My heart has been very heavy for our city these past couple of days. I have had a lot of thoughts on the recent events of Ferguson and the St. Louis area in its entirety. I have been silently sitting back and listening to the voices of many, on both sides of what is going on. Whomever it may be, I believe we all know at least somebody that is affected by this in some way, shape or form, whether it be directly or indirectly.
What I have loved though? The way that St. Louis is coming together to make a positive impact and change on this city. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of harm being done and a lot of negativity among many, but there are positive things happening too that many people aren’t seeing. Last night our church held a prayer service focusing on our city. Following the service, Tim and I went to South Grand where much damage had occurred during a protest/rioting the night before, but what we saw as the aftermath was amazing. Many of the local businesses were boarded up either because of sustained damage or to prevent anything further from occurring, but local artists spent the day in this community painting these boards with positive and encouraging words and thoughts. It was truly an amazing sight to see. It was very surreal eating inside a restaurant with its windows boarded up to the outside world (and it’s still very hard to believe that this is happening right here at home and isn’t something we’re only seeing on TV), but seeing the amount of people that were inside and walking around South Grand visiting the other restaurants and looking at the artwork too was enlightening and inspiring.
There are also some individuals organizing #HealSTL, #STLTogether and #PayItForwardSTL campaigns via social media, and seeing the ways that people all around St. Louis are paying it forward with small, subtle acts of kindness is amazing. These types of things make my heart happy, but especially now in such a time of need for our city.
I believe that everyone should have a voice, an opinion, a right to be heard, and I’m grateful that we’re given that opportunity, but I also believe that there are safe ways to do this that will lead to a much more positive impact in the long run. I hope that many of us will truly open up our eyes and ears to see what’s happening, to listen to how everyone feels on every side of the situation, no matter the race or social class or whatever other differentiating factors there may be, and to be understanding of what is going on. Everyone is hurting. Ultimately, I hope that St. Louis will rise above, and I believe that with the amazing people that are in this city, that is exactly what will happen. Even with all of the negativity that surrounds, the positive changes being made are making me love St. Louis more and more. It’s crazy to think that this is something big that our children are going to be reading about in their history books some day (around the globe even), but I want to have the opportunity to say that somehow, even if it’s in the smallest of ways, I was a part of the positive things that are being done in our city. Even if it’s just one small act of kindness that I can share with someone today.
Peace and love,
Winter made its first little sneak peek this weekend, even though it’s really still fall, and we haven’t even quite gotten around to Thanksgiving just yet. Alas, yesterday was already our first snow day of the season with a couple of inches of snow on the ground and flakes falling from the sky when we left church. I’ve been loving my fur sweater vest this season, so yesterday was seemingly the perfect flannel and fur kind of day (both Target finds might I add!). The flannel was a fall Target find from two years ago, but still one of my seasonal favorites. I’ve been having a lot of fun shopping my own closet lately and pairing the old with the new.
I’m not the world’s biggest fan of winter, but I have to admit, the scenes from yesterday’s snowfall were gorgeous and paired perfectly with a red cup from Starbucks (peppermint mocha holiday drink of course!) and some cheery Christmas tunes. I may not love winter, but Christmastime is my favorite, so sometimes you have to give a little, right?! according to my social media feeds, it seems like just about everyone took the snow day as an early opportunity to put up the Christmas tree. We haven’t gone that far just yet, but I’m not sure how much longer I can wait. We’ll see if I can hold out until after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, we’ve got lots of other exciting things in our lives to focus on (more on that to come soon).
Have you heard about Target’s latest designer collaboration? I am beyond excited for this one! TOMS is a brand that I have been passionate about since its start. I purchased my first pair of TOMS Shoes in college, and my collection has grown immensely in a variety of styles since, and not just in terms of shoes (I’ve got a pair of sunglasses too which I actually received a gift card for from TOMS a few years back to blog about their one for one eyeglass mission that was new to the company at that time). I love a brand with a mission. Being a fan of Target’s seasonal designers, I was thrilled to hear about their most recent collaboration with TOMS this holiday season. Not only will they offer exclusive TOMS Shoes in the store, but there will also be clothing items and home goods. Shoes, meals and blankets are some of the ‘one for one’ donations that will be seen during this campaign. I’ve got my eye on the blankets and hope to purchase one as soon as the campaign arrives in stores this holiday season. Find out more about TOMS for Target in last month’s Forbes article here: http://goo.gl/otRptR
Photos by SHD Photography
In mid-October, we were finally able to see all of the beautiful colors of fall. The trees everywhere looked incredible. I went for a run and almost resisted snapping yet another Instagram photo of the fall leaves because I felt like I’d already posted so many (‘basic,’ right?!), but I just had to take yet another. The leaves were irresistible. My dear friend Shannon of SHD Photography (I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about her a time or two by now ) sent me a text message right away and said she needed to photograph those trees stat. It’s fun having a close friend whom is also a professional photographer and whom also lives just a few blocks away from us. We grabbed Bentley and went for a walk the following Sunday to meet Shannon where she snapped a few photos of us amongst the gorgeous colors of fall in the city in the combination of the most beautiful fall weather too. She’s been shooting a lot of film lately and wanted to use us as another film experiment. Naturally, we obliged. Bentley looks so handsome on film, I have to admit. I love seeing Shannon’s work on so many of our close friends, and it’s so much fun to be a part of it too! It seems like all of the pretty leave have already so quickly fallen from the trees, but at least I’ve got these photos to stare at for the rest of the season. Thanks for being amazing as usual, Shannon!
“Sometimes when I’m falling in my dreams I can feel you falling next to me. I guess we’re going everywhere together…”
This guy’s music lyrics have been a part of us since we started dating in high school. Tim and I rarely miss an opportunity to see Andrew McMahon when he’s in St. Louis, whether he’s headlining a show or opening for another band, and we’ve traveled to Chicago to see him perform at Lincoln Hall too (and even had the opportunity to meet him that time around!). We have followed Andrew since his Something Corporate days, to Jack’s Mannequin to where he is today, and his lyrics have truly been a piece of our relationship from when we began dating (Tim first heard of him during his days working at Hollister when Andrew was a punk rock band ). He is an amazing performer, and I feel so moved every time that we see him live. He truly sings and performs with so much emotion, and it’s just very apparent that he means the words that he sings. That man has been through a lot, and it’s inspiring to see people, even after facing life’s challenges that come along the way, live their dreams. Last night’s show at the Ready Room was amazing. Music is something that we both love, and live music really has a way of moving you. I can’t stop listening to his newest album, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, and I’m already excited to see what he’s got for us next.
“There’s only two mistakes that I have made; it’s running from the people who could love me best and trying to fix a world that I can’t change.” – All Our Lives, Andrew McMahon
Fall is officially here, and life has been busier than ever. One of my goals this year was to be less ‘busy,’ and, well, I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I totally see two sides to that concept, but right now, there’s just too much I don’t want to miss, but I’m still trying to realize the importance of taking time out and time for myself and time to spend with my family and friends too. Thus far this fall, though, weddings and events have been in full swing. It is that time of year, after all. With BL&E, we’ve had a great run of wedding weekends, topping it off with a beautiful, lakeside, white tent wedding in Illinois. This was one of our most intricate weddings yet, but it. was. awesome. I could not have asked for a better bride and groom to work with either. That was our last big wedding of the year. With running my business on the side in conjunction with both working full-time and being a full-time grad student (and still having a little bit of a life too…I know…I’m crazy…), I’ve not allowed myself to book quite as many events as I was early on until I’m to the point to determine which route it is I really want to take and what I’m willing and able to devote myself to 100%.
Last weekend was my brother’s wedding day, and he and his fiancé did an awesome job with everything. And I mean, they did everything. It all looked amazing, the ceremony was so heartfelt (shockingly, I rarely cry during wedding ceremonies, and I bawled…I’m talking ugly cry here!) and the reception was a blast. The entire day was so great. My mom and dad hosted the rehearsal dinner the evening before, and they gave me full reign of planning and designing the rehearsal dinner. I had SO much fun with this. I wanted to incorporate some of their wedding colors and theme into the dinner so I stuck with deep purples/golds/champagnes and added a little rustic flair with the wild flowers and wooden decor. I took a few photos with my DSLR, but haven’t uploaded them yet, so an quick iPhone pic is what you get for now.
I have to say that I am actually a little excited for a little wedding break in these coming weeks. Our weekends have been so consumed these last few months with all things wedding whether it’s been me planning (and Tim’s always so amazing to help out too), one of us being in a wedding or the two of us attending a wedding as guests (I’ve almost forgotten just how much fun that is!) or something else wedding related between bachelor/bachelorette parties, showers, etc. It has been an awesome few months, but I am also very excited for some free weekends ahead. I love a worry-free, plan-free Saturday every once in awhile for Tim and I to wake up and walk to the coffee shop or go to the farmer’s market or when I’m able to wake up and go to yoga. I love a Saturday night out with friends, and I love Sunday mornings at church. I love Saturday shopping days and lunch dates with my mom. I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of these next few ‘free’ weekends and especially to enjoy this season. Next thing we know, the holidays will be here, and of course we’ll all be back to ‘busy’ yet again! I know, though, that soon enough, I’m already going to be itching to start planning something new or spending an entire Saturday with a wedding in some way, shape or form. If you’ve got a little upcoming event in the works, feel free to come my way I’m already meeting with one of my June brides this afternoon. I can’t give it up quite yet!
Happy Fall, y’all. Cheers, and enjoy the weekend!
Everything about this summer happened so quickly, and suddenly, we’re nearly in fall (well, everyone has said it’s fall since Labor Day, but it’s not officially fall yet…more on that later). Anyway, I shared part 1 of our Boston/NYC adventure last month but never got around to sharing part 2, the NYC part. I’ve had a draft saved for a few weeks now, photos uploaded and all, but hadn’t gotten around to actually writing.
I always miss the big city. Any big city. If you haven’t yet realized, I’m beyond obsessed with all things city, New York and Chicago being my absolute favorites. When we were visiting Boston this summer, our new adventure place to visit, I just knew that we had to somehow incorporate New York into this trip as well. Yes, we’ve already done NY together, but once is not enough. I want to go back again and again. Since we’re rarely in the Northeast, I knew we needed to take full advantage. (If we had all the money and all the vacation days in the world, we would have spent a good two weeks touring the entire Northeast/New England if it were up to me.) On our last full day of our trip, we took a bus from Boston down to NYC (I legitimately never realized just how far NE Boston really is on the map. Wow!). It was only about 4 1/2 hours or so on the bus down to NYC, so it wasn’t bad at all. About equivalent to our trips from home to Chicago. We got into NYC late morning, giving us a good full day after getting checked into our hotel (in Times Square! Tim did so good as usual ) to explore the city. We did a lot of big things last time we were in New York like tours, Times Square and we were on the TODAY Show (HUGE bucket list check right there), so this time we didn’t have a lot of big things planned, we just wanted to enjoy our day in the city. It was so perfect, especially since last time we were in New York, it was New Year’s Eve weekend, and it was bitter bitter bitter cold. Almost unbearable (but we made it bearable, nonetheless). This NY summer weather was the exact opposite of that.
We tried to do a few of the things we didn’t have time to do the last the we were here. First stop, we had lunch at Shake Shack. I felt like I was in a movie eating outside in the park on a New York summer day. It was so fabulous. And, their food was pretty awesome too. Sometimes you just need a good burger and fries, you know? Gluten and all (more on that later, if you don’t follow me on IG and Twitter and know about my gluten sensitivity issues…yes, I’m one of those, and yes, it’s annoying, I know.).
Following lunch, we needed to walk off our food. When we travel, we love to walk. We’re pretty active when time allows. Living in a city, any city, you have to know that walking will be involved, even if it’s just your usual walk from the car to your doorstep. We walked our way through New York’s finest shopping (shopping, my other love), and visited a few of my favorite places including Tory Burch and Kate Spade’s Madison Avenue flagship store. It was just as beautiful as I had ever imagined it would be. I bought one little thing with a gift card that I had been saving up just because I wanted just one of my KS pieces to really be from NY The flagship store was several stories tall, each floor being dedicated to its own Kate Spade department…shoes, homegoods, wedding. It was some form of Kate Spade New York Heaven I’m sure.
One thing that we didn’t have time to do last time we were there was see the view of New York City from above. We decided to do the Top of the Rock tour, and it was amazing. New York City was even more beautiful from up above.
That evening, we explored SoHo which I absolutely loved, especially the building structures on each block. We also stopped in the Kate Spade and Jack Spade stores in SoHo to make sure there wasn’t anything we were missing out on, and we checked out the Kate Spade Saturday store too. If I were to ever have the opportunity to live in this city, I would love to live in this neighborhood. Even if $3,000 a month in rent got me something the size of a cardboard box. I still think it would be totally awesome.
Finally, we got to visit our friend, Carson, who lives in Brooklyn. We finally got to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and Brooklyn itself, what a neat place! I wish that we could have stayed and explored it more. Next time I would like to spend a full day there.
It was an amazing end to our trip. I dream of being in this city all the time. I need to figure out how more of it can be in our lives. And next time we go on a visit, we still need to do an NBC Studio Tour (obsessed with all things NBC!), see a real Broadway show and we absolutely must get tickets to see Jimmy Fallon live. New York City is like its own country. There are never ending things to do. I can’t wait until we can go back again! In the meantime, we’re already trying to plan where our next adventure trip will be. We’re really thinking about California because it’s been up there on our list (right up there with NYC actually) for a very long time, and neither of us have been any further west than Phoenix, AZ. There are so many options when it comes to California though. Talk about a state being like its own country. Phew. In the meantime, we’ve got to plan ourselves another weekend trip to Chicago, though. It’s quick, it’s easy, its (relatively) inexpensive (as compared to some of these other trips we take anyway), and we’re just all around in love with that city. I’m hoping we can get back up there this fall. I have a feeling big changes are to come in the spring, whether that be career moves, real life moves (our lease ends in five months!) or something of that sort. Only time will tell so we shall see! The countdown to that Masters degree is less and less each day. Cheers!
Ah the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that’s been the most positive and enlightening thing consuming your Facebook newsfeeds as of late. Sounds surprisingly delightful on a 100+ degree day like today, doesn’t it? I knew it was only a matter of time before Tim or I were nominated, and on Friday night, our dear friends Kevin and Holly nominated us both. Within less than an hour, we accepted the challenge (at one in the morning, mostly because Tim didn’t want to wait until the following day to do it ). Since we live downtown, we don’t have a backyard like most people who have done the challenge, so instead, we used the shower and two big bowls of ice water. We had about six outtakes of the video before we actually went through with it because Bentley stood there and barked at us the entire time and tried drinking out of the bowls of water. Once we finally did it, he ate ice and licked up the excess water off the floor. If we’re friends on Facebook, you can see our video there, or you can watch the 15 second version on Instagram.
There have been a lot of people complaining about this challenge, saying that it’s dumb and that people just need to donate money to the cause and move on with their lives. I completely disagree. This is the greatest viral movement I have yet to see. You probably know by now how much I love social media, and despite the fact that sometimes it really can be negative in many ways, it can also be so awesome and so beautiful, especially with things like this. I love seeing such positive things go viral and the impact that is made. Yea, it may seem silly that people are making videos of themselves dumping Ice on their heads, but is it making you talk? If you don’t know what ALS is, is it making you google it just to see what all the hype is about? People who didn’t know about this are learning about it, and they’re having fun along the way. Plus, people are still donating too. People that are doing the challenge are still donating, even if it’s in smaller increments, and people who don’t do the challenge but are still called out are donating too. Everything about this is awesome. As compared to so much negativity that has been filling my newsfeed and pushing me away from social media as of late, this has been refreshing and fun to see.
That ice water was cold, and my hair was a big wavy mess when I woke up the next morning, but it was awesome and worth it. I’m happy to say we were a part of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. I hope the friends that we nominated to partake accept the challenge too, in one form or another, if they haven’t already. Cheers (to an ice cold bucket of water!)!
This weekend was a fabulous weekend filled with very little plans (crazy, right!?) but lots of fun activities. I attempted to not check emails (a very big challenge for me) and to tune out the news, which right now is very tough to do, but I ended up with an enjoyable weekend ending with me turning 27 years old.
I had to get my license renewed on Friday afternoon which was not the most thrilling start to birthday weekend, but it had to be done. My license was last renewed three years ago, just days after we returned from our honeymoon, and I had to have my new ID with my new last name and my new signature. That ID was also two addresses ago, so an update really was necessary. I was oddly nervous about the ‘signs’ portion of the vision test (I literally studied them online before I left), but luckily, driving for over ten years now seemed to have been just enough to pass. I now have a piece of paper for an ID in my wallet. I can’t wait until the real thing comes in the mail.
Aside from my thrilling start to my birthday weekend, I treated myself to a manicure and pedicure, which I never do without an excuse of some sort, and paid a little visit to the new Tory Burch store that just opened up in Frontenac. It’s soooo pretty. They were even giving away cookies and champagne.
The rest of the weekend was filled with quality time with my husband, good food, new restaurants, local coffee shops and just roaming around and exploring some of my favorite places in St. Louis. We ended with dinner with my family last night at Mission Taco in the Loop and drinks with my mom and dad on the rooftop at the Moonrise Hotel, one of my absolute favorite places in STL and our first time taking my parents here. It was a great weekend, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with some of my best girlfriends this weekend as a few of us share a birthday only a few days a part. I think 27 will be a good year. Cheers!
This is one of my favorite statements by Tiffany & Co. This weekend, I turn another year older (27 to be exact). I have always been a big fan of birthdays, and I love reasons to celebrate. I always thought it was weird when older adults don’t share their age or dread birthdays because that only means their growing older (fact – I still can never remember how old my mom actually is because she never gives me a truthful answer ). To me, a birthday is a chance to be grateful and an opportunity we’re given to have lived yet another year of our lives. They always told me that someday ‘I’ll understand.’ I still never really got it. Until last year. I’ll admit, something strange happened to me in terms of turning 26 years old. For some people, 25 seems big, for others it’s 30, and everything above that, but for some reason, 26 seemed to be a very odd turning point for me. It was the first year that a birthday was more stressful than celebratory in my mind (although Tim and I did have a really fun weekend celebrating in Chicago…ultimately taking my mind off of my age). I’m not sure if it was that hump that went over 25, suddenly putting me into the ‘upper’ or ‘late’ twenties category? Regardless, it just felt a little strange. Although, I still get carded everywhere, and when we were in Boston, our tour guide even sold me a children’s ticket (which was for 12 and under). Ha. I know I look young, yet I’m oftentimes bothered by that too, yet I’m told that someday I’ll really appreciate it. I suppose so. I just can’t seem to win here. I know the to older adults, twenties is so young (and so it really seems with so much life ahead of us), but compared to some people whom I still know in college, they seem so young, and I feel so old. Anyway, this weekend I turn 27. For quite possibly the first time ever, I nearly forgot that my birthday was so quickly approaching. Birthdays are usually a month long celebration for me, or at least a week. I assume this is just due in part to the fact that so much other stuff has been going on in life lately. I tend to focus on pretty much everything other than me. You know what though? Turning 27 isn’t bothering me one bit. Not like 26 was. I’m excited for it. I’m ready. I feel like saying I’m 27 years old sounds so adult-like, and I’m finding myself saying more and more lately that Tim and I are nearly 30 (I don’t want to jump the gun here, but still). We’ve set some pretty big goals for ourselves for 30…ie. that’s the time that we want to finally ‘settle down’ a bit (determine where it is we really want to live, where we want to be, what we want to be doing in our careers) and start to focus on family at this time. So what does that mean? We’ve got a lot more living to do in these next three years I’m excited for 27. The last few years have been interesting and exciting and pretty awesome to say the least, but I feel like as I approach this upper twenties hump, I’m starting to realize a little more what it is I really want out of life. I hear you never really know, and I’m starting to believe that a bit too, but for my life right now, I think I know where it is I really want to be, and that’s what 27 will be about. Focusing on myself, on finishing grad school, on the next step in my career and on what’s next for Tim and me. We’re ready for adventure. Now’s the time to have it. Cheers!