life

Hey, 2016!

Happy New Year

Hope you’re kicking off the new year however you like best! For me, that means I’m home, in lounge mode, with snacks plus Anderson Cooper & Kathy Griffin on CNN. Anderson’s embarrassed giggles are the best.

Here’s my #2015bestnine from Instagram this year:

@sarahblackstock's #2015bestnine from Instagram

Happy 2016!

life

Reminders & Tips for Life

One of the absolute best parts of being an adult for me has been knowing myself so well, fully accepting who I am, and being happy about it. It’s awesome. There’s no reason to worry about what someone else is thinking about me and I’ve got zero hours to dedicate to not doing exactly what I want to be doing. This has gotten even easier in my thirties.

So, here’s my quick & simple advice for living a great life, being cool with who you are, and finding your slice of happiness:

I don't have any weaknesses gifFirst, stop thinking and saying negative things about yourself. Guilty pleasures? You don’t have any! There’s no reason to have guilt over watching a long-running TV drama or reading regency romance or whatever you prefer.

You like what you like & that’s awesome. (Hi, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. Also, I’ve read dozens of romance novels this year and they’re fantastic.)

Also, basically always do this:

And say what you want:

Nicki Minaj speak your mind gif

Bitch? Please, like you care if some jerk calls you that. Pfft. Never be silenced.

And take Tina Belcher’s advice:

Believe you're beautiful Tina Belcher gif

Think great things about yourself. That totally makes them true! You’ve got a life to live… no time for making yourself feel bad.

Also, sometimes boys are great (if you’re into that sort of thing), but…

It’s best to be good at being alone and taking care of yourself rather than waiting around for a dude to validate your life. (This is easier when you’ve got an awesome BFF, so find your platonic life partner ASAP. It’s a game changer.)

And ALWAYS THIS:

Nicki Minaj winning is my protocol gif

Work hard, make things happen, ask for help when you need it, be positive, don’t hate on yourself, never give up, and WIN AT LIFE. It’s protocol.

pop culture, technology & web

Wintertime Tip: Up Your Netflix Game

Watch TV All Day gif

You’ve got Netflix, right? I know I’m not the only one who watches something on there basically every day. I should really offer to pay them more based solely on the number of times I’ve re-watched Buffy. It’s pretty straight-forward and easy to figure out, but there are a few adjustments that might make your viewing experience even better.

First, make sure you’re rating everything you can. That’s pretty obvious and I still forget to do it sometimes, but it really will make a difference and your recommendations will seriously improve. Once you’ve got your ratings situation down, up your game and try out some of the options listed below.

Seven Ways to Improve Your Netflix Experience:

  1. Add IMDB & Rotten Tomatoes ratings to your account with Chrome extension, Netflix Enhancer. In addition to ratings, it’ll link you to the matching page on each site for quickly checking out reviews.
  2. Make sure you’re really watching in HD! Click Your Account, then Playback Settings, then High. Done! (Ah, that’s better!)
  3. Change your subtitle settings if the default yellow ones just aren’t working out. Click Your Account, then Subtitle appearance, then change the color, font, and size to whatever works best for you or what you’re watching at the moment.
  4. Turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote control. If your Playstation & mobile device are both logged into the same WiFi network, many of them (including iPhone and iPad) will let you select something to watch then give you the option to watch through your PS3 or PS4, instead of just on your tiny screen. And if you have a Roku, they have an app that’ll let you play & pause, at least.
  5. Watch with faraway friends using rabb.it. Fire up a room, invite someone to join, and start watching. It’ll play on both ends, so you can watch together and be at the same spot in the video. (They can do more than Netflix too: there’s Hulu, HBOGo, YouTube videos, and more.)
  6. Delete stuff from your history. Go ahead and remove every trace of that time your niece watched Dora the Explorer on your profile constantly and totally ruined your recommendations. (Just me?) Click on Your Account, then Viewing activity, then hit the X next to anything you want to erase. While you’re adjusting settings, add a “Guest” profile for next time, too.
  7. Stop scrolling incessantly through your queue! Get a better grasp of what’s new and/or popular on InstantWatcher, and see what’s going away soon.

Now that your Netflix account is handled, what’re you going to watch?! Might I suggest Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls Religion Lifestyle gif

…or Friday Night Lights, because:

FNL coach taylor wink gif

THAT WINK, Y’ALL.

food, recipe

Recipe: Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Making Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce from a can is a travesty (A TRAVESTY!) and doesn’t deserve a spot on your holiday table. The only way to go is with fresh cranberries and about 15 minutes of hands-on prep time. It’ll look beautiful and be a great companion to your turkey. (I love it with cornbread dressing!) I never realized I liked cranberry sauce until I tried this one. The canned stuff just really doesn’t do cranberries justice.

Making Cranberry Sauce

Simple Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine orange juice & sugar in a pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Dissolve the sugar in the juice, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add cranberries and stir.
  4. Heat cranberries until at least half pop & the sauce thickens. (10-15 minutes)
  5. Remove from heat & pour in a dish to cool.
  6. Let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

from: sarahblackstock.com

That’s it! Super simple and you can dress it up with other things (like orange zest!) if you want to be a bit fancy. It’s best to make it the day before and pull it out a while before serving to take the chill off.

My Thanksgiving Dinner, featuring homemade cranberry sauce

Happy holidays!