Reflection

“When you look back at your life and feel at peace because of the changes you made, that’s recovery.”

Several years ago I ended an abusive relationship. On our 2nd date he jokingly called me a bitch and I laughed it off. He apologized the next day. The relationship was good for the next following months and there were no red flags. I was falling in love and had total blinders on. After those few months I started to notice his drinking habits didn’t line up with mine. He would drink a bottle or two of wine a night. He wanted to sit at a bar from happy hour till closing which wasn’t my thing. But because of love I stayed. I turned into the designated driver. Then “Is it ok if I crash with you until I find a new place?” turned into moving into my studio apartment at 4 months permanently. Again, I stayed in the relationship because of love and because I was being pampered. It was nice that I was not strapped financially. I liked being wined and dined. It was at this time of him beginning to live with me, I was told by him that I was gaining weight and looked fat. It was also at this time that he said those words while under the influence of alcohol. I shook it off because he was drunk. Fast forward a couple months to a vacation he took me on for my birthday. It was all fun and games during the day but when the alcohol was flowing at night it was a different story. I was constantly put down and told I was worthless, while he was under the influence. The next morning he was not aware of his actions and apologized. Fast forward another couple months to the holidays. It was at this time when everything got worse. He had an injury and was mixing prescriptions with alcohol. He was coming home later than usual. He lied and said he was arrested and I needed to come bail him out, only to call the court to find out there was no record of him. An hour later he came stumbling through the front door wasted and thinking it was funny. He attended a dinner at my families house and was drinking glass after glass and putting me down in front of my mom and brother. He then passed out at the dinner table. I had to carry him out to the car. On the drive home he threatened to kill me. He said “I’ve done it before and I can do it again” meaning when he was overseas. The next day I confronted him and there was no apology or recollection of the night’s prior events. It was at that time I decided to end it. I packed my bags and stayed at my parents for a month while he moved out. He moved out but was still trying to keep me in his life. I ended up meeting him one time at a bar and nothing had changed. He was wasted and belittled me from the moment I walked in the door. Everyone around me was staring at us. He went to the restroom and everyone asked me if I was ok? I said, “I will be” and left the bar. I received several threatening text messages after that and never responded. I cut him completely out of my life. That was the hardest decision I ever had to make but I did it and have never looked back.

Abuse of any kind is never right. Abuse is abuse no matter how you look at it. I was blinded the entire year of our relationship because I thought I was in love. I thought he would change if he loved me like he said he did. But he loved alcohol more. He loved that numb feeling. Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for help. Reach out to those who love and support you. If you don’t have that, go speak to a counselor or priest. Also, take the time to heal. Continue to seek help. Spend time with yourself. Surround yourself with people who love you and will only lift you higher. Those who help you get up after you have fallen and have dusted you off. Those who don’t judge. Those who don’t ask questions. They just listen. Really take time for yourself. Enjoy the solitude. Learn about who you are as a person and what you want out of life.

I took 2 years off to find myself. I re-entered working out and eating healthy – some of the things that took a back burner while I was in that relationship. I expanded my creativity by taking art classes, I started a blog and was cooking for others. I felt my outlet for healing was through cooking. I enjoyed spending hours in the kitchen preparing meals for the week. I organized several fitness and diet challenge groups that were very successful. I decided I was ready to put myself out there again, so I did. I went on eHarmony and met a great guy. Our first date lasted almost 4 hours and conversation was easy. It felt great being out there again. That only lasted a few months but I was out there. I was able to trust again. I was able to let myself be open to new possibilities.

I then continued to take more and more time for myself. I was teaching Pilates twice a week, I had made new friends especially a best friend. Life was pretty good just being on my own. I continued cooking for others and was making extra spending cash. I established a very close connection with my mom and gained her as a best friend. I started hanging out with her and a bunch of other women who have totally inspired me. A group of crazy, fun loving, and strong women. They keep me grounded and have a wealth of knowledge and experience that help me on a regular basis.

It was this time last year that I decided to give dating another try. I went back to online dating because it was easy for me. My friends are all married and have kids. An idea of their Saturday night is a picnic on the living room floor, watching Disney movies. Don’t get me wrong I love Disney movies, but not too many single men come to these picnics. In those few months I went on so many first dates. So many unusual and awkward first dates. It was getting exhausting, frustrating and time consuming. It felt like a job interview each time. I should have started a blog on first dates. Man, there were some interesting characters. It was also during this time of solitude that I decided I wanted to go back to school and become a Nutritionist. I had already been helping others eat healthy and knew if I wanted to take it to the next level I would need a degree. So I took that first step.

I thought I had cancelled my online dating membership, but it hadn’t gone through. I was charged for another 3 months and couldn’t get out of it. That same day this guy wrote me. We hit it off and things went well. I was thinking whoa, maybe this is it? Maybe, I am done searching? Maybe, the cancellation snafu was fate? It was great for some time. I met a lot of new people who were very friendly and welcoming. I was trying new things and having a great time. However, there comes a point when you realize it’s just not meant to be. And as much as that sucks, it happens. There were issues within both of us but I am not going to address that. That is not the reason for this post.

This post is on reflection. It’s to get all of those emotions out so one can heal. It’s to show that the scars you share become lighthouses for other people who are headed for the same rocks you hit. Life is tough. No one ever said it would be easy. It’s to show that again, you go to those who lift you up and dust you off. They never are further away than a text or call. It’s to show that there are decent people out there; you just need to be ready to let them in and even if it didn’t work out there are still others. It’s about being true to yourself and not settling for less than you deserve. It’s to show that you are beautiful no matter what someone else tells you. It’s to remind you to never let anyone ever dull your sparkle. It’s to show that you can fight the hardest battles and come out stronger. It’s to show that you can accomplish anything if you have a little fate. Cry it out. Take the time to heal. Take the time to find yourself. Take the time to re-invent yourself. Take the time and be ready to let others in. Take the time and learn to trust again. Life is not a race. Life is a journey. God has a plan for each and every one of us. We just need to be patient.

Xo,

Sarah

Mom’s 60th Birthday Celebration

My beautiful mamasita turned 60 on the 14th. She is the first one out of her high school girlfriends to turn 60 so I wanted to throw her a big bash with all of the ladies. I also included some of the women in our family.

If you know me, you know when I take on a project, I don’t leave a single thing out. I love all of the little details and some you may not notice, but I totally do. I am a little OCD too.

Color Theme:

For the color theme I chose black, silver, gold, and white. Everything at the party stemmed from those colors. I felt like it gave the party a touch of elegance.

The Invite:

I chose to use evite to send out my invite to everyone. This made it much easier for keeping track of the guests and the emailing option was great! You can find the template I used here.  I kept it small and just invited her girlfriends and women of the family. We had roughly 16 people come.

The Location:

Since I have a small apartment, we used my mom’s house for the party. This was great because she didn’t have to drive anywhere afterwards. Plus her house is a great space for the amount of people we had and I didn’t have an added cost of renting a venue.

The Entryway:

I created a flashback poster for the doorway. I googled pop culture in January 1956 and couldn’t believe how many websites there were. These were just a few of the things I found. I then went on Pinterest and looked up chalkboard fonts. I downloaded them to my computer and it was so easy to make the sign. I went to the $1 store and bought an 8 x 10 black frame and added a votive candle. It was a great way to have the party begin before the guests even walked into the house.

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The Bar Area:

The entrance leads you right into the bar area so it needed to be done up right!

On the fireplace I strung tissue paper garland that I made, as well as photo garland. For the photo garland I used twine and baby clothespins I found at Michael’s. They were the in silver and gold, perfect for the party’s color theme. I had a coupon for them which made them really cheap. I then went through my mom’s old photos and asked her brothers to send some as well. I mixed in some more recent photos I had on Facebook.

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On the accent table in the seating area I made the gift table. I placed a white table cloth over the table and found a image on Pinterest saying “You are so loved” in gold. I printed that out and put it in a 4 x 6 frame. I put some other photos in frames I already had on hand. A small vase of baby’s breath and 2 votive candles completed the decor.

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Now onto the most important part, the bar itself! My mom has a beautiful bar and is a great focal point of the room. I made tissue paper poms in gold, black, silver, and white and hung them above the bar. I then added a vase of baby’s breath, an image I found on Pinterest that said, “She had a cocktail in her hand and confetti in her hair”, along with a photo of her and my brother and 2 votive candles. On either side were the makings for a perfect cocktail.

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The Living Room:

At first I was not planning on using the living room but decided to have appetizers and drinks there first. I set up extra chairs and bar stools around the room. On the coffee table I had the appetizers, cheese plate (Thank you Janice), Philly Cheese steak rolls, veggies and dip, and veggie birds nests from Trader Joe’s. I found black and white paisley paper plates and napkins at the dollar store. In the middle of the table was a vase of baby’s breath and votive candles. We also had girls night party music on in the background.

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In the door ways I hung up tassel garland.

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My mom still had some of her holiday items up, so that saved me some money. I chose not to buy balloons. It would have looked too busy. Thank you, mom!

I set up a memory table in the living room. I had a vase of baby’s breath, a photo frame, votive candles, and another frame with a sign that said, “A good friend knows all of your stories, a best friend helped you write them. Please share your favorite stories of Mary.” I found a black and silver edge box at Michael’s in their 80% off section. I found index cards without lines and wrote the word memories in gold on the bottom of each card. I bought black, silver and gold markers for the guests to write their favorite memories of her with. We then read the memories throughout the night.

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The Bathroom:

Very simple- I placed a mason jar of baby’s breath and a votive candle.

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The Dining Room:

I ended up having 16 people for dinner so my mom’s table wasn’t big enough to hold everyone. I borrowed 2 folding tables from my aunt and uncle. They raised to the height of my moms table, which was great! I covered both tables with black paper tablecloths I found at Party City. In the center was a vase of fresh white flowers, votive candles and ceramic gold and white bowl filled with everyone’s favorite M&M’s. I then moved the bar stools from the living room back to the dining room for dinner.

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On one of the buffet tables I set up a dessert station. On either side was a small vase of baby’s breath, votive candle and a frame. One frame said “A party without cake, is just a meeting” (Julia Child) and the other said “Treat Yo Self”. Both images I found on Pinterest. In the middle of the table was the main dessert, carrot cake from this amazing bakery here in Rochester, NY- Cheesy Eddies. Their carrot and cheese cakes are beyond amazing. Thank you to my lovely Aunt Theresa for contributing this to the party. We placed the cake on a gold charger for extra style. I then created a gold 60 for the top. I bought a wooden 6 and 0 from Michael’s and I painted them gold. While the paint was still wet, I sprinkled edible gold sparkles (just in case some fell into the cake, I didn’t want anyone to get sick). I also bought a dowel rod and had my boyfriend cut them into 5″ pieces. I glued them to the back of the 6 and 0 and let 2 inches hang below. That made it easy for sticking into the cake. I sprinkled some gold star confetti for extra bling as well. We also had vanilla ice cream, cannolis and eclairs (thank you Aunt Betsy). I used the same black and white plates and napkins that I used for the appetizers.

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On the other buffet table I set up the favor table.  The first favor was a notepad almost the size of a mouse pad that I had found in the $1 bin at Target. I found wrapping paper in my colors at Michael’s. I wrapped each one up individually and tied them with ribbon/bakers twine in the party inspiration colors. I placed them in a silver wire basket.

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The other favor I have to give major props to my best friend Michelle for. I had this idea to give everyone a sugar cookie with a 60 written on top. She went above and beyond and made 110 sugar cookies. We spent several hours frosting each cookie in white and then topped with silver and gold sprinkles. Each guest received 3 cookies. I bought clear treat bags and color inspiration ribbon to tie each bag. I placed the cookie packs in a silver wire basket.

In the middle of the table with a frame that said “We hope you had fun, please take one”, and 2 votive candles.

The Kitchen:

My mom has a very nice island in her kitchen that makes a great buffet table! I covered it in a black table cloth and a lantern my mom already had. I bought white plastic plates and bowls, as well as fancy white disposable napkins. This made for such an easy clean up! I then used mason jars with black labels left over from a bridal shower I helped plan. I placed plastic spoons, knives, and forks into each one and wrote on the black label. I topped it off with the same gold ribbon I used for the cookie bags.

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The Meal:

My mom loves wedge salads so I knew I had to have a wedge salad bar. I cut up heads of iceberg into 6 pieces, and had a white serving dish with 3 sections that included halved cherry tomatoes, red onions, and crispy bacon. I found a carafe in Target bargain bin that was black and white stripped. I used that for the blue cheese dressing.

Now that winter has officially hit Western NY, I wanted to have comfort food as the meal. Something that warms your soul. Growing up our favorite winter meal was chicken and biscuits. I thought that was perfect! I threw the chicken, veggies, spices, and broth in the crock pot the night before, that way I could do the final step in the morning. In the morning I removed the chicken from the crock pot and shredded. I then added chicken, veggies, broth to a stock pot and added the flour, milk and potatoes and cooked until it thickened up. I then transferred everything back to the crock pot and set to warm. This made for easy serving at the buffet.

Recipe adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

I had every intention of making homemade biscuits but fell short on time. I made easy drop biscuits and they were delicious!

The Entertainment:

Between sharing memories, girl talk, and the party radio station, we played games. I am addicted to Catch Phrase now. Best game ever!

Outcome and additional photos:

All and all it was an incredible night. She knew she was having a party and who was coming, but she did not know the amount of work I was putting into it. I am so glad I was able to do this for her. She totally deserves it! She does so much for our family and friends. She is such an incredible woman and I am beyond blessed to have her as my mom. Happy 60th, Mom! I love you and hope you had a great time!

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Sarah’s Saturday Snippets: Weekly Meal Planning Sheets

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Working full time, owning a business, starting and trying to grow a blog, heading back to school at night, and trying to have a social life, my life is far from boring. I am a planner of everything. I find that my life is less chaotic when I have everything planned out, lists made, schedules created, and even for the every day tasks and chores.

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Meal planning has always been one of my favorite things to create and keep organized. I have notebooks upon notebooks filled with past weekly menus so I decided to create a sheet that you all could do the same thing. This sheet is great for those busy families. Now that school is back in session, those nights are now going to be filled with football games, girl scouts, dance classes, etc. Use my weekly menu sheets to plan out your meals the week before. I always do my planning on Saturday morning and then either shop the same day or Sunday morning. I then prep/cook all of my meals during the day on Sunday. This is great for me as a young single professional. I can just grab and go.

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My meal planning sheets also include a water intake tracker. I hate drinking water but I am slowly forcing myself to down those glasses. This sheet will help keep me accountable for those glasses. I can immediately tell when I am dehydrated. So having this sheet will keep my on track.

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I am so excited to be able to provide my meal planning sheets to you . Click on the PDF below for your own copy. Print off as many as you’d like and let me know what you think.

Weekly Meal Planning

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

On Friday I was listening to the radio on the way to work and heard a little girl read this poem on air about her father. As I am listening to this poem, I could feel the tears run down my face and my heart filled with happiness and love. I knew that I needed to share this poem with my father for Father’s Day. As the day and weekend went on I started to get some other ideas on how I wanted to celebrate this special man in my life.

Dad, you have not always just provided food and shelter, you have provided love, respect, safety, adventure, humor, and kindness. I am so lucky to have you in my life and look forward to the many more years of memories ahead of us. I love you so much and would not be the person I am today without you.

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

Author Unknown

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another one

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals

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When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you bake my favorite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God

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When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make a meal and take to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should help those who don’t

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When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me goodnight and I felt loved and safe

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given

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When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grew up

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it is alright to cry

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When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything I could be

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I learned most of life’s lessons that I needed to know were to be good and productive when I grew up

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, “Thank you for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking”

Renters Guide to Design & Organization: Turning a Small Spare Room into a Walk-in Closet

When I moved into my studio apartment there were only 2 small closets where things could hang. One of those had to be used as a coat closet, so that was not going work for me. What girl only needs one small closet? I decided to create my own “Dressing Area/Walk In Closet”.

The first picture below is the blank slate. This is what it looked like when I moved in.

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This next photo is the quick fix. I needed to do something fast to make finding clothes for work easy. I hate living out of boxes and garbage bags. I had the green curtains from my previous apartment.

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As time progressed, I was able to devote the time and finances to actually making it my own.

First, I went to Home Depot and bought a metal pole and the brackets to hang.

Metal Pole can be found here and the socket can be found here.

Now I didn’t have an electrical drill at the time so a lot of muscle went into the installation of the sockets. Hey! You have to get your work out in wherever you can!

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Okay, the rod is up and then the fun started by having to organize all of the clothes. I think I was a little over my head. Once everything was out and when I say out I mean thrown all over my living area, I really didn’t want to do anything else. A wave a laziness came over me. I may have even taken a two hour nap, but that is another story. Hahaha

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I went to  Marshall’s and bought the hangers that were covered in non-slip material! I LOVE THESE!  I managed to get a 20 pack for $12.99. Now me being the person I am, I went to several Marshall’s so I could have all of the same color. I know I am the only person who is going to see this but I didn’t care. 🙂

Dresses and sweaters went up first, then button downs, followed by blouses and tanks. Oh and I organize by color and sleeve length. It looks so much more organized and pretty that way. Hahaha. As I write this, I realize, how crazy I sound. This is just the start of it. You’ll see in future posts. Also, I noticed looking at these pictures that I tend to only choose black and neutral colors. I think I need to add some color.

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I went to Walmart for a tension rod and the Christmas Tree Shop for brown sheers. I found them in 95″ for $4.00 each! I hung up the curtains and BAM! You are done! I love it! Everything is neat and organized. Sheers are great so no one can see in case I have guests over. Great mini walk in closet. One day I’ll have one of those closet like the celebrities do, but for now, this will work!

Costs for this project:

Rod: $14.98 at Home Depot

Socket: $4.98 at Home Depot

Tension Rod for Curtains: $4.00 at Walmart

Curtains: $8.00 at Christmas Tree Shop

Total cost: $31.96

Tomorrow I tackle the DIY shoe rack.

Bloglovin!

Hello Perky Primal Followers! I have an awesome new app for you to try. It’s called Bloglovin. This app may have been around for awhile and I am just getting wind of it, if so I apologize. I always jump in on the new fad bandwagon when its fizzing out so it wouldn’t surprise me. HA!

Ok! So this app allows you to follow any blog and keep them stored in one location (such as smartphone or tablet). So instead of having to sign up for emails from each site, all you have to do is save that blog in your app and you will get a notification every time a new blog has been added. The possibilities are endless on this site! I am following crafting, cooking, and fashion blogs and I am HOOKED!

A co-worker told me about this site and said it was easy to find my blog. So if you want to follow along via Bloglovin, download the app, and search The Perky Primal.

I was so excited when I found it. I felt so special and popular. Kinda like that feeling when someone repins your pin or follows you on Pinterest. Oh, so if you want to follow me in Pinterest you can do so at http://www.pinterest.com/saraheliza730/. Shameless plug, but I don’t care! 🙂

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Happy Day!