Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Queen City Gems, Vol. 11

Happy Tuesday! Here's a quick update on some things I'm loving lately in the Queen City.

1. Team Taco is OPEN (yaaaaay! 🌮🎉)

Austin and I checked out Team Taco last week during their soft open, and I am happy to say it exceeded all of my expectations — and then some! I'm not too hard to please when it comes to tacos, but even if you are, I have a feeling you'll like it here. The guys behind Team Taco REALLY know their stuff when it comes to food & flavor; I saw this firsthand when I interviewed them a handful of times for Feast. I've tried a handful of these tacos by now, and the Groundskeeper is my favorite. All veggies and so delightful!! Branding + design are also on point. 

2. Brian and Jenna Bulger Release Dreamy New Tunes ✨

Late to the party on this (as evidenced by the EP's title "July" and this post being written in "August"), but I love seeing these two collaborate and hope to see more from them in the future. Got to hear them serenade a packed-out Cherry Picker a couple weeks ago, and it was a sweet summer evening I won't forget soon.

3. Say "Aloe" to Hickory Lane Plants 🌿

Spotted this lil cutie on Instagram and had to go check it out in person at the C-Street farmer's market. If you've checked out the Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck (which I talked about way back in volume 1 of this series!), this is like the same idea — but for plants! I enjoyed checking it out & snagged a succulent for our sunroom. It's fun for the experience (and definitely good for a last minute gift)! You can find their schedule on Instagram. 💕

That's all for now! xo.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

One Last Look at the Loft

Whew! What a weekend.

We moved from the loft to our new house (!!), and it was exhausting and wonderful all at the same time. I really expected to have a lot of sad emotions leaving the loft. After all, it's the place where I entered as a roommate with my dear friend Merry and left my years there as a wife to my other half, Austin. We filled those exposed-brick walls with lots of laughter, Friends reruns, happy tears and sad ones, Chipotle burrito bowls & how could I forget the Jordan Valley fireworks on those summer nights that honestly felt magical.

Anyway — surprisingly — no sad tears. Just an extra-long sigh of gratitude.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Our First Home Renovation!

In case you missed our big news (which you probably haven't if you follow me on Instagram), we bought our first home about a month ago! Annnd it's been the setting for nearly all of our nights and weekends since then. When we were on the house hunt, we knew we wanted to find a home that had good bones (such an HGTV phrase!) but needed a little love, and we're thrilled with the one we found.

We bought a ranch style home built in 1970, located in Springfield's Brentwood neighborhood. We're quite a bit further from our downtown offices, which we've become pretty accustomed to being close to, but I am unspeakably excited about living near TREES! Tall ones, too! We're really looking forward to having neighbors on our street and a few blocks away, including some great ones we're already lucky to call friends.

When we bought the house, there was wood paneling in the main living area, which we ripped out on day one and replaced with new drywall. On top of that, there was a wallpaper border in almost every single room, and some rooms even had floor-to-ceiling wallpaper! We spent a good chunk of time peeling wallpaper, and it's almost completely gone at this point. We've had to do some patching up on the walls since tearing out the wallpaper — mudding, sanding, etc., and that's what Austin's doing here.

Before we move in just a couple weeks, we're hoping to have all the walls painted (white!) and we'll be replacing carpet in the bedrooms with wood floors to match the main living areas. We likely won't get all of the floors in in time, but the look and feel of our house has already changed so much in what feels like a really short amount of time.

I'll of course share before & after photos once we've made some more progress, but I wanted to give a little look at the in-between because that's the stage we're in right now, and it's the one that sometimes goes undocumented! Figured I should highlight the blood, sweat, tears & less sexy portion. 😉

Thankfully, our hard work hasn't felt as hard thanks to all the great help we've had, especially from my father in law, Tim. A HUGE thank you to our family and friends who have been so helpful as we've been renovating and preparing to move! Whether you've texted us, brought us coffee, sat and listened to us talk about our house reno, let us borrow tools, peeled wallpaper, painted, etc. etc. etc. we're beyond grateful.

Next comes the really fun part — picking out fixtures, furniture and decor to make it feel even more "us", and I'm excited to see where this stage takes us. I've been chronicling most of this on my Instagram stories, so if you're curious to see more of our progress, you can find that on my highlights!

Oh, and if you want links to any of my outfits in this post JUST let me know 😝💕

Friday, March 22, 2019

Queen City Gems, Vol. 10

Happy Friday! Here are a few fun things I think are worth noting if you're living in (or visiting!) my hometown of Springfield, MO.

1. Coffee, Always

If you know me, you know I'm always excited to try a new coffee thing. It's practically my second job! 😂 This week's coffee thing is Architect, a new shop that's gone in Hebrews' old location (1604 E Republic Rd). I went to check out the new shop and was impressed with what they did with the space! I tried their signature latte with house made vanilla, caramel and topped with Himalayan pink salt. It's a great new coffee option on the south side, especially for meetings or co-working.

2. The Rated SGF Film Festival

Did you know Springfield has a film festival?? This weekend is the second annual Rated SGF, and it's going to be such a treat! The team behind it has curated some really special experiences, including live music and an opportunity for a Q&A following each film with one of the key players involved. It's kicking off tonight, and tomorrow's first screening of Oscar-award winning (!!!) Period. End of Sentence. is free to the public. I'm excited Springfield has this festival and looking forward to seeing how it grows over the years. You can buy tickets for a weekend pass to all events or individual screenings if you prefer.

3. Best of Lunch

Best of Luck is a European-style beer hall new to downtown Springfield that I reported on for Feast a few months back. It opened with a truly impressive food menu, and they're giving 20% off this weekend to those who attend Rated SGF! Seems like a good opportunity for double dipping to me. 😝 Let me know if I missed anything exciting going on this weekend! It's a good time of year to get out and about.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

5 Ways to Enjoy Home When What You Really Need Is a Vacation

Spring Breaaaaaak! Oh, but what's that? You're stuck at home, ridiculed by FOMO as you're reminded everybody on the PLANET (it seems) is taking time off to ring in spring.

For a young professional, Spring Break FOMO might be better relabeled as DOMO — despair of missing out. It's not something to fear; it's nearly guaranteed you'll be scrolling your Facebook memories each morning, haunted by the nostalgia of that one girls' trip to L.A. or your most recent family trip to Disney. I don't know about you, but early March is right around the time that I've 100% had it with the chilly Midwest temps and I'm so ready for sunny with a high of 75.

But (reality check!) escaping to L.A. or Florida isn't always an option, so here are some ideas for the meantime:

Get Your Greens
I swear, I definitely spend more time in greenhouses throughout the winter-spring than I do in the summer, just because they feel like an oasis and the perfect pause from a dreary day. I bought a spider plant from Schaffitzel's a couple weeks ago, and it's bringing a smile to my face every time I walk in the loft — and making my space feel a little more like the retreat I need. And on that note —

Chase Some Sun — (or at least the heat)
You want that spring break glow, right? Or you'd at least like to remember what it feels like to be warm again... While you may take vitamin D as a supplement throughout the winter months, nothing compares to laying on a towel and feeling the embrace of summer temps. In Springfield, you can check out a community class at Sumits Hot Yoga for $7, and a $35 day pass to Acacia Spa will give you access to their sauna and eucalyptus steam shower (hello!!).

Find a Muse(um)
If you're looking to get inspired, a trip to a museum may be in store for you. I think anything that gets you out of your routine and allows you the ability to look and learn about something would qualify! We're really lucky to have the spots we have in Springfield — between the Springfield Art Museum, Wonders of Wildlife, the Springfield Nature Center, the Discovery Center and more (I'm sure I'm missing something!), there's a lot to explore in this backyard. Worth noting — WOW is giving 50% off ticket prices for locals for the next two weeks, and if you're up for a day trip, I'd highly recommend Crystal Bridges.

Eat Foreign Food
If you can't go on a trip, then eating like you're on one is the next best thing. There's two rules to make this the best, most immersive "oh, I forgot I was on my lunch break" type of experience: 1. You must dine in. 2. The restaurant doesn't count (for these purposes) if they play top 40 music. There's nothing that will bring you back to reality quicker than hearing the Jonas Brothers over a speaker system. My favorite place in Springfield for this type of moment is Greek Belly. Their food is fantastic, fairly priced and it genuinely feels like a small trip to Greece if you use your imagination.

Stop and Smell the Hydrangeas
The reasons we crave vacation typically come from a desire for excitement and adventure. So how can we cultivate those emotions in our daily life? I think some of it is seasonal just like spring — inspiration comes and goes in waves, but focusing on the good is a fine place to start. xo!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Finding Joy in Community

They say comparison is the thief of joy. I say community is joy’s benefactor.

Today is International Women’s Day; around the world, we women gather, celebrate our shared virtues and lift each other up. But what about the other 365 days of the year?

If I had a dollar for every woman who has confessed that they struggle with the ‘comparison game’ (especially on Instagram), I’d be able to fully fund my coffee habit and probably my houseplant habit, too. Think of how good my Instagram would look then. 😏

What’s a gal to do when you’re in between “omg so happy for you!” and the unvoiced, pestering but why not me? 

You find your community.

Where a dining room table becomes a shared, sacred space. When the ones you have on speed dial dispense their wisdom from 5,000 miles away or just the next neighborhood over. When the hardships you face fuel your bonds with one another, to be seen and known without judgment.

Because you commune, you push each other forward, you create a space full of spark and sanctity.

A space that acknowledges your why not me? is normal to feel, and reminds you of all that you are.

Being a woman is hard, and beautiful, and poetic, and magical — much like being a human. Coincidence? Nah.

p.s. — I made this lil free phone background! You can download here or save it to Pinterest.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Meet the Mocktail That's Good for Your Health

Though we’ve made it through January and February, the sad reality is that winter’s not leaving us quite yet. (You have no idea how mopey I am about this fact).

But here’s a silver lining: You can fight the good "cold-and-flu-season fight" with this mocktail that tastes good AND helps your health. It's like an Emergen-C you can make at home and feel oh so #fancy. I promise ya, while you’re nursing a stuffy nose and using up your last box of Kleenex, this drink will become the cold remedy you look forward to.

Why's this mocktail the perfect addition to your health routine? It's the secret ingredient — elderberry! Elderberry is a naturally occurring immune system boost; it’s a great way to fight off a cold, even better when used at the first signs of sickness. Honey, especially organic, local honey, is known to reduce coughing and sweetens up the tart elderberry. Once you add a bit of mint, you’re practically on the way to a beach vacation — or at the very least a Bachelor binge, let’s be real.

- Elderberry syrup
- Local honey
- Berry LaCroix
- Fresh mint leaves (optional)

1. Dispense 2 tablespoons elderberry syrup and 4 tsp local honey in a small bowl. Use a small whisk to combine the two.
2. Add the honey and elderberry mixture to a can of Berry LaCroix or your favorite sparkling water.
3. Garnish with fresh mint, and kick the cold in style

p.s. if you're into Lacroix mocktails and aren't sick, try out my recipe for a Cara Cara Orange Mocktail or the Cran-Raspberry Lacroix Punch. Happy staying healthy!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

My 2019 Goals

Well, it's the 10th and I'm just now getting around to sharing some of my 2019 goals, but hey — every day is a chance for a fresh start, right?!

I love the opportunity that presents itself during the New Year season to celebrate the past and set high hopes for the future. This year, more than any singular BIG goal, I'm hoping to focus my energy on smaller lifestyle habits that I hopefully will adopt for the long haul. I read The Power of Habit last year, and I've become convinced that all BIG goals are achieved by pursuing small, attainable actions.

So, here are some of my (hopefully!) attainable action steps for 2019:

Make time for breakfast
I'm the type of person who genuinely forgets about breakfast a lot. (Unless it's a weekend and "breakfast" means "brunch" — in which case, I never forget). But during the week, I tend to get ready for the day and then just... start working. Sometimes I have a latte for "breakfast" and sometimes I don't eat at all until later in the afternoon. Breakfast sounds like a peaceful meal if I'd make time for it, so I think I'll try that this year.

Try four new recipes each month
I love learning more about food, and the CSA Austin and I joined last year was so good for us. This year, I want to expand on the types of food we make at home. There's nothing wrong with having good standby meals, but I really enjoy following creative recipes and experiencing new flavors together. So, more of that in 2019!

Make $$$ in a garage sale/Insta sale/DePop sale?
Purging some unwanted items has been on my goal list for a while, but I haven't been prioritizing it. When I have free time with opportunities to purge, I tend to decide that time is more worthwhile spent having coffee with a friend or running errands. Maybe this is the year I actually take Marie Kondo's advice rather than just bingeing her show on Netflix. 😆

Less screen time/more time for what matters
A funny fact about me: I am kiiiiinda behind in iPhone technology. By that I mean, I have a 6S that I got a couple years ago, and I haven't updated it for fear the operating system will freak out on me. (It's happened before). I'm planning to upgrade my phone soon and take full advantage of the screen time controls.

In addition to that, Austin and I are aiming to instill "no media Monday" at home this year. Instead of being on our phones or watching TV, the plan is to do literally anything else — go on a date, have a dance party, clean the house, read a book...  You get it! This is the goal I'm most excited about and that I think will make the biggest impact. I'm excited to see how this unfolds!

Do you have any goals for 2019? I'd love to hear 'em. 💕

P.S. Outfit details! I'm obsessed with Everlane right now, so... here ya go: Sweater // Pants // Hat (this is the same one in beige, but I got mine locally from The Market)