Link Love

We finally made it to the weekend!! And now, some links…

Looking to add to your reading list? Popsugar has a list of Latin American books to read.

Always helpful: easy things you can do to help the environment. (See my favorite eco-friendly products here.)

Somewhat related: adopting minimalist strategies to your closet…when you’re not a minimalist.

A brief history of female assassins in film.

This was fun: the decades-long Gilmore Girls friendship you didn’t know about. Any guesses?

Things I Need To Tell You About, Vol. 1

Borrowing this from Kayla, and popping in because I have some things I want to chat about.

It’s Election Day.

Can you believe it? I’ve known that I was voting for Hillary since the day she announced her candidacy, but I am exhausted. It’s mostly an emotional thing, because this has been such an ugly election cycle. I know we say that every 4 years in America, but I think we really mean that this time. Last night, the Clintons and the Obamas had a rally on Independence Mall in Philly. The mall fits tens of thousands and they weren’t scheduled to speak until around 8 p.m., so I thought I would just wait in line for an hour or so and be fine. Well… I ended up walking almost two miles just to find the end of the line. I didn’t come close to getting to see them speak, but the atmosphere was still incredible, even neighborhoods away. (You can read more about the rally here.) It was the first time in weeks I felt good about the election, and I’m looking forward to casting my ballot tonight. If you still need to find your polling place, you can do so here.

I’m going to see some college football.

I’m an obsessive Miami Hurricanes football fan, because I’m both a proud Miamian and a masochist. They play at UVA this Saturday, and you better believe I will be there. The last time I saw the Hurricanes play was at Boston College in 2012 (and I haven’t seen them in Miami since 2008!). It’s going to be a fun atmosphere, because few things are better than tailgating and football. I’m also excited to get a taste of a different part of the country for a weekend, since I’ve never really been to Virginia (outside the D.C. area).

My mom moved here!

I alluded to this in a recent post, but after a little more than a year in Colombia, my mom moved back stateside! Even better, her new home is in the Philly area, so now I see her all the time. I haven’t lived in the same state as my mom since I was 19, so it’s fun to watch television and go shopping together again. I’m also not mad that neither of us have to get on a plane to spend the holidays together. Another bonus? Getting some cuddles in with Lucy, our family dog since I was 16.

This October was perfection.

I usually am not a fan of fall. The weather is confusing and once the time changes, I’m basically moody until late February. However, we had so many sunny, dry this October that I was actually able to enjoy fall. I went to a couple of weddings, went to a cider festival (an annual tradition with my friends from Fordham) and explored a nature preserve outside Philly. It’s been awesome getting in lots of quality time with the wonderful people I call my friends, and I hope to keep it up before the cold really hits.

Fall television.

Shows I’m watching and enjoying: Pitch and Conviction. (Seriously, you should be watching Pitch. I can’t even explain why I watch Conviction, but it helps me miss Castle less.) Show that I’m watching just for Laurie Hernandez: Dancing with the Stars. Shows on my list that I probably won’t get to anytime soon: This Is Us, Atlanta and Jane the Virgin (I know, I know). Netflix show I will binge watch on Black Friday: Gilmore Girls, because obviously.

So that’s it for me today! What have you been up to? Anything you need to tell me about?

~ Sarah

P.S. I’m also a fan of email, so always feel free to send those my way!

American Ninja Warrior Philadelphia

American Ninja Warrior Philadelphia

One thing I don’t talk about too often on the blog is my guilty pleasures. Well, I use “guilty pleasures” for the lack of a better term, because I honestly don’t feel too guilty about my reality tv habits. One of those shows I can watch for hours and find endlessly fascinating is American Ninja Warrior. The show recently came to Philadelphia and I had the chance to visit the set. It was one of the absolute coolest experiences I’ve ever had — and I didn’t even run the course!

For the uninitiated, this is what American Ninja Warrior is all about:

If you’re wondering, I do not have the type of upper body strength.

The course was at the Richmond Power Plant, in Northeast Philadelphia. This was super awesome, because not only is this between my office and my home, but it is an underrepresented, blue collar area of Philadelphia. It’s cool that Port Richmond was in the spotlight, and it made for an awesome set. I had a chance to ask one of the hosts, Matt Iseman, about what it meant to bring American Ninja Warrior to Philadelphia.

What this show is all about is people being resilient and doing things they didn’t know they could do. So I think that’s why it’s so great to be in the city of Philadelphia, and it’s great being in the Northeast.” Matt Iseman

American Ninja Warrior Philadelphia

I also asked Matt and his fellow co-host, Akbar Gbajabiamila, why everyone should be watching American Ninja Warrior.

This is a show where success isn’t always defined by getting to the end and hitting the buzzer, success is defined by doing better than you ever thought you could…This is a sport where everyone, regardless of your age, regardless of your experience, your ability, you all compete on the same course.” Matt Iseman

I think everybody in life wants to be motivated and I think that’s what American Ninja Warrior does. It motivates people to be a better version of themselves. I think it’s relatable when people are watching American Ninja Warrior, they go, “wow, that’s me.” The stories of people who overcome, maybe it’s depression — and these are real-life issues we go through — cancer, maybe it’s the loss of a loved one, it’s those people, they come out here and compete. Akbar Gbajabiamila

American Ninja Warrior Philadelphia

That’s all well and good, but I was still interested in really meeting someone who was like me. I chatted with Caroline Ramsey, one of the competitors, and it blew my mind. She started weightlifting two years ago, rock climbing a year later, and then producers found her on Instagram and invited her to compete — and that was a month before taping! Insane. When I go to the gym for my monthly visit, I don’t even look at the weights. Caroline talked to me about her fitness journey, and hey, she had humble beginnings too!

I found some online forums where they were talking about women and weightlifting and I rolled the idea in my head for about a year, and finally I just got the courage to do it because I had a friend who had been doing weightlifting for a while. So he showed me the ropes. My tip for women is you just have to do it. It can be really intimidating in the gym, and especially when you’re the only female there, but you just have to find the mindset of confidence and just go in there, even if you’re not lifting a lot, just get started.” Caroline Ramsey

I could definitely relate to this — I was reading blogs for almost a year before I finally signed up for WordPress to start writing. Okay, totally different hobbies, but it’s still an important lesson: you eventually have to put your research into action. Another thing Caroline and I had in common? An appreciation for selfies and sweatproof makeup:

I cannot wait to see the episode later this month! I didn’t stay too late during taping (it was an overnight shoot) but I did see at least one person climb up the ninja wall and wow. Season 8 of American Ninja Warrior is currently airing on NBC Wednesday nights at 8 p.m., and the Philadelphia qualifying round airs June 27th. Thanks again to NBC letting me hang out on the set!

American Ninja Warrior Philadelphia

~ Sarah