Ungiftables series – feat. afloat founder Sarah-Allen Preston

We live by two words here at afloat: Celebrate Everything. Those two words are our north star – but what do they really mean? You pop the champagne and celebrate the good times. You give send some love on a random Tuesday, just because.  But what happens when someone close to you is going through a hard and messy time? What do you do then? Those “ungiftable” moments are why afloat was started in the first place. To take the guesswork out of gifting and to make it as easy as possible to celebrate the people you love whenever they need it the most. 

Enter our newest series – The Ungiftables. A place where we’ll talk about what to do, say or give in those hard situations with experts who  have been through it. 

In our first edition, we jammed out to Lizzo and sat down with afloat founder, Sarah-Allen Preston, to tackle our first Ungiftable: Divorce.  

Q: Tell us about why you started afloat

SAP: I started afloat after both my youngest (of three!) son’s open heart surgery and my divorce made me realize how important it is to support relationships. It meant so much to me when people would drop off a little something – always thoughtful – it could turn around my whole day! I was an event planner at the time, so I had the “celebratory” side of relationships nailed, but this was my first exposure to how important the supportive sides are as well. When my storm clouds cleared and  I wanted to go celebrate and support the people in my life, I realized there wasn’t an easy AND thoughtful way to send gifts… the best way to let someone know you care. So, I created afloat!

Q: What does ‘celebrate everything’ mean to you?

SAP: Celebrate everything IS everything. Celebrate it all. Celebrate the good, celebrate the bad, celebrate the ugly. Because guess what. That’s life. Being able to focus on the people who are there to toast us in happiness, and squeeze us through sadness is something to celebrate. It’s celebrating a small win, it’s celebrating a nice day, it’s celebrating a friendship when someone needs support.

Q: Going through divorce is a tough experience that people don’t readily talk about, but it seems like your people were there for you when you needed it the most. How did your community show up for you and your boys during your divorce?

SAP: Oh my gosh, I still get a little overwhelmed thinking about it! Friends, family, “I’ve been there” acquaintances, and people in all of my communities showed me so much love. Whether it was a porch drop off (hello gifting!), a walk, a girls night, a text, or just showing me grace as I adjusted to my new normal, I couldn’t have asked for a better “bad” experience. I’m so grateful for all of these relationships.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you received while going through divorce?

SAP: The best piece of advice was from my therapist. She told me that I was the flight attendant and as long as I was still serving drinks, my children wouldn’t notice the turbulence. I used this frequently! Another thing I really appreciated people saying was “Congratulations, I’m happy for you.” I know no one has the same experience through breakups,  but in my case, divorce was freedom… and definitely something to celebrate. It was freaking hard in the short term, and is still difficult to navigate life as a single mom, but it was definitely the right decision for my (and my kids) long term life. So I always appreciate the kudos.

Q: What’s your advice for someone who has a friend going through divorce or break-up? On the flip side – what’s your word of advice for what not to do or say to someone going through a divorce or break-up?

SAP: Ok 1) Follow Tinx ASAP. I literally just screenshot like 20 of her advice highlights and sent to a friend going through a horrific breakup. Learn about holding a funeral, what’s meant to be will be, and they always come back (SO true except for this ONE person that still drives me crazy, haha, Tinx, let’s talk). Also, I’m not just saying this because I’m obsessed with afloat, but send your friend a thoughtful “thinking of you”, or “fuck him” (depending on the breakup-vibe). It’s such a quick way to show that you care, and now you’ve given them the sign that you’re there when they’re ready to talk. I also loved when friends would fill my time, either with a fun dinner or a walk. The conversation was always cathartic and it feels good to have things on your calendar with people you want to be around! What not to do…don’t forget the pain is so real! It’s not forever but it freaking hurts. Also, I’m not sure how exactly to say this, but don’t give false hope or feed into a narrative that won’t serve their best interest long-term.

Q: It seems like afloat was started because your crew made you feel loved and supported while you were going through such a hard time. What is the best gift you received while you were going through divorce?

SAP: My friends were so FREAKING extra, and the best gift came during a memorable night. They threw me an acupuncture party, followed by wine and cheese/charcuterie around a fire and hours and hours of talking. True story, I had been talking about starting afloat for a few months but had hit a road bump that week, and I had a breakdown. I was like, crying in the street on a walk. While I was getting ready for that night,  I had decided to give up on the idea of afloat all together. Then, when we were talking around the fire, my friends brought out a gift. It had “You are a Badass”, a set of positivity Tarot Cards… and a sweater with “afloat” monogrammed across the chest. The rest is history.

Q: What are your favorite picks on afloat for someone going through a break-up or divorce?

1) Morning Journaling from The Gem

2) Mary Bracelet from Madison McKinley

3) Spa Day at Home from Stanley Korshak

4) All Tied Up from Madison

5) Well Rested from Madre

1) Gift Card from POSH KC

2) Thinking of You Cookies from Swoon

3) Gua Sha from Welwythn

4) Neutral Polish Set from HOOPLA

5) “Get on my level” Set from Pendleton Jewelry

Q: Ok, we have to hear it. Your go-to break-up song?

SAP: Soulmate by Lizzo! (Anything and everything Lizzo! Lizzo for Break-up President!)