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!

Friday, February 2, 2018

6 More Weeks of Winter

Let's get this straight. A fluffy animal "saw his shadow", as his caretaker translated, and now we all have to suffer through 6 MORE WEEKS OF WINTER?? Cool.

In case you haven't gathered, this post is about groundhog day. Because I think it's hilarious, and pretty ridiculous. So, the O.G. groundhog has a name — Punxsutawney Phil. You probably already know this, but if he sees his shadow it means six more weeks of winter, and if he doesn't it means we get an early spring. This unlikely tradition has been going for 132 years, by the devotion of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. They claim there has only been one groundhog this whole time who "drinks a punch" and has eternal life. The average lifespan for a groundhog is 6-8 years tho, so... you do the math.

Drama ensues when a competing groundhog starts making his own predictions. Yep, now there's Phil and Milltown Mel. Mel lives in New Jersey, and when the first Mel died in 2015 he was replaced with a new groundhog by the same name — I appreciate Milltown's transparency. Kinda reminds me of my childhood goldfish: Pocahontas, John Smith, Pocahontas 2 and John Smith 2.

This year, Mel predicted an early spring, but Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. Honestly, Mel sounds like a cooler guy. New on the scene, he's only had this groundhog job for 10 years. I wonder if Phil is feeling threatened? I mean, he's the Al Roker of groundhogs now, but that could all change if he keeps predicting long winters. On that note, USA Today reported that Punxsutawney Phil has called for more winter more than 100 years out of the 132 this thing has been going. So.. I think I'm going to cast my vote for Milltown Mel and get a spray tan. P.S. Here's a video of a groundhog biting a mayor in Wisconsin (I guess they have one too)?

OK, onto normal blogger things: I'm obsessed with this coat... and I guess I'll still be wearing it for a few weeks. This is the first year I've bought a down jacket, and I'm not sure why I waited so long! I wore it throughout our whole honeymoon in Iceland (brrr ❄️), and it's super nice that it's lightweight and warm. And fits in a cute little bag. So I highly recommend those squishy down coats — tested and approved.

Outfit details: Hat (from The Market last year, here's a similar one), Coat, Pants are ancient from J.Crew, Shoes

That's all. What do you think about groundhog day? Hopefully Phil's wrong and we get an early spring!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Quick Tips for Making Your Flowers Last Longer

I don't know a single person who dislikes receiving flowers. Flowers are happy! And while fresh cut blooms are relatively low maintenance, there are a few things you can do to make them last longer. Here are a few tricks I've used at home to make these pretty sprouts last a week or more:

1. Cut the stems on an angle
Typically, you'll have to give flowers a little trim before arranging them in a vase. When you do, cut the stems diagonally with a pair of shears. This maximizes the surface area of the stem that's submerged in water, and it helps the flower absorb the nutrients it needs.

2. Shears, not scissors
So this one isn't a deal-breaker if you don't have shears, but typically, florists don't recommend using household scissors on these tough stems. The reason is, classic household scissors aren't strong or sharp enough to easily cut the stems, which can lead to a poor cut — and then your bloom gets less water. On second thought, it's probably not very good for your household scissors, either.

3. Change the water frequently
This is a biggie. If you've ever washed out a vase, you know flower water isn't always the most clean or best smelling. To keep it fresh, change water every day (or at least every 2-3 days), and remove any flowers that are looking limp. You'll keep the vase's ecosystem clean and the bulbs that are blooming will last longer.

4. Use lukewarm water... most of the time
Florists usually recommend lukewarm water, but I also learned a trick from my friend Cassie at the Ozark Mtn Flower Truck. If you have a bloom that you're wanting to live a little longer, you should use cold water to revive it — even going as far as to put an ice cube or two in the vase! I had never heard that before she told me, and it has worked so well.

5. Consider flower food
If you buy grocery store flowers, or stems from a flower truck, they'll usually include a packet of preservatives — or "flower food". If you find yourself with a gorgeous set of blooms but no flower food, I read a recipe for making your own plant preservatives here. I spotted the above grocery store flowers at my friend Alex's house, and I couldn't resist taking a few photos of 'em. Too pretty!

What are your favorite flowers to keep at home? I'd love to hear. xo!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

SLT Bookclub: January

One of my goals for 2017 was to read more. And, I would say I did read more last year, but I still didn't read quite as much as I intended. Of course, I read a ton of articles online (...and Instagram captions... 😅), but I didn't put in a good plan in place for reading "real" books.

So, now I have a plan in place. It's called accountability. Ha!

My goal is to read a book that's new to me each month, instead of just re-reading the Harry Potter series until I retire or die (whichever comes first).

I'm starting in January with The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This is a book that's been sitting on my bedside table for a few months; I started it, but got distracted by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (Hey, at least I'm being honest).

Chapter 7 in this book is titled "How Target Knows What You Want Before You Do", so I'm expecting it to be a page-turner! Anyway, I'm hoping to fly through this in January and share my February choice sooner in case any of you want to read along with me. I'm also planning on sharing this stuff on Instagram using #SLTbookclub, so.. stay tuned!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Queen City Gems, Vol. 4: Whip Solstice

There are a few days in the middle of every cold, hard winter when a Springfield, MO Pineapple Whip lover's dreams come true. And friends, these are the days.

While we're still going to be hanging onto winter for about 8-10 weeks (depending on what the groundhog decides), P-Whip is serving up a little bit of summer this weekend. I ordered mango peach (my favorite!), but if you're more of a grape lover, they have all the flavors in pint-sized perfection to take home. There's more info on location on Pineapple Whip's website.

In other Springfield happenings, D. Clea (you might remember them from this post) is having their album release show tonight! Austin and I are excited to see them play, following both Brian Bulger and Ellie Schmidly. What a lineup!

I hope everybody has a (mango) peachy weekend! Sorry.. couldn't help myself.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Top Home Trends for 2018

Hi, Internet people! Coming atcha today from a week-long trip to Atlanta, Georgia. Why, you ask? If you didn’t know, I have a wholesale account and buy product for a store in my hometown, called The Market.

Living the freelancer life has been a transition, and this little shop of mine is one way I spend my time. I feel lucky to do so! One thing I love about going to market is seeing what’s up and coming, and since I mostly buy gifts and home accessories, those are the trends I’m focusing on in this post.

1. Agate isn’t going anywhere
From end tables to coasters to slivers stacked on your shelves, I saw a lot of agate and crystals at market. They’re such a beautiful way to add something earthy in your home, in my opinion!

2. Mixed metals are huge
Similar to the earth-inspired gems, folks are going for all things flashy in mixed metals. While gold, rose gold and brass are still popular, chrome, matte black and iron are coming into the mix. Really, there’s not a metal that’s uncool these days, so.. good news for the metalworking industry! Ha!

Image via copycatchic
3. Maximalism is coming back, friends!
So, blame this trend on the showrooms jam-packed from floor to ceiling with product. But I have a feeling minimalism has for the most part run its course. Of course, there will always be that cool girl who truly likes clean, simple designs and somehow makes a blank white wall look perfectly styled (talking 'bout you, Karen!) But for the rest of us who like stuff, putting more stuff in your home is back on trend.

Me in a showroom at America's Mart Atlanta
4. Navy walls keep popping up
Blame it on Emily Henderson (or really thank Emily Henderson?!), but I’ve seen a lot of beautiful, navy accent walls lately. A local friend I follow on Instagram (@thisvintagegrove) just switched her living room curtains from white to navy, and I think that’s such a smart way to pick up on this trend without making a huge investment.

Image via Emily Henderson
5. Individuality is a cool thing
Whether it’s a monogram or a limited print run, consumers are going for unique designs. Some of these are one-of-a-kind, and some are collaborations between makers and shops (like Sunwoven for West Elm).

Image via West Elm
Are you thinking about incorporating any of these trends into your home this year? I'd love to hear! xo.

P.S. If you liked this post, share it with a friend! It could even be your mom or that one cashier who always checks you out at TJ Maxx. 💕