Sarah Post

Alzheimer’s, 23&Me, & The Commercial That Came To Be

January 30, 2018

*Disclaimer… I am not a doctor nor a medical professional nor do I speak on behalf of any company or person other than myself. The following is just my personal experience and feelings.

Back in 2012 my husband bought us both kits from 23&Me as a part of our Christmas present. In case you don’t know much about 23&Me, they are a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company that is named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell, and they provide saliva-based direct-to-consumer genetic testing. We were super excited to get our results, not only learn more about ourselves on a genetic level, but also to participate in the future of crowd sourcing DNA information in the hope it would help scientists and the medical community better understand genetic traits and diseases and, ideally, to find cures.

I was particularly excited that 23&Me tested for two variants of Parkinson’s disease, and one variant of late onset Alzheimer’s disease, as both diseases were present in my family and had caused so much grief and heartache. It was honestly odd to me that the 23&Me website had to provide the prompt “Do you wanna know?” before releasing your results for each disease, because in my mind, how could you NOT want to know???

Turns out, TONS of people don’t want to know. But as someone who has watched these diseases devour my loved ones, there was no way I was missing out on a chance to find out my possible risks.

When I was finishing up high school, my Grandfather and Grandmother came to live with us because my Grandpa was suffering from Parkinson’s. He was too much for my Grandma to handle alone, and they hated the idea of assisted living. I still remember clearing out the hundreds of newspapers from my Grandpa’s garage in Central Park, WA, packing up their whole lives into boxes and cars, and still not fully grasping that I would never do kart wheels in their field again or sneak Snicker’s bars from their kitchen drawers.

I had spent so many wonderful childhood weekends out at that house with the two of them. Like clockwork, on the first night of my arrival my Grandpa would “surprise” me with my favorite meal as a kid; KFC drumsticks, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits, and my Grandma’s home made corn on the cob. It was heaven. The three of us and our TV trays, comfortably placed in the living room, Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy chirping in the background.

They taught me how to play Gin Rummy, took me to the movies (I will never forget the time my Grandma offered to do a DOUBLE MATINEE with me, so extra) and always made Eggo’s for breakfast with my Grandma’s famous twist (which literally meant she stuck them in the microwave for 10secs after toasting, but she swore this made all the difference in the world). They always made me feel so loved, and special, and I truly cherished the time I spent out there with them.

In stark contrast to those joyful memories, the time they ended up spending out at our home in Gladstone, OR turned out to be much more difficult.

At first, I thought it would be wonderful, and it kind of was. My family had moved to Oregon when I was going into 8th grade, it was a very difficult transition for me, and I really missed seeing my friends and Grandparents. Having them back around seemed like an answered prayer going into my senior year, but none of us was prepared for how fast the Parkinson’s was going to take over.

Thinking about that final year is still hard for me, I tear up even now. I watched a man that I felt deeply connected to, the patriarch of our family, forget where he was, sometimes forget who we were, and suffer through delusions and physical pain. I still vividly remember one day coming home from school, heading downstairs to what was formerly the spare bath, bedroom and second living room, to what had been converted to the “Grandparent’s floor”. I could tell my Grandpa was in a daze, so I sat down by his feet and asked where he was. “I have to fix the manhole covers.” He mumbled. He said a few other things, mainly jibberish and I realized that he thought he was working construction or road maintenance. “Oh, the manhole cover… Yes! We should fix it! I can help you!” And I continued to play along, talking as if we were two workers with a task at hand. He would tell me what needed to be done, and I would respond with how I was going to work on it or fix it. I’m not sure how much time passed, but suddenly in our game of pretend I saw the bewildered look on his face, confusion, and then he looked into my eyes and big smile appeared. He knew who I was again, and we were no longer worried about made up man hole covers. I didn’t know how long it would last so I hugged him tightly and told him I loved him.

I was at home with my aunt the night he died, and got the gift of holding him in my arms one last time. After I accepted what had transpired and said my final goodbye, I called my friends and went bowling. I just had to get out of the house. Out of that moment. I was so thankful he was no longer in pain. I was so devastated to lose him.

There were so many hard things about that time, but most of it stemmed from having to learn about the disease as it was already happening. We just weren’t prepared. My Dad, Mom, Grandma and myself (all living in the house together) went through our own personal anger, fear, and sadness with watching Parkinson’s. Not to mention the great financial strain that comes with trying to battle these types of diseases at home, with hospice care and nurses visits. I wouldn’t wish that crash course of how to endure on anyone.

Beyond the pain, I’m so proud of my family for banding together, and deciding that no matter how hard it was, we were going to honor my Grandpa’s request to stay home, with his family, and we made every moment as positive as we could.

After he passed, my Grandma decided she needed to leave our house and try assisted living. We all understood. After all, they had been married for over 55 years and I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to have to wake up every morning in the room where your beloved had left this life.

I remember a visit to my Grandma at her new “apartment” (it might have been the only time I went) where we all tried to point out how wonderful her new place was. It didn’t matter what we said though, she hated it there. “Ice Cream Social starts in 15 minutes! Come on down!” Came screeching out of the PA system in her room. She looked at me blankly, “I wish I could turn that damn thing off. And no, I don’t want any ice cream!” It wasn’t long before she was back at our house.

By this point I was starting college in downtown Portland and moving into my own apartment so having some distance from this second-time-around-move-in was appreciated. I would visit my parents and Grandma often, but quickly she started to show signs of dementia, and I knew this time, at least vaguely, where things were headed.

At first she would tell me about a little girl that was stealing her jewelry. Then my mom started finding that my Grandma was hiding her necklaces in different shirt pockets in her closet and forgetting that she’d done it, thus the mystery thief. She would get agitated, angry, her appetite started diminishing, and I was honestly pissed off that this was happening to our family again. Couldn’t she be spared? Hadn’t we all been through enough?

As things for my Grandma started to get worse, I was heading into new territory in my life, falling in love with a guy (my now husband) and was dropping out of Portland State and moving with him to California. I was so excited for this new chapter, but also extremely sad and worried to be leaving my family. I made sure to get home as much as I could, but it was clearer and clearer each time that my Grandma was hurting and wanting to give in, give up.

One of the last times I saw her, she was laying in bed, in the same room as my Grandpa, and it all felt eerily like saying goodbye to him again. We knew at that point she had Alzheimer’s and I didn’t know if she would recognize me. Instead, she absolutely knew who I was and that I was in love, and then as if a twisted gift from the universe was being given to me, she started talking about my wedding. I was not even engaged at this point, but in her mind, I’d had the most beautiful wedding and she had been there. I jumped right in and confirmed the joyous event. We talked about my dress, and how we had danced, and I choked back tears as she wished me as many years with my husband as she’d had with hers.

Back in California and back at work, I got the call from my parents that she had passed. And I was again so thankful that she was no longer in pain. And I was again so devastated at this loss.

When my 23&Me test results came back and I saw those online prompts “Do you want to know” there was no question in my mind. YES.

Not having information, not having a chance to prepare, is what makes me feel powerless. Being a teenager and trying to navigate that unknown road of detrimental disease was terrifying. I wanted so badly to help, and I didn’t know how to.

I look at opportunities like 23&Me as a way to put yourself in a more powerful position, a position of knowledge. With knowledge you can plan, you can prepare, you can invest in things that might help you later on. But if you don’t know what fight you’re going to be in, what can you really do?

The first result box I opened was for Parkinson’s, and I felt a wave of relief when it showed negative. The second box, for late onset Alzheimer’s disease did not provide the same comfort. I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t overwhelmed. The positive check just kind of ran right through me. If anything, I was relieved to know.

Testing positive doesn’t mean that Alzheimer’s will happen to me, it just means it’s a possibility in my body. Like a switch that may get turned on, but could also remain permanently off. Regardless, I know my silent enemy now and am doing all I can to build up my defenses.

My first step was sharing my results with my family. Next, I started looking into what I could do to better prepare my brain. I joined Lumosity for brain games, I make an extra effort to journal, meditate, and try to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. My husband and I both try to stay up to date on Alzheimer’s news and donate to organizations that not only search for a cure but also help families that are currently dealing with the disease, like Hilarity For Charity.

I have a great sense of peace knowing that my family and myself are all in the know should this ever take over my body and brain. We’re all just one more step ahead of the game, and I cannot stress how much better that is than to be behind it.

When 23&Me reached out to me after my results came back in 2013 to ask me how I felt about it, I was completely open to it. I wanted so badly for anyone to understand that knowing was so much more powerful than not knowing, to not be scared by this information but to instead look at this as an opportunity to help yourself. So we started with a phone call, that turned into a skype interview, which turned into them asking if I’d do a small unpaid testimonial for the website. I said yes right away.

Before anything became of it, the FDA basically shut 23&Me down, saying they could no longer provide information about diseases, and the convo between myself and 23&Me ended…. Until 2017.

The FDA eventually granted their approval and 23&Me reached back out to me, wanting to know if I’d still share my story. I again said yes and we began talking about doing the online testimonial. I honestly thought that I’d be driving somewhere into downtown Los Angeles to sit in front of a green screen and say something like “I might lose my mind!” with a smile and positive attitude. I was wrong.

When they told me about the new “stories” section of the website, I somehow still thought I’d be blended in with other people. Then they told me they’d be sending out a documentary film crew from New York to film me, my husband, and my dog for 2 full days and I knew that I was underestimating the whole thing. Even then though, I thought only the people I shared it with on Facebook and a few random internet strangers would ever see me & my “story”.

The weekend the film crew arrived at my house I still didn’t totally know what to expect. We were so thankful that the entire crew were such nice and wonderful people, and they made me feel very included in the process along the way.

Sitting in my dining room that had been transformed into a filming area, I cried multiple times trying to talk about the loss of my grandparents. The more I tried to say what had happened, the more it brought up vivid memories, the more it reminded me of the pain and why I was doing this. I genuinely don’t want any person to be surprised by Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease ever again. Not EVER. After one shoot, I wiped the tears from my eyes and asked for a short break, only to see my cool NY crew tearing up too. My 23&Me touch person came out from my kitchen and gave me a huge hug, told me I was doing great and that everyone at headquarters was so pleased with what I was bringing to the table. It took me a minute to understand what that meant, because I never thought anyone else was watching, but there was in fact, a conference room full of people just wanting to make sure I said what needed to be said in accordance to the FDA and corporate guidelines. While our director did remind me at various times to say “Parkinson’s disease” instead of just “Parkinson’s” everything else was just on the fly, it was what was in my head and in my heart. There was never a script, never a plan of how the shoots were going to go, just me sharing, and them asking a few questions.

By the end of the weekend I was emotionally drained and happy it was over, but was also overjoyed to have been apart of it. I hoped that maybe one person who got the same results that I got would see my testimonial and realize that its better to know now than to be caught off guard later on. As the crew headed back to NY there was some small mention that “maybe it’ll even become a commercial” but I just thought everyone was being nice to me.

A month or two passed and my story never made it online. I finally reached out to my 23&Me touch person, assuming that they chose not to use my story, and asked if I could have some of the images or footage sent to me to show my parents. I got a response back including my 4 minute online clip saying that they were sorry for the delay but that the BBC had seen my segment, liked it, and turned it into a commercial. I was honestly stunned. But still, I thought, nobody I know is gonna see it on the BBC.

Then, as my husband and I headed home to Oregon for the holidays this past Christmas I got another email. The clip had been turned into 3 commercials and would be playing nation wide for about two weeks starting January 1st. I was again stunned, but figured it would be on obscure channels at odd times.

We got back home just in time for New Years and on New Year’s Day I got a call from my mother-in-law saying her and her friends just saw me on ESPN during halftime of the bowl game. I instantly felt so seen. It was bizarre and strange. Then the messages started pouring in. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. People were asking if I was going into acting, if I was making bank off of the add, I didn’t even think that would be something I’d have to answer to.

The commercials ended up being two 30 and one 60 second edited clips of me essentially doing Pilates flips, running on the beach, and telling people to “live their best lives”, which to be honest, is my actual life. But I was instantly aware at how many people must be seeing that thinking that its all completely contrived and staged. I also went through the downward spiral of “Why didn’t I have someone do my hair? My makeup!?!” and “Why didn’t I work out more before they came to film???” Total internal shaming and judgement.

It went from this want of sharing the importance of discovering your possible genetic diseases, to feeling like I needed to shout from the rooftops that I wasn’t a paid actor. I got some anxiety over the whole thing, but kept reminding myself why I did it in the first place.

I’m not by any means trying to imply that I’m famous, nobody is approaching me asking if I’m “that girl from the commercial”, but it was still really weird to have people I haven’t spoken to since childhood hitting me up because they saw me while they were watching Hulu. Or hearing from our friends in Singapore, who sent me a video of them and their friends catching it during a game. When I caught the commercial myself on Bravo, I was officially in surreal land.

Maybe you saw it, maybe you didn’t. Maybe it’s still playing, maybe its done. All I know is that I’m still thankful I did it, and I’m still thankful I didn’t get paid.

Almost everyone I know has a hard time with that last part. “You should be getting something!” Is all I regularly hear. And hey, if it pops up during the Super Bowl, maybe I’ll ask 23&Me to take me out for a steak dinner. But the truth is, I signed on in the first place because I wasn’t getting paid, and because I never wanted to profit off of telling the heartbreaking story about my grandparents, or off of my family’s shared pain. I just wanted to help other people in my similar situation find support. And I really hope that in any small way, I was able to accomplish that.

This whole experience was so wonderful and so challenging and taught me some good personal lessons. More than anything it has cemented for me that as a person, I always want to be enlightened, I never want to hide in the dark. Information is so powerful, and I will continue to seek it out and use it to help me better navigate this life.

In the end, maybe I’ll get Alzheimer’s, maybe I won’t. But if it does come knocking at my door, I won’t be surprised, I’ll be as ready for this unwanted guest as I can possibly be. And that makes me feel like I’ve already put a chink in Alzheimer’s armor, disabled its element of surprise. And if I can do that now, who knows how else I’ll be able to disarm it down the road.

Thank you for reading, and if you’d like to see my whole 23&Me story on this topic, you can watch it here.

XX – Sarah

Kristina Post

One Month Vacation – MAUI

December 5, 2017

October 2017 was the happiest and most beautiful month of my life. We spent exactly 29 days on the island of Maui and here is the story of how this magical trip came to be and what we found out about ourselves while we were there.

Flash back to 2015, around our eight year anniversary we started a conversation about wanting to go on an extended vacation for our ten year anniversary. Thinking ahead to being married for ten whole years felt like quite the accomplishment and we wanted to go on an adventure together to celebrate. Where to go was the next big question! We talked New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Italy. Maui wasn’t even on the list as we started to tuck away funds whenever possible. We made saving a priority and kept our options open. We took no trips in the meantime as we had a large goal worth waiting for.

As our little vacation fund grew, we talked more in depth about what we wanted and our ideal way to celebrate. We wanted a quick flight, warm beaches and most of all a place that was special to us. Our first vacation as a couple was actually to Maui for seven days back in 2011. This place quickly captured our hearts was definitely worth an extended stay.

Logistics can be somewhat daunting when preparing to leave for a month. Who will take care of our pets? Will clients be upset by my absence? Where should we stay? What kind of car should we rent? The list goes on! Leading up to our departure, we slowly checked things off our list. We did have two years to make it all happen and I honestly think it was the perfect amount of time prepare and anticipate this trip to paradise. We gave everyone in our circles advance notice and eagerly awaited take off!

Before we knew it we were on a plane and landing in Kahului airport, smelling plumeria from the gentle breezes and anxiously awaiting to jump in those feel good ocean waves. As a photographer by profession, I am actually surprised when I go back through the photos from this trip. Although few in number (the surprising part) they represent some of my most gratitude filled moments. I do have hundreds of cell phone pics which are all special too, but these were the moments I brought my fancy camera out and wanted to keep forever.

Below you’ll see images of a hibiscus flower, cows and big swells. The flower shown was right outside of the condo we rented. We walked or ran the beach every morning and every evening, passing by these sweet florals on our route to the ocean. Waking up with the waves and waving aloha to the sun provided us a sweet routine filled new colors, reflection and lots of hand holding. The incredible turquoise waves shown below were some of the biggest swells I’ve ever seen in person. Ho’okipa Beach Park made for an entire day of sitting and watching in wide eyed awe. The surfers weren’t even out that day because the waters were too dangerous! As we walked back to our car that night there was a large field at the edge of a cliff filled with happy, sunset grazing cows. They are living the life I tell you.

Keep scrolling down to a grainy, brown and white image with neon blue squiggles. This particular evening we were walking the beach at dusk and Jared pointed out tiny blue lights in the sea. The ocean was literally glittering and we could barely contain ourselves. Jared mentioned he has seen a news article about Noctiluca scintillans, commonly known as the sea sparkle, which are a free-living, nonparasitic, marine-dwelling species of dinoflagellate that exhibits bioluminescence when disturbed (popularly known as mareel). As we watched the waves gentle crash, they would light up and glow! It was the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced. The photo doesn’t even do it justice but I love the memory that it holds. Just imagine a sea of blue sparkles. I snapped a quick photo of a few of them and then went back to taking it all in. The stars were also out in full force that night and we laid down in the sand and watched shooting stars dance across the sky. I’m telling you this night is illuminated in my memory and I felt more connected to myself, Jared and my environment than ever before.

The next two images I’ll title, Fresh Fruit and Freckles. Maui is an endless garden of all tropical fruits, smoothies, coconut water and vitamin D. We found ourselves taking full advantage of local fruit stands, even driving random neighborhoods to find which vendor had the best passion fruit, star fruit and honey tangerines. I don’t ever remember loving star fruit as much as I do now, but I just couldn’t get enough of it! When trying to decide what smoothie to order, I had a local woman gently remind to not rush my choice as we were on island time. Pace is just a lot slower over on the Hawaiian Islands and life centers around good company, good fun and the beach. Jared especially embraced the island lifestyle and thanks to his special tanning abilities, he even got “local” discounts for looking the part. As you can see by his sweet expression, this trip was EXACTLY what each of us needed.

Two towns we fell in love with were Pāʻia and Makawao. Sweet north shore beach towns who offered quaint shops, warm people and awesome food! We even took a surf lesson from Pome based in Pāʻia and became instant friends with the owners, Walle and Becky. We met them for Indian Food one evening and had a night filled with Maui life conversation, parenthood and entrepreneur stories. They have the most adorable two year-old little boy name Kai, who also joined in the fun! Our budding friendship is one I know will pick up right where we left off next trip around. I miss these three dearly and was so thankful for their instant kindness and hospitality.

Ahh, the geckos. I’m obsessed with these little guys. They are everywhere if you know where to look. Their colors range from dull and camouflage to neon and rainbow like. I put my hand gently in front of the tiniest baby and he jumped right onto my hand! I stood there in awe of it’s little thin fingers and sweet disposition! I’m not sure why I felt so connected to these little creatures but I squealed with excitement every time I saw one. Call me crazy, but I might be part lizard. Always wanting to find that sunny spot.

Thanks for indulging my photo trip down memory lane and allowing me to share with you some of the highlights from our trip. Jared and I feel only extreme gratitude for this experience together. We set a goal, worked really, REALLY, hard over two years to make it happen and got a window into daily life on Maui. In 2018 I’ll be prioritizing a little slower pace of life as we both realized how important it is to slow down, take time to soak up our surroundings and cherish the foundation we’ve built together.

Here are a few travel tips just incase you find yourself in Maui soon!

Must Eats: Mamas Fish House, Star Noodle, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, Island Fresh Café, Ono Gelato, Farmers Market Maui

Must Stay: VRBO or Airbnb: Seriously, SHOP around! We found a great deal on a condo and she even gave us a discount for an extended stay!

Must Shop: Mele Ukulele, Pome, Driftwood Lifestyle Boutique *We bought a Ukulele (pronounced “oo koo lay lay” I learned I’ve been saying it wrong my whole life. Knowing is half the fun!) and Jared has been strumming on it since! We bought some awesome gifts at Pome and I treated myself to some local artist jewelry at Driftwood. Love these shops!

Must Visit: Ho’okipa Beach Park, Pools of ‘Ohe’o (aka Seven Sacred Pools), Haleakalā National Park Hawai’i

Sarah Post

It Takes Time To Bake A Cake

October 19, 2017

So we’ve been away from the blog for awhile. ….Ok, like, over a year awhile…

But here’s what happened.

Our website got highjacked and random content and comments were being dropped in, and we didn’t know how to fix it. Then Kristina’s husband came to our technically challenged rescue and brought back our beloved blog. But at this point, Kristina was in her most productive and inspiring work year as a photographer, and I was, well, bouncing around… traveling with my husband, teaching Pilates, trying to find the “right” time to write.

We would call each other every week (as we always do) and express how much we couldn’t wait to get the blog back up and running, but somehow we couldn’t remember how to run anymore. Or we were distracted. Or we were nervous.

When things with our website went south we had left off in a place we never really thought we’d be: where people were reading what we wrote. And not just our dear aunts, friends, and other family. People we had never known, asking us questions about periods, IUDs, and Infertility. We felt responsibility. We didn’t want to come back with something less than inspiring, but felt mind blocked at what that amazing topic to write about would be. And I think that’s when insecurity set in (at least for me). Suddenly, we just didn’t know what to say. And when time came passing (as it always does) we got more and more comfortable with not doing anything, and more and more nervous about what our first “welcome back” article would be. Would anyone really care if we ever wrote again? Probably not. Would we care if we ever wrote again? Probably, yes.

And then, as if fate had designed it, we both had trips planned, to different places, but at the same time. And we both said “I’ll write on this trip.” But we didn’t know what about, or how we would get our stride back. But in my time away with spotty WiFi, and not being able to talk to Kristina in the first time in a long time, I suddenly remembered why we were doing this.

We started this not to be “noticed” but simply to share our stories. We just wanted to create a space to share the things that interested and impacted us. To have a project together, because we miss each other, because we’ve been best friends for 25+ years and in that time we’ve collected moments we know others can relate to. Because we are just as lost in the world as anyone else and wouldn’t it be nice to have a safe place to share? Silly things, important things… anything. Just to share.

We decided to call this blog ‘Cake On The Floor’ (*because Strawberries & Blonde was taken) because there was a time in our young past where we were doing just that; sharing cake and stories on a kitchen floor…

Aberdeen will always be my Home. A large part of me will always identify with it, with where I grew up, and with being a Washingtonian. Moving from my small town was a gift and a curse. I was so excited to get out, to see the city of Portland, where my family moved (to the suburbs at least) when I was just about to go into High School, but I was also devastated, broken, to leave the only group of friends I had ever known. In particular, Kristina.

From the moment we met, being mutually babysat at our friend Kelly’s house, we were pretty inseparable. Two curious and precocious 5 year olds who just knew we needed to march to the beat of our own drum. We invented games together, created our own radio show (that we recorded onto cassette tapes), started multiple small business (door-to-door flower sales, door-to-door hand made art sales, door-to-door you name it we tried it sales), wrote viola and saxophone duets when we got into band and orchestra (yes, they were terrible), and attempted to rid the entire town of littered trash in one afternoon because there had been a very motivating Earth Day speech given at school that day (we ended up falling into a metal grate and getting wounded, but we did collect a lot of trash). And this was all just in grade school. During these crazy fun, fantasy fulled childhood years, Kristina and I got so accustomed to going to and being at eachother’s houses, our parents practically stopped asking where we were going or what we were doing. We always craved independence and liked doing as much for ourselves as we could, so our parent’s allowance to let us “be” was always appreciated.

One night when we were about 10 years old, Kristina was sleeping over and we had been up for endless hours talking about everything we could possibly think of, which was what we usually did. We had been up for so long that our stomachs started growling, so we snuck into the kitchen for a midnight snack. There wasn’t much in the fridge, so I started to rummage through my mom’s cupboards. As I came upon a box of cake mix, we got wide sly grins simultaneously and, as if instantly, the oven was on. We felt like such rebels as we baked; everyone, the whole world asleep, but the two of us still up and full of life, and baking a cake no less. Was it confetti cake or yellow cake with chocolate frosting? Now, I can’t remember. But I do remember us tossing our tired bodies onto the kitchen floor once it was done, and bringing the cake with us. We sat and ate, shared more stories, and laughed at our bakery on the floor.

Fast forward a few years and that kitchen, with everything from my Mother’s cupboards, was packed up and heading to Oregon along with the rest of my life. I moved in with Kristina for almost two weeks after my parents left, so that I could finish out my 8th grade basketball season as captain of my team, and also to suck the marrow out of every moment I could with the peers I truly loved.

In untraditional Aberdeen fashion, it snowed the day I had to leave Kristina. We stood on her Dad’s deck shouting at the flakes in the wind “It’s a SIGN! A SIGN!!!” We knew everything was wrong. “You’re not supposed to leave. ITS SNOWING.” Kristina said into my eyes. And somewhere in the back of my mind I thought “No. I’m just so sad I made the town feel it. I made it snow. My broken heart made it snow.” I didn’t know how to leave. I still don’t.

We dedicated ourselves to writing letters, saving up for long distance phone cards (because that was still a thing) and once I got my drivers license, I spent many weekends driving up for Bobcat football games on Fridays and making it home for my new friends, my new life, by Monday.

I struggled with separating from the pack I had created, and who had created so much of me, and especially from my best friend, who always gave me a safe space to fall, who knew everything about me, every secret, and always kept it.

So once Kristina got her license too, the freeway didn’t know what hit it. Me to her, her to me, swapping stories about what was going on in each of our new lives while trying not to lose our past. It was as if everything was happening, because it was; we were teenage girls becoming ourselves, finding out and building who we were. Somewhere in all of this, on a trip Kristina made to see me, we got it in our minds to bake a cake again, just like we used to in Aberdeen.

She got in late, and we were starving (as teenage girls are) but nothing sounded good and Kristina had some fresh stories to tell me about our friends back home, so we needed to come up with something to satiate our literal appetites while Kristina would feed our appetite for information. There was no waiting for tomorrow. Like history repeating, I rummaged through the cupboards and finally fell upon and pulled out a confetti cake mix, found a can of frosting, and held it out as a hopeful possibility. We cracked those same wide, sly grins and began baking. Stories swirled around my mother’s kitchen, and by the time we had it in the oven we were getting tired and decided to just lay on the kitchen floor, keep talking, and wait.

Once the cake was baked we didn’t bother with plates or tables. The floor had once again become a conference room just for us. The whole world seemed asleep, but we were energized, so much to share, so much to say. So we tossed it on the floor where we sat/laid, and laughed, and maybe cried, about all the things going on in our lives, and yes, we ate cake.

We always thought we’d go to college together, but no. That we would end up neighbors, but no. That we would at least live in the same state, but no. And so the drives turned into plane flights the farther and father we eventually moved from one another, but somehow, “we” didn’t change.

We committed a long time ago to being best friends. We took it seriously. And there are few relationships I could ever say even hold a candle to my dedication to her. I just want to share my stories with her. And I miss her, all the time. Having a friend that has never let you down is a rarity. And don’t get me wrong, its not that we didn’t have disagreements (over boys, over changing ideals, over life in general) but we knew who the other one was, and no matter the issue, we committed to solving it. She has taught me so much about patience, persistence, kindness, and most of all, about myself.

As adults, realizing that we might not ever be as close in physical proximity as we were in Aberdeen, we just needed something. And so we got it our minds to start a blog. For truly no other reason than to remember our own stories and have something to share with one another… and we hoped, that maybe what we shared would matter to someone else too.

So here we are, back on the floor, with a piece of cake, ready to share.

For those of you that have continued to check in on us (the blog that is) during our hiatus, we are so flattered and thankful and hope that what we continue to produce connects with you, and by all means, please share/connect with us too. For those of you reading this (us) for the first time, WELCOME and thank you. We continue to hope that this space will provide a place to communicate about light things, and maybe not so light things, and really just about all the things that make up our lives, make up who we are, make up our friendship.

Cake can take awhile to bake, and we definitely took our time.

So again, THANK YOU for your patience, and we hope you enjoy each future slice of Cake On The Floor with us. We’re so excited to be back to share with you.
XX – Sarah (& Kristina)

Kristina Post

The Family Path

April 14, 2016

I dedicate this post to anyone who has gone through this. Past, present or future.

Infertility sucks.

About five years ago, Jared and I decided we were ready. Let’s have a baby! What an exciting decision and the thoughts of a little one with brown hair, freckles, and blueish-green eyes filled my thoughts. As the months went on I kept getting my monthly cycle. We all can agree periods are a bummer. Not only do they cause cramps, bleeding, acne, swollen or tender breasts, tired feelings, trouble sleeping, upset stomach, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, headache, backache, appetite changes or food cravings, and joint or muscle pain, but my personal favorite “You’re Not Pregnant” is the main thing that crosses my mind when I get my monthly cycle.

A period is a big red flag you’re not pregnant and for those women who want to be, it’s basically insult to injury. Oh you wanted a baby instead of bleeding for seven days? Well, better luck next time. Month after month, year after year…this is how I feel getting my period each month. Pregnancy symptoms are the same as period symptoms and as an incredibly optimistic person (and constantly changing cycle), I always think THIS IS THE MONTH. I’m totally pregnant. My boobs hurt, I’m tired, and my belly is bloated. I take a pregnancy test and then I set my iPhone timer and come back into the bathroom to find that same sad one line. I usually just stare at it and imagine what it would be like to have two lines. I mean I’ve had so many friends experience it and I know of so many people who weren’t supposed to be able to have kids and end up pregnant. THUD…that stick goes into the trash.

The truth is after one year of trying to have a baby, Jared and I went to Seattle Reproductive Medicine and did extensive testing. We found out that our chance of getting pregnant was slim to none and began to look into In Vitro Fertilization or IVF.

IVF payment options: If you have good luck at a Casino, then you might be a good candidate for IVF. A.K.A. I’m a terrible gambler and always want to “cash out”. I’m not a giant risk taker and the way they presented the financial options I felt like I had to choose between “MAX BET” or bust. Let me explain. The average woman takes TWO tries of IVF to get pregnant. They break the options up into three choices. Choice 1: Try one round of IVF for a crazy amount of money. If you get pregnant, great and if not, you are out a down payment on a house. Also, you know that from the information above it takes two tries for the average woman to get pregnant so you’re taking a risk. Choice 2: Try two rounds of IVF and cheaper than if you did Choice 1 twice, but still more money overall. Choice 3: Three tries and a HUGE amount of money up front. Also, if you don’t get pregnant in three tries, you get a large percent of your money back, but you don’t get any refunds if you get pregnant on the first or second try. Anyone else spiraling into despair? How the heck do you decide? All the options are expensive and most of all none of the options have a guarantee. It all starts to feel predatory because reproductive clinics have supply and we are the ‘baby fever’ demand, willing to for-go any college fund for the kid, just to get the kid here.

Other Weird Things to Consider: Let’s say we go with IVF and we get more than one viable embryo. We then need to decide if we want to pay monthly frozen storage locker fees to keep the baby for a possible sibling in the future. What a weird bill to get in the mail each month. Oh, ya know, just paying to keep my future kid frozen.

“When you grow up…you get married and have kids.” Although I never remember anyone telling me this. I do remember plenty of Disney movies and toys sending that message frequently. I mean there was no Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora or Jasmine who just traveled and got some pets. How many times did I play the game of “Life” and pack my car full of little pink and blue peg children? How many times did I play with Barbie and Ken with their RV and babies? The answer would be A LOT. I mean the population of our species depends on people procreating. It makes sense. It’s the norm and it’s hard not to feel “off” being 31 years old and in the non-mom club. When I tell people I’m 31, the response is “Oh you’re so young! You have plenty of time!” Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M. states “Turns out about 14 percent of births in the United States are to women 35 and older. They are considered advanced maternal age. Women over 35 may take longer to be able to conceive. This is related to those eggs we have had since birth. We don’t make new eggs as men make new sperm.” Plenty of time for me equals about four years. Four years to really decide if it’s important for me to be pregnant and with each year that goes by, the chances of IVF working decreases.

As a family photographer I get asked a lot if I have children. I’m GREAT with kids and most moms assume I must have some of my own. I’m not sure if it’s my age or ability to make kids happy or a combination of both, but the expression is always the same after I tell them I don’t. It’s a look of “Huh, would not have guessed that.” They always looked stumped. Trust me…it surprises me too. Then I always feel like I need to explain myself…oh the choices of what to say…”Well, we have been trying, with no luck” That statement seems oddly personal for meeting someone for the first time. “We have pets.” That one always seems like we value animals more than humans and comes across like we don’t want children. “Not yet, but hopefully soon”. This option definitely makes for an awkward moment because now it feels like I’m trying to throw myself a pity party or the mom feels sad she asked because it obviously implies it’s a sad subject around my household. If anyone has a suggestion for what to say when that question presents itself, I’m all ears.

What about adoption, fostering or using a sperm donor? We’ve looked into all those options and honestly are still exploring the possibilities. It’s a lot to take in. We research and then pause. Research and then pause. Every family has to make the choice that is right for them. I have such an open mind at this point and I think how ever we want to have a family is wonderful. Whatever route we choose, it will include lots of effort and a large check. I mean heaven forbid we just have sex. 😉

The National Infertility Association states – “Infertility is a major life crisis for 1 in 8 couples. For these women and men fighting the disease of infertility, the infertility experience involves many hidden losses for the individuals, their loved ones and society as a whole, including:

Loss of the pregnancy and the birth experience;

Loss of a genetic legacy and loss of future contributing citizens to the next generation;

Loss of the parenting experience;

Loss of a grandparent relationship;

Low feelings of self-worth;

Loss of stability in family and personal relationships;

Loss of work productivity; and

Loss of a sense of spirituality and sense of hope for the future.

Because infertility often involves major personal life issues and decisions, it is often experienced as a private matter and is not ordinarily discussed in public forums. The personal nature of the infertility experience contributes to the failure of the public, politicians, healthcare professionals and the media to recognize infertility as a disease. This causes a lack of sound knowledge and available resources about infertility.”

Well…here I am, talking in a public forum. It is my hope this post takes away some of the isolated feelings associated with infertility and even though I don’t have the answers of why we are dealt certain cards, there are lots of reasons for us to be happy even though our life didn’t end up the way we assumed it would. This year we will be married nine years and including our dating time, we’ve been together for an entire decade! We’ve traveled, we’ve made wonderful memories, we’ve overcome physical pain, emotional pain and we feel more connected now than ever. I’m thankful this experience has brought us together rather put a wedge between us.  Another silver lining in this is having seven nephews and two nieces to practice our parenting skills on. They range in age from one year to 11 years old and they are all so wonderful, unique and keep us laughing. Being an auntie and uncle is the best! We also have many friends with amazing kids and we love our connections with their families. Lastly, we have two dogs and two cats, who definitely live a pretty pampered, attention filled life. I mean we put our dogs on our Christmas card last year and consider our pets to be family. We are definitely not lacking in opportunities to make a positive impact in a child’s life.

This can be a tough road but with each passing year that goes by we have the opportunity to learn and to grow. With age comes wisdom and I’m hoping by the time we have a baby we’ll be wise beyond our years. I’m still optimistic there is a chance we’ll have a miracle baby. I hear this story all the time and will shout it from the rooftops if this ends up being our story. I’m not sure what the future holds but for anyone who is struggling with infertility. I FEEL ya. I heard this quote while at hot yoga about a month ago and tears ran down my face while in Shavasana pose, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer

Let’s behave kindly and with gratitude.


P.S. I bought the game of “Life” just so I could take that photo. Thank you macro lens!

Sarah Post

Child-Free, Me & The IUD

March 17, 2016

*I am not a medical professional and these statements are made solely based on my personal experiences and opinions only…and the only name mentioned is definitely not her real name… Just imagine I’m a sweet old lady, rocking in a chair, probably with a teacup poodle, knitting, telling my stories…

“You’ve got an 18-year-old’s oven in there!! And you’ve got good genes!…You and your husband are tall with big smiles! It’s just a shame to not use what you have. I want you to have a baby. YOU SHOULD HAVE A BABY!” This conversation from my Gynecologist came during a follow up appointment to determine my new birth control plan (that she was trying to talk me out of), and after a very hard, hormonal year for me. While this sentiment wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, from other people’s unrequested opinions, it was harder to take this time around. I switched doctors and stopped seeing her soon after.

Most people tell me my “clock” just hasn’t gone off yet, that someone with my “mothering potential” will surely come to her senses. When I was first married at 24, I was told that after the honeymoon year I’d start hearing baby feet in my head. Then I turned 25 and it became “You have plenty of time, just wait till you hit 30!” And when 30 came and went, suddenly the clock was going to “go off any day now”, or at least by 35. Point being, I have found that most people I meet (including my former Gynecologist) have a hard time accepting or understanding that I don’t have kids yet and might not ever want to. I’ve even had one woman (an essential stranger) tell me “You better make your husband a baby or he’ll find someone who will.” It’s always surprising (sometimes hurtful) to me when people take my child free choice as a negative. And while I can’t say that I’ve known from birth that babies weren’t for me, this certainly isn’t a position I came to lightly, or over night.

In high school, while some of my peers were starting to explore their sexuality to the max, I alternatively abstained so hard that I actually taught abstinence. This wasn’t out of any moral high ground either, what I mainly loved about teaching the abstinence course was that a large portion of the curriculum was telling students the cost of having a baby and how little sleep or social life you get. Having kids sounded kind of terrible to me, and I wanted to make sure other tweens and teens knew it could be terrible too. I was direct in my messaging: If you don’t have sex, you don’t have a baby. Genius. Comical as it may be, at the height of my mighty abstinence stance, I had to go on birth control.

I wish it was for a more scandalous reason (it would make a juicier article) but the truth was my period was making me so tired and lethargic, I could barely get up or keep my eyes open on the week of my cycle. Starting to miss class, my mom took me to our primary care doctor, where it was suggested I get set up on low hormone birth control to help balance me out. I felt slightly strange and embarrassed holding the baby pink compact of Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo in my hand, wondering what people would think if they found out I was taking it. But after the first two months, it was like I didn’t even have a period anymore, and the fear of being shamed for taking the pill was out the window. I felt nothing. Bleeding lasted three, fours days at best. My mood was better. My energy was better. I felt invincible. I was never getting off these pills. I became bold in letting other friends know that getting on birth control wasn’t just for birth control: this was period control. This was LIFE control. All hail the pill.

As I grew up and out of high school, into a relationship, and out of abstinence, I never did get off those magic pills. I was militant in taking them at the same time every day, and the control freak in me felt such comfort in always knowing when my period was starting and when it was ending. The added warm-blanket-feeling bonus of no-baby protection made it seem like staying on the pill was an easy choice. Granted the brand changed here and there throughout the years, sometimes altering my symptoms, wearing down the shiny facade of a pill that I thought would keep me somewhat period free for life, but I was romantically in a long term committed relationship, and my birth control was working, so I wasn’t stopping.

I started dating my husband when I was 19, and before we ever married, we had many discussions about kids. In the beginning he had told me he might want to be a young father, and given our 5 year age difference I was worried he would want me pregnant at 22. But as our relationship evolved and we discussed the reasons why to or not to have kids, what other things we wanted in our lives, it became more and more clear that our journey might follow a less traditional path. We got engaged, got married, didn’t have kids, and our time was spent starting new careers and companies, getting a dog, and traveling. We were excited, we felt in control of our destiny, complete without kids, and everything seemed to be shaping up like the end of an uplifting Lifetime Movie! So naturally, I was super depressed.

I struggled to identify what I was feeling. Slowly, but steadily over the course of about a year, I started to feel detached from myself, my body, and ultimately from my life. It would come in waves, each lasting longer than the one before. I was just sad. And tired. I found myself taking naps constantly, even on days where I hadn’t done anything active or stressful. I was feeling unmotivated, heavy, the farthest thing from a young, sexual vibrant woman and wife. I knew this was depression, but I didn’t know why. My life on paper was GREAT. I wasn’t actually depressed… Was I?

The change in me was stressing me out and causing nausea and anxiety, so I finally went in search of medical advice. After some preliminary tests and rule-outs from my primary care doctor and gastroenterologist, I went into my Gynecologist. We discussed at length the many studies and reports emerging about women suffering from depression and other illness after years on various forms of birth control pills. As much as I didn’t want to end up pregnant, or give up the pill that I had trusted and had become second nature to me after 10+ years, I was desperate to feel like myself again. I stopped at the drugstore, picked up a pack of Trojans on the way home, and gave my husband a chance to feel slightly depressed (apparently guys don’t love using condoms) by letting him know that keeping our crib kid-free was now (more so) his responsibility. My body needed a hormonal detox.

About two months after I stopped taking the pill, I noticed a dramatic change. It was like I woke up from a hazy dream. I was happier, more productive, and more alert overall ( Why hello self!!). Life off of the pill was better. I was also experiencing my period for what felt like the first time. Surprisingly to me, it wasn’t that bad. Even now, I try to think of when exactly it was that the initial magic feeling the pill had given me had worn off, and I can’t remember. It just snuck up on me. Now that I was off of it, when my period made me feel like crying, I had this very aware sense of knowing that I wasn’t sad, that I just needed the release, and I could easily deal with it. I can’t quite find the words to explain the joy I felt in just recognizing and being able to handle my own emotions again. After feeling so much clarity, there was no way I was going back on the pill…which brings me back to that follow up doctors appointment.

My Gynecologist helped me tremendously in doing all of the right tests (think thyroid and beyond) to be sure that after a year of no birth control medication, what science showed was that my body needed my hormones to be left alone. BUT, my Gyno also wanted me to breed. As much as I respected her and liked her, it made me uncomfortable to always have to defend my (and my husband’s) choice to the person I felt should be most helping me enforce it. Fortunately after parting ways, I found my current Gynecologist who is just my style. I can most politely describe her as “no muss, no fuss”, as in there is no glamour, no real bedside manner. However, she’s very informative and supports my right to my own choice. We discussed that I didn’t want to get on any type of hormone based birth control and she made a very dry and dirty joke about men hating condoms that made me blush and laugh on the inside. I was then presented with the pamphlet on the non-hormonal IUD or Intra-Uterine Device. I was also told that if I looked it up on line, I would see lots of horror stories. Call with questions.

That night I fell into the black hole of Google and read more articles on IUD’s than a medical student or IUD manufacturer. First there were the gut wrenching stories of just the insertion process, how devastatingly painful it was, but then there were also plenty of stories that said it hurt as much as mild period cramps, no biggy. There were the terrifyingly descriptive accounts of bleeding for months straight and having to go to the hospital, only to be followed by women who had had their IUD in for 5 or more years, no issues. I called all my friends and asked if they knew anyone who had an IUD and listened to their stories about friends or family members, equal parts success and absolute nightmares. When I had satiated my need to scare the crap out of myself and also reassure myself it would be fine, I ultimately called my doctor up and set an appointment to talk about moving forward with the copper releasing, non hormonal IUD, PARAGARD.

My husband, doctor and I were all on the same page. My insurance however, did not want me to move forward and denied to pay for this type of birth control. I could order an alternative IUD that dispersed small levels of hormones, or any of the various brands of pills, but I couldn’t get the birth control that was best for me. I called every extension, and argued with every person I could get on the phone. After multiple failed attempts (saying, “I’ll call my lawyer!” only works in the movies I guess) , I decided that my well being was more important than what the insurance company thought I deserved, and coughed up the $800 to order the damn thing myself. I tried numerous times to get reimbursed as the healthcare laws changed, always to be left with someone promising to call me and never following through.

When my IUD did finally arrive, a nurse informed me that it would be best to come in on the third day of my period so that my uterus would be more relaxed, to take an Advil, and maybe a puff of pot if I was so inclined and if it would mellow me out. Instead, I had the beginning stages of the flu and a serious headache. They told me the appointment would last all of 30 mins including check in and wait times, so I drove myself and figured I’d go home and marathon something on Netflix after. But, I am an idiot, and on appointment day life looked at my optimism and said “Hahahahahahahahahaha!

Sweet pineapple salsa, the pain was so friggin intense, I was sure they were actually shoving a baby inside me!!! It was like a reverse labor. My body was rigid all over, sweating, trying to resist the tiny T-shaped demon. “Well, you are really, REALLY strong…” my doctor said as I tried to resist wriggling in pain. As she sighed, I panicked, the nurse’s face did not look promising. “Wh..what do you mean?” I groaned. “You broke it.” She said. I started crying. Somehow, my body broke it. I couldn’t imagine having to reorder, wait for it to arrive, and go through this all over again. I couldn’t. The nurse was rubbing my arm at this point, my skin covered in goose bumps, trying to help me breath. It was feeling more and more like going into labor by the second. Feeling pity for my sorry, sweating, sick and sobbing state of being, the nurse remembered a canceled appointment and suggested “We could steal Deborah’s…” (since my IUD broke they could do a free reorder to replace it). “PLEASE STEAL DEBORAH’S!” I pleaded. My doctor looked up at me, saw the psycho in my eyes, said “Do it.”, and I spent the next two minutes it took the nurse to pirate the goods trying to calm every muscle in my body so that I didn’t screw it up again. I focused…Relaxrelaxrelax….Dontbreakdontbreakdontbreak…. aaaaaannnd stuck the landing! (Deborah I love you) The entire ordeal felt like hours but was a measly 20 minutes. I hobbled out to my car with a dull throbbing lower back and abdominal pain. Once I got home, I curled up in a ball and pretty much stayed in the fetal position for 24hours. I was so uncomfortable, and incredibly nervous that my body was, indeed, rejecting the implant. All of the horror stories I had read swirled viciously in my brain. But, by the end of day three my fears were calmed and I felt completely normal.IMG_9695For over a year now, my IUD and I have been a happy pair. I have noticed that my periods last longer and I seem to experience heavier and deeper cramping, but for me the benefits outweigh the negatives (which, full disclosure, does include increased risk for pelvic inflammatory disease). I go in for regular checkups, and could do self home checks (let’s be honest, I don’t want to) to make sure everything is in its proper place, but mostly I don’t think about it. I love that it is the most effective form of birth control available and that I can leave it in place as long as my body is cool with it for up to 10 years (cooler-than-us Euro’s say up to 12). But my favorite part of being on this form of birth control, besides that I emotionally and hormonally feel myself, is that it’s flexible to my flexible life. I like to believe that my husband and I are open people; open to life’s possibilities and open to the possibility that perhaps one day we could change our minds. And while I don’t feel like that will happen, it comforts me to know that should it, in one appointment and a few minutes, my doctor can remove my IUD and I could hypothetically get pregnant that same day.

While being a mom isn’t right for me right now, and I’m comfortable with my truth, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that when I hear my friends talk about how they know/knew that they wanted children, I am envious. Envious of how deep their pangs for motherhood go, how sure they are of that side of themselves. Why don’t I hear baby feet? Why don’t I have “the clock”? Does that make me less of a woman? Less of a person? …….What I’ve learned, in short, is HELLLLLLLLLL NO!

Despite what you might think about someone who chooses to not have kids, I LOVE kids. There, the secret is out. I’ve been a children’s mentor, camp counselor, live-in nanny and was employee of the month at Build-A-Bear Workshop in the course of my 31 years. One of my current favorite life positions is Aunt, one I cherish and strive to do better at (although I am not a fan of the marketing term given to my kind, PANK: Professional Aunt No Kids. Seriously, we can do better). And one of the best things about being a person who loves kids, but doesn’t want their own, is the incredible “support” role I get to play for the people and families I love.

What I mean, is that I don’t lack love because I don’t want to reproduce, I just get to move that love out of my internal “parent” bucket and dump it into the other areas of my life. I get to be the extra voice in the cheering section, the free babysitter, the occasional getaway place for my friends with kids, and the dedicated listening ear because there isn’t a toddler trying to get my attention. I love my role.

And while my IUD and I will continue to enter Baby’s-R-Us to buy adorable gifts for other people, I can’t finish this piece without acknowledging that I know it is a luxury to be in my position: to get to choose. Many of my friends and clients have shared their struggles in realizing their dream of parenthood, and my heart breaks for those who have yet to have it come to fruition. What I ultimately hope to express, is that no matter where you are on the spectrum: want kids, have kids, or no kids, there are so many ways to be and become a family, and all of them are right. To my ladies who don’t want kids: There is nothing wrong with you. To my ladies who want kids: There is nothing wrong with you. And to my ladies who haven’t decided yet, I say again: There is nothing wrong with you. Take your time and DO YOU. For now, my husband is my family and our baby has four legs, and me and my IUD are really really happy with that.


Kristina Post

Airbnb Getaway

January 31, 2016

Airbnb , Cake On The Floor, Vacation Airbnb , Cake On The Floor, Vacation Airbnb , Cake On The Floor, Vacation Airbnb , Cake On The Floor, Vacation Airbnb , Cake On The Floor, Vacation Airbnb , Cake On The Floor, Vacation When Sarah comes to town I’m happier than an audience member on an Oprah Christmas episode. To make the most of our time together we decided to spend one night in Seattle and get our eat, shop, play, on. For good eats we went to The Barrel Thief, Etta’s, Fremont Coffee Company, and Lowell’s. We also shopped in Fremont at Pipe & Row and basically every boutique on that street. The highlight of the weekend was experiencing our first stay at an Airbnb. If I’m being perfectly honest the reason I chose this over a hotel was cost. A nice hotel downtown with two beds is at least $275.00 for one night and the sweet house we found on Airbnb was $195.00 in comparison. $80.00 is $80.00, so why not save a bit and add to your shopping/eating fund?!

Airbnb was really easy to sign up for. You make an account and then Airbnb verifies you are who you say you are and then you can start messaging hosts. Once I messaged our host, we sorted out the details of when we could check in and any questions I had. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what to expect upon check in. Would our host be cool or creepy? Would the house look like it did online? I am super happy to report everything exceeded our standards. Ryan, our host, was extremely welcoming upon arrival and gave us a tour of the home. We were delighted to find the house was bigger than it appears online. The natural light, high ceilings and wonderful decor made us feel like were staying at a blog worthy friend’s home. What a treat! Parking was easy and always available which was a plus. Rather than feeling like total tourists, our stay made us feel like locals who had a house to come back to. Also, as an added bonus I took all the photos for Sarah’s kickass period post in this house because the light was too good to pass up!

Whether it’s a group of friends or just my hubby and I, I will definitely be using this wonderful option in the future for accommodations. I’ve listed below other places I’m ready to run away to. Who’s coming with me? But, seriously though. Is it vacation time yet?

Here is a little more about Airbnb: Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

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And yes, Joshua Tree is listed twice because I couldn’t decide which house I’d rather stay at. They both look amazing!


Sarah Post

Becoming Babe Worthy

January 5, 2016

“She’s a babe”
“She’s a robo babe”
“In latin, she’d be called Babia Majora”
“If she were a president, she’d be Baberaham Lincoln”

Ahhh, the BABE. In one of Kristina and my favorite cheesy (but CLASSIC) movies Wayne’s World, best friend’s Wayne and Garth spend much of the movie praising babes of all varieties, but none more so than Wayne’s love interest, Cassandra Wong.

Lead singer of the fictitious rock group “Crucial Taunt”, Cassandra could effortlessly sport a red lace body-con dress while wailing on a bass guitar, wasn’t afraid of python accessories, had a bilingual sense of humor and, most importantly, was an independent woman unafraid to speak her mind. Grade-A, megababe material.

But more than being just a pretty face, Cassandra’s secret to giving off that babelicious vibe was ultimately feeling great about herself. As she so correctly pointed out in the movie, Wayne’s good looking ex-girlfriend Stacey had “very nice legs, but no self-esteem.” Going to show that a girl with positive self confidence is the babe guys (and girls) want to hang around.

With the New Year already underway, and an abundance of “feel better about myself” resolutions being splashed all over social media, we thought we’d suggest some of our favorite finds, that we think will help you feel even more like the babe that you already are. From books to beauty treatments, these 5 items are guaranteed to make you feel babe worthy from the inside out:

1. Frank Body Scrub

We don’t know about you, but were totally ready to scrub off 2015 and welcome in the glowing newness of 2016. And since 100% Australian owned and made skincare company, Frank, says “I’ve got a bundle for every babe”, we decided to put his Intsagram famous coffee and chocolate body scrubs to the test. Post rub-down we were delighted by not only the adorable packaging and delicious fragrances, but by the proof-is-in-the-touch results. Loaded in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, there’s no hidden junk in this caffeinated simple skin care, and since it’s “only tested on babes” we feel totally confident you’ll want to become a Frankfurt too.Frank Body Scrub, Cake on the FloorFrank Body Scrub, Cake on the Floor

2. Cocovit Body Oil

Coconut oil was one of the biggest beauty trends of 2015, and for good reason. If you’re not already loving the multipurpose oil’s ability to hydrate everything from you skin to your hair, remove your makeup without irritation, and even whiten your teeth, may we suggest you JUMP ON THE COCONUT TRAIN. Specifically, Cocovit’s. The 100% Organic brand is sourced out of South India, where their farm employs over 30 locals who hand pick the coconuts. Besides keeping their farming local and sustainable (such a babe move), of all the oils I have tried nothing has made my skin feel more silky smooth than Cocovit. Bonus points for hands-down having the best packaging, I love it so much I bought the large container for home and the TSA friendly size for when I’m on the go (like visiting Kristina). Recently, I ordered and tried their orange-basil lip balm and it’s just one more thing to go nuts over.Cocovit Coconut Oil, Cake on the Floor

3. Herbivore Pink Clay Mask

Truly natural, sensorial beauty” is what the brand Herbivore is all about. To us that translates to beautifully bottled and boxed non-toxic, highly effective skin, face, and hair care that has been popping up in trendy boutiques all over the country. With the dry winter season not quite over and it sucking the life out of our faces, we snagged Herbivore’s Pink Hydrating Mask while out shopping in Olympia at LOLA Lifestyle Boutique, slathered on the stuff and soaked in Kristina’s hot-tub, imaging we were warm in Hawaii as it did its work. While we weren’t so sure about the translucent pink cream as we applied it, (“It looks exactly like lotion to match my skin tone…” was Kristina’s accurate description of what we thought would be thick, baby pink masks), once wash off was complete we were smitten. The evening primrose, lavender, calendula, rosehip oil, chamomile and vegan hyaluronic acid formula left our skin feeling as plump and youthful as a newborn babe.Herbivore Pink Clay Mask, Cake on the FloorHerbivore Pink Clay Mask, Cake on the Floor

4. The French Beauty Solution

There are few cultures that could know more about being a babe than the French. Between Coco Chanel, Bridgette Bardot, Audrey Tautou and Eva Green it was a no-brainer to pick up a beauty book by another foxy Frenchie, Mathilde Thomas. Founder of the wine inspired skin-care company Caudalie, The French Beauty Solution is full of Mathilde’s tips and information on how to live life gorgeous. What’s beautiful about this book (besides promoting drinking wine and giving tons of make-at-home beauty recipes) is that the focus is on loving yourself and your body as it is, being gentle to yourself and to your skin, and letting go of the hideous idea we should be young forever and embracing the babeness that can only come with age. While you will get product plugs here and there, this book is worthy of a place on your must-read list and of popping a killer bottle of red to sip while you read.

5. How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life

Feeling good about your outside appearance is one thing, but nothing makes a babe feel better than straight up authentic happiness. I didn’t exactly purchase Russ Roberts book about historic economist Adam Smith, I got it by chance in a curated box of randomness that I ordered through Quarterly. To be honest, had it not been sent to me I probably never would have picked it up. What could be the greatest self-help book that most people have never of, The Theory Of Moral Sentiments, is broken down beautifully by Roberts to create this book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life. Overall, it’s a fascinating read on exploring what it truly takes to be happy from a surprisingly current, 300 year old perspective. Fame, fortune, family, friends, how to be loved and be lovely, it poses many well thought questions and suggestions page after page that get you thinking about what those feelings, concepts, and true happiness really mean. A deep, but digestible read that now owns a spot in my library, and one I would gladly gift to any of my babes.Cake On the FloorIf you’ve tried any of our suggestions, or have been a loyal lover of one of these items already, let us know! We’d love your feedback and believe that sharing is caring, so please, let us know your thoughts. Thanks, babe…
Xx- Sarah & Kristina

Sarah Post

The Bloody Truth: PERIODS!

November 30, 2015

Lena, LOLA, Thinx, Period, Menstrual Cycle, Cake On The FloorAs a 31 year old woman, I thought I knew what I was doing when it came to my period. Thankfully, I am also a very curious person and someone who is humble enough to admit that I was actually ignorant and didn’t know sh*t about my menstrual cycle and all of the issues, products and options surrounding the matter. Here’s what I’ve recently learned and what you need to know. Period. …. but like, a seven day period….

My investigation into how I was handling my “time of the month” started when I read a Vice article (as many have) back in June about a model who lost her leg because of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Now all I can really remember anybody telling me about TSS as a young girl was “whatever you do, don’t leave a tampon in too long or you’ll get toxic shock and DIE.” So naturally I was terrified and always made sure I never left one in for longer than 8 hours and figured I would never run the risk of getting it. WRONG. Now TSS can kill you, or cause a myriad of other major problems, but the article blew my mind by letting me know that a tampon alone is not enough to cause TSS. What actually does cause TSS is a complication of bacterial infections involving Staph bacteria, AKA Staphylococcus aureus. About 20 percent of the general population carries this bacteria, and this is not limited to females, guys carry it too (it is a natural part of our human flora, and no, there isn’t a test you can take to see if you’re a carrier). But there has been a link between getting TSS and tampons for decades because of the synthetic materials in tampons that create a perfect breeding ground for TSS. Many tampons are made with mixes of viscose rayon and cotton, or pure viscose rayon (you mean white fluffy stuff doesn’t mean pure cotton?!?!?!), which are perfect incubators for TSS, should the toxigenic strain of Staphylococcus aureus be present in the woman using the tampon. As a loyal Playtex® consumer, I was immediately embarrassed that I genuinely assumed they were just made from cotton, not potential plastic and man-made materials. And upon learning that the risks of TSS can dramatically drop with 100% cotton tampons, I jumped online to the Playtex® site to find out what exactly I had been putting in my body all these years.

Clicking on the Playtex® Sport section of the website (my tampon of choice) I saw the familiar hot pink box with neon green jogging girl in headphones that always makes me believe whoever designs these boxes has never had a period. Ever. Why do feminine hygiene products always seem to look like an insane explosion of confetti cake? Or like they’re always trying to convince me they’re gonna be “fun”? They will never be fun. Never. Anyway, as I scrolled the site, descriptions, reviews and more, I couldn’t find a single thing that said what this product (or any of their products) are made of. NOTHING. All I could find was this Q &A under “Tampon Myths”:

Q: I read on the Internet that there are all kinds of toxic chemicals in tampons. Is that true?
A: We all know how easy it is for the wrong information to get passed on the Internet. However, there are government organizations like Health Canada that have strict requirements for the production of tampons to make sure they are free from any harmful materials.

Which I guess is great for Canadian’s? And also sounds like something that creeper dealer dude at a college party would say, trying to convince you that his brownies are “clean, safe, and pure”. If they aren’t made from anything harmful, WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM? I was getting pretty irritated at the lack of information available and started wondering if Tampax or Kotex® would have anything better. Nope. Nothing. Each of the main brands websites focus on helping you find the right absorbency, and making sure you know that you should change your tampon every 4-8 hours to lower your risk of TSS… as if its a risk, its sooo rare… but it can kill you, DON’T THESE TAMPONS LOOK FUN! Officially feeling like all feminine hygiene products were just wolves in sheep’s clothing, I said screw the Internet and took to the store to get my hands on the real deal. Finally, product in hand, I scanned the back of the box, then the sides, and there it was in small white print: INGREDIENTS – Rayon and/or Cotton Fiber, Polyester or Cotton String, Polysorbate 20. Reading it made me feel like my tampon was having an identity crisis. What do you mean “and/or”??? And that Polysorbate 20 stuff that’s in there, that’s to help serve as a surfactant to disperse fragrance (even though I purchase and was reading off of a fragrance free pack). Super. And I don’t mean absorption.

In a store aisle full of options, every product instantly looked the same and undesirable. I felt like I had been duped by good marketing, and that the only option was to never use any of these mainstream products again. But then what? Take it to Victorian times and start walking around with cotton rags in my pants? Back to the Internet I went to find a better tampon, and wouldn’t you know, I totally did.

There are a few companies out there who are creating fabulous feminine care, but I’m going to focus on the service I chose since I’ve been so happy with them. May I introduce you to… LOLA!Lena, LOLA, Thinx, Period, Menstrual Cycle, Cake On The Floor
Here’s the short list on why I love them:
– You can read all of their ingredients, including where their cotton is sourced right on the website. No more CIA secrecy to decode in order to figure out what you’re using. Bye bye deceiving shady patent holders.
– It’s a delivery service. That’s right, once a month I get a box dropped off in my mail box that I control the frequency and quantity of. They send you a reminder before every shipment incase you need to make adjustments. Goodbye awkwardly standing in the checkout line with that pint of ice cream, bottle (or 6) of wine, and that brightly colored box of “Hey, I’m hormonal!”. Stop judging me cashier man.
– You control your assortment. Want one light, sixteen regular and one super? No problem. Every pack of 18 is customizable so you can decide what’s best for you. Isn’t it nice to feel like a unique human being?
– Packaging. FINALLY. From the crisp white box, to the three shades of pale blues on the wrappers, for the first time in my life I don’t feel embarrassed by my tampon pack. They also have extendable applicators, meaning that they’re smaller in size to fit into your purse or pocket (I was able to keep two with my cell phone, cash, cards, and chapstick in a small wristlet). I also love that when you open the box it says, “This Too Shall Pass, and until it does we’re here for you”. Which is all anyone who cares should say to a woman on her period.

Lastly, its only $10 a month! All that control, convenience, customization and I’ve been extremely happy with the quality of the product. As far as I’m concerned, this was a life changing discovery. Follow the link to learn more or sign up yourself!

Super pleased with my new tampon pals, I still wondered what else I didn’t know about when it came to the world of the female cycle. And at the start of my next ride on the crimson wave, I knew exactly what I was looking for.

I switched my birth control over a year ago to a non-hormonal IUD (which you will hear all about in an upcoming piece, lucky you!!). One of the biggest adjustments I had to make from being on the pill prior, was never being 100% sure when my period was going to start now. Sometimes I’m consistent for a few months, then BAM! I’ll get two within two weeks of each other. The reality is that our natural bodies are always adjusting to our current lives. Activity levels, stress, what you’ve been eating, travel, can all effect the start, temperament and time length of your period. So as any woman who has tried knows, if you think you might be starting your cycle and try putting in a preemptive tampon when you’re not actually ready for one, taking it out is like having sex with sandpaper. NOT FUN. So you kind of just hope you’re in or around the bathroom at the right time during that time of the month or, wear pads (which is maybe the worst. Everyone hates pads, lets be honest.). What I’m getting at, to be blunt, is that I wasn’t expecting to start my period and totally woke up to blood on my sheets. Now it wasn’t like I recreated the Carrie scene or anything, but any girl who’s ever been in this position (which is like EVERYONE by the way) can agree its a real bummer way to start your day. My bad morning and additional load of laundry lead to an online investigation on pre-period solutions and ultimately, to these little wonders: Thinx.Lena, LOLA, Thinx, Period, Menstrual Cycle, Cake On The FloorLena, LOLA, Thinx, Period, Menstrual Cycle, Cake On The FloorI was clearly not the only girl who was looking for this kind of thing because their entire line of Period Panties were SOLD OUT and backordered. Moisture-wicking, anti-microbial, absorbent, leak-resistant underwear that can hold up to two tampons worth of lady kool-aid, and come in three sleek designs. Besides that these perfectly solved my problem while being more environmentally friendly than pads, I instantly fell in love with the culture of the company behind the product.

Designed by a group of women in New York who are determined to break the taboo surrounding menstruation, they chose to take their product a step further and use it as an opportunity to empower other women. Over 100 million girls all over the developing world miss a week of school each month because of their period. With each pair you purchase, a pack of washable and reusable pads are provided to a girl in the developing world who wouldn’t otherwise have any real form of protection, to not only help keep her confidence but also enable her to continue getting an education. Because seriously, no girl should ever miss out on a week of anything, especially her ability to be educated, just because Aunt Flow came to visit!! THATS NUTS. They are also made by a family run factory in Sri Lanka that employs women and provides them with supplementary education and training. Basically, these panties are like super powered confidence boosters with a purpose. I ordered every style, and patiently waited for them to arrive. Once they did, OBSESSED. Comfy, cute, and totally kept my fresh white sheets just that, fresh and white, through an entire night of what I like to call “interpretive sleep dancing” (I would be a horrible Vampire, I cannot lie still). I couldn’t order extra pairs fast enough.

Meanwhile, I was infuriated to learn through the Thinx site, and other further research, just how many girls around the world end up dropping out of school because they get so behind in their studies all due to not having what they need to handle their period. But what made me even more hot blooded (and inspired this entire article) was that it is still referred to as a “week of shame” in many places and cultures. A WEEK OF SHAME. That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. So let me just shout it from the rooftops real quick, THERE IS NOTHING SHAMEFUL ABOUT HAVING A PERIOD. If anyone you know is making you feel bad about the most natural thing in the world, PUNCH THEM IN THE THROAT. No don’t actually do that (I mean it, don’t punch them at all!), but seriously stand up for yourself! How you ask (since punching is clearly off the table)? I realized that the only way to stop the stigma was to educate. So I started talking about what I was learning with everyone I knew (guys included), and guess what, everyone was interested and everyone felt the same: Women deserve more upfront product information, honesty about the risks involved with any product or service, and people need to be more open in the conversation of how periods effect men and women (but really, mainly women).

In my household, about once a month I tell my man “Congratulations! You are not the father.” to let him know we are once again not having a baby (which is our current goal) and that I am, in deed, on my period. We refer to tampons as “tampoons” (I don’t really know why), and I’m always upfront with him if I can tell that I’m feeling more edgy or short-tempered due to my hormones (read, just don’t say anything to me). Point being, my period is a part of our life. We don’t overly discuss it, but we’re open about it too. Its casual, no big deal, and allows him to support me, feel comfortable asking me questions about it, and for me to be left alone with Nashville episodes, crying for no reason, no judgement. It also gives me a level of confidence, because I don’t feel ashamed about what my body naturally goes through, and neither does my guy. So if you are a fella reading this, don’t be afraid to talk to your lady about her lady business. We’re a lot less scary when you understand us. And ladies, if your guy does approach you to talk about this “stuff”, try to resist using the accurate but intimidating “I just laid an egg and now my body is violently ripping down the walls of my Uterus” explanation. BUT, feel free to email, read aloud, or print off and tape to the bathroom mirror this hilariously poignant piece by Gloria Steinem from 1978, “If Men Could Menstruate”.

Finally, I did have to accept that there was one period product I was ashamed to ask about or even look at because I just thought it was weird, and maybe a little creepy…The Menstrual Cup. How could I be running around telling women to be proud of their cycles when secretly I was still embarrassed? So back to researching I went, and once again I was shocked by what I didn’t know….Lena, LOLA, Thinx, Period, Menstrual Cycle, Cake On The Floor Oh the cup. The little box on the bottom of the shelf at the drugstore that you randomly see and go “what’s that?” only to decide that its a sketchy little cup you shove up inside yourself and have to clean. No thank you. However, to really know what it was I knew I had to try it. Rather than tell you about all the different brands available, I’m going to focus on the one I chose (and still use), LENA. Here’s why:

LENA is pinky peach in color, shaped like a bell with a stem (which can be trimmed off, I did), and has its own little decorated cotton bag for storage. It is a biocompatible-with-the-body menstrual cup, that is reusable, made in California of 100% medical-grade silicone, is good for the environment and collects, rather than absorbs, your monthly fluid. Ok I know some of you are still going “WHY WOULD YOU WANT THAT!?” but here’s where the light came on for me… Turns out, tampons can cause dryness for many women, even allergic reactions or other irritations. Most of us just believe this is a normal part of the unpleasantry of periods, but using a menstrual cup allows your body to maintain it’s natural balance. Sensitive skin ladies rejoice! Where tampons and pads collect all of the moisture your body creates (which can be too much and cause discomfort), a menstrual cup only collects your code red. My favorite part, it can be worn day or night during any activity for up to 12 hours. Did you catch that? Twelve hours! Talk about convenience! So let’s discuss operating details…

LENA comes in two sizes (Small and Large) and there are instructions online to help you determine your size. I initially clicked the small and added it to my cart, only to hear the voice in my head shout “Seriously Sarah? A small?? What are you trying to prove?!? You are an adult woman with an adult uterus. It’s not gonna have a tag on it, smalls are for teenagers.” So I effectively shamed myself into ordering the large instead. Upon arrival I examined the goods, washed my cup and learned about the insert process. Let me start by saying, YES this is something that takes a little practice. First, you fold the cup (there are three styles shown, I chose the C-fold) and then insert it to your desired position and release. The first time I tried, I was super nervous, only to be surprised at how easy it was. The cup pops open, creating a sealing suction, you wash your hands (no, they’re not that messy, if at all) and then literally you get on with your life. For HOURS. When it’s time to remove, you simply wiggle at the base of it to pull it out, pour any liquid collected in the toilet, rinse in the sink with mild soap and water, and reinsert (there are multiple instructional videos online). Life carries on once again. I was thrilled with how well protected I felt, even daring to wear white workout pants during an hour long Pilates class. WHITE WORKOUT PANTS. I celebrated my success with leak free backbends and headstands. However, after a few days getting used to it, I did feel a little pressure from my cup and opted to use LENA’s super easy exchange program, and ordered the smaller size after all. After making the size switch, I can honestly say that my LENA is the most comfortable I’ve ever been and is now my number one choice for handling my period. On average, one woman will use over 11,000 tampons or pads in their lifetime, which end up in landfills or in the sea. You can use one LENA for decades. Learn more about LENA and get a 15% discount by ordering here,

I was (and still am) shocked that I had never known how easy and comfortable this was to use, or that this really was the safest choice for women today (there have been no links between menstrual cups and TSS). But again, that’s in part because it’s still a conversation we can feel a little funny having. How sad it is that our fear of embarrassment can trump our desire for knowledge? But, to quote a great lady of history who also had a period, Marie Curie, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is to be understood.” I hope this piece has helped you understand a little bit more about some of the risks involved using certain menstrual products, and about just how many options really are out there. Necessity is the mother of invention, and women need to feel confident enough to speak up about what we need so that the right kind of responsible products can be created.

Overall, I’ve found that a combination of the three (Lola, LENA and Thinx) creates my ultimate kit for keeping my lady garden well maintained during my week of the roses (why yes, I did research every possible slang term for periods, thanks for noticing.).

I’m sure there are even more things to learn on this topic, so feel free to share (with PRIDE!) your thoughts or suggestion on how to have a better period. In the meantime, I will keep researching, trying things out, and of course, letting you know ALL about it. Happy hormones everybody!

Xx – Sarah

Sarah Post

Let’s Make That A Happy Cloud

November 5, 2015

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorLos Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, Cake on the FloorMany of us remember Bob Ross. The lovable PBS painter with an afro made of pure gold, who taught us to take any crappy thing and turn it into a happy little cloud, tree, or bird. I adored him. And naturally, in tow, I adored art class.

For Kristina and I both, throughout most of school, art was not only a favorite subject but generally somehow involved in our best-friend-future-business plans. For instance, we were going to open the coolest hair salon that would also be featuring our art (and other local artists, of course) on the walls. Or, we were going to move to New York and do drawings for fashion designers, until we started our own fashion line (obviously). Or, there was that pet shop/veterinary clinic where we would save animals and also offer painted pet portraits….. okay, I’m not sure that last one was real, but I have a plausible, vague remembrance of a fifth grade conversation…Point being, artistry was something we knew we possessed and didn’t want to lose.

However, I’m pretty sure I hit my artistic peak back in fourth grade. We had a “guest lesson” in class, meaning someone from the outside world came in for one day and blew our minds with knowledge. This particular visit was from an art teacher (or artist, I just remember a sweet sweater vest) and she encouraged us to blend mediums, using pastels and water colors. PASTELS AND WATER COLORS. What would be next?!?! Colored pencils and shrooms???? Needless to say, I got really excited and really into it, creating an underwater wonderland full of sea creatures and completed with me, scuba diving. I knew it was awesome, but when it blessed the pages of our local newspaper, I was pretty sure Van Gogh could suck it. “Artist” was my future.

As time and talent revealed, Kristina had the true artistic eye (her photographs give me life) and my art form ended up in the physical realm through Pilates. Regardless, sometimes when we get together we still like to bust out the paint brushes and pay homage to the good old days when we would sell our drawings for dimes to the neighbors (thank you Pat for always giving us a dollar). The last time we put brush to canvas was at Kristina’s house in Washington. I was going through some personal sadness and she knew that art would be the perfect rainy day way to work through it. I set out to paint a girl on a cliffs edge, at nightfall, holding her heart over the ocean below…. It was a beautiful thought…. By the time we were done, Kristina had made a gorgeous multi colored abstract design of wonderment that I would still hang in my house today (it was unfortunately lost in a cat related water accident). I created a lego person holding a red dot, on top of a mountain of poo, maybe somewhere out in space. It was terrible. Kristina asked me if I wanted to take it home on the plane. We laughed. She put it in the garage. Van Gogh you are legend.

So when Kristina came to my casa, I decided to leave the painting to the professionals and take her to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, so we could be inspired by something other than my sad poop mountain. With more than 120,000 items throughout, from antiquities to modern day, I knew we’d see some incredible collections. But when the first thing we saw as we approached was a rock….well, I started to feel a bit more confident about my skills…..

The Levitated Mass. It’s a rock. It’s art. Cue the Pet Rock ……. But…. but, maybe… it’s not a rock. No, its not a “rock” at all. It’s a 340 TON GRANITE MEGALITH. (*Side note, should I ever start a metal band, Granite Megalith is first name choice.) Yes, Michael Heizer’s 456-foot-long open air concrete corridor leads you to a 15 foot belly view below the granite beast. In person, it is, visually stunning. But more than looks is the feeling it evokes. I’ll be honest, we didn’t really care to see it based on the photos we had seen prior to our visit, but being beneath it, you feel like a little ant under the moon. Otherworldly. We did our best to capture the awe and then moved inside for some pieces more our size.

Entering the four story Ahmansan Building, weaving in and out and of other visitors, we quickly gravitated towards the Modern Art collection. We passed portraits and abstracts, scenic depictions and still life, until the massive canvass of the “Unfurled Series: Beta Ro” and “Toward Disappearance” had us mesmerized. Huge oil and acrylic splashes of paint on infinitely blank backgrounds. It’s incredible how the use of so little paint can take such great skill and reserve, demonstrating the art of knowing when to stop. Kristina and I soaked the room in, wanting to take the pieces off the walls and carry them home. Nobody would notice, right? We continued on through works by Matisse, Léger, and Miró, more paintings intermixed with strange and surreal sculptures. Picasso was also among the artists featured, and as we came upon the “Portrait of Hélène Parmelin” I was sure I was his muse in a past life, circa 1952. I mean come on, the resemblance, right down to my shifty eyebrow, are SPOT ON. How else would he know how my hair looks in the morning? You can call me Helen.

As we left my portrait, we headed outside to grab a quick coffee at the cafe and to get some fresh air at the Urban Light. Just over 200 (202 to be exact) restored cast iron, antique street lamps, make up Boston artist Chris Burden’s popular L.A. attraction. Just toss #Urbanlights into the search bar on Instagram and you can see that old gym teacher you were wondering about, smiling ear to ear, like every other Angeleno and tourist alike who visits. I couldn’t resist throwing down some back bends while Kristina snapped some pics, and naturally, I Instagramed it.

Turning our sights towards the Pavilion Of Japanese Art, we headed back inside. Although, it was kind of like going inside to go outside, seeing as most of the art shown featured large and beautiful depictions of cherry blossom trees. As we continued through and hit the third floor, my laughter broke the silence. A hanging scroll titled “Daruma”, was the spitting image of a former business mentor and current friend of mine, who lives in the Valley. Let me just say, he looks fantastic for being around since the 18th century. We walked on, admiring dozens of small carved figurines and dishes, and then exited to take a quick lap through the gift shop before heading home.

Upon returning back to Washington, Kristina harnessed those Van Gogh vibes and signed up for a pop-up painting class in Olympia, hosted by the Classroom Collective. I was jealous I couldn’t be there to go with her, but upon seeing her stellar results and remembering my last attempt with canvas, I was happy to just admire her talent. I still wanted to tap back into my inner artist too, so I happily settled for stocking up on fancy coloring books and splurging on the nice colored pencils at Michael’s crafts. Did you know that coloring is considered a “mindful exercise”, like meditation? As a person myself who seriously struggles at meditating, this is great news. And it’s true! I feel more calm and relaxed after coloring, and it has long been one of my favorite on flight activities when traveling.

Point being, weather a trip to the museum, an art class, or some coloring books, taking some time out to indulge and explore your creative side is always time well spent. You don’t need a bunch of medical and scientific studies to prove that when you are exposed to, or create art, it’s good for you. You can feel it. Instantly. And who doesn’t want to instantly feel a little bit better? So when I’m feeling stressed, or sad, or blah, I reach for those pretty packs of pencils. And if I accidentally slip outside of the color book lines, I just remember to make that smudge a happy little flower and move on. Art is art. Make whatever kind you like, whenever you feel like it, and feel a whole lot better for it. Bob Ross would be so proud…..

Xx – Sarah

Sarah Post

Too Cool To Be A Tourist? Not Us…

October 15, 2015

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Yes, that particular intersection is a tourist mecca and creates a traffic death trap. I’ve watched people go absolutely  mad as the lights flash green, yellow, red, green, yellow, red, red, RED…while their car goes nowhere. Finally, after a half hour of waiting to move 8 feet you get to make that right turn, only to be stopped by another hoard of TMZ-bus-hoping tourists crossing the street. I admit that I’m totally guilty of hissing the “T” word when stuck by Madame Tussaud’s en route to a concert, but who am I kidding? I AM a tourist. ALL THE TIME. I travel a fair amount throughout the year, and would be completely lying if I said I didn’t go to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Pike Place Market in Seattle, or to eat beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans like every other picture snapping sightseer. Tourist destinations generally exist for a reason; they’re fun!, historic, and offer something unique unto your surroundings. So what was I missing in my own back yard? I decided to check my too-cool-for-it ‘tude and embrace my inner fanny pack, calling in Kristina to join me as we set out for a touristy night on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

First, like any out of town traveler, we needed a place to crash. Scouting the options, we chose brand spanking new Mama Shelter. With a few locations speckled around Europe, this is the first U.S. venture for the hip French brand. The vibe was super social, quirky, a dash of hipster, and we knew upon arrival we were in for a good time. Designed in monochromatic black and white with eclectic pops of bright colors, there were hand drawn colored chalk art scenes adorning the bar and restaurant ceilings that inspired conversation. Bar top tables were etched in with checker boards, glittered masks hugged the bedroom lamps, and you could take your own in-room photo shoot on the provided apple computer to share with your fellow Shelter patrons. As the room key says: Mama wants to play, and who are we to argue? Here are some of our favorite details during our stay:

1. The very L.A. touch of having screenplays to be inspired by while you try to write your own, waiting in the room. Kristina and I got to read lines from “The Big Lebowski” and “Swingers” in between sightseeing. I’ll let you guess which one of us played “The Dude”.

2. You had us at cottage fries. The tasty treats listed on the menu had us coming back for dinner, bar snacks, and breakfast the next day. We also appreciated that we sat in a different section each time, and really enjoyed our experience and ambiance from booth, to bar, to dining hall.

3. It really is all about the details. From the sassy matchbook covers, to the brightly must-be-used green and purple goblets we sipped our late night wine from, the hotel just begs you to have a good time. We loved that each touch gave you every excuse to take a million L.A. touristy photos, and we definitely did.

After freshening up at the hotel it was time for the main event; The Walk Of Fame! Wait…what is it exactly? Is it all the stars down the sidewalk? Or just the ones in front of the giant theatre? We started walking and I whipped out my iPhone to figure out what this popular landmark really was. Turns out the main Hollywood Walk Of Fame stretches 1.3 miles east to west on Hollywood Blvd, from North Gower St to North La Brea Ave and holds more than 2,500 brass and terrazzo stars. The section of concrete blocks set in the forecourt of the famed movie theatre located on the walk are an attraction all their own.
As we hit the boulevard, the smells of the city swirled up around us (which weren’t pleasant) and we instantly saw the famed stars speckled down the street. Reading names off, looking for ones we recognized, Kristina and I started to become enveloped by the growing crowd of vendors and tourists as we got closer to the TCL Chinese Theater. “Oh look… Minnie!” Kristina turned to say as she casually pointed at a street performer dressed like the lady mouse. “Don’t look at them! Do NOT engage. DO NOT ENGAGE!!!” I warned as I scared the crap out of her and told her the unfortunately true tales of costumed characters choking tourists who didn’t tip them after taking a picture. Not looking for a fight, we veered away from the giant furry head and settled for taking a few pictures of ourselves. “Let me snap a few of you” I say, as she hands me her camera. Barely a few clicks escape my finger and all of a sudden a group jumps in and photo bombs Kristina. Her face was priceless! They posed for a few frames while I shouted my best encouraging sexy photographer lingo and then headed off. But, not before one guy shouted back “That’ll be $5!!!”. Good one sir.

As we came upon the historic theater we joined the mass of people gathered in the courtyard, trying to identify the names and imprints on the ground beneath us.  Norma Talmadge is credited with being the first to accidentally step in soft concrete back in the 1920’s as the epic theater was being built, spawning the footprint fad, but that truth remains debatable. I instantly nerded out when I saw the square holding the signatures of the cast of Star Trek, lost all chill, and started taking way too many pictures. What can I say. I seriously love Star Trek. But as we continued to eye the squares, we stumbled upon our favorite find of the walk and theatre combined: Judy Garland’s teeny TINY feet! They are SO SMALL! I mean it, we cannot stress to you how convinced we are she had little baby goat hooves. I did some research later and could only find that she was about 4’11” in height with around a size 5 shoe, which sounds human. Still, I felt like Godzilla slapping my giant 8.5 sized skis down next to her super small prints.

After a few more picture ops, we left the hustle and hit up the other main activity in the area; shopping. Peeking into boutiques, debating on some home goods, and ultimately stocking up on some beauty supplies we steered clear of the souvenirs and started heading back to the comforts of our hotel for a tasty night cap cocktail.

As we crashed down to watch an old Hollywood movie before lights out, I checked our tourist attractions off the list. While we wont’d be searching for stars beneath our feet again anytime soon, we certainly did enjoy our day and learned a little Hollywood history to boot. So naturally, now the questions is, what’s next?? Stay tuned, more tourism (local and far) to come….

xx – Sarah