Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How to Celebrate the Fourth When You're Not Exactly 'Proud to Be an American'

Typically, the Fourth of July signifies a day off of work and a fireworks show. But when the classic lyrics to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” don’t come out quite as easily as they would have a handful of years ago, how should we celebrate the Fourth of July? “I’m proud to be an American / where at least I know I’m free” may ring true for me personally, but this year especially, it calls to mind the privileges I’ve had that some others haven’t been awarded.

While immigrants are being taken from their families at the border, I begin to question why our American policy would oppress others’ human rights. Looking inward to how America treats its own can be painful, too, when we recognize the unfair treatment of minorities by police, the education system and other institutions. I want to celebrate our country and its progress, and at the same time, we need a reckoning, calling to light the progress that still needs to happen. But the Fourth of July is going to arrive with a flurry of red, white and blue whether or not we’re looking forward to the occasion. Here are a few ideas for celebrating your Fourth of July when you don’t necessarily feel 100% proud to be an American.

Start Small
We live in a climate where political opinions are like a line in the sand — it feels heavy to walk to the other side and have a conversation with a friend or even an acquaintance who may think differently than we do. Start small, by sharing your voice with these individuals. Sure, it’s more comfortable to avoid certain conversations, but it is so necessary to call out intolerant ideas when we see them in people we know. Make the conversation about values, not political parties, and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Call or Write a Representative
You can text Resistbot to write a letter to your representatives in two minutes or less. If you have more time, consider calling and leaving a message with the representative’s office. When there are city or state elections, vote to make your voice heard. Throughout the year, keep up with local and national news, and contact your elected officials when you see something you disagree with.

Thank Government Workers
When the news feels heavy, look to the things that are going correctly. For example, USPS employees are federal workers who do necessary, often overlooked, work to help our world keep turning. A simple “thank you” goes a long way, or you can leave your mail person a cold bottle of water during these hot summer months. Think outside the box to find a government worker who improves your daily life, and show them your appreciation.

Spend Time with Your People
Lots of Americans do have the Fourth of July off as a national holiday. If you’re one of these people, soak it up and spend time with your community. Hang out, talk about how we can improve America, or talk about the latest wellness craze. Integrating our opinions into conversation is a must to engage in real relationships with the people we call friends and family. This rings true no matter the day.

Fireworks! πŸ’₯
On the Fourth of July, fireworks have been set off since 1777. It’s an Independence Day tradition, symbolizing “the rocket’s red glare” that indicated our separation from Great Britain in 1776. While we still have a way to go, choose to do your part to ignite change, and then focus on the positive. If you have the opportunity, buy fireworks from a local stand to support small business, have a popsicle, and consider the progress we’ve made. As Americans, we have the privilege to take actionable steps to make a difference, and that is something to take advantage of — and celebrate.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Meet the Products That Changed My 15-Year Skincare Routine

Ok, ok.. So it may not look like it from the photo, but I consider my skincare routine to be pretty basic. Especially when I see some bloggers posting about $80+ oils where the bottle is .02 ounces... There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't have a line-item budget just for skincare, so until I do, I'll be sticking with these products that keep my face clean & blemish-free and keep my wallet (relatively) happy. πŸ˜‰

Part of my skincare story incorporates habit, which is a necessity to ensure you're treating your skin the same day-in and day-out, but as we all know, habits are hard to break! Back in my teens, my mom took me to a Bloomingdale's when we were in New York visiting my grandma and bought me my first set of Clinique products. It felt like a rite of passage into having a special set of facial products, and I've used various cleansers, toners and moisturizers from the Clinique line ever since. In fact, the habit has been so hard to break (and I'm not really trying to "break" it), that when my friend Courtney at Good Skin Day introduced me to (spoiler alert!) Indie Lee, I kept my Clinique, too.

Part of the reason I've used Clinique for so long is I consider their line to be very versatile, and it's allergy tested and fragrance free. Back in the day when I had, ahem, teenager skin, I used their Acne Solutions liquid makeup, and while it's not technically skincare, I would consider it a product that nicely blends the line between skincare and makeup. All that to say, it was a good fit for me!

AND, I can't talk about Clinique without the three magic words: gift with purchase. If you time out when you buy Clinique correctly, you can spend a certain amount and receive a makeup bag with tiny samples of product they sell. Typically, you fall in love with those products and it's a trick of marketing genius that I'm not even mad about. So, it worked on me, and now I've come to crave the three-step process they recommend. Here's my skincare routine broken up by morning and evening.


So, as we've covered, old habits die hard. I start each morning with liquid facial soap from Clinique, wet a cotton ball with the number 2 Clarifying Lotion, which acts like a toner, so the name can be a little misleading. In their clarifying lotion, Clinique has numbers 1-4 depending on your skin type, and 2 is for dry combination. They also have options for very dry, oily combination, very oil and dry, sensitive skin. Then I use about 2 pumps of the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel all over my face and neck area. It's such a light moisturizer that this is my favorite part. Also, before BB cream existed (typing that makes me feel old..), I would sometimes mix a little of this with my foundation to give a lighter look.

Then if I'm still feeling a little dry, I'll use the Mario Badescu facial spray with aloe, herbs and rosewater. Sometimes I use this product mid-day, too, for a little pick-me-up. My sister-in-law introduced me to this product as a Christmas gift, and I've been loving it ever since!

Here's where I just did the same routine with my Clinique products forever until (drumroll please) I found out about Indie Lee. Courtney Dunlop, who I mentioned earlier, owns a boutique skincare company in my hometown of Springfield, MO, and she let me try a little sample of Indie Lee. I tried it like a good sample-receiver, and I kid you not, after the first use my skin was glowing. I figured maybe it was just in my head or the sweet smell of the rosehip cleaner, but then I got compliments on my skin, so I knew it was a thing. My dad even noticed the glow!

So, I bought it and I've been using it in the evenings since. I'll be honest and say sometimes I'm lazy and just use a Neutrogena makeup wipe and forget the rest, but any skincare expert would tell you (and me) that's bad, so... oops! Usually though, when I go to bed at a reasonable hour, I'll go through with the full routine. Indie Lee is an affordable, high-quality, all-natural skincare line, and for that reason, it has a lot of fangirls. Consider me one.

I start off with a makeup wipe, or if I'm not wearing much makeup, sometimes I'll take mascara off using Clinique's Take the Day Off (which I think is an adorable name). Then I use Indie Lee's Rosehip Cleanser, which is so gentle and smells good! I follow this with the CoQ-10 Toner, which doesn't come in a spray bottle, but I like to put it in one because I think it makes it disperse more evenly. Then, I finish with the Squalane Facial Oil. I'll put 2-3 drops on my face and massage, focusing most on my cheeks because that's where I tend to be the most dry. If I'm feeling more dry, similar to my morning "bonus step", I'll use Mario Badescu's facial spray with aloe, chamomile and lavender. I looooove the way this one smells.

If you're in Springfield, go to Good Skin Day for a local way to snag Indie Lee! I've been looking for a good eye cream because I'm closer to 30 than 20... but that's a different post for a different day. Ha! Any recommendations for a budget-friendly eye cream I should know about?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Queen City Gems, Vol. 8: Your Weekend 'Foodie' Guide

The weather has cooled for now, and it's a good time to be in Springfield, Missouri. Here are a few things happening in my hometown that I'm digging right now.

1. Foodie Weekend Starts Tomorrow in the 417
If you're at all into food or drinks (I assume that's everyone), there's an event for you this weekend in Springfield. I'm most excited about Taste of SoMo, happening downtown on the square. Admission to this event is free, plus food sampling tickets are only $10 for 10! If you attend, make sure to stop by the local chef's panel at 2 p.m. inside the Queen City Wine Dive. I'll be moderating it, and I'm so excited to hear from some top chefs in our area! Taste of SoMo runs from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., and there's more information about it here.

2. The Coffee Ethic's 'Cold Brew 101', and More
Here are the events for beverage enthusiasts, and a fun fact about this very blog you're reading. Home-brewed iced coffee was one of my very first blog posts waaaay back in October of 2013. Awww! That being said, I am a big fan of cold brew, and a big advocate for not putting ice in hot coffee and calling it "iced coffee". I'm sorry if that makes me coffee snobby! Anyway, if you've never tried making home-brewed iced coffee, or if you want to bump up your cold brew skills a notch, The Coffee Ethic is hosting a 'Cold Brew 101' class tomorrow from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. It's a come and go event, so swing by, learn something, and then go forth and make better coffee. For the beer people, White River Brewing Co. is hosting Summer Fest 2018 tomorrow evening on C-Street, complete with chalk muralists, an appearance by 5 Pound Apparel, and more. Finally, if you're into Mexican food and rosΓ©, Cherry Picker is hosting its 2nd annual RosΓ© Day on Sunday, with tacos and tamales from Tortilleria Perches, over 20 rosΓ©s from all over the world and two live bands. 

I'd typically include something else from another category at this point, but what can I say? It's a good weekend to eat in the Ozarks.

Know of something I should include in a Queen City Gems post? Email me, or message me on Instagram!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Solstice Musings

It's here, people, the longest day of the year. There's a scientific explanation for how it all happens, but there's nothing calculable about the way it makes me feel. For all intents and purposes, today is the same as tomorrow — but today, we get three more seconds of sunlight than any other day of the year. It happens annually, like the clockwork of the sky, a giant sundial to remind us what season we're in and which is coming next.

When I was young, maybe 8 or 10 or so, my parents went on a trip, and I was staying with some family friends on the summer solstice. I must have mentioned a few times that it was the longest day of the year. They teased me, saying, "You don't want to spend this lengthy day with us? You'd rather be somewhere else, like CiCi's Pizza or Silver Dollar City?", but it wasn't about where else I wanted to be. I just wanted to make sure to soak up every minute of that day.

Maybe it's because I thrive in natural light, but I crave this day year-round. Yet when it arrives, the summer solstice gives me mixed feelings; it even did back then. It's one part bliss because my favorite season has officially arrived, complete with dripping, sticky popsicles and a nap on a warm towel after an hour in the pool. At the same time, it's one part bellyaches, knowing tomorrow won't be as long as today. It can't; the sun won't let it. In some ways, it reminds me to live in the moment. I can spend my whole year waiting for June 21, but 24 hours later, it will be June 22.

There's nothing I can do to make the summer solstice shorter. There's nothing I can do to make the winter solstice longer. All any of us can do, really, is sit back, smile, and be thankful for the sunshine we are allotted today. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

How to Quick Pickle Radishes

Radishes aren’t my favorite veggie in the world, but they’re in season and I’m trying my best to incorporate more of them into my diet! On the other hand, I love pickles, pickle juice, Tommy Pickles and anything else that is in any way related to the juicy snack. I was talking to a chef friend of mine about pickling my radishes (hi, Daniel!), and he suggested I do a “quick pickle”. What comes next is my recipe, not his, because I assure you his would be more exotic and probably contain some crazy ingredient I’ve never heard of (but of course tastes delectable).

Pickled radishes are having a moment in the food scene right now, so if you haven't tried making them yet, now is a great time! I've had them recently in ramen bowls and on street tacos, but they can add an unexpected kick to many recipes if you're creative in the kitchen. Photos below and recipe at the bottom! xo.

- 1/2 lb radishes
- 8 oz. mason jar
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbs sugar
- 1 tbs salt

Start with one bunch of radishes (about half a pound) and thinly slice them. Place radishes in mason jar. Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt. Stir well and pour mixture over radishes — you may have a little more pickling juice than fits in the jar, and that's ok! Store in the fridge for 24 hours, and you're good to go. If you sneak a few before the 24 hours, I won't tell. πŸ˜‰

This is a pretty basic pickling recipe, so you can use it with cucumbers, onions, carrots, or any veggie, really! For a more unexpected flavor, you can add ingredients like peppercorn, dill, etc. What would you add? Let me know!

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. πŸ˜‰) 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. πŸ˜‹ 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!