot of awesome stuff going on. So instead of telling you all about it, here’s a collection of pictures sharing all our fun….

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Happy holidays!

Kehoe Beach (on Thanksgiving)

 - by Sarah Lipoff

I’d normally be sharing pictures and recipes from my Thanksgiving feast right about now, but this year we are postponing our turkey making until the weekend. Instead we acted like today was just like any other day, which didn’t stop us from being seriously thankful. It turned out to be a glorious day, making a trip to the beach the perfect way to spend the day together as a family. Kehoe Beach is tucked away in West Marin past Olema and through some of the most glorious cow fields I’ve ever seen — and I’m from Wisconsin.

After walking a short trail, flanked by some of those seriously happy cows, you come over a ridge to spectacular stretch of beach that seems endless, and it is also dog friendly. This was the first time we’d taken the tot on a “hike” and she loved every minute of it. We checked out worms on the trail, barnacles on the beach rocks, inspected the various footprints in the sand, and determined the water was way too cold for any swimming…

Happy Thanksgiving — I hope you all had a wonderful day!

(Get ready for turkey pictures on Sunday…)

*And thanks to the husband for the awesome pictures.

Date night FAIL

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Last night the husband and I procured a babysitter, drove off to one of our favorite new spots in the area for dinner and a concert. The tot was happy sitting in front of a movie, our crazy-cool baby-sitter brought over her awesome rescue kitten to visit, and we were ready for a night out. We arrived at the restaurant, ordered drinks and dinner, and tried to decompress.

You know how it goes, right?

We found things to talk about, texted to let our sitter know we had arrived, didn’t freak because she didn’t text us back right away, ate, found something to talk about, texted our sitter again, and finished our drinks.

Did I mention this was the first time we were leaving the tot with anyone other than my parents (who don’t live in the area) at night? Yeah, we’ve left the tot with our sitter during the afternoons before to slip out for a movie or hitting the driving range, but this was a big first for us.

We were a bit nervous and twitchy.

So, after dinner, we headed into the concert. We were a handful of the first let in and secured front row spots, literally standing under where Chris Robinson would be rocking out in less than a half an hour.

I like Chris Robinson.

I got another drink for myself and one for the husband and we were feeling pretty good.

Then we got a text.

Sitter: Oh no there was an explosion and the power went out.

WHAT?

I frantically called the sitter. She was cheerfully trying to find candles, flashlights, matches, anything. I was trying to figure out if the explosion happened IN OUR HOUSE.

Nope. Someone had run into a pole just down the street knocking out power for pretty much all of our area.

We hung up and our neighbor called to see how we were doing. We told him we were out for a date night and asked him to check in on our sitter. He laughed.

I knew we had to leave.

But we held out for a couple more minutes while hoping and hoping the band would start so we could catch ONE song before leaving.

Nope.

As darkness fell upon the land, we headed out and started the commute home that should’ve taken only a few minutes.

After 45-minutes we arrived home to a very dark house streaked with flashlight beams, a laughing tot, and a smiling sitter.

And I went about lighting as many candles in the house as possible. Instead of spending a few hours rocking out 2-feet from Chris Robinson, the husband and I spent the next few hours talking and talking by candle light.

Not a total date night fail after all.