Living Gluten Free (and a great recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs)


Since I had a few friends ask about the recipe I used and how it turned out, I decided maybe it was a good topic with which to step back into blogging after quite the hiatus.

First, a life update…

Most of my friends and family know that I am gluten intolerant. This is something I found out after several months of very unpleasant digestive issues and efforts to combat the digestive disruption to my life with an IBS diagnosis, meds, blood test, upper GI scope and then finally eliminating gluten to see if my symptoms improved (which they did). So I discovered my gluten intolerance in 2015 and I’m going on four years without the G. (Gluten joke, not funny I guess…)

I’ve since learned how to live life without gluten, and while it wasn’t a fun month or so cutting out all my favorite dishes cold turkey (literally every single favorite food of mine had gluten so now I just really love cheese – that’s my post-gluten favorite, seriously) it really doesn’t seem that difficult now and I have no intention to “go back.” Let alone the fact that any tiny bit of gluten wrecks havoc on my digestive track if I ever accidentally eat it, so the idea of reintroducing gluten to my body is super unrealistic this far in.

Going on four years gluten free, eating while traveling isn’t always fun but I can pretty much manage holiday gatherings, parties and dining out with friends. Cooking for one, on the other hand, isn’t easy even when you CAN eat gluten. So I had a very short list of my go-to single serving meals and didn’t get too adventurous in the kitchen over the years. Because… it honestly seemed like a waste of money. Gluten free alternatives can be expensive and to go the route of cooking foods that didn’t require gluten to begin with meant me expanding my food horizons and I wasn’t interested in buying enough of a vegetable to feed a family of four only to throw out more than half and have to figure out how to cut it, cook it and actually learn to like it. So I didn’t.

Fast forward to 2018, I meet my boyfriend Darrell. Our first date happened to be dinner and so right off the bat we discussed our food allergies and intolerance. I can’t eat gluten, Darrell can’t eat poultry, nuts or legumes. You can imagine the joy we are to servers everywhere!

Why am I sharing this on a blog post about spaghetti squash, you ask? Well first, I am frequently asked questions about living gluten free and second, I’ve decided to share more recipes and our experiences cooking without gluten, poultry, nuts and legumes. It seems only appropriate I first explain WHY we cook this way. Additionally, I know a lot of people are interested in eliminating a certain food and aren’t sure how to make the lifestyle change that doing so would require. It’s not as “scary” as it seems. And the food doesn’t taste like cardboard either.

So this spaghetti squash with meatballs… IT WAS DELICIOUS! I can’t wait to cook it again! I’m not sure why I had been so hesitant to try this meal when I’ve heard such great things from friends. But last week, Darrell and I decided to try three new recipes for our dinners over the three-day weekend.

I came across this recipe on Primavera Kitchen. This site has a bunch of low-carb, Whole 30, paleo and gluten-free recipes. It’s a well-organized website, making it easy to find recipes that work for our needs.

Below, you’ll find my notes detailing anything I did differently from what the recipe suggests. The notes are organized by the numbers assigned to the steps of the recipe.

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs


  • I opted for onion powder instead of actual onion because I’m not a fan of the texture of onions!
  • Additionally, we’re lazy and didn’t want to make homemade tomato paste, so I swapped that out for a jar of meat flavored Prego.

5. When making the meatballs, the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of the meatball mixture to form a single meatball… This seemed like way too much and I questioned how it would cook thoroughly. I recommend using 1 tablespoon of mixture.

7. I had to cook the meatballs longer than 4-6 minutes… I don’t know exactly how long I cooked them, but until the center of a test meatball was cooked.

8. I dumped out the oil from the meatballs, rinsed and dried the skillet before adding the oil for the spaghetti squash. I’m not sure that it was necessary, but the skillet had way too much oil and meatball bits in it for my liking.

Find the recipe HERE.

I cooked asparagus as a side item to round out the meal.

Have you tried spaghetti squash? Did you use a different recipe? I’d love to hear what you’ve done differently or if you give this one a try!

More posts coming soon about cooking with food allergies and intolerance!


We’ll Always Have Paris

First off, this isn’t a review of a movie – before I lose your interest or disappoint you… Instead, it’s more of a tale of my reaction to a classic. 🙂

One of my favorite movies is When Harry Met Sally. I’m a sucker for rom-coms. Friends make fun of me for how often I watch the film. But it’s a classic. If you know anything about the movie, you probably know that at multiple points throughout the story line, Harry and Sally debate the film Casablanca. It’s a movie I’ve had on my list to watch for quite some time. A few weeks ago, I noticed the beautiful little theater downtown was advertising a special showing of the film for Valentine’s Day. I had never visited Kentucky Theater and was excited for the perfect reason to go.

It was a lovely evening and I was so pleased with the black-and-white film. It wasn’t that I had high expectations, but I knew it was a CLASSIC so I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about.

The beauty of Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa and that classic voice of Humphrey Bogart as Rick in this black-and-white timeless feature, in the perfect viewing set up of a downtown theater of yesteryear, was a spectacular evening that brought color to the nostalgia and excitement I had for finally catching the show.

Isn’t it funny when you discover where certain phrases or ideas originated? Well that’s how I felt throughout the entire movie. I recognized so many quotes that had never truly made sense because I didn’t have the back story. I’ll explain…

I like to think I am an old soul. I’m old fashioned for sure. I read a description of my name in a baby name book as a teenager and it described “Sarah” as someone old fashioned. And even as a teen, I didn’t think “oh, that’s dull” but rather simply embraced it. For heaven’s sake, as a child I was most certainly old fashioned – and totally had my own sense of style – as the only nine-year-old who adored penny loafers, collared shirts and cardigans. (I still adore penny loafers, collared shirts and cardigans…)

So it’s not a surprise that I love old movies. And old music. And everything else from a time before me. But it’s hard to put into words just how lovely I found this movie. My love of Kate Spade New York design grew exponentially when I realized so many quotes on her trinkets came from this film.

Kate Spade New York brand embodies so much of the sweetness derived from the whimsical quotes sprinkled throughout the classic film. I’m easily so enamored by finding a correlation among some of my favorite things and this Valentine’s Day viewing of Casablanca had my heart so happy it could burst.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the movie:

One of Bogart’s lines toward the end that really tugs at you.

Rick: Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.


Bogart to Bergman in a flashback to when they fell in love, raising a glass to toast. Doesn’t this just give you butterflies and make you blush?!

Here’s looking at you, kid.


And another from the ending that really melts you…

We’ll always have Paris.


Have you seen this classic? Do you have suggestions for others I should see? Comment or send me a message!

Little Blue Box

“The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!”
– Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I recently traveled to NYC for Thanksgiving! This was my second trip to the big apple, however I’m not sure my first trip really counts since I was only in the city for 12 hours as a stop along the way to Boston for a conference in college.

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One of my favorite adventures during my Thanksgiving trip, was visiting Tiffany & Company’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue. The magnificent building, in all its wonder, was dripping in jewels, I assume decked out for the holidays. I could hardly contain myself as we made our way across the street and into the store, making sure everyone in our party took time to admire the whimsical window displays.

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In true Sarah fashion, our visit to Tiffany’s was definitely an adventure. While visiting the engagement floor, we tried on the iconic Tiffany setting, the particular ring with a diamond just shy of 2 carats, and the ring got stuck on my finger! The experienced associate wasn’t the least bit worried and even assured me “You want it to be tight, you don’t want it to fall off.” We ooh’ed and ahh’ed over the stunning ring and I snapped a quick photo. Once I found out how much the ring was worth I started getting nervous… it was pretty tight… what if it wouldn’t come off?! That would be my luck, after all.

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But no worries. The associate got it off without a problem and then we admired a breathtaking 10 carat diamond engagement ring, and… then we got lost.

Since it was a very busy day, we decided instead of waiting for an elevator down, we’d just take the stairs. However, we wound up on a floor that we definitely weren’t qualified to visit and couldn’t figure out how to make it back to the main floor! Tiffany employees are amazing though! They guided us back to main floor and all was well.

The flagship Tiffany’s store is gorgeous. Not just because of the Christmas decorations, but every detail. There’s a timeless elegance about every aspect of every floor.

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Before traveling to NYC recently, I watched the documentary Crazy About Tiffany’s on Hulu. (I highly recommend it, if you’re as “crazy about Tiffany’s” as I am!) I have been such a big fan of the brand for a long time. Like many, I discovered Tiffany and Company through watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s in my late teens. I immediately adored Audrey Hepburn and the Tiffany shade of blue.

In college, I wrote about Tiffany and Company in brand evaluation assignments, advertising course assignments, and even gave a speech in my public speaking course about buying a diamond ring at Tiffany’s – making sure to discuss the brand’s significance in the engagement ring world with the iconic Tiffany Setting.

During my brief visit to NYC in college, everyone in the group I traveled with had somewhere they wanted to see in the limited time we had to explore. My pick was Tiffany’s flagship store and we managed to get there just as it was getting dark. I was elated! See photo below 🙂


While I have yet to make the kind of money I would need to buy diamonds at Tiffany’s, I was overjoyed to bring home a little blue box of my own from Thanksgiving in New York! I bought a lovely Tiffany heart-shaped glass ornament. The associate was incredibly sweet and shared in my excitement over what might have been one of the smallest sales she’s ever made. Hahaha.

And no, I haven’t hung the ornament on my Christmas tree yet because that would require untying the pristine white ribbon. 😉

Tweed Shift Dress and Bow Blouse

As I️ mentioned in my last post, comfort and practicality are major priorities for go-to outfits during this busy season of professional events. So this tweed shift dress from Loft is another perfect piece to have in your closet this fall if you need cute options for similar events!

It’s got pockets, great detail in the fringe trim and a hint of color in the tweed.

Throw it over a white button down or bow blouse like the one I’m wearing and you’re set! Or grab a cardigan!

I’ve paired my dress and blow blouse with simple black tights and some chunky-heeled boots.

This dress is final sale for less than $40 right now! Get it here.

My boots are from a few years back and were also from Loft. The shirt is another great find from a previous year and I️ can’t find a similar option at this time but will update this post if I️ find one!! I️ think a white oxford button down could possibly look cute as an alternative! But again, nothing wrong with a throwing on a cute sweater too!

(Another) “Busy” Season

It’s seem like there are three major “busy” seasons in my line of work. We have the legislative session, the summer meeting season and the annual meeting season. They don’t really coincide with the standard four seasons the world operates on but much like college, they almost feel like “semesters.”

Each busy season comes with its own challenges and stressors but there’s something exciting about each as well.

I’m in the midst of annual meeting season and that usually means attending more events. These events usually mean dressing up a little more than my typical office clothes and one of my go-to dresses this season has been a stylish and comfy Tyler Boë Cindy dress. If you’re familiar with the Tyler Boë brand, the Cindy dress is very similar to the Kim dress just without the cowl neck.

I love the simple look and inverted pleat that helps flatter most every body type.

And of course the pockets are just the icing on the cake. At events, and just being on-the-go in general, the pockets are an absolute necessity. I’m usually photographing speakers or attendees mingling and trying to post to our social media accounts throughout events. The ample pocket space holds my camera lens cap, phone and usually a jump drive or my keys, easily.

Additionally, this dress looks great with flats (ideal for work events), or boots for when I want to dress it up a little more, and I can throw on a hat for a fun weekend look!

I bought this hat at Target and dress from a local boutique, The Cotton Patch in the Lansdowne Shoppes. These dresses go incredibly fast (usually at the very beginning of the season). Tyler Boë offers so many great patterns and colors, so if you love this one, I highly recommend trying the Cindy style or any of the similar styles. It doesn’t appear that the hat is still available, but a similar one can be found here.

Rainy Sundays Call For Chili


There’s something about a cozy weekend day spent at home with no real plans. Growing up, these were the kind of days when dad most often seemed to get a hankering to cook. This usually meant one of two things, a hodge podge dinner of foods dad liked (soup beans, hoecakes [fried cornbread] and macaroni salad […? haha]), goulash (which I despised), meatloaf (revered as dad’s specialty and a family favorite), or chili.

There’s a small navy blue notepad my Nay-Nay (grandma on my dad’s side) filled with recipes for dad’s favorite dishes. She gave him this little pad of recipes with detailed instructions when he moved away to Louisiana for his first job out of college. It’s one of the most referenced “recipe books” in my parents’ house and I love to flip through the worn pages and read Nay-Nay’s perfect penmanship and notes to dad. I find it amusing to imagine a 20-something version of my dad around 1985 trying to cook his favorite dishes for the first time in what he once described to me as a very “70s” furnished apartment.

I’ve modified my two favorites (dad’s meatloaf and chili) since going gluten-free. But they’re both still very tasty!

It started raining last night and hasn’t let up since. I haven’t minded though because I was looking forward to the lower temps brought in by the rain. It’s about time it felt like fall outside! And I’ve been wanting it to cool off enough that I could fix a pot of chili. So it was the perfect cozy day for just that.


There’s only one ingredient I have to leave out of dad’s recipe in order to make it gluten free. While it’s certainly not the healthiest chili out there, it’s something some of my gluten-free friends might want to try! And if you’d rather have the gluten, I’ll be sure to point out what you can add to make it “dad’s way.”

2 cans chili beans
1 can pork ‘n beans
tomato juice
ground beef
chili powder
minced onions
(if you want the gluten, add in a can of spaghetti o’s – yeah you read that right)

*If you’re new to the no-gluten thing, be sure to read the back of the cans to make sure your canned beans don’t contain gluten! Same goes for seasonings…

sour cream
extra sharp cheddar cheese
Doritos (or Fritos, or if you’re boring… saltine crackers)


Now, I’m no cook so this probably isn’t the most complete or detailed recipe and I don’t have the navy blue note pad to reference, so here’s a Sarah-style recipe… I honestly don’t think you could really screw it up that easily so y’all should be just fine. Just figure it out. Wing it. 😉

  1. Brown the ground beef. I like to use a little electric skillet. Ground the meat so that it is somewhat fine.
  2. Empty your chili beans, pork ‘n beans (and if making the “gluteny” version add your spaghetti o’s) into a large pot. If you’re scared of the “pork” part of the “pork ‘n beans going into your chili, you can usually spot it at the top of the can and scoop it out haha.
  3. Once your ground beef has browned, drain the grease off and stir in as much chili powder (or seasonings of your choice) as your little heart desires.
  4. Dump the seasoned ground beef into your pot o’ beans.
  5. Sprinkle in some minced onions as desired.
  6. Pour in tomato juice.
  7. Cook at medium heat for about 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  8. Shred your cheddar cheese. You can use whatever cheese you like. I’m pretty particular about my cheeses and like the Cracker Barrel brand of extra sharp cheddar. No idea if they’re connected to the restaurant chain but the branding doesn’t lead me to believe so haha.
  9. Remove chili from heat and let cool a bit before serving.
  10. For toppings, add a small handful of Doritos (crushed), shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream.
  11. Enjoy! (Chili is one of those dishes that’s always way better the second day so once it cools, store covered chili in fridge and reheat later.)


What’s your go-to cozy day in meal? What are your favorite chili toppings? Do you have a particular take on chili that you prefer? I’d love to hear from ya!

xo Sarah

Affordable Fall Decor

Fall is finally in the air… well it was this morning, but now it’s already hot again. Even though we can’t quite break out our favorite sweaters just yet, it doesn’t mean we can’t decorate our homes in anticipation!

As far as seasonal decor is concerned, I honestly don’t decorate much until Christmas (and then I go all out). But how can you resist cute little pumpkins, fall candles and beautiful wreaths?!

One of my favorite places to find affordable seasonal decor is Big Lots! If you haven’t checked out your local Big Lots in a while, you’re missing out! I found this beautiful wreath a few years ago while living in Frankfort and I love adorning my apartment door with it at the beginning of autumn each year!

A few more of my fall decor favorites include the cutest tiny pumpkins from Target’s bargain section and the cozy aroma of a Warm Luxe Cashmere Yankee Candle. This candle was a birthday gift from my sweet roomie, Tamika. I cannot get over how heavenly it smells!!

Another bargain find was this little guy from Walmart a couple years back. How precious is this fox cookie jar?! You can find a similar one here.

I’m a firm believer in growing my seasonal decor collections slowly, purchasing items that really stand out to me and not necessarily having a hay day every time I see something with a fall leaf or a jingle bell on the store shelves. Don’t feel like you need to break the bank to decorate for each season – buy decor that speaks to you and otherwise save your pennies. One day, we will all have trunks of trinkets like our moms and grandmas, and hopefully all those trinkets will hold memories and stories from over the years. I’m trying not to rush gathering “stuff” in the short term!

What are your favorite fall decor finds?

Art I Adore: Brianne Alves

Choosing pieces of art for your home is not an easy task. If you’re anything like me, you want each piece to have a special meaning or stand out. You also want pieces to coordinate and come together to tell a story – your story.

I stumbled across this talented artist on Instagram and was fascinated by her work! There was one piece in particular that had really caught my eye so I hurried over to Etsy but couldn’t find it! I contacted Brianne and she was able to make this piece available in her Etsy shop right away. I have really enjoyed curating my gallery wall, finding pieces unique to me and the feeling I hoped to create in my living room and this is one of my favorites.

This acrylic abstract painting really helped to pull together the other pieces on my wall. While the pieces I’ve selected for this gallery wall include some whose meaning or intended feeling is more obvious, I like that this abstract piece, not too big and not intended to be a focal point centered on the wall like the little donkey, is off to the side and (I think) guides your eyes, drawing interest and sparking curiosity.

What do you think of this piece? Let me know in the comments below! Check out Brianne’s work on Etsy here. You can find her on Instagram at @briannealves.

Hair Products: My Favorite Cheap Finds and Ones Worth Splurging

It seems to me there are some products out there that just don’t perform as well as they should for the cost. On the other hand, I’m always pleasantly surprised when a great drug store standard outperforms the salon brand. Today I thought I’d share some of my go-to beauty products, both splurge-worthy and budget friendly.

Splurge Worthy

Hair Products: Splurge Worthy

  1. John Frieda Hair Dryer  This hair dryer will change your life. Okay maybe not, but it should definitely help to cut down on the amount of time you spend drying your hair each morning. If you have thick hair like I do, there’s nothing you dread more than drying your hair in the getting ready process. My hair dryer has helped to ease those pains.
  2. Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volume Gel  As I had mentioned above, I have thick hair. I have some volume just from the massive amount of hair on my head but I always feel like I need more. I didn’t realize just how much this volume gel helped until one morning when I didn’t use it and my hair was lifeless and flat and I couldn’t figure out why! I now use it every morning.
  3. Kenra Color Maintenance Shampoo and Conditioner  I have long searched for satisfactory color-safe shampoo and conditioner. I came across Kenra at my local Ulta this summer and have fell in love with it! Not only does it smell AMAZEBALLS, but it really works! I don’t feel like it is any way dulling my color and I don’t have issues with it weighing down or leaving a strange film on my hair. The other issue I seem to always have with color-safe shampoo and conditioner is that feeling of my hair never being clean – not a prob with Kenra Color Maintenance though!
  4. Big Sexy Hair What a Tease Styler  THIS STUFF! Oh man, if you only go out and buy one of the items listed in this blog post, I hope it’s this one. Game changer right here. I love volume. As if that wasn’t already obvi. So when I came across this little can of magic I was so enthralled! Basically, as you are back combing (teasing) your hair, spray a bit of this somewhat toward the root of each section before teasing. Bam. The magic happens. Volume will multiply before your eyes. You’re welcome.
Cheap Finds
 Hair Products: Cheap Finds
  1. Teasing Brush Again about the volume… This little friend is what you need if you’re getting ready for a date, a holiday gathering or church (yes, you know the saying “the higher the hair the closer to heaven” is definitely true). This tool will give you the mega volume if you tease approximately the top to top back 1/3 of your hair haha.
  2. L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hair Care Total Repair Extreme Split Ends Fixer I’m growing my hair out and it’s like a whole new world. I mean yes I had long hair once upon a time… When I was like 13. But I don’t remember what that was like. So for a good 9 years or so, I was constantly getting my hair cut because I rocked a short ‘do. Well when you don’t cut the dead stuff off every few weeks anymore like you had, you get these unruly split ends. So I ran to Walgreens after about the 58th time of catching myself awkwardly staring and picking at my split ends during meetings and conference calls. I decided to try this L’Oréal serum and am seeing results! If you’re in the same boat, I recommend giving it a shot.
  3. Pantene Pro-V Stylers Anti-Humidity Maximum Hold Hair Spray My go-to since like the 9th grade. This stuff is basically concrete in a can. No other has compared yet. If you’re looking for maximum hold and something to withstand the humidity of a Kentucky summer (or somewhere further south I suppose) this is your stuff.
  4. Teasing Comb “Why a teasing comb when you’ve already got a teasing brush” you ask? Well because you don’t want to leave your house looking like you stuck your finger in an electrical outlet. And because sometimes you don’t need Dolly Parton hair. (Hard to imagine such a day but there are those days in your life too, I’m sure of it.) This comb will also help tease your hair decently high and more importantly smooth the top hairs after all the teasing action so you can walk about society with a more polished look.


Well there ya go. Let me know what you think! Do you use any of these products? Have something else you just adore that I should try? Let me know!

Bachelorette Pad in the Making: Breakfast with Audrey


Bachelorette Pad in the Making: Breakfast with Audrey

This is the little space I’ve designated as a “dining area” in my apartment.

I’m really getting into decorating now that I’ve got a place of my own and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the things I have found so far.

So as I go about this gigantic project of decorating my apartment (it’s rather large for just me but I love it) I thought I might blog about my findings and share my go-to places for decor.

One of my biggest goals is to search until I find the pieces I want at prices I’m actually willing to pay. So I will be giving the prices and as many details as possible about each “find.”

Table & chairs – $189
Flatweave rug – $182.65
Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster – $5 Office Max like 5 years ago.
“Fancy” poster frame $20ish Walmart
Vase – $8 I think. Target
Flowers – $14 roughy, Michaels
Leopard print coasters – $1 each Dollar Tree

Walmart may not have much to offer in the home goods section of your local store, but online they have an amazing selection!

Pinterest is always a wonderful tool for ideas and inspiration but I’ve found that until I had a clear idea of what theme or style I wanted, Pinterest just kept adding too many other ideas into the mix. Ideas of stuff other people like and had deemed stylish. Not necessarily “my style.” So I came across a website/blog “The Everygirl” and started following their Instagram account as well as some of their editors. From there, I picked up on other places and people to follow on Instagram and Pinterest. I started to take note of the things that really stuck out and then went back to Pinterest searches for very specific things. Which lead me to Etsy, where I was able to purchase some of the exacts items I fell in love with on Pinterest!

Beyond that, I’ve started going to flea markets and antique stores, dollar stores, places like TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning.

Hoping to post more apartment photos and details soon! Leave a comment if you’d like the full description of the table and chairs or rug to order!