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My Favorite Things: Sarah Jio

Sarah Jio pretty much defines the notion of the busy Renaissance woman: The mother of three boys under the age of four is a novelist (her first book, The Violets of March, is available for preorder); a fitness blogger and runner; as well as a contributor to a host of women's and parenting magazines. How she finds time for all of this is beyond us, but she does—and she's also answered our questions, sharing her personal style secrets and the things that make her tick.

Item I own that gets better with age: Scarves! I have a huge box full of them, and I love the eclectic prints I’ve collected over the years. They are timeless and always make an average outfit feel a little more special.

Best vintage buy on eBay: I purchased some old botanical prints for my home many years ago, and I adore them.

My secret to looking timeless: I’m a busy mom, so I tend to wear staples that are easy to pair together on harried, sleep-deprived mornings. For instance, I live in leggings. They’re comfortable and work well with longer sweaters, tunics, casual dresses or skirts. I also believe makeup is great, but in small quantities. I have full lips, so I’ve learned that wearing bright, bold lip colors doesn’t work well for me. Instead I opt for pale pinks or light corals, which always gives a great look without being so overpowering.

Most powerful photo I’ve ever seen: Too many to mention, but the photos taken of me right after childbirth, snuggling my three boys at each of their births are so powerful and remind me of the miracle of life and motherhood.

Best souvenir I’m glad I brought back home: A great pair of jeans from Paris, even though I can’t quite squeeze into them after baby—yet!

Fashion trend I hope becomes classic: Ballet flats. Let them be chic forever, please.

Place I love to visit that’s rich in history: Bainbridge Island, where my novel, The Violets of March, is set is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s a quiet little island just outside of Seattle, but it’s rich in stories—just ask the locals!

Music that always takes me back: I adore 1940’s music—all the jazz greats.

Smell that makes me feel most nostalgic: I have this bottle of body lotion by Fresh which is completely empty now, except for a few drops, but I save it—and occasionally take a whiff—because it reminds me of my wedding. A friend of mine gave it to me as a shower gift shortly before my big day, and I wore it on my wedding day and during my honeymoon. It reminds me of that special time. I’ll save that empty bottle forever because Fresh discontinued the line!

Film that I can watch over and over again: Sleepless in Seattle. Love.

Favorite bedtime story as a kid: I remember loving “Pat the Bunny,” and was absolutely nuts about “Santa Mouse” during the holiday season. Now I read both to my kids.

Childhood sport I still love to play: In-line skating. A half-hour in Rollerblades, for me, is pure bliss.

Best advice I’ve ever received: I always knew I wanted to be a writer and pursue journalism in college, but in my sophomore year, I got sidetracked and changed my major to biology. One day, I ran into one of my journalism professors on campus and he said, in so many words, “Sarah, where have you been this last quarter? We’ve missed you in the journalism department.” I told him about my major change, and he looked at me like I was nuts and convinced me to come back to journalism. I’m so glad he did. That little conversation changed the course of my life and career forever.

Blog I’m currently addicted to: I’m obsessed with Smitten Kitchen. One click, and I’m hungry!

Unofficial home away from home: The Caribbean. My husband and I have visited many times, and I have never been so charmed by a part of the country—the turquoise blue warm water, the warmth of the people, the laid-back feeling ... Heaven.

What I’m currently coveting: A $3,000 home espresso machine. Completely unnecessary, overpriced and frivolous, but I’m still drooling over its promise of perfect cappuccino.

I couldn’t live without: My husband. This man is my sanity.

Art I’d like to own: I once saw these gorgeous prints of real snowflakes that were blown up to show every intricate detail, and I was so fascinated. Ever since, I’ve been on the hunt for something similar to hang in my office. I love winter, and love what snowflakes remind us—that each person, each day, each moment is so special and unique.

Photograph: Blood oranges courtesy of Smitten Kitchen