Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Berlin Bound


Exciting news––I'm going to Berlin, Germany this June for a fellowship with the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and the University of Minnesota. For the month of June, I will assist teaching English in classrooms while conducting minor research on German children's literature. My host family will likely be my cooperating teacher, and I am very excited to experience Berlin through an extended, somewhat assimilated stay.

I already booked my flight (eeps!) and I'll be leaving May 31 in the evening. . . I can hardly wait! I visited Berlin briefly in my high school years with a European history class, but it's been a while and I'm kind of nervous to go on my own!

Do you guys have any travel advice? I'll admit it: I've never flown or traveled alone. What should I be aware of and look out for? Do you have any good packing advice? I'd love your tips!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Girl Talk: On Feminism


Have you noticed a spike in Feminism lately? It seems as though women everywhere are working together to build a beautiful, powerful voice. No one is burning bras, but a female power is definitely surging. 

It's inspiring to see women helping each other. Too often there is animosity in the estrogen world. As SNL's Nasim Pedrad playing Arianna Huffington so eloquently put it during Weekend Update, "Nobody hates women more than other women." It's tragic, but often true.

So when I see a growing female community effort, it excites me.

There's something, though, that often bothers me when it comes to "feminism." It's treated like it's a bad, or frivolous, or eccentric hobby. While delivered with a wry smile, a man saying, "Oh, you're suuuch a feminist!" offends me. It's clear that these comments are somewhat deflection tactics; men are, unfortunately, intimidated by independent, intellectual, empowered women.

Here's what I'm thinking:

The feminism we're seeing right now is not misandry, so men, please don't mistake our empowerment for man-shaming. I think the trend we're seeing right now is equality. My creative sister will often say, "I'm not a feminist, I am a supporter of equality, empowerment, and community," which I find so refreshing.

It's not about drawing a divisive line between men and women. It's about treating women as if there need not be a line in the first place.

If you want to know more about what's happening in the world of "feminism," please check out these sites:

DARLING Magazine
The Lean In movement
SoulPancake and Darling teamed up for a great series, That's What She Said

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Currently Listening to: G I R L


On this grey, rainy day in Minneapolis, I'm listening to Pharrell Williams' new album, G I R L. It is bright, funky, and is already on my spring/summer playlist. It is definitely reminiscent of Justin Timberlake's first installment of the 20/20 Experience, which makes sense: JT is featured on "Brand New," the second song of the album.

Favorite tracks:

Brand New
It Girl
Lost Queen

Everyone has probably already seen or heard "Happy," so let me convince you that the entire album is just as exuberant. Some are saying it's "conceptual feminist," in which it might be a response to the backlash he got for partnering with Robin Thicke on "Blurred Lines."

What mystery....

Anyway, when I fall in love with an artist, I like to do a lot of research. Do you? If so, check out this interview with Pharrell and GQ for an interesting read and then this article about the making of G I R L!

P.S. I know Pharrell is, like, 40 years old, but he reminds me of an adorable six year old.

Photo via

Prelude, from Dallas Buyers Club


I know I'm a little late to the party, but I just watched Dallas Buyers Club and it was incredibly moving. I found that for me, the soundtrack was at times the most effective in creating emotional current. It was diverse and emotional, ranging from some really groovy tunes to sweet melodies. "Prelude" by Alexandra Streliski is by far my favorite of the tracks. It's so melancholic, so haunting.

Listen to "Prelude," along with the entire soundtrack.

Photo by Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring, Please!


Everyone: it is officially spring and I am joining all the other internet voices in welcoming it! After what has been a grueling winter, I'm thrilled to anticipate chirping birds, farmers market flowers, pastels, and dewey mornings.

Realistically, the aforementioned joys will not occur for several more weeks (it's supposed to be colder next week in the Midwest!) and snow will endure into April. However, days are getting longer, my friends!

Photo via Instagram.

Friday, March 14, 2014

People-Pleasing


I read this amazingly relatable post on Darling Magazine the other day on being a "yes-woman" too much. So often, I feel the need to make others happy because it makes me feel good. But I didn't realize that it could also inhibit me from being my happiest. It feels good to please others; a sense of accomplishment, loyalty, even love accompany extending your help. Extending yourself too far, though, can get tiring and eventually less fulfilling.

This really hit home:
"It [can be] less about selflessness and more about an unhealthy need to make sure all of those around us are taken care of and satisfied. Underneath everything is a fear of rejection and a yearning for outside validation."
I see a lot of fellow women spreading themselves thing, overworking to prove that they are capable, valuable, needed. And we shouldn't have to feel like we are proving ourselves. Getting praise from others is great, but not the ultimate reward.

Being at peace with ourselves and what we have to offer to the world should be enough. To please others, it looks like we have to be pleased with ourself first. So, let's to it!

Photo via

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The In-Between: Dealing with "Grey Areas"


I got an email the other day that was simultaneously encouraging and dissatisfying. It read: Dear Sarah, Thank you again for applying....we have placed your name on a short wait list. Of course, I was flattered by that they were "impressed" with my "performance at the interview," because it sounds high-stakes and pretty hard-core. My performance was being complimented; what more does a habitual achiever want?

That pesky "while" prefacing the compliment couldn't be avoided, though. It set up disappointment for the rest of the email and made the statement slightly contradictory.

Then, resurrected on my screen, was one of my most detestable phrases: "short wait list." I always found this to be most difficult to handle, because it's a matter of almost. It is not definitive; I wanted an obvious yes or no. Grey areas like this can be so uncomfortable, because you feel good about not being rejected, but you also feel sorry for yourself that you weren't a top choice. Oh, the conflict!

My mom has always said I see things in black and white. I like answers and I like to know exactly what's coming. When things aren't clear, I struggle to see the possibilities. Instead, I feel a little confused, floating in a neutral (seemingly infinite) abyss of questions and waiting.

And you wait....and wait. This might be the most painful part. After anxiously awaiting concrete results, you find out that you'll wait a little longer. Isn't it so hard to just sit around speculating? So what I'm trying to do with this wait list thing is focus on the possibilities. Instead of being overly self-critical, I'm telling myself that I made it past the first few rounds and that's an accomplishment in and of itself. I'm embracing the grey, I suppose. But it's confusing, no?

Do you see the world in black & white, or in spectrum? How do you deal with waiting and unclear answers? I'd love your thoughts!

Photo via Instagram