May 4, 2015

Weekend in Pictures

Did anyone else feel like they had the best weekend ever?!? The weather was absolutely perfect and we spent our time working around the house & spending time as a family. At the risk of sounding extremely cheesy, I kept having those "my dreams have come true" moments. 
Saturday morning started off with giggles and cuddles in bed with this guy
And then planting flowers! I've ALWAYS wanted a space of my own to garden. After moving out of NYC over a year ago, I finally got around to picking out flowers for our front yard. It was amazing to spend the day out in the sunshine, digging & planting!
Emmett supervised of course. The only think better than having my own space to garden was having my son and husband right there with me. 
I hear love will make a garden grow... so I smothered Emmett in kisses 
Water probably helps too ;)
More snuggles, this time after nursing and before bed. Some beautiful time together.
Sunday started with a visit from Antonio, an NYC buddy. Robert & Antonio headed out for a longish run while I baked post run treats: Polenta Crusted Quiche & Blueberry Muffins. I love a good excuse to have fun in the kitchen!
After some more yard work and lots of napping for Emmett, a family walk to our favorite local tavern for a late lunch. Robert snapped this picture of me on the way and I sort of dig the fact that you can tell I still a have a bit of my belly from pregnancy left. 
At lunch, we try to distract Emmett with toys so that he doesn't try to grab out drinks. He especially loves to longingly stare at Robert's beer. 
We took the long route home to stop at a local country concert. Emmett was certainly the youngest their. I guess this could be considered his first concert?
While Emmett took another short nap, I got a jump start on this week's Mother's Day orders 
And finally got my run done once Emmett was sleeping at 9:30 pm. Another better late than never night!
Now it's back to Monday but after such a wonderful weekend, I don't mind it so much. I have a feeling it's going to be a pretty stellar week. So how was your weekend? 

April 24, 2015

Gift Wrapping is Now Available! And my Mother's Day Lookbook

You know how sometimes you ask a bunch of people their opinion, and their responses just makes your's clearer to you? Well that's what's happened with my ESD Gift Wrap Poll. The white raffia option won... BUT... it made me realize how much I LOVE the purple satin option! A big thank you to everyone who voted and your coupon code for free gift wrap is on it's way. Gift wrapping is now available on the website and appears beneath products in the cart during checkout.
Also, Mother's Day is quickly creeping up on us! How did that happen? This is going to be my first Mother's Day as a mom and I can't wait to see what Robert & Emmett get me. Since they never have to buy me jewelry because I obviously make all of my own, I hope they get creative (as in Elliptical! or new workout clothing!) ;)

I've added a whole bunch of new designs to ericasara.com and put together a Mother's Day look book highlighting my favorite pieces. You can take a look online, email it to folks with your own hints, or even download it. Just clicking on the images takes you to the website page where you can find each piece of jewelry.  


April 22, 2015

Because When You're Watching a Marathon, Treats Are a Must

Monday was one of my favorite holidays of all time: Marathon Monday! To celebrate, I invited Jessica & Sarah over to watch the Boston Marathon. This gave me the perfect excuse to try a new recipe because how can you watch 30,000 people run a marathon without sitting on your butt eating gooey desserts, amIright?

I've been eager to bake cinnamon buns ever since Robert & I visited his family in Colorado last year. I woke up one morning to the scent of warm sugar & cinnamon. It was amazing... until it hit me that I wouldn't be enjoying the freshly baked buns because they weren't gluten free. I've been a bit obsessed with them ever since so when I realized I've be having guests over, it was just the excuse I needed to bake. After searching the interwebs for the perfect recipe, I stumbled upon this one and decided it would be the one. Good news is they came out beautifully!

If you decide to make this recipes, here are some helpful tips since gluten free batter/dough can be a sticky, messy disaster.

  • I added just a bit more brown rice flour to the batter since it was so so so sticky. Just an extra 1/4. It helped just a bit, although the batter was still sticky.
  • To roll out the dough, I used parchment paper instead of plastic wrap. I sprayed the parchment paper with oil and plopped the dough on it. I then sprinkled it liberally with arrowroot starch, used my fingers to press it into a square, and then a rolling pin to roll out out thinly. It worked perfectly and was so easy to roll up!
  • I let the buns rise for almost an hour in a warm place. This was key! I turned on my fire place and put them on the mantle above. You could probably also put them in a warm oven before you preheat it to bake.
Before rising. They ended up filling the entire pie plate with some warmth & time. 
The buns are under that red towel rising 
Sarah & Jessica teaching Emmett the glory that is Marathon Monday! 
Finished Buns. YUM.

We each ate 2 and I saved 2 for Robert which was pretty difficult to do. I "visited" them all day wondering if he really needed 2 ;)
How did you celebrate Marathon Monday? 


April 18, 2015

ESD Gift Wrapping Poll!

Every time a gift giving holiday approaches, I'm reminded that I'm horrible at gift wrapping. At least several orders request gift wrapping and I have to decline because the package would be a complete mess of wrinkled paper with torn edges and visible tape. The horror, I know.

But you know what I can do? I can engrave and I can tie a ribbon. Sounds like a great gift wrapping option to me, right? So just in time for Mother's Day, I'm adding a gift wrap option to ericasara.com. It will cost $6 & will include an engraved brass tag and a ribbon.

I've come up with two ideas but want to offer just one on my website so I could use your feedback. Which do you prefer? If you could take just a minute to vote below, I'll send you a coupon for free gift wrapping on your next order (valid until Mother's Day) as a thank you!

Option 1: Engraved Brass Charm with White Raffia Ribbon
Option 2: Engraved Brass Charm with Purple Satin Ribbon
To vote, leave a comment below with your favorite option and include your email address so I know where to send the coupon code for the free gift wrapping! And while I appreciate any additional feedback you have, please know that developing new concepts takes lots of energy, thought & time. I put a great deal of effort into new offerings and come up with the ideas I feel are best so requests for different ideas are always lovely but ...

The poll will be open until Wednesday evening and we'll start sending coupon codes out Thursday, just in time for Boston Marathon& Mother's Day gifts!

April 17, 2015

Race Recap: Emmaus 4 Mile Classic

Wow, this is my first race recap in a very very long time! And I'm writing it with a smile on my face. Must be a good thing, right?

On Sunday, I ran my very first race as a mom and it was wonderful. The Emmaus 4 Mile Classic is put on yearly by the Lehigh Valley Road Runners. Sunday marked the 38th Anniversary of this race which started and ended at the Emmaus High School, and weaved through a neighborhood of rolling hills.

I signed up for this race a few weeks ago because I felt that to get back into running, I needed something to train for. During my 12 weeks off after Emmett's birth, I couldn't wait to get back to running. But once I was cleared to get in the miles, it was much harder than I anticipated. Finding the time to run was one thing. Finding the energy was another. And when I could find both, my body was only too happy to remind me that I was starting from below ground zero. Post c section & an emergency surgery a week after birth, my body was weaker than it's ever been and every run reminded me of that.  So I signed up for a race and figured that with it on my calendar, I'd have more motivation to get my goal of 4 runs a week done.

I was wrong. Well, sort of. The motivation was there but like I said, the time & energy weren't always available. The weekend before the race, I went out for a 3 mile run and it was hard. Like really, really hard. I blame the wind and the hills, but still, it was discouraging. It left me pretty nervous for the Four Mile Classic with tons of self doubt streaming through my brain. What if I couldn't finish? What if I had to walk? I hate walking during races. What if I finished last? The day before the race, I was in the shower where I do my best thinking, and couldn't get these doubts out of my head. I realized I might need a new mantra during the race... so I headed down to my studio and made a new bracelet to wear. Work in progress... progress would be my focus. At this point, it should be all that matters. My only goal would be to finish the race. I wouldn't care about my pace and I would just listen to my body and stay comfortable enough to finish happy.


The morning of the race was like no other race morning I'd ever experienced. Before baby, a typical race morning involved breakfast in bed, getting dressed and then dancing around my home to loud music getting myself pumped up. But Sunday, I woke early to nurse Emmett, pumped to empty the rest of my boobs so I wouldn't leak (which didn't really help because they filled up halfway through the race. Ouch), changed his diaper, got him dressed and then changed his diaper again, packed his diaper bag and put expressed milk in a bottle in case he needed to eat while I was running. Oh, and somewhere in there I found the time to get dressed too.
Bag full of race gear: Check! Expressed breast milk: Check! Baby: Check!
We arrived at the high school with plenty of time to find parking, get my bib, and hit the bathrooms. We headed out to watch the kid's one mile race and I couldn't help but get excited for when Emmett will be old enough to run. I hope the kid digs it as much as we do! But if not, that's cool too. The kid's race winner finished the mile in 6:01 which was pretty amazing to watch. Some time between arriving and the kids race, I also managed to stuff a banana down my throat.
What do you think kiddo, want to run races when you're old enough? 
And then it was our turn. I headed to the start along with the other runners and was quickly reminded what it's like to run a small race. Back in my NYC days, I ran NYRR races almost every weekend with thousands of runners. Those races were always divided into corrals based on pace. I forgot that this race wouldn't be that way and so I walked to the back of the bunch to start. For one, I didn't want to get in anyone's way with my slow pace. But also, I didn't want to be influenced by the fast runners, going out too fast and burning out quickly. And then we were off!

According to my watch, I started the race at around a 10 minute mile which was right where I thought I'd be. Although I didn't have a time goal, I figured that if I listened to my body, I'd end up with an average pace anywhere between a 9:30 and a 10 minute mile. As you can see on the elevation chart above, the first portion of the race was uphill so I made sure to keep it easy. As other runners past me, including a woman pushing a double stroller (nice job lady!), I let them and kept my steady relaxed pace. Around mile 1.5, the banana I shoved down my throat bit me in the ass. Hello cramps! My stomach was killing me so I focused on my breathing. In deeply through my nose, out slowly through my mouth. Slow and steady. I'd experienced cramps like this in past races and they always forced me to walk but I really didn't want to walk my first race back.

I remembered my race mantra, Work In Progress, and kept going. Breathing through the cramps. With each downhill, I refused to increase my pace too much, knowing that another significant hill was coming up and that I'd need my breath and my energy to climb it. The strategy really worked and I maintained a pretty steady pace for the entire race. I steadily climbed the hill from 1.5-2 and headed back down. At around 2.5, I noticed a big cheer squad up ahead. It was a bunch of young kids with their parents holding signs and I thought "it would be so cool to have a cheer squad like that one day". I could just imagine Emmett holding a sign. And then I got closer, I saw the signs and I realized the cheer squad was for me! I mean, wow! I almost cried. Thank you Sarah & Jessica, the signs & cheering made my day!!!
Cheer squad & picture courtesy of Sarah & Jessica. Thank you guys so much!!!
The cheering & good vibes were just what I needed to finish the rest of the race strong.  Another short uphill and then a recovering downhill and I was headed to the finish line. I looked down and saw my average pace was 9:26.  As I entered the high school parking lot, I heard Robert call my name and spotted him holding Emmett. The moment couldn't have felt better and I crossed the finish line with a giant smile on my face. I looked up to see the clock reading 36:40 and was pretty pleased. Later, when I told Robert about the banana and the cramps, he pointed out that it probably helped me more than hurt me. It forced me to keep my effort easy instead of going too fast and crashing and burning. The cramps kept my ego in check, I stuck to my strategy, and I finished my first race as a mother runner happy. Even better was seeing Robert with Emmett waiting for me and cheering me on. Thank you Robert for being an amazing dad & husband- I love you!!!
Approaching the finish line
Posing with my favorite little guy right after the finish... and before he started freaking out & reaching for the boob. I guess cheering made him hungry!
 A great benefit of small races is finding your crew easily. I reunited with Robert & Emmett, sat on the curb, wiped my sweat off and fed the kiddo, and we were on our way to celebrate with brunch. It was a perfect morning and I couldn't have asked for a better return to racing.