Guess Who’s Back, Back Again!

Well hello there! Long time no talk! I have to say, when I postponed my blog post in March 2020, I never imagined it would take me this long to re-enter this space again. With the impact of the pandemic, a heightened awareness to social justice and racial inequalities, expansive wildfires last summer, political turmoil, and the rollout of the COVID vaccines, I never found the “right” time to return to posting on Que Sera Sarah. Throughout my pregnancy, I wrote many potential posts, but could never hit that “publish” button for a number of reasons. Above all, it came back to avoiding a sense of self-centeredness and drawing attention to myself and topics that seemed unimportant compared to current events. I didn’t want to take up space that wasn’t mine to occupy. It always came back to “who would care what I have to say?” Over the last few months, I’ve felt that creative draw to get back to writing. When I first started this blog, the intent was to “reach as many people as possible” and become more “visible” on social media. To be honest, I’ve changed over the last couple years. I don’t want this blog to be about a selfish narrative or pushing BS products that you don’t need. I truly want this to be a creative outlet. I guess what I’m trying to say is you won’t see me making goofy TikTok videos to tell you what to buy at the Nordstrom sale, haha. I miss writing and I feel like I need a sense of purpose outside of being a mom. So here we are! //

On a lighter note… Let’s catch up! Since the last time I posted on QSS (September 2019, yeesh), we moved into a house outside of Seattle, adopted a goldendoodle puppy named Calvin, said goodbye to our sweet kitty, Gatsby, navigated pregnancy during a pandemic, and gave birth to the most perfect little boy. I got my COVID vaccine while pregnant and feel very strongly about empowering women to make health decisions based on science and facts. I can’t wait to return to a more normal version of our lives. I’m not sure where this blog will take me from here on out, but I hope you’ll continue to follow along, especially as we start exploring the world again! //

So, what can you expect to see on QSS in the future? Yummy recipes, pregnancy and motherhood, family life, health and wellness, fitness, etc. I hope to make it a little of everything! Before the initial lockdown last spring, I had prepared a doozy of a wedding blog I hope I can share with you too. I’ve also had lots of friends, family, and acquaintances reach out about getting the COVID vaccine while pregnant, or just in general, so you’ll probably see stories detailing my experience with that as well. At some point, I would love to share Leo’s birth story (but do people actually read those? lol). I can’t wait to start this journey… again! //

Thank you for being here!

// Sarah

Photos by Meg Newton Photography (

Roma 2019

What comes to mind when you think of Rome? Even if you have never been to this fantastic city, there are specific images that come to mind: the Colosseum, The Trevi Fountain, gelato, St. Peter’s Basilica… The Lizzie McGuire Movie (yup, I went there lol)… the list goes on! Rome is not only a city for history buffs, but a city of culture, food, architecture, and romance. How amazing is it to walk down a city street, turn a corner, and be confronted with monuments that are thousands of years old?! 

We were so excited to spend nearly a week in Rome. My younger brother, Sean, and his wife Katya, just welcomed their first baby into the world. This super exciting occasion led us to plan a trip to visit them! Our sweet little niece, Sofia, couldn’t be more perfect. Auntie Sarah and Uncle Zach loved getting to spend as much time as possible with her. Zach is SO good with her! We would be out to eat and she would start crying. Knowing that Sean and Katya were exhausted, Zach took every opportunity to walk her around the block in the stroller or bounce her in his arms in the restaurant. It was so adorable! 

The Family

In the time that we weren’t visiting with family, we took it upon ourselves to enjoy Rome’s most famous and historically important sites. I had the chance to visit Rome when I was younger, but didn’t have super clear memories of our time there. Zach had never been to Europe before this trip so we found it the perfect excuse to get out and explore. To get around, we learned some simple phrases in Italian. No matter where you go, locals appreciate tourists taking the time and making the effort to learn basic words or sentences in their own language. This might be my most important travel tip for you!! You will find people to be much more responsive if you show respect for their own language and culture. 

From Switzerland, we used the convenient train system to get down to Rome. From Milan, one of our connection sites, we were able to take the high speed train. These trains are much nicer and have many more amenities than the smaller, regional trains. As mentioned in my Switzerland post, you can book your tickets at one time from your starting location. The ticket agents will be able to help you find the best route and times based on your travel schedule. 

Traveling to Rome from Lauterbrunnen was a full day! We arrived in the late afternoon, almost dinner time. We stayed with my parents and my little brother in an AirBnb near the Vatican. While this particular place to stay was chosen based on proximity to my brother and his family, this location was incredibly convenient for all of our sightseeing. There was a grocery store nearby and we were within walking distance to many delicious restaurants. When choosing a place to stay in Rome, opt for a location nearby public transportation. We were close to bus stops, the metro, and a train station. Though we walked most of the time, we used the bus and the train a couple times. If you happen to find a place you love (just make sure it’s near the center of the city!) not near public transportation, do not fret! Rome is very walkable city. 

Since our days in Rome were often busy and full of activities, I’m going to structure this blog post a little differently so details don’t get lost in large paragraphs. Enjoy! 


Rome Day 1

  • We joined my family for mass at a beautifully ornate church (every Italian Catholic church has a jaw dropping interior) near our AirBnb. 
  • Following mass we enjoyed some cornettos on Borgo San Pio. Cornettos are the Italian version of croissants filled with some sort of delicious jam, creme, or nutella. Since pistachios are a local Italian treat, I opted for the pistachio creme filled cornetto and was not disappointed! 
  • After a mid morning snack, we made our way to St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Pope audience. He appears from his residence window and offers a welcome, blessings, and a few hearty waves to the crowd below. You have to go through the Vatican security before entering the square, so give yourself extra time. I recommend standing in an area to the right of the basilica (when looking at the church head on) to get a good view of the Pope. 
  • Since we were so close, we decided to do a quick tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. While there are exceptional tours offered of the inside of the church, we decided to do a self guided tour in the interest of time. Normally there are long lines to get into the church, so going after the Sunday audience is a good bet. Seeing the inside of the basilica for the first time is a breathtaking experience. Though you may be tempted to go to the right upon entering to see the Pieta (a famous Michelangelo sculpture), go in clockwise fashion. There is often a line to see the Pieta that can be avoided if you plan to visit it last. Each small chapel on the perimeter of the basilica is unique and beautiful in its own way. St. Peter’s can be overwhelming. If it’s your first time visiting, I do highly recommend getting a tour guide. Check out this company for great tour options:
  • We met up with Sean, Katya, Sofia, and Katya’s family for a late lunch. We ate at Il Giubileo, known for its delicious seafood, and it surpassed all of our expectations. We had such exquisite seafood appetizers and entrees. And, like many meal experiences in Italy, this one lasted for a few hours! Meals in Italy encompass more than just eating food. It’s about family and time spent together. You will never be ushered out of a restaurant before you’re ready. We loved getting to meet Katya’s family and share a meal with them. 




St. Peter’s Basilica

Rome Day 2

  • Zach and I got an early start on the day and headed out to the Colosseum. We first stopped at one of the local sidewalk tobacco shops (with the green roof). Here you can purchase a Roma pass, a pass that allows you access to public transportation and sites around Rome for the allotted number of days you choose to purchase. We then hopped on the bus (it was raining) and headed to the Colosseum. Once you arrive at the Colosseum, you will walk right into hoards of people. Continue past the Colosseum and walk south, down Via di San Gregorio. On your right you will pass the ticket counter for Palatine Hill and the Forum. BUY YOUR TICKETS (for the Colosseum and Palatine Hill/Forum) HERE. If you buy your tickets at the Colosseum, you will wait in a very long line and will be heckled by people trying to sell you ridiculously priced tours. You will get a time to enter the Colosseum on the ticket. During the time that you wait (luckily we had immediate access), you can explore Palatine Hill/the Forum. Your Roma Pass should cover entrance fees if you so choose to buy it. When you go to enter the Colosseum, you may have to ask where the entrance is. Someone will be able to point you to the correct location. The lines are very difficult to find there is very little organization! Once inside, I recommend getting an audio walking tour. It’s very informative! 
  • While you can choose to purchase an audio tour for Palatine Hill/Forum, we opted out of it. Many of the landmarks have descriptions posted below that provide plenty of information. We didn’t spend a lot of time here (we were hungry haha) but I definitely think this amazing testament to history is worth a visit. 
  • Have you ever been to an Eataly? This amazingly wonderful boutique Italian market is a favorite in major US cities. However, visiting an Eataly in Italy is quite an experience. This multi-level collection of grocery, deli, wine/beer selections, and restaurants is overwhelmingly fun. After exploring the Roma store (only a short ride away on the train to Ostiense), we indulged in an early dinner at one of the pasta restaurants. Eating in Eataly is just as exciting as exploring it. Using goods from inside the market, each of the restaurants curates a menu that is unique from the others. From traditional pastas to seafood and meats, you can’t go wrong! 



Inside the Colosseum






Rome Day 3

  • Castel Sant’Angelo is a visible monument throughout Rome. You can see it anytime you cross the Tiber on one of the many bridges. Zach and I spent the morning with my mom, exploring this well preserved castle. Throughout the building there are placards describing the things you see. There is an admission cost, but can be covered with the Roma Pass. The walk to Castel Sant’Angelo from the Vatican is extremely easy! 
  • From Castel Sant’Angelo, we walked to Piazza Navona. Piazza Navona is a lively plaza, decorated with three fountains, one at either end and one in the middle. Surrounded by restaurants and gelato shops, the piazza is the perfect place to take a midday break. The musicians throughout the plaza create joyful ambiance. Although it was still before lunchtime by the time we made it to the plaza, we enjoyed a delectable gelato in the warm sunshine. 
  • We met  up with my dad and youngest brother for Il Forno pizza in Campo di Fiori. Sold by the slice, this pizza is the bomb diggity, and that’s saying a lot for Italian pizza! We each got a couple slices (their flavor options are crazy good) and enjoyed them in the adjoined plaza. 
  • After lunch, we made our way back to the Vatican for the Scavi Tour. If you must do one Vatican tour while in Rome, I highly recommend this one! You do have to reserve tickets in advance, and because of its popularity, it is a lottery. They only allow a certain amount of people into this tour each day. The Scavi Tour goes beneath St. Peter’s Basilica. It explores ancient Roman burial grounds and religious excavation sites. You see into tombs, learn about the history of the development of the church, and see St. Peter’s relics (or bones). The tour is extremely interesting! If you don’t enjoy closed spaces, this may not be the best tour for you. The tour is underground, dark, and winds through narrow passages. No photos allowed so no photos to share!
  • The end of the Scavi tour brings you to the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome. Pay an entrance fee at the window and begin your ascent to the top. You will climb 551 stairs to the top! The walkways are extremely narrow, so use caution. Once you get to the top, take in the splendor of Rome! The breeze feels so refreshing after climbing up all the stairs! 
  • We enjoyed aperitivos with Sean and Katya in the early evening at Pappagallo. Spending time with them and little Sofia was the perfect way to wrap up the day. 






Rome Day 4

  • We set out in the morning to explore the Pantheon. Like any major attraction in Rome, it’s best to go early in the morning before the majority of tourists make it out of their hotels. The Pantheon is remarkable. It’s incredibly well preserved for such an old building. Meaning “of all the gods”, this now Christian monument was at one time a pagan temple. The giant hole in the center of the ceiling provides light for the entire building. The ceiling itself is an architectural wonder. It served as inspiration for many of the most prominent domed buildings in our world today. 
  • Down the street from the Pantheon, look for the small coffee shop, Sant Eustachio. Its famous caffe is prepared in secret behind the counter. Order at the cashier and take your receipt to the counter. Within moments you will have a steaming hot, creamy, sweet caffe in front of you. Either enjoy your caffe inside or enjoy it at a table outdoors. Don’t miss out on a delicious pastry to enjoy with your drink! 
  • Though it is easily the most crowded attractions in Rome, the Trevi Fountain is worth a visit! Either go early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds. This famous Italian site is worth your time, just not in the middle of the day! Unfortunately, we happened to be passing by exactly at this time. If you happen to go during this time, guard your bag! The more crowded areas of Rome are notorious for stealthy pickpocketers. 
  • Speaking of heavily crowded areas, the Spanish Steps swarm with tourists during the day! This graceful stairs, less crowded in the early and later hours of the day, look down upon a beautiful piazza and fountain. Once again, watch your belongings. There are many pickpockets here too! Climb the stairs, and as you go, turn and admire the view as you get higher. At the very top, once you admire the vast view of Rome, continue on to the Borghese Gardens, just above. 
  • We made the simple trek to the Borghese Gardens, just above the steps. You could spend an entire day wandering around these lush, beautiful gardens. If you are looking for a fun way to explore, rent a bike! As you make your way through the gardens, look for a large clearing with a balcony that overlooks the city. The view from this point is breathtaking! Take time to admire the Piazza del Popolo below.
  • That night, my mom and I gave my brother and his wife a break. We babysat sweet little Sofia so her parents could go out for a date night. 



The Trevi Fountain



Rome Day 5 

  • Our final day in Rome, we crossed off our final major monument: the Vatican Museum. Though it would be ideal to purchase tickets ahead of time, getting to the entrance early in the morning will guarantee a short wait. We were approached many times by people claiming to help us “skip the line”. Don’t fall for this trap! Though it seems enticing to skip ahead in the line, you will also have to pay twice as much. No thanks! We were able to get through the line in about an hour. Upon entering, you must go through security. Once through security, follow the signs for the entrance to the museum. Right before you enter the museum, stop at the booth offering audio tours. With so many things to see in the museum, it is helpful to have in depth explanations of it all. Especially in the Sistine Chapel, you will find an audio tour to be extremely helpful! 
  • That afternoon, we explored Trastevere, a quintessential Roman neighborhood. This neighborhood is everything you’d expect! Vines cascade down the buildings, cobblestone streets wind throughout the neighborhood, and charming restaurants are scattered down the alleys. This neighborhood is worth exploring on a pleasant afternoon. Stop for an espresso or a bite to eat. I recommend leaving your map in your bag as you explore. 
  • On our final evening in Rome, we shared dinner with Sean, Katya, and Sofia. It was a wonderful conclusion to a fantastic week! 





10 Takeaway Rome Tips 

  1.  Check museum hours before you get to Rome. Many museums are closed at least one day per week, often on weekdays. Some museums require you to have tickets ahead of time, unless you prefer to wait in very long lines!
  2. While it’s not necessary to carry Euros with you, it’s not a bad idea to carry 25-30 euros in case of emergency. Most restaurants, shops, museums, taxis, etc accept major credit cards. 
  3. Avoid the people selling tours or “discounts” at all costs! Many of them work for tourist schemes and will try to rip you off. If you want a really good tour option, do your research ahead of time. Don’t be bamboozled by the salespeople at every major monument!
  4. Eat when and where the locals eat. Italians eat late, often starting their meals between 7:30 and 8 PM. Before they settle in for dinner, they might enjoy an “aperitivo”, or appetizers and drinks. Eating at this time allows you to fully immerse yourself in Roman culture. Look for restaurants that do not display or even offer an English menu; this means they cater heavily to the locals. You will not only find better food, but a better overall experience. 
  5. Go early! Beat the crowds and the lines by checking stuff off your list early in the morning. This rule also applies to the time of year that you choose to visit Rome. Go early-mid spring or mid-late fall. The summertime is booming with tourists from all over the world, since school is out for the summer. Not to mention, Rome gets hot and sticky in the summer. It’s not fun to constantly feel crowded and hot all at the same time in a city that rarely offers air conditioning. Yikes! Spring is the perfect time to visit Rome. The weather is pleasant and there are far fewer crowds. 
  6. Use Uber. Feeling weary about using public transportation? Pull out your phone, open your Uber app, and request a ride! Using Uber in Italy is very easy and very classy. Uber drivers are well-dressed, well-mannered, and most speak English. 
  7. Eat pizza, pasta, and/or gelato every single day. Indulge in the culture. Diets don’t count here, folks. I can honestly say that you will never regret that double scoop of creamy Italian gelato, that rich seafood pasta, or freshly baked bubbling pizza. You won’t regret the extra glass of wine or the extra cornetto. Italian food is grounded in love and connection. Don’t miss out on a wonderful experience because you’re counting calories.  
  8. Learn a few helpful phrases. When traveling to foreign countries, be courteous. Do not expect that everyone speaks English. Though many do, learning some simple Italian can get you further than expected! 
  9. Travel lightly. The roads of made of cobblestone and the buildings are old, many of which do not have elevators. Utilizing public transportation can be crowded and having a large suitcase can be cumbersome. Use packing cubes and roll your clothing to fit it into a carryon sized suitcase. Seems impossible, I know! But just trust me on this one. Save room, however, for comfy walking shoes. Your feet will thank you after walking down cobblestone streets for multiple days!
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Italians are incredibly friendly! A simple, “scusi” (excuse me) and “grazie mille” (thank you very much) go a long way!


This post was a long time coming, so thank you for all your patience! We got extremely busy towards the middle/end of summer and I started my new job in Seattle. We have been settling in and enjoying everything the PNW has to offer!

Recommendations? Suggestions for the next blog post? Let me know!

Happy Thursday! Enjoy your weekend!


XOXO, Sarah

The Qyksonic ZOE Review

Hello, friends! 

I hope you are having a fantastic week! I wanted to follow up my last post with a product review that is essential to my skincare routine. When I started to invest in better skincare habits and products, I started to follow esthetician bloggers and instagrammers. Esthetics is a quickly growing beauty industry in our country. With thousands of estheticians out there, how do you know who’s credible and who’s not? Lots of research, my friends! I stumbled upon The Beauty Nurse, Melissa Berg, a little over a year ago. And I am so thankful I did! Not only is she incredibly knowledgeable in all things skincare, but she has the best product recommendations! Follow her on Instagram: @thebeautynurse

After I upgraded my skincare and makeup, I wanted to expand my routine even more. Melissa did an Instagram video showcasing a product called The Zoe, developed by the company, Qyksonic. The Zoe is a silicone cleansing, exfoliating, and facial massage tool. Not only that, but it can be used to apply products as well! She detailed how she uses it in her skincare routine, the benefits, and why this skincare brush is superior to the rest. As an avid Clarisonic user, I was hesitant. However, after using my Zoe for a year, I have to say I completely agree that it is the best in the skincare world. 

Qyksonic Zoe
Qyksonic Zoe $149


For starters, the Zoe is comprised fully of medical grade silicone.  Medical grade silicone is notoriously antimicrobial. This is extremely important when using skincare tools. The more bacteria a tool retains, the more it spreads across your face. Gross! Additionally, silicone is much easier to clean than a bristled brush head. A simple, gentle cleanser is all you need to keep this tool clean. If you are a patron of other skincare tools (primarily Clarisonic), you might notice that when you change the brush head, there are layers of gunk underneath. This is due to water, soap, makeup, face products, and dead skin cells accumulating below the head. And especially, if you are anything like I was, I wouldn’t change my Clarisonic head nearly enough. The buildup was disgusting. And to think, that’s what you’re spreading all over your face!

Speaking of changing brush heads, this is something that is not required of the Zoe. In fact, there are no attachments, no extras, no add ons, etc. The Zoe is its own compact unit that does not require anything to be changed every couple of months. Not only does this save you time (and trying to remember to actually do it), but it also saves you money! Hollaaah!! 

And, while we are directly comparing the makeup of these products, it’s important to note the actual components of the tools and their direct effect on the skin. The bristles on the Clarisonic can be harsh, especially on sensitive skin. The abrasive nature of the Clarisonic, no matter the type of brush head you use, can create small abrasions on the skin, leading to more complex issues.  The Zoe is softer, allowing the user to determine the level of exfoliation.

Another great aspect of this cleansing tool is the ability to change the intensity at which it vibrates to cleanse. The more sensitive your skin is, the less vibration you will want to use to minimize irritation. If you want a deeper cleanse, opt for a higher level. Depending on what you choose to use the Zoe for, you may change the speed throughout your skincare routine, whether cleansing or applying product to your skin. With fifteen different levels, there’s an option for every skin type. 

Since we’re talking about cleansing and applying product, the Zoe is a dual purpose product. On one side, the silicone bristles are soft and malleable, perfect for lightly cleansing the skin and removing all remnants of makeup. The other side is covered in silicone bristles that are thicker and more sturdy. This side of the Zoe is used for massaging products into your skin. I find it most effective when applying my serums, both morning and night. Not to mention, it feels good and gives my skin the ultimate glow!

Qyksonic Zoe Colors

The shape of the Zoe is very purposeful. Wide in the middle and towards the bottom, the majority of the device is perfect for sweeping across your face to broadly cleanse. The top of the device, you might notice, is pointed. This pointed tip is perfect for getting into every crevice of your face, particularly around the corners of your nose! You can truly get a meticulous clean while using it. The petal shape ensures a full cleanse!

So at this point you might be thinking, “Ok, I’m sold. What more could there be that could make this product better?!” What if I told you this cleansing tool stays charged for up to six months! Chicka whaattt!? That’s right, you heard me. No charging for months. Could there be an easier cleansing tool to use? I think not. I love this aspect of the tool, especially for traveling. I don’t have to worry about packing a charger, or remembering to pack one for that matter! Zoe also comes with a simple carrying pouch, making it easy to pack in a suitcase or toiletry bag. 

Ok, so how do I use this awesome gadget in my skincare routine? It’s really easy. Obviously you guys know I love my DE stuff. See below!

  1. Cleanse skin with Mahalo Unveil balm cleanser 
  2. Double cleanse with Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar
  3. After the cleanser is applied to face, use the soft side (with flowers) of the  Zoe for 2 minutes to cleanse. I typically spend about 30 seconds in each area of my face at a medium speed. 
  4. Rinse face and pat dry
  5. Apply Drunk Elephant B-Hydra serum and Vitamin C serum (morning) or B-Hydra and TLC serum (evening).
  6. Spread serums across face. Use the other side (no flowers) of the Zoe to massage products into face. I use a higher intensity for this part. 
  7. Finish with Drunk Elephant’s Marula Oil, Polypeptide Cream, or Lala Retro Whipped Cream.

If you are interested in buy a Zoe for yourself, click HERE. There are a few different styles out now, each at a different price point. 

Compared to other silicone cleansing tools, the Zoe takes the cake. With the ability to personalize your skincare, longevity, and overall design of the device, it outshines its competitors by a mile.

Honestly, if you’re looking to upgrade your skincare routine, the Zoe is your best bet. Not only will it deeply cleanse and gently exfoliate your skin, but it will massage your products into your skin, increasing the ability to work their magic. This anti-aging, antimicrobial, and super convenient tool is incredibly easy to use and I guarantee you’ll see results!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! We will be traveling back home to Wisconsin for a wedding. We are so excited to visit our home state (and drink some Spotted Cow-people who have left WI, you know the struggle!). You better believe my Zoe is coming with me!

XOXO, Sarah

Clean Beauty Roundup

Hello, everyone! While I’m working on my Rome blog, I thought I would share one of my favorite topics with you: clean makeup! 

As the health and wellness industry continues to boom in our country, we are bombarded with suggestions from companies and social media “experts” that insist their products are the best. Now, by no means am I an “expert” in this industry, but I’d like to think that after significant research and lots of trial and error (heavy on the error), I can provide some pretty solid suggestions.

Now, we know that what we put in our bodies is paramount to our health. Our food fuels our bodies, minds, and spirits. What we eat can directly affect how we perform at work, how we sleep, how we interact with our families, the clarity of our skin, our energy levels, and so much more. Food is half the battle, if not more! As the science behind health and wellness continues to evolve, we are realizing that what we put on our bodies is as important as what we put in our bodies. 





Have you taken the time to really look at what is in your products? Can you pronounce the ingredients?! Do you know what they are and what effect they have in our bodies? Our skin is the largest organ we have. What we put on our skin not only affects our skin directly, but the absorptive properties of our skin allows those ingredients to be readily absorbed into our bodies’ circulatory system, affecting all internal organs. You could be eating all the fruits and veggies you can possibly eat, but still putting horrific chemicals on your face. Yes, life is totally about balance and I will be the first to admit that. But when it comes to makeup and skincare, what I put on my face every single day is important to me. Read below for my current clean, non-toxic, natural makeup routine. 


While this is technically the final step in my skincare morning routine, it is also the first step in my makeup routine. Drunk Elephant’s Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF not only serves as my sun protection, but it’s also my primer! This tinted cream is silky and smooth; it sets right into my skin. It creates the perfect canvas for me to apply my makeup. I mix it with a couple drops of Drunk Elephant’s Marula Oil to thin it out, making it easier to apply and spread across my skin. Benefits to Drunk Elephant? They eliminate the “Suspicious 6”: essential oils, alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes, and sodium lauryl sulfates. Their philosophy is simple and powerful. Read about it here

Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense


When I began developing pretty severe acne about a year and a half ago, I was encouraged by my esthetician to change up my foundation. I had been using Bare Minerals since highschool. I knew my shade in every single season. I didn’t even consider the ingredient list! My esthetician pointed me in the direction of Priia, a makeup company that specializes in mineral makeup for acneic skin. Priia makeup doesn’t contain bismuth oxychloride, talc, dyes, parabens, sulfates, or comedogenic (pore clogging) ingredients. Read more about it here!I love the Creme Mineral Foundation Stick in the shade Sandy Beige during the winter and Neutral Tan during the summer. This foundation glides over my skin, giving me coverage that ranges from light to heavy, depending on the application. Priia foundation covers my redness, hides my acne (yes, I still get acne!), and creates a perfect canvas for the rest of my makeup. Not to mention, when I started using this foundation, I didn’t break out! Specifically, the foundation didn’t cause my breakouts, which was a huge deciding factor for me. 

Creme Mineral Foundation Stick

Makeup sponge

I used to be a Beauty Blender devotee! But that price tag, yikes! With the money I spend on cleaner and more natural makeup options, I needed to find a way to cut costs elsewhere. I LOVE these inexpensive makeup sponges that are the perfect dupe for Beauty Blenders. Check them out here! I get it wet and squeeze out the excess water before lightly dabbing in my foundation. For half the price of one Beauty Blender, you get five blender sponges that work like a charm! 

Beakey Makeup Sponges


I use concealer pretty rarely! I credit my awesome under eye serum for keeping the darkness and wrinkles at bay. However, when I have a really pesky pimple that can’t be covered with just foundation, I turn to Priia’s Acne Safe Concealer in the shade Light. This stuff is my holy grail! It provides enough moisture to prevent the blemish from getting flaky and provides enough coverage to hide it. 

Priia Acne Safe Concealer

Setting Powder

Ok, it’s taken me quite some time to find a setting powder that doesn’t dry my skin out, create creases, make me look overly pale, or make my skin feel like it could peel off. Ilia’s Soft Focus Finishing Powder is my gold medal winner! This stuff is light, easy to apply, and creates a soft finish when applied on top of foundation. I use a large powder brush to lightly apply the powder to my forehead, cheeks, and chin, the areas that get the most oily throughout the day. The best part about this stuff? It doesn’t leave a white film all over my face. Ten stars! 

Ilia Finishing Powder


I’ve already explained to you guys why I love Priia makeup. I use the Vacation in a Jar Mineral Bronzer. This beautiful bronzer is anything other than orange and fake looking. A little goes a long way but this stuff is fantastic. It suits all skin tones well. The application creates a flawless glow, worthy of a Caribbean vacation. And, because you only need a small amount, this container lasts a long time! 

Priia Vacation in a Jar Bronzer


YOU GUYS. This blush is my hands down, all time favorite, beautiful, glowing blush. So I used to love sparkly blush when I was 16. I thought it was the bomb diggity. As I got older I started gravitating towards more matte options. THEN I found Crunchi Makeup’s Make Me Blush compact blush. I love the shade Crave, which is a clean dupe for Nars’ Orgasm blush, which I used before switching to cleaner options. This blush brought me back to a little sparkle. And when I say sparkle, I mean shimmer. This blush gives you a total glow-up. Although I can appreciate a good cream blush, this compact gives a cream a run for its money. If you’re in the market for a solid blush, check this stuff out! 

Crunchi Make Me Blush


I don’t always reach for a highlighter. I find that I tend to want it for special occasions: weddings, date night, parties, etc. It gives you that extra level of glow that makes you feel a little more glamorous. My favorite highlight right now, The Illuminator, comes from Ilia. It is a cream twist top, making application super easy! I love the shade Polka Dots and Moonbeams. It gives just enough reflective shimmer to give you a glow, but doesn’t leave you looking oily or feeling sparkly. Besides applying it to the bridge of the nose and cheekbones, I like to dab just a little in the corners of my eyes and on my brow bone to give my eyes just a little lift. While some green beauty can be difficult to find, Ilia is now available at Sephora, in stores and online! 

Ilia The Illuminator

Eye Shadow

I jumped on the Beauty Counter bandwagon a couple years ago to try out their skincare and makeup products. While I’m not a huge fan of everything they market, I have fallen in love with their Velvet Eyeshadow Palette in Romantic. Candlelight has become my go-to everyday color. It is simple and classy. I’ve never been a huge eye shadow person. I don’t know the first thing about layering colors or contouring. Even though I consider myself to be an absolute beginner when it comes to applying eyeshadow, I love having well matched colors at my fingertips to experiment with when I’m feeling adventurous. 

BeautyCounter Romantic Palette

Brow Gel

Another major Beauty Counter find that I have been loving is the brow gel. For years I used the Anastasia brow pencil. I struggled to find a cleaner option that was easy to apply, well colored, and didn’t leave my eyebrows stiff and flakey. Because I like to fill my eyebrows in slightly, I use the Brilliant Brow Gel in Light-Neutral Beige. I find that this color compliments the undertones in my skin well and doesn’t give me incredibly dark brows, which can look a little goofy on a blonde. This stuff is SO easy! Instead of spending 5-10 minutes trying to fill my eyebrows in perfectly, I swipe this through my brows a few times and I’m good to go. While this product doesn’t offer the same level of precious as a pencil or pomade, I love the end result just as much. My brows are filled in and stay in place throughout the day! 

Brilliant Brow Gel 


I continue to struggle to find a really good clean liquid eyeliner. For the meantime, I will continue to use Tarte’s Sex Kitten Liquid Liner. I don’t know the first thing about creating the perfect cat eye, but I am able to apply this liquid liner with ease. It glides on smoothly, disperses the product evenly, and stays put throughout the day/night. The color is very pigmented and a little goes a long way. This eyeliner lasts for a pretty long time! I don’t wear it every day, but it adds a little oomph for when I want to make my look a little more dramatic. 


Tarte Liquid Eyeliner


I have ranted and raved about this mascara before, so it should be no surprise to you that my all time favorite clean beauty mascara is Honest Beauty’s Extreme Length Mascara + Primer. It has been a long road to find the perfect clean mascara and if it wasn’t for Suzi from Gurl Gone Green, I would have never found this sensational stuff. This mascara is everything a mascara should be without the harsh additives and chemicals. Unlike other clean/green mascaras, this one glides on smoothly without clumps, stays all day without streaking down my face or giving me racoon eyes, holds up well in humidity and heat, and is easily removed with a balm cleanser without stinging my eyes. If there is one item in this whole list that is my holy grail, it’s this! What makes this product even better is it’s availability. Not only can it be found at Target, but also online with Amazon! Woot woot! I recommend ordering 2 or 3 at a time since it sells out rather quickly on Amazon. 

Honest Beauty Mascara

Lip Balm

How often do you reach for your chapstick throughout the day? For me, I put chapstick on after brushing my teeth, throughout the day, before I go to bed, etc. The list goes on! For something that you use so frequently throughout the day, have you checked the ingredient list for what is actually in your Chapstick? Your Blistex? Your Carmex? Newsflash: it’s not great. Actually, it’s pretty horrible. Those alcohols in your chapstick of choice are drying your lips out! For a cleaner, moisturizing, and healthier option look no further than these two great lip balms: Dr. Bronner’s Natural Organic Lip Balm and Drunk Elephant’s Lippe Balm. Both are equally great options when it comes to cleaner chapstick options. Filled with nourishing natural oils that actually hydrate your lips, these chapsticks pack a punch. I find that I no longer need to apply chapstick constantly throughout the day! I gravitate towards the unscented choices, just to reduce the ingredient list even more. While Dr. Bronner’s is a more affordable option, it’s hard to pass up Drunk Elephant once you’ve tried it


Dr. Bronner’s Lip Balm


Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm


My Favorite Clean Beauty Websites

Looking for good places to purchase clean beauty? These sites are my most frequented! Sign up for e-mails so you never miss a deal. Another great way to save some dollar bills: sign up for Sephora’s reward program. Not only can you get travel sized samples for points, but you can also get free shipping. Heck yes!

  1. The Detox Market
  2. Credo Beauty 
  3. Sephora (Look for the Green Leaf icon for cleaner product choices!)


My Favorite Clean Beauty Bloggers + Instagrammers 

Above all, clean and green beauty influencers have been imperative to my research and continued education in this field. Here are a few super bomb ladies who dominate the clean beauty field. They have endless suggestions from anything regarding makeup to hair care. I highly recommend you check them out!

  1. Gurl Gone Green: Website + Instagram 
  2. This Organic Girl: Website + Instagram
  3. Dirt Naturals: Website + Instagram
  4. Root + Revel: Website + Instagram 

Do you have clean beauty items that you’re loving? I always enjoy hearing more clean beauty suggestions! Are you following green beauty experts that I should know about? Send your recommendations my way!


Have a wonderful Thursday!



XOXO, Sarah


** Of note, I am not looking to become a consultant for Beauty Counter, Arbonne, etc , so please don’t try to sell me on any programs, regimens, or joining a sales team. Thank you!**


Switzerland Part 2: The Alps

“The hills are alive with the sound of music!” That’s what everyone sings when they enter the Bernese Alps region of Switzerland, right? Oh, just me?

This week’s blog post is all about the Swiss Alps! Think clear skies, the jingling of cow bells, staggering mountain peaks, magnificent waterfalls, and the fresh smell of pine. I had the opportunity to visit the Alps when I was in middle school. My family took a trip to Europe and I’m so grateful we did. Ever since I knew that Zach had a love for mountains, hiking, and the outdoors, I could only hope that one day we could return to the Swiss Alps. There are multiple ranges of the Alps, some that span into countries other than Switzerland. Though I researched many places to stay in the Alps, I kept returning to the small little town my family stayed in all those years ago. Nothing could compare to it. It was easy to convince Zach after showing him the pictures; he was all in! We quickly added Murren, Switzerland to our European travel plans.

We finished out our three days in Basel and booked tickets to Murren. At the Basel Train Station, we grabbed snacks for the journey. Train stations have excellent food selections. From sandwiches to pastries, there’s always something easy and handheld to grab for your travels. Some trains have food cars, but it is more convenient to have your own snacks handy. We only made it to Bern, the capital of Switzerland, when trouble began. Our train came to a stop, an announcement was made overhead in German, and everyone but a few people got off the train. We looked around in complete confusion. What the heck was happening!? We found a very nice lady who spoke English to explain the situation to us. Apparently there was a problem with the train and its departure time from Bern was now undetermined. We had no idea what to do! We ended up getting off the train and finding a station worker to help us understand the timetables. Thankfully we figured everything out! We would be getting into Murren a bit later than anticipated but we would make it! The Swiss train system has an app that is well used in Switzerland called SBB Mobile. This convenient app can be incredibly helpful in times like this!

After transferring trains a couple times, we arrived in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. This valley is home to beautiful scenery everywhere you turn. On either side, mountains reach to the skies above and waterfalls thunder into the valley. Though the views from the valley floor are remarkable, you can’t truly appreciate the grandeur until you get into the mountains above the valley. We took a bus from the Lauterbrunnen station to Stechelberg, on the other side of the valley. These buses run frequently throughout the day and stop frequently the valley. Once at Stechelberg, we took a cable car up to Gimmelwald. From Gimmelwald we took yet another cable car to Murren, our final destination. This trip took about four hours, even with the slight train issue in Bern. The Swiss transportation system is normally extremely efficient and reliable. You can get anywhere with ease, even to the Alps.

By the time we arrived, it was too dark to appreciate the views. We were exhausted! ** Travel tip: always bring extra snacks. In many small towns, restaurants close early**. By the time we had arrived in Murren, there were no restaurants open. Luckily we had some leftover snacks to tide us over until the morning.

During our time in Murren, we stayed at the Hotel Alpina. This ski lodge style hotel doesn’t seem like much when you walk up to it. But if you happen to look around the far corner and off the patio, you won’t be disappointed. Hotel Alpina is built on the side of a cliff overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Above the town is the Schilthorn Mountain. You can barely see the cars as they drive along the valley floor. Looking up and over the valley, you see the three mountainous splendors that make this valley so popular: the Monch, Eiger, and Jungfrau. Hotel Alpina is truly located in a breathtaking spot. We decided to pay just a little more to have a mountain view room and we were not disappointed! Waking up in the morning, we opened our curtains and were immediately taken aback by the insane view! Walking out onto our balcony we were in awe. Zach looked like a little kid on Christmas, and that was all I could’ve asked. Hotel Alpina offers complimentary breakfast every morning. We had choices from an assortment of breads and pastries, jams, cereals, yogurt, granola, hard boiled eggs, cured meats, and cheeses. We were able to enjoy a delicious breakfast, hot coffee with frothed milk, and wonderful service before starting our days in the mountains.


Day 1 in The Alps

For our first day in the Alps, we decided to tackle the big kahuna, The Jungfrau, the Top of Europe! This magnificent peak is seen directly outside of our patio, and from across the region. To get up to the Jungfrau however, we had to start our journey by going down into the valley. To get to Murren, we took the double cable car route up from Stechelberg. There is another way to get to and from Murren, located on the opposite side of the town. Walking out of Murren the other direction from the cable cars, you will come upon a small train station. **Travel tip: you can buy round trip tickets from any of these stations. Whether you are going down to the valley and back up again, going further, or taking multiple forms of transportation, buying round trip or one way tickets at these locations is very easy**. We bought round trip tickets for the Jungfraujoch. Down the stairs, we waited for the train. These trains run every 30 minutes, so don’t fret if you miss your intended train! The train leaves Murren and passes through Winteregg before letting passengers off at the cable car station that will continue to the Lauterbrunnen Valley.


Once in the valley, we walked across the street to the train station and hopped on yet another train that would bring us up to the Jungfrau. The views as you climb through the different levels of elevation are breathtaking. As you climb higher, the views get better! We passed through the picturesque mountain town of Wengen and changed trains once at Kleine Scheidegg. Most people on this route are headed for the Jungfrau and instructions are announced in multiple languages for tourists. It’s really a very easy process. Towards the end of the journey, we entered the mountain. The rest of the way to the peak was in complete darkness!

After reaching the top, we exited the train and entered the Jungfrau building established there. We came for the views so we headed that direction first! The observation deck, also called the Sphynx, gives visitors a 360 degree view of the Alps. There are truly no words for the expansive beauty you experience at this lookout point. After taking in the vast panorama, we followed the signs to walk on the glacier that covers much of the Jungfrau peak, the Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps. Pack your sunglasses for this part! We emerged from a long tunnel into a sparkling white tundra. It is from this perspective that you can truly gauge the enormity of the Alps.

While exploring the Jungfraujoch, don’t forget to check out the Ice Palace! The entire structure is made of ice, from the floors to the ceilings, the walls, and the sculptures.

On our return from the valley, we took the cable car to the train station (as we did on the way down, but reverse). Instead of taking the Murren train back, we walked! There is a well kept path that follows the route of the train from the cable car station into Murren. The walk took us about 50 minutes. The terrain was relatively easy; any age would enjoy this shorter hike.

**I highly recommend packing snacks for your day at the Jungfrau. Large tour groups often occupy the restaurants and the food is expensive and bland. There are Coops in Murren and in the valley that you can easily access before traveling up the Jungfrau Mountain for the day.**

Murren Restaurants

During our time in Murren, we ate exclusively at our hotel restaurant. You couldn’t beat the views, the prices, or the delicious menu options. It was incredibly convenient for us as well. We never felt that we had to dress up, which was wonderful. Our first night, we enjoyed a typical Swiss dish called Rosti. Rosti is a combination of meat, often a sausage, and cheesy hash browns. How could you go wrong with that?! The second night we had a very popular, and very fun, Swiss specialty: fondue! We couldn’t leave Switzerland without dipping bread and veggies into some ooey gooey Gruyere cheese. I mean, c’mon! I think I could eat fondue while looking at the alps for the rest of my life. Sign me up!

Day 2 in The Alps

Day two in the Alps would be our hiking day! Both Zach and I love getting into the outdoors. Hiking is something that we have enjoyed doing together throughout the different stages of our relationship. There’s something to be said for leaving civilization behind and immersing yourself in nature. I find hiking to be so cleansing; taking a deep breath of mountain air is a sure way to ease any anxieties. Actually, research now shows that spending as little as two hours outside a week can be good for your health. I don’t disagree! Before you head out for your hike, make sure you have ample water and snacks. You can fill your water bottle at any fountain located in Murren, super convenient! Also, pack sunscreen. Don’t only pack it, wear it! 

We began our hike by heading out of Murren towards the train station at the end of town. We walked alongside the railroad tracks, following the trail we had walked along the previous day. Just as we were about to get to the Grutschalp train station we came to a fork in the road. Instead of continuing on to the train station, we took a sharp left and continued up on the Mountain View Trail. Word to the wise: always check snow levels before heading out for a hike in the alps, especially in the spring. Although we were there in late spring, there was still quite a bit of snow! We followed the trail through beautiful wooded twists and turns and into a sprawling field covered in wildflowers. As we ascended, we came to somewhat of an impasse. There was about 3 feet of snow covering our trail! Zach pursued ahead to confirm we still had a clear path and we continued on. Luckily, other hikers had traversed through the alpine snow and there was a path visible for us to follow. We relied on trail markers on trees and trail signs throughout our hike to verify we were still on the right path.


About halfway through our hike, we broke for lunch. Before setting off on the hike we stopped at the Murren Coop to buy items for a simple lunch: a baguette, prosciutto, cheese, and fruit. Of course, we brought some delicious Swiss chocolate with us as well! Everything tastes better in the alps, especially chocolate!

On our way down, we opted to hop on the Allmendhubel trail, since the remainder of the Mountain View Trail was covered in snow. We were not prepared in the slightest to hike through the snow! Though we have hiking boots, we left them at home to save room in our carry-ons (we only packed carry-ons for our trip!). We hiked in the alpine snow with tennies; not recommended! By the end of the hike, they were drenched. We were drenched! Hiking through snow is not easy, folks. On our way back down to Murren, we once again walked through fields covered in wildflowers and a dense forest. This hike was such a fun experience. While I wouldn’t recommend it for families while there is snow, it could be family friendly when dry, especially for older kids. 

After we took a breather from our eventful hike in the Alps, we ventured back down into the Lauterbrunnen Valley. After taking the cable car down to Stechelberg, we walked along the valley floor to one of Lauterbrunnen’s popular attractions, Trummelbach Falls. While walking through the valley, it is easy to get distracted! Countless waterfalls cascasde down the walls of the mountains on either side of the valley. A beautiful alpine river, Lutschine, runs along the walking path. Signs are placed throughout the walk, directing walkers towards trails leading through the valley and trails leading to our destination, the falls. Trummelbach Falls is a unique collection of waterfalls; Trummelbach Falls is inside the mountain! After paying a small admittance fee, walk up to the base of the falls. There is a funicular that will take you to the best viewed sections of the falls. Wear stable footwear as the walkways are often wet! After viewing the falls, you can either choose to walk down the stairs, viewing other sections of the waterfall, or take the funicular back down. Since we were exhausted from our hike, we opted to take the funicular down. This attraction is fun for the whole family! Go early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid large crowds. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good pictures of the falls. It’s dark and hard to get clear focus inside the mountain cave.


Murren Thoughts

Man, I wish we had more time in Murren. This picturesque mountain town is truly the epitome of Swiss charm and alpine wonder. Not only is it a fun journey to the town, but it’s just a fun place to stay. Besides hotels, there are bed and breakfasts, guest houses, and hostels available. There is a place to stay with any price point. Pretty much every hotel has its own restaurant and/or patio overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley below. The local Coop provides grocery options for locals and tourists alike. Ski shops are intermingled within the town, selling winter sport attire. Murren is, after all, a destination in the winter and the summer. Access to ski slopes from Murren is incredibly convenient. And, apart from ski slopes, the hiking trails are readily accessible from any point in town. If you want a true experience in the Swiss Alps, consider Murren!

Other options to stay in the Lauterbrunnen area: Lauterbrunnen Valley, Gimmelwald, Wengen, Stechelberg, Grindelwald, or Kleine Scheidegg. If you plan on utilizing Swiss transportation (train, bus, funicular, gondola) for more than two days, I highly recommend investing in the Swiss Pass, which allows you unlimited travel on the methods mentioned above. If you choose to invest in this pass, you will not need to buy tickets every time you choose to use public transportation in Switzerland.

If you choose to visit Europe, I insist that you to visit Switzerland! Switzerland, though it can be an expensive destination, is well worth your time and money, especially when visiting the Alps. With efficient and easy-to-navigate public transportation, getting around the country is easy. When in doubt, friendly locals will take the time to help you out.

Questions about visiting the Swiss Alps? Let me know!! Where should we visit mountains next?!

Next post: Rome!

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone! Enjoy your weekend! 


XOXO, Sarah

Switzerland Part 1: Basel

Hello, friends! It’s been awhile and I apologize for not being more present on this platform. We have experienced MANY life changes over the last month or so. We moved from Kansas City, MO to Seattle (technically Bellevue, WA)  about a month ago. We opted to drive across the country with some of our stuff and our two little fur balls. It was an incredible experience! We saw some of the most beautiful parts of the country and, unfortunately, some absolutely horrible places we will never return (I’m looking at you western Kansas and southern Idaho). We stopped along the way in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Boise. All in all, the trip took us about five full days. If you ever have to move, long or short distance, I highly recommend driving. It gives you a chance to see our massive country and REALLY get to know your spouse. For the record, Zach drove the entire way but he refused my help. I offered many times! So there’s that. Sorry, honey! Had to plug my innocence here.

Once we got to Seattle (I’m just going to keep saying Seattle, ok? I feel like everyone knows Seattle. Bellevue, not so much), we had a few days to unwind before leaving for a wedding in Wisconsin. Our stuff arrived from the moving company literally the day before we left. It was just lovely; We only got to sleep in our own bed for one measly night! Ugh! The day after the wedding in Wisconsin, we left for our European vacation!

Those of you who know me personally know that my younger brother and his wonderful wife just welcomed their first baby into the world…in ROME! We had decided that we would only be taking small trips this year after our honeymoon last year. But once we heard the exciting news, we knew we had to book a trip to visit them. Since we would be traveling a significant distance to do so, we opted to plan a visit to another country as well. I had the opportunity to visit Switzerland when I was 12 and I have high school friends that live there. I had always wanted to travel back to Switzerland, and with its proximity to Italy, it was an easy decision. I am so excited to share a part of our Switzerland trip with you today! I’m breaking down my Switzerland posts into Basel and Murren. There are too many good nuggets to share with you and I don’t want my posts to become novels. If you are ever considering a trip to Europe, I can’t recommend Switzerland enough. The people are incredibly friendly, the public transportation system is clean and efficient, and the country itself  is just drop dead gorgeous. Let me explain!

Flying to Switzerland is very easy. Many major airlines have direct flights from big US cities into Zurich. We flew from Chicago, through Atlanta, to Zurich. Sometimes direct flights cost more, but they allow you more freedom in your travels. If anything, opt for a direct flight for your journey home. More on the reasoning behind that in future posts! Once touching down in Zurich, you don’t have to go far to access public transportation. Just going down a couple levels brings you to the train station. If you know your final destination, use the kiosks provided to buy your tickets. Swiss trains are notorious for upholding “legal” riding. Don’t get on a train, bus, tram, etc without having a ticket! We purchased our tickets at the kiosk for Basel, where our good friends live. It is important to note that when traveling following a flight, it’s best to buy the ticket at the time of travel. If you buy your ticket ahead of time (make a reservation) and your plane is early or late, you can’t take another train without buying another ticket. Avoid this hassle by purchasing when you land. Also important to note, once you buy your ticket at the station, it is good for the rest of the day. You can get off at any of the intermediary stops and explore, if you so choose. Trains leaving Zurich are often completely full. It is best to expect that you will have someone sitting next to you so store your bags at your feet or above your head.

Basel is a quaint city of about 200,00 on the Rhine River in northwest Switzerland. It is in close proximity to both France and Germany. You can, as  I will show you later, visit each country within 20 minutes! Talk about being a world traveler! It has medieval origins, dating back over a thousand years. Once surrounded by walls, you can still see the remnants of them at different points in the city. You can follow the cobblestone streets to different plazas highlighting important Basel monuments. From the town hall to the cathedral, everyone can appreciate the magnificent architecture throughout the city.

Basel is a very walkable town. And, if walking isn’t your thing or if the weather doesn’t cooperate, Basel has its own tram system. Nonetheless, staying in a central location will ensure you have easy access to all of the best parts of Basel. We stayed in “old town” Basel in the Spalenberg area in this sweet little Airbnb. This particular area is, as my mom would say, dripping in charm. Imagine any fairytale in your head. Got it? Ok that is old town Basel. Beautiful cobblestoned hills, German and French influenced buildings and homes, and fountains, lots of fountains. Fun fact: you can drink from all the fountains in Basel! The water is clean and fresh. Not only that, you can jump into fountains in Basel if you’re looking for a “Friends” experience! As you walk through the streets of the Spalenberg area, keep your eyes peeled for Konditorei-Confiserie Gilgen. We had the flakiest, buttery, sweet apple fritters here. We came to find out from our friends that this bakery is quite famous among locals, especially during the Christmas season. Another noteworthy food stop in the area is Hejkoh. It’s a cafe and lifestyle concept shop. Everything you see in the store is for sale! And, look for a friendly barista behind the counter named Julia. Tell her Sarah sent you in.

Julia and Sonja are my two Swiss friends from my high school years. Julia studied abroad at my high school and Sonja, her best friend, nannied for a family in my neighborhood following Julia’s year abroad. My whole family become incredibly close with both of them and we remain friends to this day, despite the obvious distance between us. They also served as our two tour guides during our time in Basel, giving us the insider’s view of the city. Our tour started the day we got to Basel! Julia picked us up a the Basel Train Station (Basel SBB) and brought us to her apartment for coffee and pizza. Sonja joined us for lunch. After that, we hit the road running!

Day 1 in Basel

Though we didn’t have beautiful weather, we were still able to appreciate the city from all angles. Our first stop of the day would be the Basel Town Hall. The town hall building is around 500 years old. It functions not only as a legislative building for government, but it also serves as a voting hall for Basel residents. It is hard to miss in Marktplatz (the plaza area in front it) as it is beautiful burnt red! The architecture itself is exquisite. Murals cover the walls of the inner courtyard accented with gold. We were unable to enter the building as government was in session, but would recommend it if you have the time.

We continued on our way towards the river at the center of town, the Rhine. During the summer months, the Rhine is the place to be for a cool dip, a bite to eat, or to share a few beers with friends. We did not get to experience this “pop up bar” culture since it rained nearly every day we were in Basel. But don’t be alarmed if you find the banks of the Rhine packed on a beautiful day!

Basel is home to many bridges that cross the Rhine at different points in the city. We crossed the Middle Bridge, or Mittlere Brucke, many times during our stay. This elegant old bridge is lined with flags and is adorned with a small bell tower in the middle. After crossing, we made our way down the walkway along the Rhine, stopping to take in the view and refreshing drinks from the fountains. To get back to the other side, instead of opting for bridge, we took a river ferry! This motor-less boat relies completely on the tides of the Rhine to carry passengers from one side to another. It is tethered to a line stretching from either side so it doesn’t drift away. To alert the captain you wish to ride, simply ring the bell.


After riding across, we found ourselves at the base of the Munster, Basel’s cathedral. Built in 1091, this church is a testament to Basel’s longevity throughout the years. We walked through the courtyards and admired the view off the back of the church. We couldn’t enter the church at that time since there was a service occurring. But we would be back to explore that the following day. The Munster is home to “whisper columns”. You know that game you would play at the park as kids? One of you would stand at one end of the park and your friend would stand at the other end. You would whisper or speak into a funnel that would pipe your vocals to your friend. Similarly, these arched columns allow you to secretly whisper to your friend standing on the other end.

Our last stop of the day was the Tinguely Fountain. Famous for his “working” art, Jean Tinguely was a prominent Swiss sculptor. He gave life to many well known works throughout the world including the elaborate and colorful fountain in Centre Pompidou in Paris, France. This fountain is a true work of movement! The pieces all move and spray water in different directions. The fountain is left on during the winter months creating a unique ice display. We would be visiting the museum dedicated to Tinguely later in the trip.


After a long day of travel and exploring (really, we had been up since the previous day in the US), Julia and Sonja prepared a traditional Swiss meal for us. No, it wasn’t fondue or rosti. We had mac n’ cheese with applesauce! Yes, you read that right. WITH APPLESAUCE. Now, I was pretty skeptical (hello, I’m from Wisconsin, you don’t mess with my cheese). With that being said, I was pleasantly surprised! The key to success with this dish is the rich and decadent homemade mac n’ cheese. You absolutely cannot use Kraft boxed mac n’ cheese for this recipe, folks. The part that ties it all together is the crisp bacon. This dish has it all! You get rich and creamy from the sauce, a sharp bite from the cheese, salty and crispy from the bacon, and sweet from the applesauce. You even get a temperature difference between the mac n’ cheese and the applesauce. This is what I like to call a food party in my mouth! Ok Julia and Sonja, you guys were right. This stuff is scrumptious. Don’t knock it until you try it, preferably in Switzerland (we saw it on some menus at restaurants!).


Day 2 in Basel

After a glorious night of sleep, we were rested and ready to explore more of Basel. We meandered down the street to a local coffee shop and enjoyed a croissant and cappuccino. **Travel tip: many local stores, cafes, and restaurants may have a card minimums. It is not a bad idea to withdraw Swiss francs when you arrive in the country**. It’s not a bad idea to carry cash with you in any foreign country! After breakfast we realized our credit card didn’t work on the cafe’s machine. One of us had to venture to find cash to pay for our meal. Not the end of the world, but it can throw a wrench in your day!

Following breakfast, we wandered the streets of Basel with our friends. It was so fun to walk through these old, quiet neighborhoods. We made our way back to the Munster, the cathedral in Basel. After admiring the stunning simplicity of the interior, we paid the attendant and began making our way up to the top of one of the spires. The access to the spires is behind a door at the back of the sanctuary, to your left when you enter the church. The attendant must buzz you in. After a dizzying climb, we made it to the top. You can walk around the entire spire, getting a panoramic view of Basel. I have such a precarious relationship with heights. If the lookout point is enclosed, sign me up! If the space is open, it’s a different (terrifying) story. I have absolutely no idea why I react like this! Anyone else out there? Tell me I’m not alone! Anyways, while everyone else leaned over the edges of the spire (it’s making me nauseous just writing about it!) I stayed safely in the center. The view, however, is quite marvelous. Don’t forget to take in the intricate tiling on the roof! You can really appreciate the design from above.

After a suspenseful morning (for me, primarily), we enjoyed a yummy lunch at 1777 Kaffee. Tucked away in a quiet courtyard, this busy lunchtime restaurant serves build-your-own sandwiches and salads. They have English menus, which came in handy for Zach and I. They have pre-set sandwiches and salads on the menu as well, if you don’t want to make your own creation. If you get a sandwich, get butter on it. Sounds weird, but it’s a common practice in many European countries and takes the place of the mayo we would use in the states. It is soooo good. It adds a creamy and fatty component that pulls the sandwich together. Get an iced tea (served upside down) or a gasoza (a fruit soda-the raspberry is super tasty) for a refreshing addition to your meal.


Following lunch, we walked over to Marktplatz where we indulged in some post-lunch sweets. Julia and Sonja claim that Laderach is the best Swiss chocolatier. After trying their chocolate, it was hard to disagree! Upon walking into the store, you are greeted by a sprawling display of chocolate. There are two counters serving two types of chocolate, truffles and bark. Get a truffle (or like three) for a small bite of decadence. And, because you’re in Switzerland, just get the bark too. There are so many flavors of chocolate (think milk, dark, white, etc) with different mix-ins. From dried fruit to nuts or nougat, there is a bark flavor for everyone!  If you don’t make it to Laderach, go into any grocery store (typically a Migros or a Coop) and buy chocolate off the shelf. Even the Lindt tastes better in Switzerland than it does here! There are far fewer fillers, additives, and waxes than we use in the US. It’s pure chocolate. If you go to Switzerland, you must eat Swiss chocolate. It’s a non-negotiable, people!


Once the sweet tooth was satisfied, we made our way to the Tinguely Museum. As mentioned above, Jean Tinguely was an influential Swiss artist and sculptor. He and his partner, Niki de Saint Phalle, established an entirely new way of viewing and creating art. He specialized in creating loud, interdependent, moving pieces that utilized power (from a motor of some sort) or momentum to take some sort of action. Whether it was a wheeled contraption that moved back and forth or a machine that drew pictures, his work is captivating. Niki added visual appeal to his work, particularly in the fountain mentioned above in Centre Pompidou. This museum is the perfect rainy day activity. Basel has many renowned museums. If the Tinguely Museum doesn’t sound interesting to you, there are many more! From art galleries to acclaimed museums, Basel is a city that celebrates the arts.

That night we met Sonja and Julia for tapas at Tapas del Mar, right in the Spalenberg neighborhood. They have a great deal for tapas; order the “tapas for four”, or however many people you have in your group. You are then presented with the chef’s choice of tapas. They are all so delicious. We were given maybe four rounds of delectable tapas! If you’re like me and super indecisive, this is the way to go. Don’t forget to save room for the dessert!


Day 3 in Basel

On our final day in Basel we were greeted by the sun! We were so happy to have a day of warmth before traveling south to the Alps. We met up with Julia and walked to a fun and quirky brunch spot called Avant Gouz. Come hungry to this place, you guys! The portions are out of this world. Julia and I got the Vegi brunch and Zach got the Speck (bacon) brunch. Each plate comes with a green salad, quinoa, mushrooms or bacon (per specification), a fried egg, yogurt and granola, quiche, a smoothie, pancakes, and bread with butter and marmalade. So much food! Now this is a breakfast that will keep you full throughout the day. Although I couldn’t finish my entire plate, I enjoyed all the different components.


Following brunch, we took a leisurely walk down to the port area. If you follow the road to the point of the port, you come upon a cute little beach bar and restaurant. If you go just past it, you come to a rocket ship shaped monument displaying the Swiss, German, and French flags. Remember a while back when I said that while in Basel you could also visit Germany and France? This is the tripoint between all three countries!  Though you can’t truly cross into the different countries at this point since there is water in between, you can see the bridge that links Germany to France. So close! At this point, Sonja met up with us for a refreshing drink at the bar. If you really want to enjoy refreshments like a true Swiss, order a Rivella. This cream soda like drink was especially welcome on a hot sunny day! We made our way further down the Rhine into Germany. Be forewarned, you cannot take the tram into Germany unless you have a specific ticket, which is more expensive. It’s best to get off the tram at the stop before Germany and simply walk across the border. Though you don’t need your passport to cross into Germany, you should always have it with you. If you walk around the shopping center to your left, you will be able to see the Three Countries Bridge. Take this bridge to venture into France!

This concluded our time in Basel! If you have a couple of days in Europe without plans, I encourage you to visit this Swiss city. We had so much fun learning all about this beautiful river city. Definitely bring shoes comfortable for walking! We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and tour guides willing to show us around their city. Julia and Sonja- thank you! If you want to experience Basel like we did, look into a self guided walking tour. You can find information in the Basel tourism store in Marktplatz (I believe?) on self guided tours in the city. There are placards throughout different parts of the city to guide you. Or just use this link:

Planning a trip to Switzerland? Have questions about travel in general? Let me know!

Be on the lookout for my next installment of the Switzerland blog: The Swiss Alps!  


Until next time,


XOXO, Sarah


The Best of Kansas City

Well, folks, we are coming down to our final few days in Kansas City. I can’t believe we are going to be moving across the country! We are so excited for our new journey in the Pacific Northwest but will miss this awesome city so much. Kansas City is truly a hidden gem in the Midwest. It is temperate, welcoming, vibrant, and full of delicious food and fun things to do. It’s home to a famous barbecue scene and exciting breweries. The arts are celebrated here, from ballet to famous vocalists and renowned museums. The people here are Midwest-nice and quickly become friends and family.

When we moved here, I had never been to Kansas City before. I insisted we visit before moving from Milwaukee. It was mid-April when we first visited the city. It was so warm! Mid-April temperatures in Kansas City can skyrocket into the 80’s, which we welcomed, being from the upper Midwest. It was still in the 40’s in Milwaukee! While we stayed just south of the city, we took every moment to explore the downtown area, which would be our new home. Kansas City has worked incredibly hard to restore and rejuvenate the Power and Light District. No detail goes without notice in this area! The streets are clean and the streetcar is easy to navigate. We picked this central location to live because of the ease of getting to other neighborhoods in the city including Crossroads and the River Market area. From our central location we could get on the streetcar or walk to either place.

Over the last two years, Zach and I have become regulars at quite a few places! We have grown to love the culture, the food, and the people. With leaving this wonderful city, I have created a list of Kansas City favorites that we have come to love over the last couple years. If you plan to visit, or even move to, Kansas City, I hope this list will serve you well. Even you locals may get some new ideas! It has been a phenomenal experience getting to know this beautiful city. While we are so excited for this new experience, we will miss Kansas City!


Things to Do

National WWI Museum and Memorial

  • Washington DC style museum. Really wonderful exhibits! Check out the view around the back of the museum! And, if you’re feeling adventurous, head to the top of the monument for a breathtaking vista.

Boulevard Brewery

  • Delicious beers and food, what could be better!? Take an educational tour or sit in the brew hall and sip on not-yet-released Boulevard Beers. I recommend a beer flight and a cheese platter! Grab a table and a board game for a fun night out with friends.

The Kauffman Center

  • Not only an architectural beauty, the Kauffman Center hosts hundreds of acclaimed productions each year. We loved making a tradition of seeing the Nutcracker Ballet around Christmas time.

Country Club Plaza

  • Extensive shopping options and delicious eats surrounded by Spanish inspired architecture.

Royals Baseball game

Chiefs Football game

KC Sporting Soccer Game

Nelson-Atkins Art Museum

  • Another world class museum located in Kansas City. This art museum has a little for everyone! From different genres of art to specialty exhibits and an outdoor art garden, this museum is great for the entire family. This past year we had the opportunity to see the traveling Napoleon exhibit which was spectacular! We loved to visit this museum on rainy days.

City Market Farmers Market

  • Most Saturdays during the summer months, Zach and I would take a leisurely walk down to the City Market. While we enjoyed getting our steps in, this area of the city is also accessible by the streetcar. The City Market on Saturdays is full of local farmers and vendors selling produce and other delicious goods. We loved having the ability to buy local veggies, meats, and other items in an urban location! I recommend dropping by the Opera House for an iced coffee before exploring the market.

The John Wornall House Museum

  • Kansas City played a significant role in the  pre-Civil War era. Being close to the line of separation between north and south, Kansas City offers extremely interesting local histories. The Wornall House has been restored and preserved to what it would have been during this time period. Take a walking tour with a guide to learn about war stories and way of life for Major John Wornall and his family.

Loose Park

First Fridays/First Saturdays

  • The Crossroads district comes alive on the first Friday evening of every month during the warm weather season. With food trucks, open art galleries, and happy hour specials at local restaurants, First Fridays is a hit among locals and visitors alike. The following morning, the West Bottoms antique area opens its doors to clients looking for fun and unique items. Grab a delicious drink and browse multiple antique stores.

Top Golf (Overland Park)

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Crossroads Theater

  • An outdoor theater in the Crossroads area. We saw John Butler Trio at this intimate venue and had a blast! Splurge on VIP tickets and you will have access to a VIP bar and indoor restrooms (makes all the difference on a warm summer night!).

Power and Light Block

  • An enclosed city block surrounded by restaurants and bars. At the center is a stage which hosts well known country music artists every Thursday in the summer and other bands/musicians throughout the year. This past fall we had front row seats to one of our favorite bands, The Revivalists! We frequented Leinenkugel’s Bar for Packer and Badger games throughout the year. If you are a Wisconsin sports fan, you know how important it is to follow our home teams!

Blade and Timber Axe Throwing

Country Club Plaza Art Fair


Messenger Coffee

  • Located in the Crossroads District, Messenger Coffee has a modern hipster vibe. They concoct specialty coffee and tea drinks  in the open and airy coffee bar area. Behind glass windows, they display delicious pastries and breads, baked fresh every day by Ibis Bakery, located inside the shop. Everything is spectacular and you can’t go wrong. On a nice day, take your coffee and snack up to their rooftop patio. Even on a chilly day, they have an outdoor fireplace lit to keep you warm!

Goat Hill Coffee & Soda

  • Hidden in the Westside neighborhood, his quaint coffee shop is incredibly small, so don’t expect to always find a seat here. Not to worry though, their coffee is top notch! If coffee isn’t your thing, try one of their retro house soda drinks or snow cone. I recommend trying one of their specialty coffee drinks. They make an exquisite orange mocha (don’t hate it ’til you try it!)!


  • Spokes is our neighborhood coffee shop, and get this, bike shop! This merged store offers your standard coffee drinks, an extensive menu of sandwiches and salads, bikes, bike accessories, and bike repairs. If you’re a fan of the Tour de France, watch it here with a tasty brew in hand. We have enjoyed frequenting Spokes in the mornings for breakfast sandwiches and wraps on Saturdays.

The Roasterie

  • This local Kansas City chain is well known all over the city. We even had Roasterie Coffee in the hospital coffee shop! There are different types of roasts and flavors even including a chocolate infused roast based on a local Kansas City chocolate shop, Christopher Elbow. Our favorite ice cream shop, Betty Rae’s (see below) has a Roasterie infused coffee ice cream. You could say that the Roasterie coffee is the coffee of KC! Check out the roasting headquarters of Roasterie coffee and attend a tour detailing the process of making a delicious cup of coffee.


  • Ca va bein aujourd’hui? France comes to Kansas City in this charming French inspired cafe. Sit on the patio or in the restaurant to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and perfected French pastries. The breakfast/brunch menu is delectable, lunch is very well prepared, and dinner is exquisite. You can’t go wrong coming to Aixois any time of day.

Quay Coffee

Bars/Happy Hour

Leinenkugel’s Leine Lodge

  • Being Packer fans without sports networks (trying to save money, ya hear?) we were desperate to find bar and/or restaurant in KC Chief’s territory that would play the Packer game. Luckily, we happened to find a Leine Lodge in downtown Kansas City! Leine Lodges, in any city, will play all Wisconsin sports. From Badger football games and basketball games to Sunday Packers games, we could watch our favorite teams from our new city. There seemed to be some confusion among local KC residents when they played the Badgers over K-State and/or University of Kansas, which was a little comical. But hey, you’re coming to a Wisconsin bar! They’re going to play Wisconsin sports.


  • With a name like Julep, you can imagine this bar must have quite the collection of whiskeys. And you wouldn’t be wrong! Stacked along the back of the bar are multiple shelves stocked with, you guessed it, whiskey! Bartenders reach the top levels with a sliding ladder, like you might see in a library. But this library is a liquor library! Bartenders whip up craft cocktails in front of you. Of course, there are other cocktails outside of the whiskey range if it isn’t your thing.

Casual Animal Brewing Company

  • A fun, small, and tasteful urban microbrewery. I recommend getting a beer flight to sample multiple flavors!

Brewery Emperial

  • This fun restaurant and beer garden has an expansive outdoor area. Han out with your friends, your dogs, and your kids while you sip on a superb craft brew. The food isn’t to be forgotten. The inside out grilled cheese is the perfect companion to a flavorful IPA.

Westport Ale House

Tiki Cat

Char Bar

  • While you wait for your table to enjoy some yummy BBQ, enjoy the outdoor patio with lawn games!

La Bodega

  • Small plates and authentic Spanish wine. What could be better?


  • Come here early evening or later in the night for an eclectic collection of crafted cocktails. Not sure what you want to drink? Describe flavors and a preferred liquor to the bartender for a personalized cocktail experience.




  • Delicious and authentic Italian. Conceptualized by the famous Italian chef, Lida Bastianich, Lidia’s Restaurant is like walking into your Italian grandmother’s home. Whether you’re looking for classic spaghetti and meatballs or more traditional fare, Lidia’s is a great place to bring the whole family. I recommend trying the Pasta Trio, an unlimited daily selection of three house made pastas brought directly to your table.

Il Lazzarone

  • Wood fired pizza located in the River Market area. This laid back pizza joint is a fun and casual location for a quick and delicious bite to eat.


  • This is our favorite BBQ spot in Kansas City! And while we can’t truly brag about the BBQ here since we aren’t natives, this location packs a punch. Q39 is award winning, and it is clear to see in the flavors of the meat, the sauce, and the sides. If we have friends or family come in from out of town who want true KC BBQ, this is where we take them! Get the sampler platter and you won’t be disappointed. With a full selection of tender, mouthwatering BBQ, you’ll leave Q39 extremely satisfied. Definitely make reservations! The wait time is consistently over an hour, even on week nights!

Rudy’s Tenampa Taqueria

Jack Stack Barbeque

The Farmhouse

  • We love this true farm-to-table restaurant. Sourced by local farmers, you can expect the food to be extremely delicious. This establishment also boasts the “tip-to-tail” mentality, using as much of the animal as possible to reduce waste. Enjoy the outdoor patio on a warm summer evening. Perfect for date night!

Gram & Dun

Freestyle Poke

Rockhill Grille


Rye Plaza

Char Bar

La Bodega

The Westside Local

  • This local restaurant is so close to our place and we love enjoying dinner here. Like the Farmhouse, The Westside Local supports local businesses and farmers. Everything is so fresh and the flavors are impeccable. Zach loves to get the Jalepeno & Jam Burger. I always seem to gravitate towards the rotating selection of tacos.

Vietnam Cafe

  • Delicious and authentic pho and other Vietnamese specialties!


Freestyle Poke

  • This poke themed restaurant is not only extremely fresh, it’s extremely delicious! The concept is “build your own bowl”. Starting with the base ingredients (type of rice and protein), you move onto toppings, sauce, and marinades. We love coming to this newer KC restaurant for a fast and healthy lunch or dinner. My favorite bowl: Forbidden rice, 1/2 tuna, 1/2 salmon, avocado, mango, cilantro, Freestyle shoyu marinade, wasabi toasted coconut, seaweed salad, crispy shallot, and sriracha mayo (see photo above!).

Tannin Wine Bar


Protein House



The Farmhouse

Gram & Dun

  • Our favorite brunch in Kansas City! The menu consists of the perfect assortment of savory and sweet options. My favorites are the rotating flavors of French Toasts and Eggs Benedict!

The Jacobson



The Opera House



Betty Rae’s Ice Cream

  • This. Is. The. Best. Place. In. Kansas. City. Seriously, if you want flavorful, creamy, rich ice cream, this local shop is just for you. There are two locations- the original in the Waldo neighborhood and the new shop in River Market. Betty Rae’s goes above and beyond typical ice cream flavors. Think lavender honey, cereal milk, goat cheese apricot, birthday cake, and many more. Zach and I love to take a walk down to River Market and get a couple fun flavors of ice cream for a fun date night option. Without fail, Zach always includes cereal milk in his flavor choices! If you decide to indulge in this wonderful ice cream (please do), you absolutely need to get a waffle cone. Now, I don’t care if you “aren’t a cone person”. You are now! These cones are made fresh in store. And they aren’t your average waffle cones. They are packed with flavors of vanilla and almond and remind of me freshly baked sugar cookies. Seriously out of this world! Lines stretch down the block, especially during the summer. Don’t let it sway you from enjoying a scoop (or two!) of this yummy goodness.


Trader Joe’s

Whole Foods

  • This store is brand new and I just love it so much. The store has an easy layout to navigate, a huge seafood and meat counter selection, a wide range of cheeses and charcuterie, fresh bakery, and a juice/smoothie bar. You can create healthy lunch and dinner meals at the hot bar or pick up an organic rotisserie chicken. The location is convenient but the parking lot is always busy. Go during unpopular times to avoid parking lot pile ups.






Freight House Fitness

  • Inspiring coaches? Check. Convenient class times? Check. Motivational? Check. Effective? Double check. I started going to Freight House Fitness regularly this previous fall (Fall 2018). I had attended occasional classes at this gym the year prior, but decided to forgo a membership since we were trying to eliminate costs for our upcoming wedding. This past year, one of my friends encouraged me to come back to take class with her. She assured me that Sean VanHorn, the owner, would be able to negotiate a fair membership agreement that didn’t entail unlimited costs. Normally, the membership is $100, which was a little steep for my liking. He was able to cater to my financial needs and we agreed on 8 classes/mo for $80. Normally, classes are $15 so this was a great deal for me. I made the 5:15 AM class in the West Bottoms apart of my weekly routine and I grew to love it! Starting the day with a challenging workout surrounded by like-minded people was invigorating. I love that members of this gym are “normal”. There are no stereotypical obnoxious meatheads. It’s a community. And no matter your age, your size, or your fitness ability, you are welcomed to be apart of it just the same. Freight House offers group challenges throughout the year with personalized coaching check ins, meal plans, and accountability. While I never did a challenge, many people loved them. They also offer personal training if you’re looking for more individualized focus. Freight House recently opened a second location on Troost. There are now two locations to serve this fitness community.  If you’re serious about getting fit, but don’t want to feel overwhelmed in a conventional gym, check this place out. You won’t regret it! Right now, you can get two weeks free. There’s nothing to lose!



The Glam Room

  • If you’re like me, you’re picky about who styles your hair. I spent nearly a couple months researching salons in Kansas City that specialize in coloring blondes, particularly with the popularized style of balayage. I found my  stylist, Christian, on Instagram. She is an accomplished stylist at the Glam Room in River Market. After my first visit with her, I knew I had found my KC hairstylist. She is incredibly sweet and not to mention, talented! She knew exactly how to style my hair, both in color and cut, to compliment my features. The salon is decorated stylishly and feels upscale. It is centrally located and easy to find. Parking is readily available. Besides hair services, the salon offers nail services, makeup and skincare recommendations and application, and all experiences found in a full-service spa. I love the Glam Room and will miss it so much! If you are looking to feel your absolute best, check this place out! Christian’s instagram: @christian_boss11

Sandy Dav Studios

  • Sandy is my brow and lash queen! She is located within Salon Gratto in North Kansas City. I see her to thread and tint my eyebrows, lift and tint my eyelashes, and dermaplane my face. She is SO wonderful and I leave her chair feeling beautiful each time. Her prices are extremely fair for the upscale services provided. Apart from these services that I enjoy, she also does microblading and lash extensions. I definitely will miss my monthly brow appointments with her! She is very conservative in her brow shaping, ensuring she stays true to your brow’s natural shape. She doesn’t over thread either, leaving you with 90’s-esque pencil thin brows, a common problem with other threaders. Sandy’s instagram: @sandydavstudios 

Polished Nail Salon

  • Super stylish downtown nail salon. Gel and dip manicures/pedicures are wonderful! Ask for Vy for high quality service.

Milan Laser Hair Removal

  • Right after moving to KC, I decided I wanted to do something about my stubborn underarm hair. After lots of research, I made an appointment at Milan Laser Hair Removal in Northern Kansas City. I went in initially for a consultation and the staff were great. They explained in detail the pros and cons of each package option and any promotions that were happening. I was lucky enough to sign up during their 50% off unlimited package promotion. Signing up for the unlimited package ensured that no matter how long it would take to get rid of my underarm hair, they would do it! I didn’t want to be confined to 5 or 6 treatments only to be left with continual hair regrowth. I would definitely wait for a promotion like this if you plan to invest in laser hair removal because it is NOT cheap. But it is SO worth it. If you have to shave regularly and get constant razor burn, this treatment option may be for you! I had great results at this laser hair removal clinic and highly recommend it.



And there you have it! We have loved our time in this beautiful city and we will miss it terribly. We have come to appreciate this fantastic community and only hope the west coast will give us equally positive experiences!


Until next time,


XOXO, Sarah

Surprise! We’re Moving!

After two wonderful years in Kansas City, we have decided to pick up shop and move! As many of you know, my husband, Zach, works for Amazon. For the past few years, he has worked in warehouse operations and will be leaving his current role as a Senior Operations Manager. His new role will be in worldwide logistics based out of Seattle, Washington! After much consideration, we have decided to accept the position and move out west! Never thought I would be able to call myself a “coastie”, but as they say, never say never!

For a long time, Zach and I have talked about what our life could look like living in the Pacific Northwest. Two years ago, when we moved from Milwaukee to Kansas City, Zach was sent to Seattle to train with the new management team that would be launching the new Kansas City Amazon warehouse. He was there for a couple months and I had the opportunity to go and visit. Many times throughout the trip we commented on how beautiful the area is, how temperate the climate is, and how wonderful it would be to have access to multiple National Parks. Not only is Seattle close to the ocean, but also to the Cascade Mountains, Olympic National Park, and still offers the city life that we’ve grown to love. Seattle is a short drive to Portland and Vancouver, two cities that are super fun to explore. We would be a 6 hour drive from Zach’s family in Idaho and a 9 hour drive from Banff National Park in Canada. At that time, moving to Seattle was only a dream, but now it’s reality! 

Working in warehouse operations truly takes a toll, mentally and physically. For the past few years, Zach has worked close to 60 hours a week, sometimes more. Every year during Christmas time, he worked 6, sometimes 7, days a week to make sure customers had their packages before Christmas. This holiday season, known as “Peak” amongst Amazonians, is the busiest and most stressful time of the year for everyone in the warehouse. It’s also the most difficult on Amazon spouses (that’s me, yo!) Those of you who know me personally know the struggle of this time of year! On top of that, Zach flip flopped between day shift and night shift, taking a major toll on his sleep habits. When Zach was offered the option to transfer to a different area of the company that doesn’t involve any of the above, he decided it was time to get out of operations. This move into a new role will be so much healthier for Zach and our marriage. This is a decision we made together to create a better work/life balance for both of us and hopefully create a better schedule for when we have a family someday! That being said, I am extremely grateful to have the profession I do. Working as a nurse has its benefits, one of those being the ability to travel across the country and find a job relatively easily. Hopefully that won’t be too difficult to accomplish once we get to Seattle!

While we are super excited to take our adventure out west, we are bummed to leave Kansas City. After two years, we have finally established a good group of friends and feel comfortable navigating the city and the surrounding areas. It will definitely be bittersweet leaving the city at the beginning of May. The next couple months are going to be crazy! Between finding an apartment and signing a lease, a bachelor party in Arizona for Zach, making the move across the country with two cats (suggestions please!), a wedding to attend back home in Wisconsin, and an upcoming trip to Europe, you could say we have our hands full. Since we have about a week to move, we’ve decided to make it into a cross-country road trip! We will be stopping in Denver for a night and Boise for 2-3 nights. If you have any suggestions for things to do or places to eat in either location, let me know!

To our Kansas City friends, thank you for welcoming us to this city. You’ve opened your homes and your hearts to us and we are so grateful. We will leave this city with wonderful memories that we will cherish forever. We will be back to visit, so don’t forget about us! To my wonderful work family at St. Luke’s, thank you for taking me under your wings in the new (and sometimes overwhelming) world of EP. I am humbled by your dedication to our patients and honored to have called St. Luke’s my nursing home for the past couple years.

Are you from Seattle? Are you familiar with the Pacific Northwest? Do you have friends in the area? We would love to have your suggestions! We plan to live in Bellevue, just east, across Lake Washington, from Seattle. Are you a nurse? Do you work in healthcare? Have you worked in Seattle? Fill me in on all the details about Seattle hospitals! Where are the best places to work?

We can’t wait to have you follow along on our newest adventure!


Until next time!


XOXO, Sarah

Aloha, Hawaii!

Aloha, everyone! As winter comes to a close and we begin to look forward to the summer, the warm weather cravings set in! Granted, Missouri winters are way less intense than Wisconsin and Minnesota winters (sorry Missourians, winters here are not THAT bad!). Winters in Wisconsin/Minnesota can start as early as October and stretch easily into May. As we would say up north, “Uuffdahh!”. By the end of the winter we are OVER IT. We’re totally those people walking around in Birkenstocks and shorts when the temperature inches above 40.  

As winter drags on, there’s nothing better than looking forward to a sunny vacation full of beautiful weather, delicious food, and wonderful company. We took our honeymoon in Hawaii last June and it was easily one of the most wonderful parts of our wedding celebration. While many people find that Hawaii is the cliche honeymoon location, we thought what better excuse! For many people, the journey to Hawaii is a long one; numerous flights, layovers, and a long flight from the mainland to the islands (we flew Madison to Minneapolis to Seattle to Maui). It’s also expensive (if you don’t do your research!) and deters many people from making the trip. As wedding season approaches and some of you may be planning your own honeymoons to Hawaii, I hope this fun review will offer you ideas for places to eat, things to do, and where to stay! We’re on island time now!

** This is a longer post! I’ve linked all of our favorite things to do in Maui and Kauai at the bottom of the post!**

If you are a budget traveler like myself, avoid Hawaii in the winter. Winter in Hawaii is the high season. Think winter and spring break crowds; Prices skyrocket and can easily add up to crazy expensive amounts. Early summer or fall are the best times to visit the Hawaiian Islands. Since we wanted to take our honeymoon immediately after our wedding (highly recommend this strategy!), we lucked out with great weather and fewer tourists. Since we were traveling quite a distance to visit this exotic state, we wanted to include more than one island in our vacation, if you have the time and ability, definitely look into this option. Flights between islands are relatively cheap (flying Hawaiian Airlines) and each island culture is slightly different and fun to explore.


We spent our first five days of our honeymoon on the island of Maui. Maui is known for its beautiful stretches of beaches (obviously), volcanic hikes, and the famous Road to Hana. If you are traveling around the island and plan to do excursions throughout the week, I recommend renting a car. We were able to go out to eat, go to the grocery store, and see the island with ease. While much of Hawaii is home to large resorts and hotels, we opted for a smaller, boutique style hotel.

Where to Stay

The Mauian Hotel is located just slightly off the beaten path, north of Lahaina and Kaanapali Beach, in Napili. The hotel shares a private beach with a group of condos off to the left and a beach restaurant to the right. The white sand beach overlooks the island of Moloka’i and spectacular evening sunsets (see below!). Beach chairs are graciously provided by the hotel. Each room is outfitted with a small kitchen, comfortable beds, and a spacious bathroom. Every room has a wonderful patio/balcony that overlooks the main courtyard and pool area, rich with palms and lush island flora. Every morning, a simple, but delicious breakfast, is provided by the hotel: breads and pastries, eggs, coffee, and fresh Hawaiian fruits and juices. A breakfast tray is kept in each room to facilitate easy transfer of the breakfast back to your private patio to enjoy. The Mauian Hotel is quintessential Hawaii; tropical, hospitable, comfortable, and relaxing. There is never a need to dress up while on the grounds and the pretentious feel of a pricey resort is never apparent. We met families that travel from the mainland every year to this hotel for the exact same reasons we fell in love with it. We felt as though we had found our own little piece of paradise! Pro tip: every night, patrons of the hotel gather at the entrance to the beach to watch the sunset. There’s a little stone wall to sit on and sip a cocktail while watching arguably the best sunset on the island. 


Where to Eat

Since we were still on Midwestern time, we woke up extremely early for the first part of the trip! So early that the breakfast kitchen wasn’t even open yet (like 3-4 AM!)! Luckily we found Hawaiian Village Coffee that opens at 5 AM every day! Hawaiian Village Coffee is located just down the road from the hotel on the Honoapiilani Highway (maybe a three minute drive) or on the back neighborhood road, Lower Honoapiilani Road. This adorable little coffee shop is clearly a favorite among tourists and locals alike. They serve hot Hawaiian coffee and scrumptious baked goods and pastries. Try one of their protein balls! They are so delicious and filling. We loved to grab some for little snacks throughout the day. The owner was nice enough to share the recipe with us to take home!

Without question, our favorite restaurant on Maui was Mama’s Fish House. This was not a cheap meal by any means, but it was also the BEST MEAL we’ve ever eaten together. If you are going to splurge on any food during  your stay on Maui, do it at Mama’s. The restaurant is located on the north of the island, just north of Paia. The drive from Napili takes about an hour but it’s absolutely worth it! The drive is beautiful and the end result is delicious. If you have even a small desire to try Mama’s, even if you aren’t 100% sure you want to spend the money, make a reservation. We had a “dinner” reservation at 3 PM because we didn’t plan far enough in advance; we even booked a week in advance! All of their fresh seafood is caught daily by local fishermen. The menu lists who caught the fish and where on the island, bringing a sense of great commitment to their community. Each dish was sensational; flavorful, plated beautifully, and well portioned. The meal was made even better with a direct view of the ocean from our table. If you are celebrating anything (birthday, honeymoon, retirement, etc) let them know. They will make it an extra special experience for you! We were given a perfectly located table and a yummy dessert for our honeymoon celebration!


Other restaurants on Maui worth your time:

Miso Phat Sushi (we did takeout- super fast!)

Maui Tacos – Napili

Maui Brewing Company – Lahaina (Pineapple Mana and the Coconut Hiwa are the best!)

Pizza Paradiso

Olowalu Juice Stand (Honoapiilani Highway)- pictured below 

The Gazebo

What To Do

The list of things to do and see on the island of Maui is endless. From the water to the inland areas, there’s so much ground to cover! I recommend picking two or three things to invest your time in away from the beach. We’ve adopted an every-other-day activity plan for when we go on our vacations. A day of relaxation followed by a day of adventure. For our trip to Maui, we chose two fun excursions: the Road to Hana and snorkeling at the Molokini crater. We really wanted to watch the sunrise on Haleakala but we didn’t have enough time on the island to do everything. We will absolutely do it next time!

If you want to stay on land and snorkel along Maui’s coastline, Honolua Bay and Kapalua Bay are two of the best snorkeling areas. If you are looking for a little more adventure, sign up for a snorkeling catamaran excursion! We booked our catamaran day through Sail Trilogy. There are multiple types of catamaran excursions offered by Trilogy that leave throughout the day and offer different experiences. We opted for the Molokini Crater snorkeling. Breakfast and lunch were included which was awesome since we needed to arrive to the docks by 8 AM (it was a 45 minute drive from Napili). If you’ve never seen Molokini Crater, google it! It’s home to some of the most diverse sea life in the Hawaiian Islands. The visibility underwater is crystal clear and we saw so many sea creatures! We were lucky enough to come within a few inches of multiple sea turtles. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and ensure that everyone feels comfortable in the water and on the boat. Bring lots of sunscreen! Despite wearing SPF 50, Zach and I both burned. I also recommend you bring lots of water. Although beverages are offered on board, it’s good to have water close at hand. The Hawaiian sun is strong and after hours of activity, you can get pretty dehydrated. If we were to go back to Maui tomorrow I would totally do this again! **Photos to come soon!**

Both Zach and I wanted to make sure the Road to Hana was a part of our Hawaiian experience. It was our number one adventure priority! This old, winding road wraps around the east side of the island towards the northern shores of the island. It is comprised of many stops, or mile markers, along the way that consist of beaches, waterfalls, lookouts, and hikes. After talking to a couple of our friends about their experience on the Road to Hana, we realized pretty quickly that it would be a good idea to hire a driver or company to drive for us. The road is narrow, close to steep cliffs, and in some areas, isn’t in great condition. Instead of admiring the beauty of the coastline and the jungle, whoever is driving is so concentrated on the road in front of them that they miss everything else! After doing some research we found the one-man company, Jungle Tours Maui. The owner and guide, Alec, picks guests up in his open air Jeep and takes them through the Road to Hana, stopping at unique places along the way that are off the beaten path and aren’t swarming with tourists. He guarantees a personalized experience and even offers to hold your phone or camera so that he can capture your experience throughout the day. We have some pretty amazing photos and videos of just Zach and I enjoying the day and different stops along the way. You don’t have to worry about missing anything! Alec will take you to places along the Road to Hana you wouldn’t have guessed existed; waterfalls, cliff jumping, bamboo forests, the best banana bread shack, and pulled pork sandwiches at a food truck. While Alec is, mmmm, eccentric (?), he truly does provide a fantastic experience. Lunch and any food purchased during the day is included. Make sure to bring shoes adequate for hiking and water (Tevas or Chacos are great), swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, and sunglasses.


And now, our favorite island: Kauai. Kauai is everything you’d expect Hawaii to be! It’s beautifully lush, laid back, and welcoming. Kauai is not nearly as touristy as Maui. Half the island is uninhabited and is covered with natural Hawaiian terrain; it is only accessible by foot, air, or boat. This remote, yet magnificent, area houses one of Hawaii’s most well known coastlines: The Na Pali Coast. Known as the “Garden Island”, Kauai is simply breathtaking. The community totally embodies the idea of “island time”. There’s no rush to get anywhere or do anything; this is what vacation should be! If you’re truly looking to get  away from it all, then Kauai is the island for you. 

Where to Stay

After flying from Maui to Kauai, we rented a car and drove short distance north from Lihue to Kapaa. We stayed at a private residence/vacation rental condo unit within the Kapaa Sands Condo community. We enjoyed our own private beach and an incredible view. Our balcony directly overlooked the ocean and we woke up and fell asleep to the sounds of the waves. Once again, if you plan to explore the island, I highly recommend renting a car. This offers you the freedom to venture to other parts of the island and try restaurants all over! Kapaa is the perfect midway point to stay on the island. Many people will choose to stay in Poipu, as it is the sunniest area of the island. Since it boasts the sunniest vacation opportunity, it’s also very touristy. The hotels, resorts, and condos in Kapaa are more removed from the hustle and bustle (if you can even call it that!) in Kauai. Most places are within walking distance to a grocery store and places to eat or carry out meals throughout the day. We could easily walk to a little local farmers market and a newer storefront area called the Coconut Marketplace. We will absolutely be returning to this little studio condo in this beautiful community.

Where to Eat

While there are numerous delicious options throughout the island, we particularly enjoyed a little hole in the wall sushi place called Makai Sushi. Located inside the grocery store just outside of Poipu, Kukuiula Market, Makai Sushi is just a small counter with two employees rolling the sushi creations. When we walked up to the counter we were greeted with Hawaiian hospitality and ordered a couple rolls of sushi and poke (poh-kee) bowls, which are essentially bowls of deconstructed sushi. The wait was short and we were able to purchase drinks from the grocery during our time waiting. We took our food outside the store and sat at the picnic tables located on the sidewalk. We ordered SO MUCH FOOD. And we ate it all. I have NEVER had sushi like this in my entire life! It was so wonderfully delicious, composed of different textures, full bodied flavors, and fresh seafood. Makai Sushi did not disappoint! Of note, there are no restrooms on site. You will need to drive just a minute down Poipu Road to Long’s Drugs (similar to CVS or Walgreens) or one of the nearby shops to use the restroom. If you do happen to venture in this direction, Lappert’s Hawaii Ice Cream shop makes a fantastic desert option!

Other delicious restaurants in Kauai:

Art Hemingway Cafe

Java Kai

Lava Lava Beach Club

Tiki Tacos 

Bobby V’s Italian

Street Burger

Passion Bakery Cafe

Check out the Kauai Farmers Market for yummy local produce!


What to Do

Kauai offers some of the most diverse activities on the Hawaiian Islands. From back country hiking to boating and water sports, there’s something for everyone! One of the most popular things to do on any of the Hawaiian Islands is attend a luau! We fell upon Smith’s Family Luau by chance. Originally we had planned to attend a luau on Maui but didn’t buy tickets soon enough, so we began looking for options on Kauai. We were lucky to snag a couple tickets to the Smith Family Garden Luau and boy were we lucky! We were welcomed into the lush property by staff and greeted with leis. We were then escorted via trolley to the large gazebo food hall for our delicious homemade Hawaiian buffet. The grounds are absolutely beautiful. There are wild animals roaming the land and swimming in the waterways, beautiful flowers and trees, and knowledgeable trolly drivers that share special facts along the way. There’s enough time to explore on your own before dinner and before the show. Before the dinner starts, guests are invited to watch the crew remove the pit-roasted pig from the underground oven. We found this to be pretty anticlimactic and opted to wander throughout the grounds instead. Definitely head to the gazebo before the pig is taken out of the oven. People begin to reserve their seats almost immediately!  After dinner, guests are directed to the outdoor theater. The show is exciting, historic, and traditional. From fire throwers to traditional Hawaiian dance, the show is entertaining for all ages!

We discovered Hanalei Bay, on the north side of the island, on our last day and boy, do we wish it had been sooner! After a beautiful drive to the north side of the island, following a winding coastline highway, we found ourselves in the picturesque beach town of Hanalei. We parked along a neighborhood street (Weke Road) and made our way to the beach. Upon exiting the path we found ourselves on an expansive beach, stretching far in each direction. The sand was white and powdery and the bay was turquoise, sparkling, and calm. We set up our beach chairs (provided by our condo unit) under palm trees towards the back of the beach where we could stay under the shade. If we had an umbrella, we would have set up a little closer to the water. Since we were so far back, we took turns swimming in the beautifully warm water. While our private beach was enjoyable, this beach was just that much better. If you are spending anytime on Kauai, make sure you make your way north to spend a day (or more!) in this beautiful oasis.


Our favorite activity on the island was taking a doors-off helicopter tour of the island, including waterfalls, Waimea Canyon, and the Na Pali Coast, which is only accessible by foot, boat, or air. After reading many reviews about helicopter tours in Kauai, we decided on the Mauna Loa Helicopter tour company. Mauna Loa offers doors-off private helicopter tours for the same price and higher ratings than other companies that offer semi-private doors-on tours. We drove to the the Mauna Loa storefront located in Lihue, right by the airport. We filled out our medical release forms and signed our safety agreements. We were then driven by van to the air base, only a few minutes away. We were greeted by our incredibly friendly pilot and given an informational tour of the helicopter. Once we got situated inside the helicopter, we put on our headsets and we were off! Doors off helicopter tours are windy! Ladies-wear your hair up! Do not try to look cute for this adventure. Additionally, even though you’re on a tropical island, it gets cold up there in the clouds. Bring a sweatshirt and wear long pants if you get cold easily. We flew over breathtaking views of multiple waterfalls, the infamous Waimea Canyon, and the internationally recognized Na Pali Coastline. At one point, we flew out over the coast and we truly got an “oh my goodness” moment looking up and down the coast… and hundreds of feet down to the sparkling blue waters below us. If you have the time (and the money) to afford a doors off helicopter tour while in Hawaii, do it! It is the best place in the world to experience such a thrilling adventure. If you plan to take pictures during your tour, invest in a wrist or neck lanyard for your phone and/or camera. The last thing you want during your tour is to lose your phone/camera on such a memorable experience.



If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading all of that! I hope you’ve been able to take away a few good nuggets of information for traveling to Hawaii. We loved our time on each of the islands and can’t wait to go back some day. If we could pick one island to visit again, it would be Kauai. While we loved Maui and our experience on that island, we both agree that Kauai offers a more relaxed, laid back, Hawaiian vibe. We loved our beautiful little condo with a private beach, walking to dinner and breakfast, and exploring the island together. Before you think to yourselves that “it must be nice to have the luxury to travel to such an expensive place”, please know that Zach and I spent many months saving for our honeymoon. We opted out of date nights with each other, nights out with friends, going to see movies, etc to save for our dream honeymoon. By staying at small family run hotels and AirBnb locations, we were able to cut costs in other ways. We spent about $30 on both Maui and Kauai on some simple groceries for breakfasts and lunches. Occasionally we ate out for lunch, but allocated the majority of our food money towards delicious dinners. When we visited areas of the islands that were further away from our home base, we packed snacks and sometimes, a light lunch (Hanalei Bay day). Hawaii can be affordable. If we can figure out ways to cut significant costs on the island, you can too! 

Please see all the links below for our favorite Hawaiian places to stay, restaurants, and things to do. Mahalo!

Until next time,

XOXO Sarah


Links listed below:



The Mauian Hotel

Hawaiian Village Coffee

Mama’s Fish House

Trilogy Catamaran

Jungle Tours Maui



Kapaa Sands Condo

Makai Sushi

Smith’s Family Luau

Hanalei Bay

Mauna Loa Helicopters


Celery Juice- The New Kale

Everywhere you look on social media, it seems like everyone is hopping on the celery juice bandwagon. From celebrities to influencers and beyond, celery juice is the new hip thing to include in a seemingly healthy lifestyle. Promising reduced fatigue, increased energy, clear skin, less brain fog, and better digestion, I readily jumped in line.


Drinking celery juice every morning on an empty stomach is a regimen made popular by The Medical Medium, Anthony William. He has had great success in creating a movement of healing, allowing people to recover from chronic and debilitating illness by using food as medicine. This sounded right up my alley! I am a huge supporter of finding holistic ways to rewire our bodies to combat disease. Drinking celery juice, he claims, directly influences inflammatory processes within our bodies that contribute to diseases such as Hashimoto’s, eczema, acne, and acid reflux. Celery juice “starves” the pathogenic components causing the inflammation, including bacterial and viral microbes, almost working as an antiseptic solution.  

William also claims that celery juice is abundant in what he calls “undiscovered salts.” Here’s where things got a little murky for me. He goes on to say that in addition to inherent sodium present in the celery juice, there are other mineral salts that act as binding agents, drawing “bad salt” from “bad foods” out of the body. Huh? I’m pretty sure this type of molecular relationship was never presented to my human anatomy and physiology class in college! What I did find convincing was the notion that the propulsion of mineral salts through the GI tract allows for better absorption of nutrients throughout the day. The electrolytes assist in balancing pH levels, increase hydration, and encourage absorption. While I hate the dreaded reference to a “cleanse”, the best way I could understand this was that essentially, the celery juice helps to prepare the body for the nutrients that will inevitably come throughout the day.

With so many people claiming significant improvement in their lives from this simple addition, despite my skepticism of the actual science behind it, I decided to give it a 30-day trial. What’s the worst that could happen? My morning would routine consist of:

  • 16 oz. of plain celery juice on an empty stomach
  • Waiting at least 30 minutes before consuming breakfast

Easy enough! Or so I thought. A full sixteen ounces of celery juice requires an individual to juice an entire bunch of celery; the WHOLE thing. I decided to minimize the amount to 8 oz and increase if I found the routine doable. The other major roadblock in my new morning ritual was the lack of a legitimate juicer. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a new juicer that would go to waste if I wasn’t fully convinced by the celery juice movement, I decided to create my own method. I cut ½ of a celery bunch into small 1 inch sized pieces and blended them thoroughly. Then, using a spatula, I squeezed all the juice through a small mesh strainer. While this method required significant effort, it produced the same result.


The first week of my trial was easy; I was fascinated by the promised results and motivated to put this method to the test. Over the last year, I have restructured my schedule to work out in the mornings. Two days a week I attend a HIIT/lifting class at 5:15 AM and the other three days I go for a run at 5:00 AM. My alarm goes off at 4:30, giving me time to wake up and prepare mentally and physically for my workouts. To make time for my new celery juice routine, I began getting up 10-15 minutes earlier to prepare my elixir.  It was necessary to gulp down celery juice before my workouts so I could drink my morning smoothie when I got home. The first couple of days were rough; no one necessarily looks forward to the taste or smell of celery at 4:30 in the morning. Getting it down was nauseating but I powered through! By the end of the week, I wasn’t bothered by the smell or the taste at such an early hour. The only negative side effect that bothered me was slight nausea during my workouts. I normally workout on an empty stomach despite the time of the day. Having 8 oz. of fluid sloshing around during burpees wasn’t exactly pleasant.

During week two, it became more difficult to adhere to the ritual. My method of juicing celery wasn’t exactly fool proof and it did require some commitment. I was tired because I was getting up even earlier than my normal routine, nauseous during my workouts because I had to chug 8 oz. of fluid before my class or run, and sick of chopping celery! I did notice that my face seemed a bit glowier (is this a word?) and my sleep was more sufficient. Whether this was a direct result of the celery juice was yet to be determined.

Weeks three and four were the most difficult for me. Drinking celery juice had lost its magic and I inadvertently missed three or four days of early morning juicing. I attempted to change my routine by making the juice in the evenings and drinking it in the morning, hoping that eliminating the preparation step in the morning would make my ritual more achievable. Once I changed my preparation times to the evenings, I found I was more committed to drinking my juice in the mornings before my workout. I also enjoyed that the drink was more refreshing due to its ability to chill in the fridge overnight. This step definitely made it more palatable to enjoy in the early mornings! I finished out my 30-day trial strong and have had some time to reflect on my experience.

This addition to routine takes time to make into habit. Once I discovered a way to include it in my mornings without interfering with my alarm clock, I found I was much more likely to reach for the celery juice before my workouts. While I didn’t notice any significant change in my energy levels or skin (at least not significant enough to attribute to celery juice), I did notice a change in my digestion. I no longer experienced significant bloat after eating breakfast! I also noticed a change in my mentality. Starting the day with celery juice primed my mind for the rest of the day to make healthy decisions.

While I did see some benefit, I also want to mention some of my less desirable thoughts about celery juice. One thing that nagged at the back of my mind throughout this experience was that by juicing the celery, I wasn’t eating or utilizing all the fibrous aftermath. Fiber is so good for digestion and gut motility. I also found it difficult to get on board with the “scientific” explanation of why celery juice can be beneficial. To me, it seemed like a lot of speculative and broad claims that don’t hold much weight in true nutritional science. Do I believe that some people see significant change in their lives from juicing celery? Sure. Do I believe that there are some legitimate benefits to starting your day with glass of celery juice? Sure. Will I do it again? Sure. Part of me is still curious about the long term effects of this routine even though I didn’t experience the drastic results that many people do.

I think what I enjoy most about the celery juice movement is that it isn’t a juice “cleanse”. It doesn’t require the participant to forego whole foods. My view of juicing has always been that it should be in SUPPLEMENT to your current diet. Juice alone CANNOT replace the nutrients you need by eating foods that have protein, fat, fiber, and yes, carbs.  Overall, I enjoyed this little experiment. I found that by the end of it, I truly didn’t mind drinking celery early in the morning. My big issue was the timing with my morning workout. So, while celery juicing won’t make a daily appearance in my routine, I could totally enjoy it a few times a week. See below for my celery juice guidelines if you don’t have a juicer like me! 

Slice celery stalks in half lengthwise:


Chop into 1-2 inch pieces to pack into blender:




Fill blender and blend until smooth:



Re-fill blender with more celery and blend again until smooth:


Strain with mesh strainer or cheesecloth:


Use spatula to drain all fluid from the pulp:



Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (when freshness decreases):


Have you tried celery juicing? What are your thoughts on this new health routine? Let me know!


XOXO, Sarah