Thursday, May 24, 2018

My All-White Outfit Picks

All white! So, not that these rules exist anymore, but in the "olden days", Memorial Day weekend was the start of summer. That meant — finally — a chance to wear all that white linen! Memorial Day through Labor Day were the glory days of those white pumps that are typically reserved for the back of your shoe closet. Of course, the fashion rulebook has been edited to include winter whites and wear-whenever-you-want whites.

But I'm still excited about this hue white now. Here's my Memorial Day mood board!

1. This gorgeous Urban Outfitters dress. And a bonus pick: this dress that's not white, but might be even better. 
2. Ok, so this bag isn't technically all white, but remember what I said about the rules? Forget 'em! Plus it's 40% off right now, so you really can't lose.
3. I can't get enough culottes right now. Here's another cute non-white pair!
4. Can't go wrong with some white sneaks, and I love the subtle design on this pair. I'm also into these green ones and Nike's new crop tops, because I guess I'm Sporty Spice now?

Hope your Memorial Day weekend is unforgettable! xo

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Queen City Gems, Vol. 7

Hi, friends! You may remember I've started a little series on here called "Queen City Gems", basically, where I brag about my city and the folks who live here. Feeling really lucky today to be surrounded by so many inspiring people and ideas; here are a few I'm particularly excited about.

1. SGFCO Launches Instagram, Website and Product Line
There's nothing better than seeing your friends dream up a concept, put in the hours, and watch it come to fruition. There are a lot of reasons I've chosen to stay in Springfield and put down roots here, and a huge one for me is having a likeminded community. SGFCO's initial product launch features a shirt that says "This place is as good as any", and their message that SGF is "perfectly satisfactory" is communicated through stellar design that pays homage to features of the 417. Stay tuned for more to come, and for now, check out their Instagram and website.
Photo courtesy of SGFCO
Photo courtesy of SGFCO

2. Erin O'Sullivan's Final Showing of "Piece by Piece"
Erin O'Sullivan is a sweet friend, pictured in the first photo reppin' the SGF CO tee, and finishing up her BFA work at MSU. I had the opportunity to see her installation, "Piece by Piece", at her first showing, and she will be doing the final showing tonight. Her work explores themes of loss and recovery — how we pick up the pieces and move on without our loved ones in physical form. The installation itself is beautiful and serene; you will feel things, and you should go.
Missouri State, Brick City 3 | Second Floor, Room 235 | Installation open from 7:30-9

Photography courtesy of Erin O'Sullivan

3. "How Seriously You Take Yourself" is Perfect for Your Summer Playlist
While the duo's name is Ski Lift, their new EP, "How Seriously You Take Yourself" is made for all the rooftop gatherings you'll be attending this season. Ski Lift is made of Abby Webster and Trey George; together, they've made something that's both soothing to the ears and soul — take a listen to those lyrics.

P.S. Last thing, but there's a SSLYBY show at the Outland tonight, and what's more Springfield than that?!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Taking Baby Steps Toward Bigger Goals

The road to achieving our goals isn't always as direct as it seems. Ain't that the truth! My hometown has a lot of hidden gems (see proof here), and one of those is The Bravery Board. A few of my friends started The Bravery Board to promote mental health to creatives and others who desire growth, and maaaaan, do they do a good job with it!

I've been to most of The Bravery Board's events, which they host quarterly in my hometown of Springfield, MO. Each time I leave the sessions feeling awake and inspired — likely thanks to the fuel of Eurasia Coffee, where The Bravery Board meets. The gals who run The Bravery Board have wonderfully curated speakers and topics; sometimes based off of felt needs, other times they bring ideas to the table and ask you to consider them in a fresh way.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with my friend, Michelle, for The Bravery Board's most recent podcast. It was an engaging conversation on the topic of taking baby steps toward bigger goals — which I highly recommend everybody do! If you're in need of some encouragement to "do the thing", here's some of my most candid advice on the topic.

I certainly can't say I've achieved all of my goals at this point, but I'm thankful for the windy road I'm on as I'm making my way through somewhat of a "DIY" career. You can take a listen to my conversation with Michelle either on SoundCloud or iTunes. xo!

P.S. Here's details to this outfit: Similar Top, Wide Legged Jeans (on sale for $9 😱)!, Shoes (I got these in Hawaii last year, and now I will never not wear them), Similar Sunnies

Monday, April 23, 2018

Top Picks from Target's New Opalhouse Collection

Have you seen the new Opalhouse collection at Target?! The big box retailer is killin' it these days with a quirky, vintage and global-inspired new line. If you haven't made it to your local Target yet to snag some of these goods, I'm sharing my favorite top buys from Opalhouse's decor. Their kitchen accessories are so good, I could write a-whole-nother post on those, too.

According to the Target blog, they here sent their design team to cities like Aix-en-Provence, Lisbon, Paris and Mallorca to gain inspiration, and it shows! (Target, if you're reading this, I volunteer to be part of your design team. 😉) Anyway, back to the topic: Here are the affordable home embellishments you'll be eyeing this spring.

1. Rugs. Opalhouse has a ton of cute, small rugs for bathrooms, kitchens and the like, but this one stopped me in my tracks. It's low pile, wool and a versatile enough design that it would hold its own anywhere in your house.
2. This chandelier that convinced me I need a chandelier. Ok, so we rent and this beauty needs to be hardwired, so I'm not going to be purchasing. But the vintage-inspired design reminds me of some chandeliers in my friends homes that I've begged them not to switch out, so it made me smile. Plus, it's a good deal for the price if you're flipping a house or want a lower-priced fixture for your own!
3. The stand that will transform your plants from almost-dead to beautiful, lush and green. Maybe. It's worth a shot! You should probably still water them, though.
4.  Cute and affordable printed sheets? I'm in. I definitely would have registered for these for our wedding if Opalhouse existed 6 months ago.
5. Removable wallpaper! I honestly thing Target has done the best job so far of making wallpaper accessible, no matter your lifestyle or budget. Perfect for apartment-dwellers and statement walls when you want to commit, but only kind of. There are really so many things you could do with these with a little creativity.
6. Pretty sure Target saw this Anthropologie pillow I've been eyeing for a year and then gave us this.
7. Lots of the Opalhouse shower curtains look like designer curtains for only $24.99. Sadly, my favorite curtain is sold out already, but here's another option I like.

What do you think about Opalhouse? Are you as obsessed as I am?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Queen City Gems, Vol. 6

This little post has been on my to-do list for a bit (which you may notice from the content), but I didn't want to move on without acknowledging these sweet Springfield happenings.

1. Bringing Kingdom Coffee Home
If you've stuck around here for very long or seen me out in the wild, you probably know I'm a fan of Kingdom Coffee. After all, they did win the great PSL taste-test of 2017. But, while their coffee is great, this Queen City gem is about their new packaging. It stopped me in my tracks! Jacob Scowden is a crazy talented designer, and he's the man behind a handful of brilliant SGF logos.

2. Ellie Schmidly's "Where to Begin"
My friend Ellie's newest single is 5 minutes and 10 seconds of pure bliss (seriously!) You can find more from her on her Facebook page and Spotify. Word on the street is that she's collaborated with Todd Gummerman (of Mutemath) on a new project releasing in May called "Blossom & Bone". I'm here for it!

3. Manuscripts Produces Pocket-Sized Bibles
My friends worked hard on a Kickstarter for their project, Manuscripts, and they've gotten their books in and started shipping them. If you missed the chance to pre-order on Kickstarter, you can still check out their website and order there. This has been a big labor of love for them, and their work has been recognized by the likes of RELEVANT and NPR. Proud pal over here!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Join Me For a Floral Arranging Workshop!

Hey, friends! I'm here to share something exciting today. If you're local to Springfield, MO (or in the surrounding area), I'd love to see you at a floral workshop I'm co-hosting with some sweet friends of mine.

Here's the truth about this event: This is the second year in a row we've done it, and I learned SO MUCH last year. Charity Bennitt of He Loves Me Flowers is an incredibly talented florist with work published on Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty, The Knot and more. Anybody can pick up a bunch of flowers, but it takes talent to arrange them so each stem shines. (Like.. Really, I learned so much, my centerpieces are consistently better looking since Charity shared a few of her secrets with me.)

Alex Maurer of Sangha Studio has opened her beautiful yoga studio for this event. The studio, located on C-Street, has gorgeous window lighting and plenty of good vibes, so it's the perfect venue!

If you join us on March 31, you'll learn the difference between a wide variety of stems and when to reach for each to make your centerpiece looking its finest. You'll leave with a vase and a gorgeous arrangement for your Easter buffet — all you need to bring is yourself and a pair of shears.

More event details on our Facebook page, and here are a few photos from last year's event.

Hope to see you there and learn alongside each other. xx!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Breakfast at Druff's

Move over, Tiffany's. Breakfast at Druff's is where it's AT.

I'm like most everybody else: Brunch is my favorite meal of the week. But, like, so much so that Austin and I weren't going to have our Saturday brunch tradition today, so we had a mini-date yesterday instead. (That's the plus of self-employment that we rarely take advantage of!)

I was insanely sick with the flu last week, and I'm still playing catch up from the work I missed while I was stuck in bed. That being said, I haven't had too many outings lately, so this brunch was a fun getaway from my to-do list.

Austin got the Yeaux Leaux breakfast sammie which is pepperjack cheese, egg, remoulade sauce, ham and sweet onions on wheat bread. Annnnd ya can't forget the side of hash browns covered in cheddar. 😋 I ordered the Swipe Right breakfast bowl; 2 over easy eggs, jalapenos, avocado, sweet bacon and cheddar cheese on a bed of hash browns. And yep, I'd definitely swipe right on that breakfast given the opportunity.

Here's more photos of our food because... why not?

Breakfast at Druff's is a pretty new offering from my fav grilled cheese joint. It's available all day long, 7 days a week, so you don't even have to be a morning person to take advantage of it. I'm already trying to figure out how I can schedule my next lunch meeting here. 😍

We didn't get to do our brunch tradition this week because we're on the way to Disney World today with Austin's family! We're going to sneak off to Universal for Harry Potter World, too, and I can't wait. Helloooooo, Mickey! And.. Voldemort?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Quirky Way I Met My Husband

Set the timer: 7 minutes. No, we’re not about to bake cookies… I’m sharing the weirdly cute way I met my husband.

Ana Elliott and Austin Elliott Springfield, MO

I’ll paint the picture for ya. It was Valentine’s Day, 2015. A chilly, windy night when my friend, Nick Warnock was having a Valentine’s Day soiree. He didn’t call it a soiree — I did, just now. And that’s probably a compliment to the event. If Austin (spoiler: my husband) was telling this story he would call it a “singles party”.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I show up at this party. Austin is also at this party. We’ve never met, and I notice he has a pretty large beard. So naturally, I walk up to him and ask him if he would play a homeless person in a video I was helping produce for my job. I might have introduced myself first... I don’t really remember.

What I do remember is that I was wearing a black romper with patterned tights underneath. Austin was wearing a striped shirt and a man bun. Aw. Oh, and tattoos. He was wearing tattoos.

To my surprise, Austin says yes, he would play a homeless person in the video, and he’s already played a homeless person in a video before. Never did I assume I would find an Academy Award-winner to act in this promotional video, but hey, it was a lucky event.

Ana and Austin Elliott Wedding Springfield, MO

Ana and Austin Elliott Wedding Springfield, MO

Ana and Austin Elliott Wedding Springfield, MO

Hours pass by, and Austin is still hanging out with his friends while I’m talking to other people. Then, someone approaches me and tells me I’m supposed to go into the closet with this Austin guy because they were already playing 7 minutes in heaven before I got to the party and yes, this game is a joke but yes, you actually have to go into the closet with that guy.

So, being the agreeable person that I am, I went into a closet with a man who I’ve nearly never met, but he’s agreed to be in this video. I guess we’re “yes” people.

7 minutes. Set the timer.

So there we are, awkward as can be, making small talk in a cramped closet and discussing his work, my work, his tattoos and music. Later I found out it was a set up, and Austin’s friend Chris dumped out all the names but ours.

Fast forward to now, and we’re married (!!!), he’s my best friend, biggest encourager, and truest love. It’s a little gushy but it’s real.

So, the lesson here is this: If somebody tells you to go into a closet with someone you’ve barely met, you should listen to them. Because you might marry the person! (Disclaimer: Follow your instincts and don’t go into a closet with anybody who seems like they might be a weirdo.)

P.S. Kinsey Mhire took our wedding photos and I am obsessed with every single one of them. You'll probably be seeing more of them around here!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Queen City Gems, Vol. 5: Valentine's Edition

I'm a big fan of Valentine's Day. And it's not just because I met my husband on the holiday (more on that tomorrow), I have always just enjoyed the "Hallmark" holiday. Yeah, yeah, I know.. Cynics say it's a made up holiday so the card and chocolate industries can survive, but hey — can ya blame 'em?! It's probably hard to make it as a chocolatier in February following all those New Year's resolutions.

So, here's a few themed things from my hometown that I'm pretty excited about this Valentine's.

1. Don't Forget to 'Gram Eurasia's Bouquet Latte
You guys. Eurasia Coffee & Tea's Bouquet Latte is SO "instagood" that you may forget to snap a photo before the first sip. I'd seen the drink on a few of my friends' Instagram feeds and I knew I had to try it (shoutout @kaitpalmquist), and it was even better than I expected it to be. They're serving it up with edible flowers from Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck until February 18, so if you haven't yet, you've still got time to try it!

2. The Bravery Board's Relationship-Driven Podcasts
The Bravery Board doesn't always talk about relationships, but when they do, it's something you don't want to miss. A few of my personal friends started and run this organization, and I am so incredibly proud of Michelle Houghton, Jenn Fortner, Kate Alsup and Lindsay Donaldson for what they're bringing to the Springfield community. Their most recent episode is titled "Intention with Friendships: Get out of Your Own Way to Make (& Keep!) Friends", and I've got intel that their next two will be about relationships, as well. So if you haven't subscribed yet, now is a good time.

3. "A Design Kit" Will Take Your Valentine's Cards Digital
A Design Kit is the new app from the team at A Color Story, and they've knocked another one outta the park. A lot of people have been using the app to make cute story highlights on Instagram, but I think it's a cute way to send an e-card to your sweetie. (Are e-cards still a thing? Let's just say they are. 😘)

Finally, Askinosie is hosting a special Valentine's Day factory tour tomorrow at noon. I say take your Valentine, Galentine or Palentine and have some chocolate! YOU DESERVE IT. Happy day!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Galentine's Day LaCroix Mocktail

Who's got big Galentine's Day plans? Thanks to Leslie Knope, this holiday has been a "thing" since 2010. All about women celebrating women, the tradition occurs on February 13th — Valentine's Day Eve. Or, really, whenever you want to party with your gal pals... and I say celebrate 'em early and often!

So, here's a toast to my girlfriends:
I love you more than LaCroix
And more than most boys
You make my life sweet
Let's have some treats 🍕🍔🥂

What are we toasting with? Thought you'd never ask! It's time for ...drumroll, please... LACROIX MOCKTAILS! (Or you can put alcohol in it if you want, but I'm accommodating all my #whole30 friends and my pregnant friends and my non-drinking friends and.. well, everybody.)

I have to give recipe credit to my husband on this one. We each made a mocktail with orange LaCroix, and his was much better than mine. In fact, he spit mine out on the first taste. I guess I got a little too adventurous...

Anyway, here it is:

- Orange juice (make sure it doesn't have any added sugar or ingredients if you're following whole 30)
- Cranberry juice, unsweetened
- Orange LaCroix
- Sea salt
- Cara Cara pink navel oranges — read how to dehydrate them here.

1. In a pitcher or mixing glass, pour 4 ounces of orange juice
2. Add 2 ounces cranberry juice
3. The secret ingredient — just a dash of sea salt
4. Pour an entire 12 oz. can of orange LaCroix into the glass
5. Garnish with a dehydrated pink navel orange. It looks pretty, and it ups the flavor game.
6. Serve 'em up! This recipe serves two 8 oz. glasses

And there ya have it! A fun, easy (and guilt free!) drink for your Galentine's party. If you're up for a serious girls night, you could even make a craft from those leftover orange slices. So pretty!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Oven-Dried Orange Slices

Did you know winter is typically considered citrus season? Whether you're drying citrus at home for crafts or cocktails (or mocktails!), I highly recommend taking the time to preserve oranges, lemons and more. It's super simple — just make sure you're at home for a few hours because you'll have to leave 'em in the oven for a bit.

- Citrus (I dried oranges, but you could use lemons, lime or even grapefruit)
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or baking rack
- Sharp knife

Oven-Dried Citrus
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Slice your citrus into thin rounds, about a quarter inch wide. You can use any sort of sharp knife, but I used a serrated knife to ensure the citrus didn't squish as I was cutting it.
3. You can either line your baking sheet with parchment paper or place a baking rack on top of the sheet to make sure the citrus doesn't stick to the sheet.
4. Cook in the oven for about 3 hours, or until dry to the touch.

That's it! Easy as pie — err.. easy as an orange?

Monday, February 5, 2018

SLT Bookclub: February

Here's a thing you might not know about me: I graduated from college with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in psychology. While I was a double major, I more often identified with the English degree — which is probably why I work as a writer now and not a psychologist. 😉

That being said, I chose my second book for the year both in awe and curiosity for how widespread Rupi Kaur's work has become. To my knowledge, Kaur is the only modern day poet (maybe the only poet ever) to sell out arenas, and she currently has 2.2 million followers on Instagram. Her work focuses on themes of love, relationships and feminism, but she also dives deeper to talk about abuse and racism. The New York Times has named Kaur and her peers the most popular poets in the world, but her work has been met with criticism, too.

Nayyirah Waheed, another Insta-poet, accused Kaur of producing work that was a little too similar to Waheed's salt, published in 2013, after Kaur named Waheed one of her inspirations. Kaur's work has been tweeted, pinned and turned into memes on Twitter. All of that being said, Kaur has made a name for herself in the lit world (and the real world) that's surpassed Instagram fame... so now I'm checking out the hype.

You can see my selection from last month's book club here. Have you read the sun and her flowers or Kaur's first book of poems, milk and honey? Let me know what you think!