Francis Drake Eyewear


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.


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.


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.


Old new table

I’m a total sucker for stuff on the side of the road. Just a couple of months ago, I found the perfect dresser to finish one of the last house projects I was working on. So, once that was tackled, I really wasn’t eyeing the corners or turning my head looking for random things.

But, once again, at the end of our street, just around the corner, there was something lurking. A peak of curved wood and some rustic texture caught me off guard and I had to pull over.

The problem was my new find was too big to toss in the back. Without shame, I jumped out of the car, yelled to the hubs to sit with the babe, popped the table on the top of my head and trekked it home.

Yes, a couple of my neighbors pointed and laughed, but I didn’t care.

Free table!

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

While we were out doing our Saturday morning errands, I was totally distracted while thinking about that table.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

I’m no expert or anything, but I’ve learned a lot from watching my dad do fun stuff with wood and also from being at the far end of the school building while teaching art, which meant I was usually next to shop class. I’m comfortable using power tools and getting my hands dirty. And I knew that funky, dusty, dried out table was going to be perfect after a bit of love.

Instead of going the painting route, I decided that taking things down to the natural wood and layering on several coats of Minwax Satin Wipe-on Poly would be best. Sure, those colorful ideas were lurking in the back of my mind, but, I had a bit more of a reserved idea for this table. I recently purchased a desk to actually plop a computer on and needed a nice table for the corner to place a wonderfully distracting TV for when I needed a moment to zone out.

Once the table was situated in the yard, I used a medium grit sandpaper (80-120) to work off the really dry areas and any stains and marks while trying to preserve the details. I worked the top, the sides, legs, and base. Yes, this was messy, and there was tons of wood grit floating everywhere, which made working outdoors less of a mess – and less of an inhalation ick.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Then I used a nice, damp rag to dust and wipe away any remaining dust and wood bits and used a fine grit sandpaper (150-180) to finish off any areas still needing a bit of attention. Sure, I could’ve used the power sander while doing this, but I think when working on an item with any details, there’s potential for sanding everything fun away. Sanding can be a bit addicting, so with this project, I felt working by hand would ensure those unique details would remain intact.

Next I popped on some latex gloves and dug my wipe-on poly, and began pouring it on and then using a clean rag to carefully rub and smooth the shellac on the table. Using gloves guarantees your hands won’t smell like a gas station for the rest of the day. And that table was so dried out it sucked up almost the entire 16 ounce container! As soon as I finished with one coat, the top was dry and ready for more!

Now, if you want things to be super high gloss, by all means, keep pouring, rubbing, and layering (or use Gloss Poly) – but after about four rounds, I was pretty happy with how things were looking. The rustic wood was showing through, but there was a nice sheen to the table and no dry or rough spots. All that was left was a cute and clean table with a happy finish ready to be placed in the perfect spot.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

And, I love it.

That’s life

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

These last couple of weeks have had some pretty major ups and downs. I lost a friend, attended his memorial, and offered support and love to his family. While sitting there with my daughter listening to his family and friends share about his life, I couldn’t help from bawling.

It was horrible.

My daughter didn’t get it. My husband kind of got it.

I was bummed.

Every morning I would wake up and say to myself that this would be the day I would be okay. That I wouldn’t catch myself on the verge of tears at some random moment, be tired, overwhelmed, scared shitless…

I lost a friend last year along with a cousin. Both of their deaths caused so much pain and torment. And, during all this I’ve been watching as my daughter is growing and changing and evolving. And, my heart pounds and breaks and then pounds some more.

I have no idea what I would do if something ever happened to her.

But, that’s life. I can’t control what happens around me – just what I’m doing. I can make every day the best day. I can be nice to others, offer support and love when possible, and cherish every special moment around me. I can do my best. I can.

Today was the first day in a long time where I felt a little bit better. That those I’ve lost are still part of my life and can be forever. That I can live and love my loved ones without constantly fearing I might lose them.

Because, that’s life.




Super snacks

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

I’ve got a secret. I’m a Green Bay Packers fan. Yes, some of you already know this, but for the rest of you, this may be a bit of a shock. Yes, I like football. No, I don’t really get into it if the Packers aren’t playing. But, when there is a Packers game on – I’m screaming at the TV just like the rest of ’em. After the big win last week against Da-Beeeeeuhrs, I’m out-of-my-mind excited about the Super Bowl!

And, along with being pumped about watching the Super Bowl, I’m ecstatic about cooking up some goodies to enjoy while watching the game. There’s going to be cheese, cheese, and MORE CHEESE!

Well, maybe I need to cut back on some of that cheese….

I’m always looking for healthy ways to eat nasty foods. If I can put a spin on cupcakes to make them healthy and tasty, I’ll try it. If I find a recipe that says it cuts the calories in chicken parmesan, I’m going to make it.  And, if I can come up with a way to make my Super Bowl snacks heart-healthy, you know I’m going to do it!

My husband’s side of the family hasn’t been so lucky when it comes to matters of the heart. I’m really proud of him for making heart happy lifestyle changes and am always looking for ways to keep our food heart-healthy, too (yes, even snacks for the Super Bowl) because I love him and can’t imagine life without him, or how I would pay the bills – but more so the part about living life without him.

I came across a wonderful collection of ideas for getting heart healthy today from the Motherboard, which also inspired an idea for a tasty and healthy Super Bowl snack! Spiced almonds! Not only are they easy to toss together, you’ll feel great sharing them with your guests knowing you aren’t filling them with fat, fat, fat, and more fat.

(And, yes, I will still be serving cheese, but in smaller amounts than previously planned. I wouldn’t be a good Cheesehead if I didn’t.)

What you need

2-cups whole unsalted almonds

2-teaspoons vinaigrette (your favorite kind is great)

1-teaspoon cumin

1/2-teaspoon salt

1/2-teaspoon sugar

1/4-teaspoon paprika

1/4-teaspoon garlic powder

Dash of pepper

What you do

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss the almonds in your vinaigrette in a mixing bowl making sure they are evenly coated. I like using an Italian or a garlic based vinaigrette (yum) but you can use olive or veggie oil, too. Not only are almonds packed with protein, they are full of fancy-shmancy things (beta-sisterol stigmasterol and campesterol), which are really heart-healthy!

Add all the spices to the almonds and stir. These spices will coat those almonds with all their tastiness, and are also a great way to keep your heart happy, too! And, hey, if you really like rosemary, toss 1/4-teaspoon in – or if you want super-spicy almonds, sprinkle in some cayenne. You can tailor the flavor any way you like it!

Cover a sheet tray with parchment paper and evenly distribute those almonds.

Put the whole shebang in the oven and gently stir occasionally until those almonds are all toasty brown – about 20 minutes. And, while those happy almonds are toasting, your house is going to smell amazing!

Let them cool before eating – you don’t want to burn the top of your mouth!

Happy Super Bowl!

(Go Packers!)

Meditation and stuff

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

The other day I wrote an educational article about meditation, memory and the young developing mind, which got me thinking about meditation in general. I totally admit to not buying into the whole “pondering” thing, but have never tried meditating myself. I just don’t really have the time to sit in a quiet corner to chant and ring a bell for a couple of hours.

Yes, as you can see, I’m totally uneducated.

I love yoga, have spent my wad on acupuncture (when trying to get pregnant), and eat pretty healthy. But, the whole chanting-breathing thing just doesn’t bring to mind relaxation, memory building, or weight-loss assistance. It makes me think of feeling silly and time that could have been spent baking cake.

I do love cake.

So, imagine my surprise when I found some pretty positive research linking meditation with building healthy memory. I don’t know about you, but the idea of not remembering things scares the bejesus out of me. I have a hard enough time getting through the grocery store without a list. I would hate to miss out on memories of my child growing up later in life.

I totally can’t remember half of the 90’s (ugh).

One study I stumbled across suggested that spending 12 minutes daily practicing Kirtan Kriya meditation aided in promoting healthy brain function and building memory development. 12 minutes daily. Maybe it’s time I got over my silliness and spent some time meditating.

I think I can do that, right?

After picking a meditation spot (I put a pillow in the bathroom – yes, the bathroom. It’s quiet and I can shut – and lock – the door), getting all comfy-cozy, and setting a nice chiming timer for 12 minutes, I started following the directions for the meditation pose. Yup, I felt pretty foolish at first, but then, I started getting into it. I tried chanting out loud, silently, and then quietly. And, before I knew it, I was feeling pretty good.

In fact, really darn good! Then the chimer chimed, and I set off on my day.

I’m already looking forward to meditating tomorrow…

*And, yes, that is me meditating (I took the pic while finishing my morning chant). My husband thinks I look like I should be in a Sudafed commercial.

The noisy child toy

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

I have spent most of the day in a daze. This isn’t really a new thing – with a wee tot, a snoring husband, and a mourning cat, there are lots of things happening in the dark hours of the night at my house. But, last night was extra-special. Last night I was awakened in the early hours of the morning by an interesting noise.

This wasn’t a noise that caused alarm or made me reach over to grab at the hubs attempting to wake him to fight in valor whatever had made its way into the house. Nope. This was a noise that was familiar – but I just couldn’t place it.

I snuggled back down and hoped it was a crazy fluke or something, And, then, there it was again. I turned to check the turned-to-the-wall clock (remember those sleeping tips?) and saw a big red 4:30. In the process of moving about, the husband awoke just in time to hear the odd little noise again.

It was one of our daughter’s toys. It was one of her toys that makes noise that she loves and the batteries were dying causing it to make this adorable ding-a-ling noise that was ding-a-linging at 4:30 am in the morning.

I tip-toed upstairs, grabbed the thing and shoved it deep in the couch under the pillows.

Once happily cocooned within the bedding next to the already snoring husband, I heard the noise again, but now it was LOUDER. Somehow those pillows had caused that little toy’s noise to amplify.

I was not happy.

While lying in the bed trying to figure out if I should just cover my head with a pillow and get over it, it la-la-laaahd again and about 1,000 of my already fading brain cells shorted out.

I made my way upstairs again and quickly tried to figure out what to do with the beloved toy short of throwing it out the front door and smashing it to bits (because it is one of my daughter’s FAVORITE toys).

So, I put it in the fridge.

It’s still in there.

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.

So, today is my birthday and I’m officially 35. It’s just a number and honestly, the excitement of birthdays has long past. This year my parents have flown out to spend some time with me (well, really their granddaughter) and enjoy some California countryside. I’m not going to say sunny California weather, because in a crazy twist, it’s warmer in Wisconsin than California this week.

For some reason, whenever I think of my birthday and various parties celebrating the special day, I remember crying. There was my first birthday sleepover party where someone said something which made me cry. One year, in my twenties, I had too much to drink and things turned into a screaming match, ending with crying. I think last year I cried just because I felt like it.

It’s not a bad thing, really. Crying is healthy and I think people should do it more often. I didn’t cry for years because I was worried it would make me seem “weak” or too “womanly.” Crying isn’t always a bad thing. I cry over happy things, too. I sometimes cry over commercials (yes, I admit it).

Silly me.

This year on my birthday as we watch my daughter run about, enjoy a tasty dinner and have a glass or two of wine, I’m not planning on crying, but if I do, it’s okay by me. It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.

Mother’s Day

On this special day celebrating mamas everywhere, I sit here and think about my adventure thus far as a mother. I wasn’t sure IF I was going to be a mama, as getting pregnant took us a long (LONG) three years. During that time I questioned if being a mom was the right thing for me, if my body was trying to tell me something or if I should just enjoy the life I had sans children.

Then, I got pregnant. Everything changed.

My days are full of my child. She really wouldn’t have it any other way. My life is completely different. No longer can I sleep in until 9 am on Sunday mornings, having one too many drinks isn’t a possibility (because you never know if a late night trip to the emergency room might be necessary) and owning anything white is impossible. There are some sacrifices with motherhood, but they are all worth it.

So, on this Mother’s Day when my husband asked me what I wanted in celebration of “me,” I told him another fantastic day. Because, in my world, every day is Mother’s Day.

I did ask for some chocolate, too.

A short tirade with chutzpah

I get caught up with others and how they behave. I’m not talking celebrities, just normal people out in the real world hanging out. The fun mom encouraging her kids to crawl all over the public fountain downtown not caring what anyone thinks. The cool high school girl singing at the top of her lungs to whatever she’s listening to while walking on the sidewalk.

Sometimes I wish I could trade places with them for just a moment, and take some of their chutzpah with me when I come back.

So often I stop myself from doing this because of that, or make up an asinine reason why I can’t go or can’t do something. Deep down I’m wondering WHY I am afraid and WHY I’m not doing what I really want to do.

I’ve decided it is never too late to change your wicked ways. I’m going to take action and start doing the things I shy away from. I’m going to step up to the plate and try new things and not worry about the consequences (I’m not talking death-defying or hurtful situations here people). It’s time to get out there and have a good time.

Maybe you should, too. Let’s all stop and smell the roses. They are quite fragrantly beautiful this time of year.

How can you NOT like Neil Diamond?

The other night while watching the opening day of baseball season, I uttered words that had never passed my lips. Words, I will admit, I never ever thought I would say.

How can you NOT like Neil Diamond?

I was in the kitchen when it happened. While cooking our dinner, the song just wafted into the kitchen. It tickled my ears and tempted my mouth. Before I knew what I was doing, the words to “Sweet Caroline,” had been sung. The whole song. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I did it. I had sung along with Neil Diamond as he belted out “Sweet Caroline.”

In high school, I was too busy singing along with the Violent Femmes, The Cure, and Depeche Mode to get caught up with Neil Diamond. Anyway, he was WAY before my time – really! In college, underground radio was the thing with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Radiohead ruling my world. Neil Diamond didn’t have a chance.

So, as a semi-adult, my music tastes have adjusted, and with a baby along for the ride, I have had to cut back on some of my listening choices (and only blare them while alone in the car). But, I never thought I’d see the day when I would admit, Neil Diamond doesn’t suck.

It’s not like throngs of admiring fans are filled with the giddy desire to loudly sing along with Massive Attack during a sell-out concert.

You’ve got to hand it to Neil Diamond.