About Sarah Kalb

While double majoring in philosophy and theology, Sarah harbored a passion for art. Now graduated, she is a full-time actress, part-time writer, addict to family, and pursuer of Love. She invites you to cast off the cash flow shackles and embrace the simple, rewarding essentials of a Bougie life.

Posts by Sarah Kalb:

Luxurious Fall Beds

As we fling into fall, I can’t help but want to stay in bed every morning and cuddle up with as many pillows and bed fluff as I can muster before dashing to the cold bathroom for a shower. Here are a few styles to try this season for your own Comfort Cave.

1)  The Romantic English Cottage. Inspired by one of my favorite movies, “The Holiday” starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, and Jude Law, this look is warm and plump, like an old-fashioned nana. Think soft and full, but don’t worry too much about matching colors… it’s the floral patterns, solids, and small stripes that will make or break the style. Creams, reds, even cornflower blues will work as long as everything is well worn but also well-kept. Thrift stores and yard sales can be great places to find comforters (just wash them well in hot water first!). Bed skirts are totally appropriate and super easy to make using curtains, a pair of scissors, and some large safety pins. Warm lighting adds to the ambiance. Pillows should be plump and hold their shape, so try the down pillows from IKEA for an affordable choice.

English Cottage

2)  Indie-Hipster Vibes. Inspired by everyone I meet in LA looking to be cool, calm, and original, this is a good choice for young adults. Use cooler colors and 1-2 large, flat throw pillows. Grays, plums, camels, and neutrals with a pop of darker primary color work for this palette. As for designs, try a tasteful mix of block shapes and lines with more elegant patterns. Check out World Market, Target, Pier 1, and boutiques for woven textiles. Consider the Goodwill’s scarves and shawls for bed covers and curtains.  As a bonus, check out Habitat for Humanity for reclaimed wood for some DIY furniture projects.

Indie-Hipster Bedroom

3)  French Country Chic. Inspired by my all-consuming love for anything French, Provençal design can’t go far without linen. Pillage thrift stores and turn men’s linen shirts and women’s 80s house-dresses into fabulous pillows. Use only neutral colors with a few pastels, and try adding tasteful buttons to add charm. Quiet and repose is the motto of country living. Woven duvets, seersucker sheets, laces, and cottons all contribute to the airy, heavenly atmosphere. You can make some good bargains at flea markets and often find affordable hidden treasures at antique stores. Check out Craigslist for adaptable furniture, and even learn how to reupholster!

Rustic French Country

4)  Napa Valley Retreat. Inspired by my family in the greater North, luxury will dictate most of your choices for this plush design. Tidiness with certain abundance characterizes the bed, including its matching oversized pillows. Think “wines and vines” for your color palette: merlot, chardonnay, rosé, moss green, bark brown. Focus more on rich colors than textile choices if your budget is giving you doubts. Think monochromatic patterns that vary in hue and shade, rather than show off intricate designs. Often, Bed-in-a-Bag options at Walmart, Target, Ross, Home Goods, or department stores are the most economical for this look.

rustic napa bedroom

Gossip

From Gossip To Conversation

A friend once said about the nasty temptation to gossip: “It makes sense. Human beings are fascinating and we want to talk about them.” Turn this vice into a virtue, and start making real encounters with people by learning the art of conversation. Go deep!

Do you remember 4th grade, doing those logic puzzles that seemed modeled after the game “Clue?”  It usually began with a prompt, and then a series of seemingly unrelated facts—“Miss Cheryl’s Birthday cake was stolen while she was on lunch break at work. She works with four other women: Miss Ruby, Miss Babe, Miss Joy, and Miss Coco. Miss Ruby was found in the restroom after the theft occurred. She had gone in there after Miss Joy, but before Miss Coco. Miss Cheryl was at her desk until 11am, ran to the mailroom for 15 minutes, and 5 minutes before she returned, Miss Babe walked into the kitchen.”

The puzzles are meant to hone “reading between the lines,” a skill that is fading in an age of instant reward and immediate change of interest. In preparation for this article, I read a lot of commentaries on the art of conversation, and things boiled down to this one principle: Listen to what’s NOT being said. Tuned conversationalists make it a priority to pull information out of the other person, including deep emotions, dreams, and motivations, while contributing only 20% of the input into the conversation.

Perfect conversation flows easily because the parties are able to harness the flow of grabbing a fact, diving into the deep reaches of reason and emotion, wrestling the topic for awhile by probing and prodding, then rising to the surface for a laugh and change of topic. If you can master this social grace, people will want to talk with you. You will get to know people very quickly. You will make deep friendships fast. You will get what you want (in the case of a deal or sale). And ultimately, you will have more satisfying human connections.

Initiating good conversation is a gift to another person. You get to the root of their human existence and help them reflect on their decisions by asking provocative questions. You relate to them and confirm that they are not alone in experiencing the world, for better or worse.

As an actress, I recognize that many of the techniques used in this craft of conversation are similar to my own training. You must Be In the Moment and Listen. You must not Judge. You must be Empathetic, but Not Allow Emotions to Swallow the Energy of the Moment. Conflict is Interesting. Above all, you must be Honest! Even if you disagree with someone, if you acknowledge your differing opinions with validation, express your own reservations, and offer alternatives, you will be able to maintain a fascinating respect.

Surely the best way to relate to someone in conversation is through Common Experience. The more countries you’ve traveled, languages you speak, foods you like, jobs you’ve worked, books you’ve read, hobbies you invest in, family legacies you can relate — the list is infinite —  the better you will relate.

In short, one of the best ways to be an interesting person is to live life! Encourage your conversation partner to do the same through affirmation and excitement.

Budget_1

How To Make a Month-To-Month Budget Work

I’m on a shoestring budget and, like most of us, have been since college. By nature and nurture I love to live simply, and eagerly delve into Pinterest’s DIY projects for creative living. With my current pursuit of acting, I have five different jobs that I piecemeal to make a living each month. As such, I have no salary or pay that I can count on, which makes budgeting extremely difficult. For example, one month I made $2,968, and another month I made $1,062. That’s roughly a two thousand dollar difference in what I can spend or save in a single month!

Living month-to-month adds a lot of stress, but it also encourages me to practice money habits independent of the dollar amount I own. For example, I use a plethora of strategies for denying impulse buys whether or not I have the funds to justify the purchase.  I have also developed the mantra (common in the entertainment business) to take work when it’s offered “because you never know when the next job is coming,” and thus I continually contribute to society in a variety of ways.

I’m a visual learner, so I keep a copious record each month as a tool to see my spending trends and which jobs give the most income. Though I can’t use the Excel spreadsheet to estimate numbers for budgeting purposes, I know, for example, that for the past year my four largest expenses besides rent have been student loans, car insurance, gas, and food (in that order).  I also make sure to treat myself each month, but sometimes it’s a $4 cheese, a $10 canvas, or other months it’s a $35 trip to the Goodwill. Flexibility and looking ahead are key for my chosen lifestyle, and while I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone and certainly hope to avoid long-term scrimping, it’s allowing me to live my dream at this stage in life.

Budget_1

I’m expounding on this personal information because I do think budgeting is important, and I want to share a few key points I use to stay sane. Financial advisers recommend the 20/30/50 Rule for setting budgets. Twenty percent goes towards financial priorities, thirty percent heads to lifestyle spending, and a whopping fifty percent is allocated for essential expenses.

I need these broken down.

Financial Priorities (20%): Basically…your Savings Account. A natural or health emergency fund, auto emergency fund, retirement fund, and saving-for-a-house/car fund would all be included here, whether separate accounts or a single one.

Lifestyle Spending (30%): This is your cable, internet, entertainment, hobbies, personal care (such as makeup), shopping, charities or church tithing… Anything that you could live without in the apocalypse.

Essential Expenses (50%): Housing, transportation, utilities, and groceries (including necessary hygiene like soaps and feminine products). If you have children, factor in basic expenses like diapers, etc.

For now, my “budgeting” is done retrospectively, but I still use this model to double check where my money travels every month!

For other great financial advice, check out the site “LearnVest” and sign up for the easy-to-digest daily e-mails.

 

Drinkers_Featured

4 Types Of Coffee Drinkers

As you’re grabbing your morning Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee, Coffee Bean or home brew, have you ever stopped to wonder at how you drink that “cuppa’ joe?” Sure, we know why it seems to be a universal indulgence: the taste, the caffeine, the comfort of routine. But next time you down the perfectly roasted bean and hot water blend, take a minute to discover what your sipping technique says about YOU!

*Disclaimer: This is not a horoscope or personality box. You are who you choose to be. This is simply meant as a tool for reflection and self-knowledge. You can be a mix of “sipper” types depending on the time of day, life stressor, and social community.

1) Small Steady Sips: Probably disciplined and diligent while possessing an inner calm, it seems you enjoy your life at a constant pace. You are cautious and rational with a detailed scope on life. Most likely focused, you may also be able to multitask and sip while you talk or type. The ability to be real and intimate with people is a gift, but don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and go on your own adventure once in awhile. Consider an “espresso-lift” and trade in that drawn-out relief for a burst of zeal. Break the mold!

2) Large Loud Gulps: You must grasp life at the reins, and hold on tight for the ride. You are ready for new opportunities and “drink up” life’s experiences with passion.  Be sure to stay aware of others around you in this wild flight. Just as you can infringe on personal “audio space” in public places, too much consumption can inhibit on your body’s communication with you. Make sure you’re not medicating an unaddressed insecurity in your desire to move forward. Keep your aim straight and feed that energy, but stop once in awhile to take a breath and look at all you’ve been able to accomplish already!

3) Unfinished Waste: Goodness knows your intention was good!  And you gave a noble pursuit of that liquid gold, but as your milky brown grows tepid ask yourself: why couldn’t I finish? As a recovering Waster, I too often rebuked myself for pouring more than I knew my temperamental stomach could hold. Perhaps your mug was too big, either from your own ambition or social pressure. Do you routinely bite off more than you can chew and let other commitments flounder? Honesty and Humility will be your best friends. Rome wasn’t built in a day…but it was finished!

4) Cold Abandonment: Ponder a few things if you find yourself admitting to abandonment. Did you really want that coffee in the first place? Was it wishful thinking, or blatant apathy in routine? Or perhaps you really wanted the drink but were so absorbed in your work that it was utterly forgotten. Be mindful of the wasted money and resources. Don’t neglect your own needs and even the few wants that will make you happy and prosper. Re-evaluate your days and practice intentionality!