A Colorful Summer

Summer feels like it's bidding farewell, even before it really got here.
This entire week has been hinting at autumn, the cool mornings and overcast skies, turning leaves and morning fog. And while I am so eager for this new season, my favorite season, I'm sad to see summer go.
I'm going to miss...
Cookouts with friends as we enjoy the seasons bounty, fresh from our gardens.
Summer VBS and the brilliant conversations I've shared with 6 year olds, and the summer cottagers who I clean for, especially the elderly couple who simply cannot comprehend why I wear holely jeans (especially since I bought them that way!)
Evening dates by the lake, Red Robin take-out, enjoyed while waiting for the sun to set with my favorite men.
... And I'm eagerly anticipating lots of hot drinks and cozy sweaters and bike rides and morning runs, because, it's almost fall, ya'll!
What most excites YOU about this new season?

Thrifting Tips + $20 Promo Code

Shopping is one of my least favorite activities. The main reason? You've got to spend money to get anything. And I'm a penny-pincher, in love with Madewell and Anthropologie styles. It's frustrating folks!
Because of my desire to have high quality items at lower prices, I've become a thrifter. The area I live in is blessed with second hand stores, anything ranging from Salvation Army and the Once Again Shoppe, both donation based ministries, to  The Looking Glass and Clothes Mentor, shops buy and sell used and vintage clothing. 
Ithaca, a small college town about an hour away is a thrifter's paradise, with over 42 second hand stores and a beautiful map located each store and listing what they sell. 
In an area so rich with second hand resources how could you not thrift?
Over the years I've learned a few tips and tricks that have worked well for me, and I thought I'd let you in on them:
  1. Know your brands, and what you are willing to pay for each one. For example, I would hesitate to pay more than $5-8 for a pieces from Target, because most likely I could have purchased the same piece at Target on clearance for that price. However, if it was a piece from J. Crew or Anthro that caught my eye, it wouldn't be a question.
  2. Know what items are on your list and stick with it. I have a running list of items that need replaced or items I would like to add to my closet. When I am thrifting, it is those items I'm searching for, and I try hard not to let any else distract me. If I am searching for black jeans, I would only look in that section of the pants rack, and not sort through all of the other washes of denim. 
  3. Know your fabrics and read the labels. This one has gotten me a few times, so I know how important it is. Know what kind of fabrics you like, and whether they can be washed or not. It's so frustrating to bring something home, only to realize after it's too late that the item was DRY CLEAN ONLY. 
  4. Make sure the item fits well. I know it can be easy to justify a $2 not-quite-perfect-fitting top, hoping that you'll figure out a way to wear it. But let me tell you, whether it's $2 or $20, if you are never going to wear it, it's still a complete waste of money. Make sure the item fits, and that you love it, not just like it, before you bring it home. 
  5. And finally, know what items to invest in. For me this would be comfortable shoes and sandals, which I always buy new (unless they are new when thrifted), a good leather bag, and jeans. I also find that t-shirts from second hand stores usually look faded or are pilling, so I get those new too. 
And one more thing:
I recently discovered ThredUP, an online consignment store. I had heard about it before, but it seemed endless and a bit overpriced, so I never checked into it. Then a friend shared a $20 off your first order link on Facebook, so I decided to check it out again. I found an Anthropologie sweater that was priced at $20.99, so with the $20 credit I was able to get it for $0.99 plus shipping. 
But the deal got even better than that! Listen up. If you shared the link, your friends would get $20 off their first order AND you would get $20 just for referring them. I shared that link, and so far I have over $100 in store credit, and it's only growing each day. This is for a limited time, so jump on it! Use this link (http://www.thredup.com/r/RGHB9S) to get started with $20 in credit, then after you purchase something, share your own link on Facebook for more credit. There are no obligations, and no strings attached.
ThredUP has clothes for men, women, and children. Both item I've received so far have been like-new, and very high quality. I can't get over this deal, it's too good not to share.
I'd love to hear your thrifting tips, and I'd also like to know what items you invest in. Comment away!


What's Been Holding Me Back

What's Holding You Back | sarahesh.com
If I am really being honest with myself, the only thing that is holding me back is the fear of failing, of trying this and it not being successful or what I had imagined and hoped for.
Even as my fingers hit keys typing those words in an email to a mentor, someone encouraging me to be more, I began to realize how silly it was. I was already failing by not even trying because ultimately I was afraid of failure.
Sarah, even if you do fail, you will still have made a difference in someone else's life by sharing your heart and passion, and that is no failure. Jesus uses all things for His good.
Her response sparked something inside of me, a determination to try, to give it my all, and to accept that I am going to learn something from this, whether it goes on to become a successful venture or not.
The venture I am referring to is becoming an ambassador for Noonday Collection.
Noonday Collection is a fair trade company, partnering long-term with 30 artisan businesses in 12 different countries. They sell gorgeous handcrafted items, jewelry and accessories, enabling the artisans to have dignified jobs, even in vulnerable communities.
I found out about Noonday several years ago, but in the past year and a half I've been toying with the idea of becoming an ambassador. I kept talking myself out of it. There seemed to be a thousand reasons why it wouldn't work for me. But I couldn't let the idea go, it was constantly in the back of my mind. I finally realized that I will never know whether it'll work or not until I give it a try... so here I am.
There are several reasons why I was drawn to Noonday, and if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know the first - I love fair trade! It's been something that has intrigued me for years, especially since living aboard and experiences other cultures, experiencing poverty first hand. But Noonday is also a huge advocate for adoption, something that has also touched my life in such a meaningful way. Because of adoption and a wonderful couple eagerly opening their hearts and home, there is a precious and not-so-little-anymore  Jamaican boy and his sister who have loving parents who are involved in their lives. I spent an entire year caring for that then-little boy, praying desperately that God would bring a forever family to love on him, to raise him and teach him right from wrong.
My prayers were answered, above and beyond what I could have hoped or imagined. But I know that it wasn't without lots of commitment, of time and finances, of emotions and heartbreak, that these children now have a mommy and a daddy.
My hope is that by partnering with Noonday Collection as an ambassador of their products, I will be able to lessen some of the stress in other families working on adoption. You see, by hosting a Noonday trunk show - basically a fun get-together with your girlfriends, where you try on and style each other in the gorgeous pieces - you can either earn rewards toward products or you can put that reward money towards your adoption!
I am so excited about these beautiful products. But even more than the gorgeous items, I love the stories of hope and redemption found for so many through Noonday. You see, purchasing from Noonday means that the artisans who create these products earn a living wage. It means they can afford to send their children to school, dressed in crisp uniforms with bellies full. It means that instead of selling her body, you are empowering a young woman with the option for a dignified job, one she can be proud of. Instead of handouts and charity, you are enabling someone somewhere to earn a living and feel accomplished and good about what they do through your purchase.
In a way when you buy and wear Noonday items you are spreading the Gospel, and you look good doing it!
Am I still nervous about this new venture? Yes. Those reasons, all one thousand of them, are still spinning in my head, telling me why this won't work out. But there is one reason that tells me it might... and that reason is that we are ready for change. Ethical fashion is something that so many of us are aware of, but a lot of us don't know where to begin.
Start with Noonday!
I would love to present Noonday Collection to you and your friends through a fun trunk show or through the website or a lookbook.
If this is something that you are interested in learning more about, please let me know!
I truly believe that by being aware of how products are created, by casting vote for ethical treatment of others every time we spend our money, we can build a better world where children are cherished, people have jobs, women are empowered, and we are connected.  


For the Love!

For the Love! | sarahesh.com
It's been a busy past couple of weeks.
No, actually make that summer; it's been a busy summer. 
We've been seeing glimpses of Autumn here in upstate New York, leaves are fringed with orange or yellow, golden rod is in full bloom, and the clouds are endless and amazing on our many cool, crisp mornings. 
I find myself eager for it, the change in seasons. Life gradually slowing down. Summer has been good, but I'm ready for more time with Herm, for less yard and garden work, for thick sweaters and long evenings and rainy days.
But like I said this summer has been good. It's been full of roadtrips and family get-togethers and time spent at the lake. And in those moments, on the roadtrips and at the get-togethers, when yard work and canning produce from my garden and running errands for Herm's business and cleaning cottages on the lake haven't been consuming my time, I've been devouring books.
The two I chose for this past weekend were For the Love, by Jen Hatmaker, and Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul, by Jennie Allen.
Both were so very different and so very good.
We will start with For the LoveI had recently read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, also by Jen Hatmaker, and had enjoyed it, so I was eager for this book to be released. It came just in time for our weekend roadtrip to Pennsylvania for the weekend. 
The subtitle is Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. In the book Jen tackles a broad range of topics, starting with grace for yourself, grace for the people you live with, grace for your friends, strangers and enemies, and finally grace for the churched.
I will warn you; if you don't have a sense of humor and can't laugh at the hilarity of even serious matters, this book is not for you.
I'm pretty sure I was laughing out loud at some point in each chapter, and I can't wait for the opportunity to use a few of her witty remarks in real life conversations. Jen writes about serious matters, but she does so in a way that doesn't make the reader feel weighed down, and you'll probably even find yourself chuckling along with her, able to extend grace more freely to yourself and to others around you.
If you think this sounds like a book you'd enjoy, read it! 
In this book Jennie Allen and her husband were both longing for a deeper, truer relationship with God, so they began to pray Lord, we will do anything. Jennie heard about Katie Davis, the then 18-year-old mother of 13 girls in Uganda. (Read her story here!) Katie's story wrecked her, made her realize that she is just one person but her impact could be huge. Jennie wanted more in her life.
During this process their lives came unraveled, radically changed. God called them to bigger platforms in ministry, He told them to welcome another member to their family of five, a young boy from Rwanda, to fill the empty bedroom in their home. 
Jennie writes about how her friends lives were influenced too, how giving your whole life to God is daily sacrifice, but how you end up filled and overflowing with more than you ever imagined possible. She shares about how their prayer for anything impacted their marriage and family. 
This book inspired me to more, to realize the impact one life can make. I had downloaded the ebook version, so I plan to reread it soon, and this time to have a notepad and pen handy. There were so many good words I want to highlight and go back to again and again.
Read this book, I highly recommend it!
What about you: Are you ready for the change of seasons? What books have you been reading lately? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
Please note: Both books were given to me by www.booklookbloggers.com in exchange for an honest review.


It's Time to Speak Up

It's Time to Speak Up|sarahesh.com
Words haven't been flowing lately.
I've tried time and again to force myself to write about what is so deeply pressing on my heart, but each time I attempt to express what I'm feeling the letters forming words on the page look jumbled and lifeless, anything but heartfelt.
I'm going to try again.
Generally I avoid controversial subjects on this blog. My longing is that women from all walks of life, from diverse cultures and backgrounds, ethnicity's and religions would feel encouraged and inspired here. But what I've been struggling through lately is a matter of life or death.
I can no longer keep silent.
A few weeks ago, in horror I watched as human life was valued by body part and gender. In the name of science our society has deemed the slaughtering of life okay.
And in the days that followed, I've heard arguments from people who say that abortion is going to happen regardless, so why not recycle those organs for medical experiments? As though this could somehow redeem killing innocent babies.
We make excuses and try to reason why abortion might be justified. What about women's rights? If the mother's health is a risk, shouldn't she be able to choose? In cases of rape or incest wouldn't it be better if the child wouldn't be born? In underprivileged homes or when the possibility of mental or physical retardation is high, wouldn't it be better if birth never happened?
Friends, we don't have to look far back to realize that history is repeating itself. We are living in a Holocaust that is claiming innocent lives by the thousands daily. 
Those horrifying video clips are the beginning of an end. I truly believe that abortion clinic death camps will be shut down, that in years from now we will look back and mourn for lives claimed there. We will grieve that in the name of science, experiments where preformed on infants, just like in the name of science Jewish children were slaughter. 
We have to take a stand. We have to fight for what is good and right and moral. Now is the time!
But friends, if we are going to take a stand against abortion, we also have to open up our hearts and our homes. If we are truly pro-life we need to take action. Whether it's by volunteering at pregnancy care centers, befriending mothers and fathers who are living with grief and heartbreak after going through abortions, giving financially to those in the process of adopting, or welcoming into our homes with open hearts and arms the children in foster care. 
There are many, many ways to get involved, to make a difference, to end this Holocaust claiming victims daily. Instead of just speaking out against abortion,  I challenge you and I challenge myself to take action, to show love, to be advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves.
We are seeing the beginning of an end, and it is time to take action.


Blueberry + Peach Gallette

This summer we've been enjoying fresh fruit in abundance.
Our property line is scattered with wild raspberry bushes, which we harvested nearly three gallons of berries from. I froze about a gallon of berries, but the rest we enjoyed over cereal or ice cream or simply plain.
Peach + Blueberry Gallette | sarahesh.com
And I've been keeping our kitchen stocked at all times with peaches from the SweetPeach Company. I thought I liked peaches before I had a South Carolina peach, but I realized, after that first juicy-delicious bite, that I didn't know what I was missing. I can never go back to a northern peach again. New York, you grow many good and wonderful things, but peaches aren't one of them.
Blueberries are currently in season, so we've been munching those too. Last week when my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and nieces and nephews were here we picked a nice amount. I froze most of mine, but kept a few pints in the fridge for fresh eating.
All this to say, on Saturday afternoon I had peaches and blueberries in the fridge that needed to be used up. I absolutely hate wasting food, so I was brainstorming what I could make out of them without it taking all afternoon or requiring me to go for groceries.
And that's when I remembered the partial box of phyllo dough in the freezer.
If you aren't familiar with it, phyllo dough is a paper thin pastry dough. There are many different uses for it, but I had a partial box in the freezer from the last time the cooking club got together. (Yes, I am part of a cooking club, and I don't even like to cook.) Our theme for the evening was Greek Cuisine, which means baklava was a MUST for dessert. Baklava is basically butter and sugar served between many crispy sheets of dough. When I start I can't stop... it's so good!
But that's not the subject of today's post.
Well, it actually kind of is, because when I remembered the phyllo sheet, I got to thinking about how good baklava would be with peaches and berries on top. I quickly searched the internet to make sure I wasn't crazy, and found a recipe similar to what I was thinking of and went from there.
Herm was impressed by the dessert and is already talking about the next time I make it. He thinks it should be a regular dish, served at least weekly in our home, guests or no guests.
Peach + Blueberry Gallette | sarahesh.com


  • 6 sheets frozed phyllo dough pastry, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 peaches, sliced
Cut phyllo dough sheets in half. Place first sheet of dough on foil lined cookie tray. Brush with butter, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of white sugar. Place a second sheet of dough over the first sheet, rub with butter, and sprinkle with white sugar. Continue this process until all 12 layers of pastry have been used. 
In a bowl toss together sliced peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, and oil or butter. Arrange peaches over phyllo dough in a single layer. Pour any remaining brown sugar/butter mixture over the peaches. Sprinkle blueberries evenly among the peaches.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped topping, and of course, your favorite cup of coffee.
Peach + Blueberry Gallette | sarahesh.com