a tribute to tone.

you just assume that you’ll grow old with your girlfriends. that you’ll go through ups and downs, but they’ll always be there. without a doubt you’ll be at each other’s weddings and you’ll become moms together. we just assumed that there’d forever be eight girls on the email chain to plan weekend getaways and share life’s updates. and then, something tragic happens, one of your girlfriends is gone and you’re left feeling numb.on friday, september 14, one of our eight, sarah leaf – better know in our world as “tone” – had her life cut short in a horrible bicycling accident. the news shattered us. each of us in denial, many of the phone calls were silent – girlfriends miles apart just sitting on the line unable to believe the news was true. there’s no way this was happening.

in college, tone quickly earned the reputation in “our group” as the girl who would do anything for anyone. she was nicknamed “sarah two-tone” for her two-toned hair color which was shortened to “tone” – and the name stuck. in fact, many people around campus had no idea that sarah was her given name. thinking back to those college days makes me smile. her dorm room that hosted many of our late nights. her purple caboodle. her love of the Guess brand. me and her driving around in “the beast” singing country music at the top of our lungs. coming home to our alley house and finding her laying out on the front stoop in 100+ heat. her saran-wrapped as a butterfly for halloween. her green decor at our house senior year. me and her playing crazy games of racquetball at the rec. her and colby’s old-man-old-lady married relationship. her shaking her booty on the dance floor any chance she got. those four years we all spent together – all day, every day – may have been the happiest in our lives.

born and raised in arizona, tone always had big dreams of the california lifestyle. after UA graduation, she packed up her little red car, headed west and made her dreams come true. colby and her shacked up in orange county and for tone, it was love at first sight. she loved (my girlfriends can hear her saying this in her voice) her city and took advantage of everything it had to offer. she spent as much time as possible outside… she’d run on the beach and take long walks. she soaked up california – she loved it. she loved her life. it was the life she had always dreamed of.

not long after settling into her new zip code, tone fueled her passion for health and nutrition. she was incredibly active – running, biking, swimming and training for triathlons with the “tri-divas.”  tone dedicated both her personal and professional life to being healthy and helping others achieve the same goals she had. she self-built a professional nutrition consulting business and her success can be credited to her love of helping people. she truly cared about each of her clients and wanted them to feel the best they could.

i’ll forever remember tone for her crazy recipes and homemade health meals. for her quirky independent ways and never-ending list of errands. for her dedication to her family. for her random love of chocolate martinis and short time working at “the bird.” for owning and experimenting with her personal style. for her ability to never complain or hold a grudge. for her quiet yet tenacious spirit. for her infectious laughs and insanely amazing back scratches that she was always happy to oblige me with (boy how i’ll miss those). i’ll miss her lackadaisical attitude and telling the rest of us to relax and, “you guys, it’s not a big deal – haha.”

looking through photos i have to smile through the tears. tone’s life was cut way too short, but damn did she pack a lot into her 29 years. she really did live it to the fullest. she studied in the south of france and loved to travel. she never missed a girl’s weekend or a happy hour. she celebrated each of our milestones with sincerity. the thousands of memories with tone will forever live on in our hearts and minds… the seven of us will make sure of it.

the crazy eight

the eight of us, the night of our university of arizona graduation.
the 8 at the del mar horse races in 2009.
all eight in NYC in 2007.
crammed into jenny’s tiny NYC apartment.
all eight of us crammed into a single booth at trident in 2003.
celebrating tone’s 22nd birthday in tucson, arizona.
all eight in seattle for shmer & dan’s wedding.
all together in phoenix in 2006.
celebrating carlye & jeremy in 2009.
alpha phi pc ’01
the eight of us together for a wonderful girl’s weekend in manhattan beach. 2010.
acapulco, mexico in 2005.
together in the windy city in spring ’09.
the tonehead, stone, tone that we’ve loved through the years…
i hope these bring back a flood of memories and make you smile.

rest in peace, tone.
i still can’t believe this is real.


  • Reply September 17, 2012


    such a sweet post. my heart is breaking for all of you girls and everyone that was close to tone. thinking of you all. xoxo.

  • Reply September 17, 2012

    Megan Speelman

    I am having a hard time believing it is real also! I have not stopped thinking of Tone and all of you ladies this weekend. Know that we are all thinking of you and her family. I love the picture of her in “the bird” pants, those pants and her dancing in them have brought a smile to my face this weekend.

  • Reply September 17, 2012


    This is a great post, Teri. Thinking of all of you girls and am so sad for your loss. Tone was so upbeat and I know she was a great friend to all of you. I hope you are all hanging in there and supporting each other. xoxo

  • Reply September 17, 2012


    What a beautiful tribute T – I can’t believe it. I’m thinking of you and the rest of your girls and what a beautiful and full life she lived in her short 29 years….Tone’s spirit and energy will certainly live on forever.

  • Reply September 17, 2012


    This is beautiful. I know she is smiling down on us and I bet this brings joy to her heart, just as it did to mine. Rest in peace, Sarah.

  • Reply September 17, 2012

    Becky Lesure

    Thank you for your post Teri. I am at a loss for words over Tone’s passing. Thinking of you, Sarah and all the other ladies in the photos above. xxoo

  • Reply September 18, 2012

    The Morell's

    Omgosh..so sorry to hear. My heart breaks for you and your girlfriends. I couldn’t imagine. I’m sorry you have to know the reality of this. From reading your posts, I know your girlfriends are the world to you. I hope Tone’s memory brings a smile to your face and love in your heart.
    Much love,

  • Reply September 19, 2012


    What a beautiful tribute Teri. Hope all of Tone’s friends and family can find peace in his/her heart through this difficult time.

  • Reply September 20, 2012


    I’m so sorry for your loss, Teri – I have been following your blog for awhile and can tell how important your friends are to you and how hard this time must be. Laura

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