Category Archives: Art & Entertainment

My Favorite Podcasts


I started listening to the podcast Serial a few years ago, back when I basically had no idea what a podcast was…and I was hooked! I like to call Serial my “gateway podcast”. Now, I listen to podcasts when I’m walking to work, folding laundry, cleaning our apartment, painting my nails, basically anything mindless. Here are some podcasts that I love and currently listen to:

The Moth: A series of people telling personal stories to a live audience about something memorable that happened to them. Some stories will make you laugh out loud (I’ve done this on the subway!), some are touching, and some will seem too crazy to be true – but they all are! They range anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes and cover all kinds of topics from a police officer accidentally locking himself in the back of his cop car to a chef’s experience when Obama arrived at his restaurant for dinner. These are some of my favorite funny stories:

  • Empathetic Subway Screaming” – a man gets in a fight when he spills his groceries on the subway
  • Look Away – Or Don’t” – a man who faints at the sight of blood is preparing to become a father
  • My Bald & Blue Period” – a member of the Blue Man Group pulled a unique member from the audience on stage and had to improvise
  • Pen Pal” – a father ends up in a dilemma after signing his son up for a pen pal (also, listen to his story about visiting his grandfather’s grave “A Grave Predicament”)

The Moth Podcast

Song Exploder: Each 15 minute episode features a musician dissecting one of their songs. I love getting the inside scoop on what the lyrics mean to the artist, the creative process behind developing the sounds on the track, and the phases a song went through before getting to the version we hear on the radio. These are my two favorite episodes so far:

Song Exploder Podcast

StartUp: Exposes what happens “behind the scenes” when launching a company. The host, Alex Blumberg from NPR, leaves his career as a radio journalist to start his own company and let’s us listen in to all of the issues he encounters along the way. It is fascinating to learn about what it takes to get a business running, from creating your pitch to investors, to building your team of employees, to how challenging it can be to just name your company! You get to be on the inside of all of these discussions and it’s really addicting – I couldn’t stop listening! Start from the first episode:

  • How Not to Pitch a Billionaire” – Episode 1: we get to hear Alex prepare for his first investor pitch, even him and his wife deciding what shoes he should wear, and then his actual speech to Chris Sacca, who is infamous in Silicon Valley

StartUp Podcast

Wondering how to listen to a podcast?

  • On your computer: Click the links above and hit play right on the podcast’s website
  • On your phone: Go into your “Podcasts” app (or “Stitcher” on Android phones), search for the name of a podcast and hit subscribe once you find it. Then, go into ‘My Podcasts’ and select an episode to play.

Wedding Invitation Ornament


I am crazy about these ornaments! I started making them this year for my just-married friends and they’ve been a big hit! I think it’s such a special way to re-purpose a beautiful wedding invitation so that it gets brought out for decoration every year around the holidays.Wedding Invitation Ornament

These ornaments are actually pretty easy to do. Start by cutting the invitation into thins strips, trying to capture the wording as best you can. The thinner strips will curl better, so sometimes larger names on an invitation can be hard. This is where you can get creative by cutting strips out of any paper from the wedding such as the ceremony program, a shower invite, save the date card, envelope lining, or whatever else would look pretty!Wedding Invitation Ornament

Then, wrap each of the strips very tightly around a pen or pencil and hold for a few seconds. Once it slides off the pen, the paper should maintain its curl. Depending on the cardstock, some invitations will hold the curl better than others.Wedding Invitation Ornament

Slide all of the curls into the top of the ornament (I ordered from amazon), making sure to first include the strips with the most important wording like the couple’s names, location, date, etc. When the ball is full, put the top back on and tie a ribbon around it. To make it a little easier to keep the ribbon in place, you can use a drop of glue and let it dry before you tie the knot.You may want to wait until after the wedding to make the ornament so that you can match the ribbon to the colors of their day.Wedding Invitation OrnamentAnd it’s as simple as that!Wedding Invitation Ornament

Have you saved anyone’s wedding invites from this year? Or possibly your own?? I think this makes a great Christmas or anniversary gift! I can’t wait to do it with our own wedding invite and make separate ornaments with the invites from the beautiful showers our friends threw for us!Wedding Invitation Ornament

Kelsey & Drew – A California Wedding


A few weekends ago, I was in LA to celebrate my friends, Kelsey and Drew, getting married. I was so excited to be at this wedding for such a sweet and fun-loving couple! Their wedding day was absolutely dreamy, so I wanted to share a few pictures I took!picstitch-1One of my favorite personal touches they added to their day was the music they choose for the ceremony, which added their own personality to the event. As the groomsmen walked in, the Star Wars theme song started and got the whole crowd laughing. It was the perfect entrance! Then, the bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Griffin House “Better Than Love”. It is such a lovely, sweet song and has perfect lyrics for a wedding! I’ve been listening to it all the time now.

During the ceremony, a friend of theirs sang this song, “Makin’ Plans”, which was so heartfelt and beautiful and again, the lyrics are perfect for starting their first day of marriage together.

After exchanging vows, Kelsey and Drew danced back down the aisle to Pharrell’s song, “Happy” – such a joyful moment and the perfect way to get the party started! Then, we all stepped out into a beautiful garden terrace overlooking fields and mountains for cocktails. Andrew whispered to me, “Are you sure you want to get married in Milwaukee??”And of course I said I do, but WOW, we felt like we were in a movie! It was (14)

After cocktails, these beautiful big barn doors opened up and we all filtered down into the dinner and dancing area under a ceiling of string lights. Mr. and Mrs. were announced and immediately shared their first dance together as a couple. It was truly a breathtaking moment. How amazing is her dress??photo (11)

After some impressive dance moves, they ended with a picture-perfect grand-finale dip :) Dip

Andrew and I were thrilled to be apart of such a beautiful wedding – thanks Kelsey and Drew!

photo (13)


Happy Mother’s Day!


World’s Toughest Job…

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!! And a special shout-out to my Mama Mac – we’re incredibly lucky to have you!!DSC01255P.S. Did you forget to send your mom a card? No problem! Create a personalized card for her using the justWink app and send it to her iPhone or email. It’s the greatest!


Word on the Street


When my family gets together for holidays, one of our favorite things to do is play games. “Word on the Street” has become one of our favorites the last few years. You would not believe the competitive spirit this game brings out of everyone! By the end of the round, don’t be surprised if you find yourself standing because you got so caught up in the action. You should absolutely bring this to your family’s Thanksgiving celebration!www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comYou divide into two teams, we always play boys vs. girls, and sit on opposite sides of the board. The goal is to earn more letter tiles than the other team. On your team’s turn, you pick a category card and have 30 seconds to work together to come up with one word that fits the category and uses as many letters as possible that are on the board. Meanwhile, the other team can do their best to distract you!

For the word that you choose, your team will spell it out and move each letter tile one lane closer to your side of the street. For example, if you got the category “something that runs”, you could choose “dog”, but that wouldn’t get you as many letters as “antelope” or “fence”. Once you pull the letter tile off the street on your side, your team gets to keep the tile. However, as long as the tile is still on the board, the other team can try to spell a word that will pull the letters back from you and towards their side of the street. With only 30 seconds to work with, you have to think of a word and spell it out quickly!

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comThis is a great game for a party because it can be learned in a few minutes and you work with your team to come up with a word, so if you don’t have an idea, someone else on your team might! Bring this game out at your Thanksgiving family gathering or give it as a hostess gift for a holiday party. You can order it on amazon here.

If you are looking for more games, another one that I LOVE playing with a big group is Fish Bowl. All you need are pens, slips of paper, and a group of people.

Have fun!

My Blog turns 1!


Exactly a year ago today, I sent out my first blog post! I can’t believe it’s been that long already! I have loved sharing all of my favorite things with you. It is so much fun getting an email or hearing from someone that has tried something from my blog. I think I’ve really made it big time, now that I have my own branded cutting board…thanks MOM ;)

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comTo celebrate the 1 year mark, I went back to find the most popular posts. In case you missed them the first time around, here they are:

Most Viewed Post: Foil-Baked Tilapia with Vegetables – You can’t go wrong with this recipe when trying to make a quick and insanely healthy dinner.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.com2nd Most Viewed Post: Balsamic Brussels Sprouts – I know brussels sprouts are the quintessential vegetable to hate, but I would be happy to have these for dinner every night.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comMost Pinned on Pinterest: Pretzel Necklaces – We had SO much fun wearing these at Beer Fest.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comMost Made: Bruschetta Lentil Dip – It’s speculation, but I think I get the most feedback from friends and co-workers that they have made this dip…several times! It’s easily one of my favorite recipes on my blog.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comPost with the Most Comments: Apple Brickle Dip – I dare you to make this and not eat 3 spoonfuls right away.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comMost Indulgent Recipe on this Blog: Mocha Chocolate Ice Box Cake – If you walk away from this blog making one thing, please try this cake. Words cannot describe. My fantasy world involves a piece of this cake with every meal.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comMy Favorite Post: Recruitment Video for Nestle – I loved getting to make this video about working at Nestle with one of my co-workers and best friends, Brian “Jimmy” Schoo.

www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comI currently have 74 email subscribers. Thank you to each of you for signing up to hear what I have to say! I truly appreciate it, especially since at this point, I haven’t yet figured out how to convince my brother to subscribe! I guess Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding and Spiral Hair Pins aren’t his thing. Weird….

My first post shared this quote: “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break. May you be open to each thread that comes into your life – the golden ones and the coarse ones – and may you weave them into a brilliant and beautiful life.” I started this blog to be able to send out “threads” of ideas to friends and family far and wide. “My Favorite Things” has now been viewed in 65 different countries, which blows my mind! I hope to continue to share my favorite things with you, regardless of what city you live in, or what city I live in, and that we all stay connected! Thanks for your interest and support!

Love, Sara

Looking for a good book?


About a year ago, I got a library card and seriously stepped up the number of books I’ve been reading. Since the book is due 3-4 weeks after I pick it up, I’m reading against a deadline! I keep the books I want to read on a waiting list, so they are constantly popping up available. If you haven’t had a library card since you were a kid, I recommend it! It’s free and I think you’ll find it’s a fun experience. I find it nostalgic to pick up the hard cover books wrapped in plastic and stamped with a call number.

I always find it disappointing to get to an end of a book and find it to have been pretty boring. All those hours invested in reading it are lost! So, I always love getting recommendations from people. Here are two books that I’ve read recently and LOVED! I promise you will enjoy them!

51YYUMvVsvLPope Joan is a story about one of the most controversial women in history. Joan was born in the 9th century, a time when women were judged inferior in every way and not allowed to learn to read or attend school. Joan defies the social restrictions by cleverly disguising herself as a man, moving to Rome, and rising through the ranks of the church to become Pope John Anglicus! I found myself constantly uneasy and intrigued by the decisions and sacrifices Joan has to make along the way, but inspired by her dedication to helping people and refusing to back away because she is a woman. This story is written as fiction, but in the end, the author includes several historical examples that arguably prove her existence. The facts are very convincing! The Catholic Church has done everything they can to erase Joan from history, as it was an embarrassment that a woman was able to deceive everyone of her gender and ascend to Papacy. Whether or not you believe Joan existed, her story will stay with you long after you finish this book.

9736930Before I Go To Sleep had my heart absolutely pounding in the end! I could not put it down before finding out how the heck it was going to turn out! It is a suspenseful story about Christine, a woman with amnesia, that loses all of her memories every night when she goes to sleep. She wakes up the next morning forgetting who she is and her husband, Ben, has to remind her every morning of their life together. At the encouragement of her doctor, she starts a journal to try to help trigger memories. She slowly starts to piece together her life bit by bit through this journal and realizes that she doesn’t know who to trust – can she even trust herself?? This is the kind of book that will keep you up late at night because you just have to know what happens to Christine!

I hope one of these books sparks your interest! Feel free to send me any of your book recommendations!

Summer 2013 Song List


My dad is very hip when it comes to music. It’s common to hear him ask questions like “Hey Sara, have you seen the latest Beyonce music video?” And the answer is almost always no, he beat me to it! For his birthday, I always like to make him a CD with the latest music, so don’t be surprised if you pull up in your car next to his and hear Pitbull playing :) He’s all over it!

picstitch-6Last week, we celebrated his birthday up in northern Wisconsin on the Lake. So this year’s birthday CD was full of relaxing, fun summer music that was perfect for listening to while having some beers (or margaritas!) and grilling after a full day of skiing and swimming in the lake. (That’s my brother below, jumping the wake on 1 ski!)

picstitch-5Here is a sampling of some of the songs. I hope there are some new songs you don’t have yet! Or some old ones you’ve forgotten about!

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home

Matt the ElectricianPrison Bones

The LumineersBig Parade

The LumineersFlowers in Your Hair

Anna KendrickCups (If you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect yet, rent it! It is hysterical and the acapella music is awesome!)

Zac Brown Band – Keep Me In Mind

The Wood BrothersOne More Day

The Marshall Tucker BandCan’t You See

The Rolling Stones Beast of Burden

The Rubber Knife GangTennessee Mountain Girl

Recipe Binder


My younger sister graduated from college last weekend – congratulations, Emily!! I am so proud of her, she is going to make an amazing teacher! Look how happy she is to be done…and how happy my parents are to finally get their last child through school :)Recipe Binder /

I’m excited because Emily is taking after my own heart (and our mother’s) by wanting to learn how to cook! So, for her graduation, I made Emily her own recipe binder to pass along my favorite recipes and for her to collect new ones. Having a recipe binder is the best way to keep all of your recipes in one place, especially since so many recipes are online these days. You just need a cute binder, page protectors, section dividers, and print-outs of your recipes.Recipe Binder / www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comFirst, determine what sections you would like to have in your binder and make the labels for each section. For Emily’s binder, I used these sections: Breakfast, Breads, Appetizers, Salads & Sides, Dinner, Cookies & Bars, Cakes & Pies, and Other Desserts. Depending on what kind of cooking or baking you like to do, you can decide which sections work for you. One of my favorite things about the binder is keeping a section at the back for “Recipes to Try”. These are recipes that look good and I have printed out, but not made yet. When I’m looking to do some experimenting, I flip to this section to find a new recipe to try out. Once I’ve tested the recipe and found it’s worth making again, I move it forward into the correct section. Otherwise, I toss it out.Recipe Binder /

If you want to get a little more creative with it, you could make yourself a front page. I used pictures I cut out from food magazines and some alphabet stickers to make this one for Emily:Recipe Binder / www.sarasfavoritethings.wordpress.comAlso, if it’s a gift for someone, you could use a cute recipe card to write them a little note and stick it behind the front page like this:Recipe Binder / Finally, take all of the recipes and insert them into page protectors. You can put two recipes in each page protector so that they are back to back and allows you to flip through them like a book. Then, go in and arrange all of the recipes into the different sections. I keep extra page protectors in the back for new recipes.

When you head to the kitchen to cook, just remove the particular recipe from the binder you want to make and clip it to your fridge. The plastic page protector acts as a natural shield to spills that you can easily wipe clean when you are done with it! Having a recipe binder makes it so convenient to keep track of your recipes and keep them in good shape. Try making one for yourself! I actually have two, one for just desserts and one for everything else!Recipe Binder /

Silver Linings Playbook


Silver Linings Playbook /

So I was a little late to the game on this one, but I finally saw Silver Linings Playbook last week. WOW, you guys, you have to see this movie!! It is seriously the best movie I’ve seen in a LONG time. I think I was laughing every 3 minutes at all the witty comments. I would call it a romantic comedy, but it is much more edgy than your average chick flick, playing on the emotions that Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) are experiencing while dealing with very difficult life situations. I’ve never been a Bradley Cooper fan, but he is fantastic in this role. This movie is not just for the ladies, both my dad and my boyfriend loved it- Andrew even watched it with me a second time!

All of the characters are whacky and chaotic, but because they are so honest and real, it is easy to connect with them and feel completely involved in their situations. Pat loses everything and moves back in with his family after spending time in a state institution. Anyone with a family can appreciate the humor related to Pat moving back in and dealing with his father (Robert De Niro). Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife if he does something for her in return. They both find themselves in bad predicaments in life, but the movie shows you that despite their imperfections, they can still make the choice to find happiness: the “silver lining”. How great is that??

 Silver Linings Playbook /

You will laugh a ton, you might tear up, and I think you will definitely find this movie refreshing and heartwarming. It will encourage you to find your “silver lining”, even if times are tough.